Who is the exponent of the concept socio-biology? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru


Question: Who is the exponent of the concept socio-biology?

  1. Marshall Shahlins
  2. E.O. Wilson
  3. J .L. Moreno
  4. Charles Darwin

Answer: (2)

Sociobiology: Understanding Social Behavior through Evolutionary Lens

Sociobiology stands at the intersection of biology, genetics, and social behavior, aiming to unravel the intricate relationship between biological factors and the complex patterns of social interactions observed in various species, including humans. The exponent of this concept, popularizing it in the scientific realm, is the eminent American biologist Edward O. Wilson. To comprehend the significance and implications of sociobiology, it is essential to delve into its historical roots, key principles, and the controversies it has sparked within the scientific community.

Historical Context:

The emergence of sociobiology as a field of study can be traced back to the mid-20th century, gaining significant momentum with the work of Edward O. Wilson. However, it’s important to acknowledge the groundwork laid by evolutionary thinkers, including Charles Darwin. Darwin’s groundbreaking theory of natural selection proposed that traits beneficial for survival and reproduction are more likely to be passed on to subsequent generations, forming the cornerstone of sociobiological thought.

Edward O. Wilson and Sociobiology:

Edward O. Wilson, in his seminal work “Sociobiology: The New Synthesis” published in 1975, consolidated various strands of thought under the umbrella of sociobiology. Wilson proposed that social behavior, whether observed in ants, birds, or humans, could be analyzed through the lens of evolutionary biology. He argued that genes play a central role in shaping behavior, as behaviors that enhance reproductive success are more likely to be inherited.

Key Principles of Sociobiology:

  1. Gene-Centric View: Sociobiology posits a gene-centric view of evolution, emphasizing the role of genes in influencing social behaviors. Traits and behaviors that contribute to the transmission of genes to subsequent generations are favored by natural selection.
  2. Inclusive Fitness: The concept of inclusive fitness, introduced by W.D. Hamilton, plays a crucial role in sociobiology. It suggests that an individual’s genetic success is not limited to its direct offspring but also includes the reproductive success of close relatives who share a proportion of the individual’s genes.
  3. Evolutionary Stable Strategies (ESS): Sociobiology employs the notion of Evolutionary Stable Strategies to understand behaviors that have evolved and persisted over time due to their effectiveness in maximizing reproductive success.
  4. Altruism and Reciprocal Altruism: Sociobiology provides insights into seemingly altruistic behaviors by explaining how actions that benefit others can ultimately enhance one’s inclusive fitness, either directly or through reciprocity.

Controversies and Criticisms:

Despite its contributions to understanding social behavior, sociobiology has faced controversies and critiques. One major criticism revolves around the potential oversimplification of complex social phenomena, reducing them to genetic determinism. Critics argue that sociobiology may neglect the role of culture, learning, and individual experience in shaping behavior.

Applications and Extensions:

Sociobiological principles have found applications beyond the study of non-human species. In the realm of human behavior, evolutionary psychology draws from sociobiological insights to understand aspects of human psychology and social dynamics. Researchers explore how evolutionary pressures may have shaped human cognition, emotions, and social interactions.

Ethical Implications:

The application of sociobiological principles to human behavior raises ethical considerations. Discussions around topics such as genetic determinism, the nature-nurture debate, and the potential misuse of sociobiological concepts underscore the need for a nuanced and ethically informed approach in applying these principles to human societies.


Sociobiology, pioneered by Edward O. Wilson, has significantly enriched our understanding of social behavior by providing an evolutionary framework for analysis. Its gene-centric perspective has illuminated the adaptive significance of behaviors observed across diverse species. However, the field is not without its controversies, and ongoing debates underscore the complexity of the interplay between genetics, environment, and culture in shaping social behavior. As research continues, sociobiology remains a dynamic and evolving field that contributes valuable insights to the broader landscape of biology and the social sciences.


Take a Quick Sociology Quiz to measure your Performance


Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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