A. L. KROEBER. University of California. Search for more papers by this author. First published: April‐June But to Kroeber, the superorganic was actually what made anthropology a science —with its subject matter being the universals and regularities of human. The idea of “The superorganic” is associated with Alfred Kroeber, an American anthropologist writing in the first half of the twentieth century.

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On the one hand, Kroeber sees the mental lives of individuals as the biological substrate on which culture writes itself. Folks, today I am beginning superorganoc new: Since you know well the Lowie collection at Berkeley, are there any texts that might be available online?

In it, I will present a series of open access, curated texts from the history of anthropological theory. There are no superior races. How, then, could culture have originated if it is such a unique phenomena?

But to be honest the copyright issues with British authors are much more complicated than they are with American ones, and that makes things more difficult. Looking at the superorgamic between living things and their inorganic components in this way helps us to understand the relationship between culture and persons. The superorganic is another way of describing —— and understanding —— culture or the socio-cultural system.

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All living things, plants and animals, are built up of inorganic elements, mainly hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, plus some trace elements. But he also argues that individual organic endowment cannot affect civilization.


If a peoples e. I have cut it down to just under 8, Please feel free to share it widely, including dumping it in whatever archive works for you. Kroeber makes this argument kroebef a discussion of the role of genius in shaping history. It operates at a higher level of complexity than kroebsr organic.

In future editions these may be corrected. I want to give kroebdr students early 20th Century essays by Anthros, on the value of oral history as indigenous interpretation of their past.

“The Superorganic,” or Kroeber’s hidden agenda.

At the same time, Kroeber argues, art and literature conveys truths that are enduring, but which are aesthetic and not scientific. There is a parallel, therefore, in the relations between the inorganic and the organic, as between the organic and the kroebed. But in doing so, he argues, we miss the cultural dimension of conduct that makes human lives so unique.

Is anthropology a unique discipline because it has a unique subject matter? Please feel free to share widely!

If you copy text from this site, please acknowledge the author s and link it back to cec. When it comes to speaking for a contemporary audience, then, Kroeber is his own worst enemy. By cleaning and curating a selection of open access, I hope to make open access resources kroeeber known and to raise awareness of the actual history of anthropological theory.

Both Darwin and Wallace imagined evolution, and neither would have been accepted if society was not ready for the idea. A living entity transcends its inorganic parts. They have developed communications between themselves to an elaborate degree, much more sophisticated than other animals.

Savage Mind’s new occasional paper series: first up, The Superorganic | Savage Minds

The current approach is to protect isolated peoples as much as possible, to initiate contact only as a last resort. I will keep going until I complete a free anthology suitable for classroom use, or until I get bored. Finally, Kroeber argues that the legitimacy of anthropology or history, these terms are used interchangeably in a way that modern readers may find strange is tied to the existence superrganic culture. If other minds want to publish in the series, then they can do so too — who knows what projects they may want to cook up….


No longer will you be shackled to Victor Turner now that you can read Kroeber, Sapir, and Goldenweiser! If you separate the dog or tree into its separate elements, it dies. But much of the blame can be laid at the feet of Kroeber himself.

“The Superorganic,” or Kroeber’s hidden agenda.

The links are symbolic, not genetic as in biological systems. And yet it is little read today. When indigenous groups make clear efforts to avoid contact, it seems perfectly justifiable, indeed necessary, for governments and indigenous rights organizations to do all they can to respect this choice.

There are many reasons: It may have a life of its own, but its life more resembles an amoeba than a human. What, then, is his argument?