As far as I can understand it, there is a new field of research looking at whether evolutionary game theory (EGT) can help explain major societal shifts. One article looks at the sudden appearance of communal architecture projects in Andes mountain societies (in the second and third millenia B.C.E.) that previously had few permanent buildings. These new constructions appear to be built for use by the entire community, and their construction clearly required large-scale cooperation. Using a combination of EGT and historical arguments, the authors posit that the labor for these projects was not coerced. Rather, the chiefs of these societies were able to mobilize cooperation by enforcing norms of fairness and justice. In their words:
Cooperation does not magically emerge. However, when the appropriate conditions are met, cooperation becomes the adaptive choice of people assessing the costs and benefits of participating in specialized versus nonspecialized labor, loss of autonomy, gain in material wealth and nonmaterial benefits, and degree to which the production and redistribution process is “fair.”While all cooperative systems are vulnerable to "free-riders", who attempt to receive benefits without contributing, the authors argue that the combined mechanisms of punishment and group selection (see this post) were sufficient to overcome this difficulty.
I'm excited to see this field taking off in so many different directions, and I'm looking forward to see what new intersections develop!