Sample Research Paper on Evolutionism in cultural anthropology: a critical history

Sample Anthropology Paper on Evolutionism in cultural anthropology: a critical history


Discussion:  module 6

Pick a critique of a popular theory in anthropology. Research the critique and write about your thoughts.  

Writing Assignment: Module 6

We live in an increasingly connected world. From an Anthropological standpoint, what may be some issues related to this globalization? Research and write about at least two of these issues. What might be possible solutions? And are there any positives to these aspects of globalization on our culture?

 One popular theory in anthropology is cultural evolutionism, which suggests that cultures evolve and progress from primitive to advanced stages over time. However, this theory has been widely criticized for being ethnocentric and not accounting for the complexities and diversities of cultures.

One critique of cultural evolutionism is the concept of “cultural relativism,” which argues that every culture should be understood and evaluated on its own terms, rather than being judged based on the standards of another culture. This approach rejects the idea of a universal standard of progress and development, instead emphasizing the diversity and richness of cultural practices and beliefs.

This theory is problematic because it assumes that Western societies are superior to others, and that they represent the apex of human development. This perspective ignores the richness and complexity of non-Western cultures and fails to acknowledge that different cultures have different values and goals.

Furthermore, cultural evolutionism is criticized for being too simplistic and reductionist. It oversimplifies the complexities of cultural change and fails to consider the multiple factors that contribute to it. Cultural change is not necessarily linear or progressive, but can involve a variety of processes, including adaptation, innovation, and resistance.


Carneiro, R. L. (2018). Evolutionism in cultural anthropology: a critical history. Routledge.