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Evolution and Event in History and Social Change: Gerhard Lenski's Critical Theory

Michael D. Kennedy
Sociological Theory
Vol. 22, No. 2, Religion, Stratification, and Evolution in Human Societies: Essays in Honor of Gerhard E. Lenski (Jun., 2004), pp. 315-327
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3648950
Page Count: 13
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Evolution and Event in History and Social Change: Gerhard Lenski's Critical Theory
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Abstract

Authors have contrasted social change and history many times, especially in terms of the significance of the event in accounting for the broadest contours of human societies' evolution. After recasting Gerhard Lenski's ecological-evolutionary theory in a critical fashion, by emphasizing its engagement with alternativity and by introducing a different approach to structure, I reconsider the salience of the event in the developmentalist project and suggest that ecological-evolutionary theory can be quite helpful in posing new questions about an eventful sociology. By rethinking communism's collapse in 1989 and terrorism's explosion in 2001 within Lenski's theoretical frame, one can suggest critical transformations of theory and research on the evolution of human societies.

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