Handbook of Biology and Politics
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Handbook of Biology and Politics

Edited by Steven A. Peterson and Albert Somit

The study of biology and politics (or biopolitics) has gained considerable currency in recent years, as articles on the subject have appeared in mainstream journals and books on the subject have been well received. The literature has increased greatly since the 1960s and 1970s, when this specialization first made an appearance. This volume assesses the contributions of biology to political science. Chapters focus on general biological approaches to politics, biopolitical contributions to mainstream areas within political science, and linkages between biology and public policy. The volume provides readers with a comprehensive introduction to the subject.
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Chapter 14: Political behavior and biology: evolutionary leadership and followership

Ronald F. White


For centuries, scientists have observed that the species Homo sapiens is a social species, and that we naturally ‘organize’ ourselves into groups based on ‘leadership and followership’. The myriad ‘organizations’ that we create are at least intended to be functional, and serve purposes within religious, military, political and business domains. In addition our association and disassociation with organizations also contributes to both our individual and collective identities. Historians have observed that all organizations are subject to change over time. Some large-scale organizations become small-scale, some small-scale organizations become large-scale, some ‘survive’ for a long time, while others become ‘extinct’. Some organizations even ‘give birth’ to new ones. Inexplicably, some apparently dysfunctional organizations survive for a long time, while some functional ones lose members and suffer extinction. And some extinct organizations are either revived or transformed into new ones. Most scientific research on organizational leadership has focused on two ‘domains’: political organizations and business organizations. This chapter will focus on the political domain through the lens of Evolutionary Leadership Theory (ELT).

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