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Alexandra Maryanski is a sociologist who was also trained in biological and cultural anthropology. She is one of the founding figures in a new area of sociological inquiry labeled evolutionary sociology. She is the founding chair of the Biology, Evolution, and Society section of the American Sociological Association. Her areas of specialization are the evolution of social institutions, the neurology of the hominin, primate, and human brain, the sociology of religion and kinship, as well as the history of sociology and, more generally, history of ideas. She is best known for her work on what present-day primates, especially great apes can tell us about human nature and social organization. Her research methods include cladistic analysis and social network analysis.
She is the co-author of four books, Functionalism (1979), The Social Cage (1992), Incest: Origins of the Taboo (2005), and The Evolution of Societies by Natural Selection (2008). She is currently finishing a book titled Emile Durkheim and the Elementary Forms of Religion: New Data for an Old Theory. She is the author of over 40 chapters and articles.
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