By Lawrence J. Severy
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It has been several years since the publication of the second volume of this series. And, as we seemingly race towards the next millennium, there seems so much to chronicle and so much to prepare for. There are both constants and changes in our approach to this third volume. To start, we remain steadfast in our commitment to go beyond simply recording 'population related phenomena' and to search scientifically for theories and methods that will allow humans 'to prevail, not merely endure'. As argued in prior volumes, the goal of social science is to bring understanding and explanation to the realm of individual and collective activities of human beings.
12), who advocates '"whole demographies" that contextualize reproductive behavior not only in the social and economic terms of conventional demographic theory, but in political and cultural terms as well'. This approach takes as a given the need to examine the ways in which culture interacts with other aspects of the environment: with economic opportunities (Pollak and Watkins 1993), social institutions, political and historical change (Greenhalgh 1993; Kertzer 1993). Bridging this type of holistic approach and traditional demographic methodologies poses substantial challenges.
However, the fact that current genetic endowments of a population will reflect disproportionately the legacy of ancestors who have been most successful in producing reproducing offspring does not mean that the evolved characteristics of the population will assure fitness-maximizing behavior under any and all circumstances. 2 That under modern day circumstances they do not underscores the necessity to examine biological and environmental influences in concert, something that evolutionary approaches take as fundamental.