Cultural Evolution and Cliodynamics

Peter Turchin
Cliodynamics June 1, 2014 Journal Link


The field of Cultural Evolution1 originated in the work of such theorists as Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd, Luigi Cavalli-Sforza and Marcus Feldman, and Charles Lumsden and E. O. Wilson during the 1970s and 1980s. This interdisciplinary field has been growing rapidly over the past two decades by attracting researchers with a variety of backgrounds in the social and biological sciences. The coming-of-age of Cultural Evolution can be dated to the Strüngmann Forum on Cultural Evolution held in Frankfurt-am-Main in 2012, which assembled more than 40 practitioners (Richerson and Christiansen 2013). What is cultural evolution? Culture is “the ideas, skills, attitudes, and norms that people acquire by teaching, imitation, and/or other kinds of learning from other people” (Richerson and Christiansen 2013).
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