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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Structure and Dynamics

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The Structure and Dynamics eJournal welcomes articles, book reviews, data, simulations, research material, and special issues that examine aspects of human evolution, social structure and behavior, culture, cognition, or related topics. Our goal is to advance the historic mission of anthropology in the broadest sense to describe and explain the range of variation in human biology, society, culture and civilization across time and space. Submissions of databases, software tutorials, programs, and teaching materials are welcomed, as are communications on research materials of interest to a wide variety of science and social science researchers, including networks, dynamical models, and complexity research and related genre.


Reconceptualizing the Dynamics of Religion as a Macro-Institutional Domain

Macro-institutional analysis was once central to sociological inquiry, such that Durkheim saw it as synonymous with sociology. With the failure of Parsonsian grand macro theory, sociology shifted its lens to the organization, or meso-level of analysis. While producing key insights into the dynamics of corporate units, the macro-environment has become ambiguously theorized. In the paper below, the emergent properties and dynamics of the religious institution—an important sphere of human action central to classical sociology and currently a vibrant subfield—are elucidated. It is argued an analysis at the macro-institution can produce a more robust understanding of social organization and action, which supplements the important meso-level models by more precisely defining and delineating the contours of the macro-level. The paper below achieves this goal by (a) explicating the generic qualities of all religious institutions and (b) positing the key intra- and inter-institutional dynamics affecting various levels of society.

Sleep and risk-taking propensity in life history and evolutionary perspectives

Tradeoffs between time allocated to sleeping versus waking result from variations in local ecologies and should correlate to alterations in behavioral life history strategies.  It was predicted that firefighters who sleep less, with lower overall sleep quality, would exhibit greater motivation for risk-taking, an important component of fast life histories.  Firefighters completed evolutionarily relevant questionnaires on five domains of risk-taking propensity that were correlated to sleep quantity and quality variables.  Multiple linear regression analysis indicated that self-reported measures of sleep quantity, sleep latency, and psychological and physical sleep quality were occasionally and variably related to within-group competition, between-group competition, reproduction, environmental challenge, and mating and resource allocation for mate attraction risk domains in predicted directions.

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