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Anthropologists contend that the organism-environment connections responsible for human evolution are indirect—mediated by culture. This chapter reviews influential twentieth-century anthropological interpretations of the cultural mediation of human adaptations to environments, arguing that ethnography and other qualitative forms of analysis reveal important phenomena overlooked by quantitative analysts committed to methodological individualism. It highlights work by post-positivist anthropologists, who describe relations among human and non-human organisms, cultural forms, and features of environments as “natural-cultural” networks, an approach reminiscent of developmental systems theory and niche construction. Evolutionary theorists have much to gain by incorporating these sophisticated, contemporary post-positivist anthropological understandings of culture into their models of human-environment connections.


NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication as "New Perspectives on Organism-Environment Interactions in Anthropology," in Entangled Life: Organism and environment in the biological and social sciences, edited by Gillian Barker. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published as:

Schultz, Emily (2013) "New perspectives on organism-environment interactions in anthropology." In G. Barker, et al. (eds), Entangled Life: Organism and environment in the biological and social sciences. Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media, 2013. Pp. 79-102. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-7067-6_5

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