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  Niche construction theory in Archaeology: a critical review

Spengler, R. N. (2021). Niche construction theory in Archaeology: a critical review. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, s10816-021-09528-4. doi:10.1007/s10816-021-09528-4.

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 Creators:
Spengler, Robert N.1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              

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Free keywords: Niche construction theory, Darwinian Theory, Human behavioral ecology, Evolutionary ecology, Evolutionary theory, Gene–culture coevolution
 Abstract: Over the past decade, niche construction theory (NCT) has been one of the fastest-growing theories or scholarly approaches in the social sciences, especially within archaeology. It was proposed in the biological sciences 25 years ago and is often referred to as a neglected evolutionary mechanism. Given its rapid acceptance by the archaeological community, it is important that scholars consider how it is being applied and look for discrepancies between applications of the concept. Many critical discussions of NCT have already been published, but most of them are in biology journals and may be overlooked by scholars in the social sciences. In this manuscript, my goal is to synthesis the criticisms of NCT, better allowing archaeologists to independently evaluate its usefulness. I focus on the claims of novelty and differences between NCT and other approaches to conceptualizing anthropogenic ecosystem impacts and culture-evolution feedbacks. I argue that the diverse concepts currently included in the wide-reaching purview of NCT are not new, but the terminology is and may be useful to some scholars. If proponents of the concept are able to unify their ideas, it may serve a descriptive function, but given that lack of a testable explanatory mechanism, it does not have a clear heuristic function.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-06-04
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 31
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: The Origins of NCT
- An Earlier Legacy of Thought
- Gene–Culture Coevolution
- A Lineage of Thought
NCT and Ecosystem Engineering
An Expanding Concept
Dropping the Evolutionary Feedback
Applications in the Social Sciences
- Origins-of-Agriculture Debates
The Three Primary Examples
- Lactase Persistence
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Hypoxia Adaptations
- The Three Key Examples
- Are Humans Niche Constructors?
Conclusions
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1007/s10816-021-09528-4
Other: shh2967
 Degree: -

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Project name : FEDD
Grant ID : 851102
Funding program : Horizon 2020 (H2020)
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)

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Title: Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
  Other : J Archaeol Method Theory
  Abbreviation : J Arch Meth Th
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Dordrecht : Springer Science + Business Media B.V
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: s10816-021-09528-4 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1573-7764
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1573-7764