Cultural heritage and climate adaptation: a cultural evolutionary perspective for the Anthropocene

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Terms such as resilience, vulnerability and adaptation are heterogeneously defined in the contemporary climate-change adaptation literature and, hence, remain difficult to operationalize. In this paper, the authors offer a cultural evolutionary perspective, where these terms are mapped onto the terminology of triple-inheritance theory, which clarifies how risks arise through the complex interplay of social and ecological feedbacks. Studies of past risk, vulnerability and resilience are often conducted within a historical ecological framework. As both ecological (synchronic) and evolutionary (diachronic) understandings of human culture ultimately derive from the same source of inspiration – Darwinian evolutionary theory – they are, the authors argue, readily integrated. They take steps towards such an integration, which not only offers a unified theoretical and conceptual framework for studies of past and present vulnerability and resilience, but also provides explicit mechanisms for how issues of future vulnerability and resilience can be approached.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Archaeology
Volume50
Issue4
Pages (from-to)554-569
Number of pages16
ISSN0043-8243
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

    Research areas

  • Historical ecology, adaptation, extended evolutionary synthesis, niche construction, resilience, vulnerability

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