The Origin of Politics: An Evolutionary Theory of Political Behavior

John R. Alford, John R Hibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this article we propose that evolutionary biology can supply political science with a theory of the ultimate causes of human preferences and behaviors that it otherwise lacks. For the most part, political scientists are either unfamiliar with the social side of evolutionary theory or misidentify its key features. Far from being genetically deterministic or leading exclusively to predictions that all human behavior will be selfish, modern evolutionary theories stress that adaptive behavior is frequently characterized by a guarded sort of cooperation. We describe modern biological theory, offer our own version of it, discuss new and potentially useful interpretations of political attitudes and public policies, and present scientific evidence, drawn from research on autistic individuals and monozygotic and dizygotic twins, of the startlingly important role genetics plays in shaping politically relevant attitudes and behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-723
Number of pages17
JournalPerspectives on Politics
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2004

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evolutionary theory
political behavior
politics
political scientist
political attitude
political science
biology
public policy
interpretation
cause
lack
present
evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

The Origin of Politics : An Evolutionary Theory of Political Behavior. / Alford, John R.; Hibbing, John R.

In: Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 2, No. 4, 12.2004, p. 707-723.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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