Abstract

Despite lively debates in many related fields about whether biological and evolutionary approaches can contribute to social and cultural investigations of human behaviour, historians have rarely confronted this issue directly. The historiography of violence is a partial exception, but there has been relatively little interdisciplinary exchange on topics central to both historical and natural-science analyses. Nevertheless, historians of violence have relied upon two concepts—‘social roles’ and ‘social construction’—that have been subject to constructive critique and revision from Darwinian perspectives. This article concludes by arguing that greater incorporation of evolutionary psychological perspectives and approaches into social and cultural analyses of violence (whether historical or contemporary) has much to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of physical aggression.

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