chapter  18
24 Pages

Social Behavior, Biology and the Double Standard

WithEleanor Leacock

This chapter describes three kinds of points, theoretical, empirical, and sociological. It shows the types of anthropological data that are ignored by those researchers who assume Western norms for sex-linked behavior to be universal, and who ascribe them to biologically based drives. As for sociological considerations, the chapter explains the responsibility scientists must take for differentiating between conjectures and conclusions, and for avoiding analogical and teleological terminologies that can be confusing. It argues that the anthropological synthesis is a fuller expression of Darwinism than the sociobiological synthesis that seeks to use the same parameters and quantitative theory to analyze social behavior across all phylogenetic lines. The use of terms such as marriage, divorce, and rape to describe behavior of non-human animals imputes a human kind of volition to them. The ethnographic evidence contradicts Barash’s simplistic argument for biologically based universal gender roles.