On Social Evolution: Phenomenon and Paradigm
(forthcoming, Routledge 2020)
To Norbert Elias, the First Social Evolutionist.
Tang provides a coherent and systematic exploration of social evolution as a phenomenon and as a paradigm. He critically builds on existing discussions on social evolution, while drawing from a wide range of disciplines, including archaeology, evolutionary anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, the philosophy of social sciences, and evolutionary biology.
Tang’s insightful and critical review of the previous evolutionary
arguments in the social sciences is a must read for scholars
interested in going beyond generalized Darwinism and moving toward
adopting "generalized evolutionism." His focus on niche
construction and human agency in reshaping environments represents
a major contribution to the study of social
'For much too
long social science has neglected evolutionary theories, which are
both powerful and appropriate to many of our puzzles. In a
systematic treatment that is both nuanced and stimulating, Shiping
Tang puts the evolutionary approach through its paces and shows how
selection, variance, and inheritance operate to explain both macro
and micro social developments.'
researched and powerfully argued, On Social Evolution posits that
evolutionism triumphs over all other explanations of the natural
and the social world. Shiping Tang has succeeded marvelously in
developing and defending theoretically this bold claim. All of us
should read and wrestle with this challenging and outstanding