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Cultural evolution Essay

In his article “Where Do Social Relations Come From? ”, Michael Grossetti discusses the ways that human relationships are studied by sociologists, citing that often the methodology begins by starting with the relationship ad working backward to define it (Grossetti,p. 289). The most lasting relationships are the ones that come from organizations, he concludes, especially those related to family and friends.

When we related this conclusion back to cultural evolution theory, we can argue that the lasting relationships of this generation because at this point in time most relationships are forged out of organizations or via our families. However, we can clearly argue that once this may not have been true as people had longer term relationships with people in their neighborhoods and those with whom they had a physical proximity.

Grossetti argues that neighborhoods do not provide a basis for lasting relationships as they do not necessarily share life values or interests which draw people together (p. 292). When discussing this assertion in relation to cultural evolution, we can argue that in the recent past, neighborhoods did share a commonality that is now missing – immigrants would tend to settle in neighborhoods, neighborhoods would be divided by racial or religious lines, or at the most tangential neighborhoods would be reflective of a certain socio-economic status.

Now, according to Grossetti’s study, relationships have evolved to the point that people develop relationships based primarily on organizations which they belong to –church groups, work groups, or interest organizations. When this is combined with the use of social networks, it can be observed that people are then creating a new means to segregate themselves via their interests. People have developed a new means to identify people with like interests and create new association groups.

The interesting aspect of this evolving form of meeting may be that it creates relationships among people who in previous generations may never even have met. Because social networking allows people with common interests to meet without the traditional introduction of a mutual friend, they may completely change the way relationship develop in the future, dovetailing nicely with the theory of cultural evolution.


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