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Cultural evolutionism attempts to describe and explain long-term change in human ways of life, insofar as those ways are socially rather than biologically acquired. Though often used interchangeably with the terms "social evolution" and "sociocultural evolution," the term "cultural evolution" sometimes is useful for specifying a focus on long-term change not in properties of a social group as such (e.g., its sheer size or location), but in the way of life--the characteristic artifacts, behaviors, and ideas--of the group. Defined this way, cultural evolutionism is not inherently ethnocentric, though of course the cultural past can be--and all too often has been--interpreted ethnocentrically. Today, many archaeologists, some cultural anthropologists, and even some sociologists are self-identified cultural evolutionists; and many more scholars are shown, by virtue of their research interests, to fit this definition. [1]

See also