May 5, 2020, 14:00–15:00
Room Zoom Meeting
The past 13,000 years have witnessed a rapid evolution of human sociopolitical organisation, i.e. the way our social groups are structured. Explaining how and why some societies have become increasingly larger and internally organised as groups-of-groups – while others have not – are enduring questions in multiple disciplines. In the first half of my talk, I propose that we can deepen our understanding of these questions by applying the principles and methods of major transitions theory, a theoretical framework in evolutionary biology, to the study of human sociopolitical evolution. Major transitions in evolution are steps in organic evolution in which previously independent units become interdependent and form a new level of individuality: for example, genes forming the genome, cells forming a multicellular individual, bees forming a beehive. I argue that shifts in organic evolution and in sociopolitical evolution show strong analogies, as do the processes leading to them. In the second half of my talk, I present a mathematical, evolutionary model applying this approach to the formation of alliances between human groups in the context of warfare. I reveal the potential for conflicts of interest between and within groups, and I discuss the consequences of these results for our understanding of human sociopolitical evolution.
Alberto Micheletti, “Conflicts of interest over military alliances: a major transitions approach to human sociopolitical evolution”, IAST Lunch Seminar, Toulouse: IAST, May 5, 2020, 14:00–15:00, room Zoom Meeting.