Free collectivism papers, essays, and research papers
An essay about collectivism within the educational system.
In another paper in Evolution and Human Behavior, Joe Hackman and I also re-examined the state-level data used in prior studies to support the pathogen stress hypothesis for family ties and religiosity—two components of collectivism. Once again we found big, apparently significant, effects created artificially by a few major populations. But instead of just a sample size of six, the effective sample size was only two! Specifically, all of the effects of pathogen stress on family ties and religious involvement were due to differences between two populations—non-hispanic whites and blacks. Indeed, when we considered these groups separately, we did not find any of the cross-state associations with pathogen stress. It is possible that the differences between U.S. whites and blacks are due to differing exposure to pathogens, but many other plausible hypotheses could also explain these racial differences, including more than three centuries of differential access to effective government and institutions and greater exposure to various forms of uncontrollable risk. We hope to explore this possibility in future work.
Individualism Vs. Collectivism essays
Since that time, two of the theory’s main proponents, Corey Fincher and Randy Thornhill, have expanded the theory to argue that in-group loyalty does more than simply prevent the spread of pathogens. It also provides important aid when one gets sick. This theoretical extension, based on the in-group loyalty and support provided by collectivism is no longer limited to the avoidance of parasites. Indeed, the same reasoning can apply to ensuring aid against any basic threat to survival and reproduction—including food and water shortages and personal feuds. Indeed, the ability of in-groups to provide reliable aid in times of need opens up the possibility that collectivism is not simply a response to pathogen stress, but rather to all kinds of threats. According to this alternative, and more general perspective, when people can reduce the risk of individual threats through cooperation and collective action, they will build cooperative ties and invest in groups which help them do this. This material insecurity hypothesis is closely aligned with earlier non-evolutionary theories proposed by political scientists, including Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris. However, it draws from behavioral ecology and niche construction theory to posit that humans have been selected as master builders and exploiters of their social niches. Importantly, human social environments are highly variable, ranging across mobile foraging bands, stable farming communities, and urban cityscapes in a modern nation-state. Each of these social environments provides humans with a different set of options and tools for building their social niches. In the case of mobile foragers, the key social resources may be band members and personal ties with outsiders. In stable farming communities, such as those of Tonnies’ youth, the main social resources may have been family, neighbors, and the local Lutheran congregation. In modern welfare states, expansive social insurance and legal systems may both alleviate the need for local support and permit new far-flung forms of impersonal social interaction and market exchange. Thus, the suite of available social resources and institutions can dramatically shape the trade-offs faced by people and how people ultimately cultivate their social worlds. In situations where state-level institutions meet basic needs, provide social opportunities, and mitigate major risks, people will be less likely to value in-groups. Meanwhile, in situations where in-groups provide the basic form of reliable social insurance, people will be more collectivist. In both cases, the available suite of social institutions and opportunities plays a big role in influencing people’s decisions, and thus the material insecurity hypothesis could also be termed the institutional hypothesis.