Forthcoming articles Social Evolution & History

These articles have been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication but are pending final changes, are not yet published and may not appear here in their final order of publication until they are assigned to issues. Titles, authors, abstracts and keywords may change before publication. Articles will not be published until the final proofs are validated by their authors.

Olukayode A. Faleye, PhD

Explaining Disease: A Chapter in Nigerian Historiography


This article examines the issue of historical utility with a focus on the contributions of the sub-fields of environmental and medical history to the development of Nigerian historiography. First, the article mapped out the place of Nigerian historiography in “glocal” view. It proceeds to evaluate the notion of “universality” embodied in the “scientification” of historical reality through theoretical expositions. Underpinned by the explanatory dichotomies that project theoretical divisions along the Western triumphalist paradigm, racist-Afrocentric revisionist category, and the emerging critical synthesis, it concludes that the latter embodied in the plurality and multidisciplinary narrative of disease pathology unveils alternative pathway for utilitarian Nigerian historiography.

Fábio Portela L. Almeida

The Darwinian Multilevel Selection of Constitutionalism as a Societal Structure


This paper argues that social action in complex societies turned out to be an evolutionary possibility because cooperation came to be structured in many layered and nested levels, ranging from microdynamic individual interactions, mesodynamic organizational interactions and macrodynamic sociocultural systems interactions. Constitutionalism played a major role in this process. The complex nature of modern, functionally differentiated societies, was deemed possible because they coped efficiently with the demands of each level through the means of a constitutional legal structure. The division of powers, the universal assignment of fundamental rights and the separation between religion and the state, among others institutions associated to constitutionalism, provided a highly complex structure responsible for coordinating social action. Constitutionalism is to be addressed, in this sense, as an evolutionary structurer selected as a result of its capacity of enhancing cooperation.

Francis David Lankester

Egypt-From Upper Egyptian Rural Petty Polities to Unitary State


This paper covers the rise of the Egyptian state from the beginnings of sedentism in the Upper Egyptian Nile Valley to the Early Dynastic period. It examines the contributions which may have been made to this process by Egypt's geography, urbanism, ideology, population pressure and conflict. It appears that Predynastic Egypt at all times had a rural character with elite, but not significantly urban, centres. A likely strong factor assisting elite control was transparency of agricultural production due to the ease of surveillance in a narrow River Nile floodplain. Moreover, Upper Egypt constituted a relatively small and easily controllable area. The early Egyptian state appeared here and then dominated the Nile Delta. Egypt is best seen as a series of rural polities coalescing into an Upper Egyptian rural petty state in which the acquisition of prestige items and a legitimising ideology played important parts, which then expanded into a Lower Egypt which was probably not organised at state level.

Yuzanna Azikova

Kinship and Territorial Ties in the Power System of Traditional Kabardin Society


The paper’s aim is to outline the role of kinship and territorial ties in functioning of the system of power of traditional Kabardin society. In connection with the presence of discussions in the solution of the problem of the emergence of the state, as in the main and in general based on territorial division, the work analyzes the measure and nature of the presence of kinship and territorial ties in the traditional Kabardin Society. It is shown that in the 16th-18th centuries Kabarda, the real kinship between the rulers and the governed was completely ruled out, but there was a practice of imitation of kinship, at the awareness of the managerial top of high functionality and efficiency of tradition and ideology of

kinship in Management of people and the country. The article also analyzes the presence of the elements of kinship and its variants in the history of relations between the traditional Kabardin society and “foreign-language periphery”, neighboring peoples and states (the 16th-18th centuries). The evaluation of the pragmatic or ideological significance of using kinship rhetoric and contacts for the historic reality of international relations in the region is given.

Hoyoon Jung

Building the Brazilian Nation through Futebol-Mulato: Racial Democracy, Visual-Aural Capitalism and the Rise of Cultural Citizenship in Twentieth Century Brazil


This study examines the dynamic and dialectic process through which Brazilian national identity had been constructed, and racial democracy and mestiçagem could become the dominant narrative of national myth throughout the twentieth century. I argue that football, among other popular cultures such as film, literature, samba, and carnival, can be marked as the most influential and powerful nation-builder which eventually enabled all Brazilians to embrace the myth of mestiçagem and racial democracy from the 1930s to 1980s and 1990s to some extent. In other words, Brazilian football had significantly contributed that Brazilian people could share a commonly held sense of Brazilianness based on strong ethnocultural ties. This study emphasizes that visual-aural capitalism played a colossal role in this process, suggesting that the Brazilian imagined community came into being with the advent of vibrant visual and aural technologies–specifically, the dissemination of radio, film, and television–in the twentieth century.

Sergei Nefedov and Michael Ellman

Excess mortality in Russia in 1868-1912 and its historiographic implications


By excess mortality is meant the excess of mortality under extreme conditions (famine, epidemic, war) over that in normal years. There is not yet a systematic study of excess mortality in Russia in the period 1868-1913, although there are estimates by Urlanis (1963: 83) and Robbins (1975: 189) and an overview by Wheatcroft (1992: 53-59) for the famine of 1892. However, as will be shown in this paper, these estimates are inadequate. As a result, the impact of famine and epidemics in Russia in this period is unclear, which influences general accounts of living standards then. Consequently, determining periods of excess mortality from starvation and epidemics, relating them to their causes, and establishing their geographic range, is important for understanding developments in the period between Emancipation of the serfs and the First World War and the background to events in the first decades of Bolshevik rule.

Gilbert Ahamer

Can we synthesise different development theories?


Different ideas of “development” provide different recommendations for socio-political action. Because of this self-evident fact, an attempt is made to bring together antagonistic systems of understanding of “development” from an evolutionary perspective in a discursive manner, ultimately to gain greater acceptance for the resulting basic strategies in different camps.

Attitudes that are either optimistic or critical regarding the chances of “development” (so-called “pre-analytic visions”) are described on the basis of (i) literature (Chapter 2) and (ii) data (Chapter 3) and the resulting recommendations for action are compared with each other.

As an attempt at mediation between both paradigms, an original conception inspired by evolutionary thinking is proposed here: based on the data structures of the author’s “Global Change Data Base” (GCDB), a long-term dynamic of global techno-socio-economic development can be assumed which is characterised by a succession of initially growing and then saturating structural parameters. Particularly in the energy industry and land use, such a sequence of initially budding, then blossoming and finally maturing development phases (= “blossoming evolution”) seems to be present if the data sets of all states are analysed in the long term (Chapter 4).

A thinking in transitions (Chapter 5, 6) thus appears justified, appropriate and helpful.

In this sense, any strategic climate or development policy measure is based on an already ongoing (rolling) global structural change. In the light of the concept of “blossoming evolution”, it therefore seems helpful (as well as easier to implement) to reinforce or mitigate such already-occurring evolutionary dynamics in a suitable way in order to come as close as possible to the goals of sustainable global development.

Summing up, this text suggests that any developmental measures should be placed in a suitable context of evolutionary autopoietic dynamics, which is in any case driving history.


Russian State Genesis: An Evolutionary View


The two-factor model of social dynamics describes rise and decline of political integrity and collective solidarity of different scales. The model takes into account two factors of change – social authority and collective solidarity, and considers two structural entities that embody these factors – political organization and society itself. For the analytical distinction between power and society, the model uses general concepts of a collective agent and a collective subject. A collective agent is any organized group of people who carry out collective actions through the use of social power. It is an active social entity and an agent of intentional social transformations. Collective subject is a commonality that carries collective self-awareness and solidarity. It is an inertial and unintentional social entity that preserves social tradition, culture, collective identity and etc. Political and societal entity effects on each other with time lag and this gives a cyclical pattern to the dynamics of the entire socio-political structure. The model can be used for explanatory and forecasting purposes, and also for reconciliation of the unilinear (progressive) and multilinear (non-directional, cyclical, etc.) evolutionary concepts. Finally, an interpretation of the structural transformations of Old Rus' and Russia is given in terms of the model.

Ivan Aleshkovski, Zoya Botcharova, Aleksandr Grebenyuk, Ilya Ilin

"The Evolution of the International Protection of Refugees between the World Wars"


The article based on the analysis of a wide historical factual and theoretical material examines the history of refugees and the legal protection of forced migrants. Authors investigate the reasons for occurrence of norms and mechanisms of legal protection of the forced migrants due to the major refugee crises in modern and contemporary history (special refugee status, a simplified naturalization procedure for refugees, political asylum, the principles of non-extradition and non-refoulement) and their adaptation at the national level. The research reveals the causes of the formation of the system of international legal protection of the rights of forced migrants in the 1920s – 1930s. Significant efforts were made under the League of Nations to regulate legal refugee status at the international level, to internationally and legally consolidate criteria according to which the refugee status can be acquired (depending on the origin, the affiliation of an exile to a specific state or specific ethnicity and the principle of “lack of protection” from the country of origin). Special attention is paid to the analysis of the institutions created in the League of Nations’ structure in solving the problem of refugees and instruments and mechanisms for settling the legal status of refugees (for example, the “Nansen passport”), the legal regulation of employment social welfare of forced migrants, the improvement of the international system of refugee protection and. The low efficiency of the activities of the institutions of the League of Nations and legal mechanisms to solve the problem of refugees was established, and its causes were determined.

Jay Elliott Silverstein

Redefining Evolution: Life Beyond the Limits of Neo-Darwinian Theory


Neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is fixed in scientific thought as a dogma despite the lack of congruence with some observable and theoretical phenomena related to culture, epigenetics, abiogenesis, and agenetic life. Even the most current versions of evolutionary theory fall short in explaining a range of scenarios that lay outside Neo-Darwinian principles. Proposed here is a recontextualization of Darwinian theory within a new paradigm that focuses not on the biomechanics of evolution, but on the existence of various mediums for transmitting Coded Information Networks through time and space. Following this revised perspective, evolution is not a uniform process but rather one defined by a series of overlapping stacked systems for carrying information organized with stepwise increased complexity and corresponding increased potential for manipulating and moulding matter into more complex forms. Panevolutionary Theory identifies three different types of evolution that, while containing different modes of operation describe the processes used for creating and maintaining life in all its various forms. Phusitic Evolution describes the emergence of life through the dynamics of inorganic compounds, Zoetic Evolution models the propagation of life through molecular biological processes, and Noetic Evolution explains organisms and designed intelligent systems in which the knowledge itself directs the processes required for existence. This is a radical shift in how evolution is viewed; however, this Panevolutionary perspective allows observable and theoretical phenomena related to ‘Big History’ and the complexity of life, including human behaviour, to be explained under unifying principles while resolving paradoxes and inconsistencies in the current attempts to apply the Neo-Darwinian paradigm as universal law.

Andrey V. Korotayev and Leonid E. Grinin

History of Interaction between Civilization Center and Tribal Periphery: A mathematical model


This article offers an historical analysis and mathematical modeling of the influence of one of the major factors of the World System’s macrodynamics throughout most of its history (since the ‘urban revolution’)—civilizations’ interaction with their tribal peripheries. The proposed mathematical model is intended to describe the possible influence of interaction between the civilizational core of the World System and its tribal periphery on the formation of the specific curve of world urbanization dynamics. It simulates completion of the phase transition, the behavior of the system in the attraction basin, and the beginning of the phase transition to the attraction basin of the new attractor. The aim is to identify the role of interaction between the civilizational core and tribal periphery in the formation of an attractor effect during the completion of phase transition—that is, to clarify not only why there a slowdown in growth rates of the main indicators of World System development observed following completion of phase transitions during its development, but why these rates fell, with a subsequent temporary stabilization near some equilibrium level. Achievements of modern studies of tribal peripheries, including our understanding of complexity of the tribal periphery itself and its heterogeneity, are considered. The basic principle of the proposed dynamic model is that the size, power and level of complexity in realization of external policy functions in nomadic / ‘barbarian’ unions (empires) closely correspond to the size, power and level of political culture and activity of the core states with which tribal systems constantly had to interact (a point previously established by experts in nomadic studies). Various alternatives are shown in the model. Depending on the power and size of one of the two components of the ‘civilization–tribal periphery’ system, the other component also changes significantly as it has to respond to the challenge properly, or can make less efforts without feeling threat or resistance. This principle is observed throughout the long history of the World System. We show that interaction between the civilizational center and tribal periphery can explain some characteristic features of World System dynamics in the 4th millennium BCE–2nd millennium CE. The patterns of interaction between the periphery and the center of the World System may be useful in understanding current phenomena, such as the migrant crisis of 2015 in Europe.

Gerald Sack



This paper is based on two articles that went unremarked for over five decades: Garn and Block’s (1970: 106) brief note about ‘the limited nutritional value of cannibalism,’ and Slater’s (1959) argument that ‘early human’ reproductive physiology compelled extra-group mating. Nutritional research over the past few decades supports Garn and Block’s contention, albeit for different reasons. Two recent papers (Cole 2017a, 2017b) are the first attempts at examining the validity of Garn and Block’s assertion. My undergraduate encounter with these articles simmered away at the back of my mind for almost five decades until I recently encountered Cole’s study of the nutritional value of the prey animals, including humans, which European Pleistocene man consumed. It seems logical to assume that Pleistocene man was primarily a hunter-gatherer, with possibly the first signs of pastoralism and agriculture. Thus, while aware of the fact that contemporary hunter-gatherers do not live in their original habitats, having been driven into marginal regions by a number of factors, I think that some nutritional insights may be derived from these societies.