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The Cooperative Gene: Evolution, Human Nature, and Politics

Biopolicy: The Life Sciences and Public Policy

ISBN: 978-1-78052-820-5, eISBN: 978-1-78052-821-2

Publication date: 14 June 2012


Purpose – This chapter focuses on the role evolution has played in our development of politics and public policy and reviews the theoretical approaches and studies of the last decade that address biopolitics and evolution, such as the “gene-culture co-evolution theory.”

Design/methodology/approach – In this chapter some of these theoretical developments will be reviewed, including what has been called the “Synergism Hypothesis,” with particular emphasis on what is relevant for understanding the role of politics and public policy in the evolutionary process.

Findings – A new, multileveled paradigm has emerged in evolutionary biology during the past decade, one which emphasizes the role of cooperative phenomena in the evolution of complexity over time, including the evolution of socially organized species such as humankind. I refer to it as “Holistic Darwinism.”

Practical implications – This study develops an understanding of the complicated relationship between human biology and the role of evolution in shaping politics and public policy.

Originality/value – This study addresses several existing biopolitical concepts and presents new explanations and terminology for its understanding.



Corning, P.A. (2012), "The Cooperative Gene: Evolution, Human Nature, and Politics", Somit, A. and Peterson, S.A. (Ed.) Biopolicy: The Life Sciences and Public Policy (Research in Biopolitics, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 13-42.



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