Edited by Steven A. Peterson and Albert Somit
Chapter 5: The evolution of politics: a biological approach
Much can be gained by viewing politics as a product of the evolutionary process. From the perspective of the growing body of theoretical and research literature in the biological sciences on the ‘progressive’ evolution of complex living systems over time, as well as the science of cybernetics (communications and control processes), politics in human societies represents a variation, and elaboration, on a major evolutionary theme. Political processes have played an indispensable functional role in goal-oriented cooperative systems at all ‘levels’ of biological organization. This view of politics is also consistent with a causal theory – known as the Synergism Hypothesis – which seeks to explain the rise of complexity in evolution over time and, equally important, the frequent examples of ‘devolution’ and dissolution. In addition to a brief explication of this theory, the evolution of political systems in humankind will be briefly described, from its possible origins among our remote australopithecine ancestors to the emergence of complex modern civilizations. Some observations about the future of politics will also be provided.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.