Available Summaries

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Summary OfAuthored ByDisciplinessort iconAbstract
The Parable of the Tribes
Cultural Evolution
Political Science
“The parable of the tribes” is used to describe schematically how one aggressive tribe among an otherwise peaceful group can force the spread of the “ways of power” throughout the system: power becomes a contaminant that, once introduced, becomes universal abetted and magnified through innovations in organization and technology.
Reconceptualizing Collective Action in the Contemporary Media Environment
History
Technology
Sociology
The changing nature of technologies of information and communication has presented a case for reconceptualizing collective action, using the principle of boundary-crossing between private and public domains.
The Human Web: A Bird's-eye View of World History
History
This synthesis of world history from the days of isolated hunter-gatherer communities to the present electronically connected cosmopolitan, interconnected world shows that all of humanity today lives in a "unitary maelstrom of cooperation and competition," and that the global spread of ideas, information, and experience "constitute[s] the overarching structure of human history."
An Evolutionary Theory of Commons Management
Anthropology
History
Cultural Evolution
The ability of humans to organize collective action on a scale much larger than would be predicted by theories of egocentric rationality can be perhaps best explained in an evolutionary context by the slow and uncertain process (not necessarily leading to a desired end) of group selection on cultural variation (distinct from group selection based only on genetic kinship), facilitated by humans' special skills at imitation and teaching.
Coalitional Effects on Reciprical Fairness in the Ultimatum Game: A Case from the Ecuadorian Amazon
Anthropology
Political Science
Patton attributes differences between two Ecuadorian ethnic/political groups in their willingness to cooperate in the Ultimatum Game to the groups' "differences in coalitional stability, perceptions of trust, and needs to maintain reputation," and emphasizes properties of the groups' political environment over individual differences.
Common Resources and Institutional Sustainability
Anthropology
Economics
Political Science
Sociology
While existing studies on institutions for common-pool resource management have generated a relatively large number of universal design principles common to successful institutions, these principles apply to the institutions themselves; future research should include contextual factors of the resource, user group and external environment and focus on specific causal configurations of a more narrow range of interacting variables.
Drama of the Commons (Introduction)
Anthropology
Economics
Political Science
Sociology
Institutional arrangements embedded in a complex social context of rules and norms such as trust can overcome the deterioration and depletion of common-pool resources arising from individuals' rational self-interest; specific arrangements tailored to the inherent characteristics of a common-pool resource and the users can provide the optimal sustainable management of that resource.
Imagined Collectivities and Multiple Authorship
Anthropology
Computer Science
Economics
Political Science
Sociology
Certain communities of Papua New Guinea participate in a kind of multiple (as opposed to collective) authorship of collectively owned cultural products, which may shed light on emerging property rights problems around common pool resources such as the human genome that are in some sense owned collectively.
Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution
Anthropology
Cultural Evolution
The authors demonstrate that homo sapiens is occasionally a prey species today, that existing apes and monkeys are hunted extensively by various predators, and that various early Homo sapiens ancestor fossils show marks consistent with predation.
A Case Study of Complex Adaptive Systems Theory
Anthropology
History
Cultural Evolution
Political Science
Sociology
Information
This paper explains why self-adaptation does not explain the global political system at this time and postulate what conditions must be met if it did. Self-adaptation, if it were achieved and maintained in some proximate form, would constitute a phase transition.