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The Caveman Mystique: Pop-Darwinism and the Debates Over Sex, Violence, and Science Hardcover – November 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0415934749 ISBN-10: 0415934745 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415934745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415934749
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,044,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The Caveman Mystique sits at the intersection of feminism, cultural studies, science studies, and sociology of the body. As such, it would be an excellent monograph to assign in a class addressing any of these or their intersections. More generally, HBE logic, whether we want it to or not, infuses all of our classrooms. In this sense, we all have an opportunity to question "the [exclusive] right of scientists to comment on complex cultural practices" (p. 128) and to insist on the importance of feminist sociological contributions. For anyone who desires to do so, this book is an excellent way to catch up on the politics and poetics of this compelling and pervasive mythology." -- Lisa Wade, Gender and Society, April 2008

"...McCaughey seeks to shift our understanding of science from a practice and methodology evaluated by objective standards to a cultural discourse influences by social relations and power." --Feminist Collections, Vol. 29, No. 3-4, Summer-Fall 2008

About the Author

Martha McCaughey is Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of Women's Studies at Appalachian State University. In 1999 she was named the Emerging Woman Scholar in the U.S. by the American Association of University Women.

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kelson Kugler on June 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
While the author may not be a biologist, she demonstrates how pop-darwinism has influenced mainstream society, often for the worse. I certainly have a lot of respect and interest in Evolutionary Psychology, but this book made me think about a lot of its claims in a different light. An excellent book to read whether your interest is biology or social sciences.
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8 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. S. Lewis on July 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
This slim volume offers a survey of how Darwinism has been abused in popular science literature to justify the ideology of patriarchy. Unfortunately for the author, her misreading of Darwinism, lack of understanding of Baldwinian selection, as well as some evident philosophical blunders overshadows the important message she conveys. One example of her misunderstanding of Darwinism is in her hypothetical example of how male impotence could be selected for. McCaughey forgets that her example as stated works ONLY if individual organisms are the unit of selection. However, as Dawkins points out, and what is now widely accepted, is that genes are the units of selection. She also tends to hedge considerably with her use of soft language; which, though common in the social sciences, is quite useless to demonstrate anything of value, and tends to mislead uncritical readers.

This book is interesting, and worth reading, but only if read carefully, cautiously, and critically.
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