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Societal Development and Shifting Influence of the Genome on Status Attainment

Citation

Adkins, Daniel E. & Guo, Guang (2008). Societal Development and Shifting Influence of the Genome on Status Attainment. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 26(3), 235-255.

Abstract

This paper builds on consensus areas within the study of societal development to theorize variation in the strength of genetic influence on status across primary societal types. Its thesis is developed by first constructing a general model of the genome¨status relationship positing the strength of genetic influence on status attainment to be a function of specific structural elements of the society. The model is supported by two primary premises: (a) as inequality levels increase, the characteristics and abilities intrinsically useful in status attainment are increasingly influenced by individuals’ social backgrounds and decreasingly determined by their genomes; (b) as social closure and inequality increase, the utility of these characteristics and abilities to status attainment is diminished. After the model is elaborated, it is applied to assess the relative strength of genome¨status relationship for each of the major phases of societal development. The results indicate that genetic influence on status attainment has followed a reverse ‘J’ curve, with the genome¨status relationship being relatively strong among hunter-gatherers, sharply declining among horticultural and agrarian groups, and then moderately increasing among advanced industrial societies.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rssm.2008.06.001

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2008

Journal Title

Research in Social Stratification and Mobility

Author(s)

Adkins, Daniel E.
Guo, Guang