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NCJ Number: 99564 Find in a Library
Title: Sociobiological Theory and the Violent Abuse of Women (From Violence Against Women - A Critique of the Sociobiology of Rape, P 13-22, 1985, Suzanne R Sunday and Ethel Tobach, eds. - See NCJ-99563)
Author(s): S Lenington
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Gordian Press, Inc.
Staten Island, NY 10304
Sale Source: Gordian Press, Inc.
85 Tompkins Street
P.O. Box 304
Staten Island, NY 10304
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After discussing the conceptual basis of the theory of evolution, this chapter describes and criticizes assumptions used in applying evolutionary theory to human behavior in general and human rape in particular.
Abstract: In evolutionary theory, 'natural selection' is the process whereby individuals carrying particular genes are more likely to reproduce than are individuals possessing a different set of genes. Characteristics of species produced by this differential reproduction (such as efficient predator avoidance) are referred to as 'adaptations.' The social behavior of animals has been interpreted as consisting of strategies to maximize the number of young produced. The success of sociobiology when applied to nonhuman animals has led investigators to hope that this approach might also be fruitful in interpreting human behavior. Sociobiological theories about rape derive from Darwin's theory used to explain differences in reproductive behavior between males and females. Darwin argued that selection should not only favor males being less choosy about their mates than females, but also that selection should favor males attempting to copulate with as many females as possible. In recent papers by Thornhill and Thornhill (1983) and Shields and Shields (1983), three male strategies for producing young are identified: (1) courtship with the intention of raising young with the woman; (2) deceptive courtship in which a man convinces a woman he will raise children with her, but he leaves after copulation; and (3) rape. Under the sociobiological view, rape is primarily a reproductive strategy used by men unable to compete successfully for mates and resources that will attract mates. This theory is flawed because it does not explain the existence of married rapists or the fact that all men unable to attract a mate are not rapists. Sixteen references are listed.
Index Term(s): Genetic influences on behavior; Rape; Rapists
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