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Primeval Kinship: How Pair-Bonding Gave Birth to Human Society

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Primeval Kinship: How Pair-Bonding Gave Birth to Human Society Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

At some point in the course of evolution--from a primeval social organization of early hominids--all human societies, past and present, would emerge. In this account of the dawn of human society, Bernard Chapais shows that our knowledge about kinship and society in nonhuman primates supports, and informs, ideas first put forward by the distinguished social anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss.

Chapais contends that only a few evolutionary steps were required to bridge the gap between the kinship structures of our closest relatives--chimpanzees and bonobos--and the human kinship configuration. The pivotal event, the author proposes, was the evolution of sexual alliances. Pair-bonding transformed a social organization loosely based on kinship into one exhibiting the strong hold of kinship and affinity. The implication is that the gap between chimpanzee societies and pre-linguistic hominid societies is narrower than we might think.

Many books on kinship have been written by social anthropologists, but Primeval Kinship is the first book dedicated to the evolutionary origins of human kinship. And perhaps equally important, it is the first book to suggest that the study of kinship and social organization can provide a link between social and biological anthropology.

Synopsis:

In this account of the dawn of human society, Chapais shows that our knowledge about kinship and society in nonhuman primates supports, and informs, ideas first put forward by the distinguished social anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss. Chapais contends that only a few evolutionary steps were required to bridge the gap between the kinship structures of our closest relatives--chimpanzees and bonobos--and the human kinship configuration.

Synopsis:

2010 W.W. Howells Book Prize, Biological Anthropology Section of the American Anthropological Association

Synopsis:

Honorable Mention, 2008 Association of American Publishers PROSE Award, Biological Sciences Category

About the Author

Bernard Chapais is Professor of Anthropology, University of Montréal.

University of Montreal

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • 1. The Question of the Origin of Human Society

  • A Forsaken Quest
  • The Deep Structure of Human Societies
  • I. Primatologists As Evolutionary Historians

    2. Primatology and the Evolution of Human Behavior

  • The Phylogenetic Decomposition Principle
  • Reconstructing the Exogamy Configuration
  • 3. The Uterine Kinship Legacy

  • Primatological Theories and Primate Legacies
  • Appraising Primate Kinship
  • The Domain of Uterine Kindred in Primates
  • How Are Uterine Kin Recognized?
  • The Origin of Group-wide Kinship Structures
  • 4. From Biological to Cultural Kinship

  • Beyond Consanguineal Kinship
  • The “Genealogical Unity of Mankind”
  • The Bilateral Character of Human Kinship
  • 5. The Incest Avoidance Legacy

  • Elements of a Primatological Theory of Incest Avoidance
  • Humankind’s Primate Heritage
  • 6. From Behavioral Regularities to Institutionalized Rules

  • The Anthropologists’ Treatment of the Primate Data
  • The Westermarck Knot
  • The Morality Problem
  • Lessons from Comparative Anatomy
  • II. The Exogamy Configuration Decomposed

    7. Lévi-Strauss and the Deep Structure of Human Society

  • Reciprocal Exogamy as a Deep Structuring Principle
  • Reciprocal Exogamy as Archaic
  • The Convergence beyond the Critiques
  • Lévi-Strauss and the Primate Data
  • 8. Human Society Out of the Evolutionary Vacuum

  • Leslie White and the Primate Origins of Exogamy
  • Elman Service and the Primitive Exogamous Band
  • Robin Fox and the Initial Deconstruction of Exogamy
  • 9. The Building Blocks of Exogamy

  • Pinpointing the Distinctiveness of Exogamy
  • Reconstructing Human Society: The Task Ahead
  • A Once Irreducible System
  • III. The Exogamy Configuration Reconstructed

    10. The Ancestral Male Kin Group Hypothesis

  • The Patrilocal Band Model
  • Male Philopatry in Apes
  • The Homology Hypothesis
  • Updating the Ancestral Male Kin Group Hypothesis
  • The Gorilla Alternative
  • 11. The Evolutionary History of Pair-Bonding

  • The “Invariant Core of the Family”
  • Pair-Bonds as Parental Partnerships
  • The Pitfall of the Modern Family Reference
  • A Two-Step Evolutionary Sequence
  • Monogamy as a Special Case of Polygyny
  • The Evolutionary History of the Sexual Division of Labor
  • 12 Pair-Bonding and the Reinvention of Kinship

  • The Fundamental Equation of the Exogamy Configuration
  • Kinship in the Ancestral Male Kin Group
  • Fatherhood
  • The Institutionalized Denial of Paternity
  • The Development of Agnatic Kinship Structures
  • 13. Biparentality and the Transformation of Siblingships

  • Chimpanzee Siblingships
  • Fatherhood and the Evolution of Strong Brotherhoods
  • Fatherhood and the Brother–Sister Bond
  • The Added Effect of Shorter Interbirth Intervals
  • 14. Beyond the Local Group: The Rise of the Tribe

  • Male Pacification as a Prerequisite for the Tribe
  • Females as Peacemakers: The Consanguinity Route
  • Females as Peacemakers: The Affinity Route
  • The Initial Impetus
  • The Prelinguistic Tribe
  • 15. From Male Philopatry to Residential Diversity

  • Some Serious Discrepancies
  • The Emergence of Residential Diversity
  • Ancestral Patrilocality and Grandmothering
  • 16. Brothers, Sisters, and the Founding Principle of Exogamy

  • The First Step: Outmarriage
  • Affinal Brotherhoods and the Origin of Exogamy Rules
  • From Siblings-in-Law to Cross-Cousins
  • The “Atom of Kinship” Revisited
  • IV. Unilineal Descent

    17. Filiation, Descent, and Ideology

  • The African Model of Unilineal Descent Groups
  • The Chestnut within the Model
  • 18. The Primate Origins of Unilineal Descent Groups

  • Group Membership through Birth
  • Kinship-Based Segmentation
  • The Genealogical Boundaries of Exogamy
  • The Unisexual Transmission of Status
  • Primitive Corporateness
  • A Multilevel Structure of Solidarity
  • 19. The Evolutionary History of Human Descent

  • Female Kin Groups as Precultural Matriclans
  • The Residential Basis of Proto–Descent Groups
  • The Latent Patriclan
  • Matrilineality as a Male Affair
  • 20. Conclusion: Human Society as Contingent

  • References
  • Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674046412
Author:
Chapais, Bernard
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
Life Sciences - Zoology - Primatology
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Subject:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences/Evolution
Subject:
Science-Life Sciences - Zoology - Primatology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
March 2010
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
17 line illustrations
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Primatology

Primeval Kinship: How Pair-Bonding Gave Birth to Human Society New Trade Paper
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Product details 368 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674046412 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In this account of the dawn of human society, Chapais shows that our knowledge about kinship and society in nonhuman primates supports, and informs, ideas first put forward by the distinguished social anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss. Chapais contends that only a few evolutionary steps were required to bridge the gap between the kinship structures of our closest relatives--chimpanzees and bonobos--and the human kinship configuration.
"Synopsis" by , 2010 W.W. Howells Book Prize, Biological Anthropology Section of the American Anthropological Association
"Synopsis" by , Honorable Mention, 2008 Association of American Publishers PROSE Award, Biological Sciences Category
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