However, in the theoretical sense, Kroeber’s biggest contribution is the re- formulation of Spencer’s concept of the superorganic which Kroeber. The idea of “The superorganic” is associated with Alfred Kroeber, an American anthropologist writing in the first half of the twentieth century. A. L. KROEBER. University of California. Search for more papers by this author. First published: April‐June
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Indeed, some of his own important contributions in social organization are essentially attempts at isolating items of culture, and he published several important studies in kinship which contradict his own position. Predictably, Kroeber supegorganico that organic racial difference cannot affect the growth of civilization.
Rex, allow me to recommend one of the very first articles I read in anthropology and one to whose lessons, I now realise, I find myself returning all the time. Race, Language, Culture, Psychology, Prehistory.
Culture as the superorganic
This decision was influenced in part by the Uhle collections in the University Supreorganico. Many of his recurring scholarly interests and viewpoints are related to his own experience and were established at an early age. There is today a tremendous amount of material which is open access.
The felicitous style of much of his writing stems from his continuing literary interests. His major use of the term was in his analysis of Peruvian art styles Had recent work of the social structuralists been available, Kroeber no doubt would have perceived many more units of social structure. In his major contribution dealing with culture areas, Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North AmericaKroeber outlined 6 grand areas, 56 areas, and 43 subareas.
Modern Language Association http: I hope that this will become one of a series of papers which present early anthropological theory in a form that is accessible to everyone. At the same time, Kroeber argues, art and literature conveys truths that are enduring, but which are aesthetic and not scientific.
“The Superorganic,” or Kroeber’s hidden agenda.
If you analyse all those parts, in themselves, or even as a collection, they are not living. His statistical approach set in motion a still expanding use of statistics in archeology. But HAU may beat me to it. Similarly, the dog, if seen as a biological system, operates at a higher complexity than the inorganic elements which comprise it. These are by no means at the level of modern structural analysis, and it is primarily for this reason that Kroeber often denied that he was a linguist.
To this development Kroeber contributed greatly. There are no superior races. Kroeber played a part in introducing controlled excavational techniques, original seriational techniques, and the use of stylistic analysis for chrono-logical or cultural historical purposes to American archeology. But not all things that are similar are necessarily borrowed, and in his Anthropology Kroeber characteristically opened his chapter on diffusion with a discussion of the couvade, a set of similar behavioral restrictions placed upon the father at the birth of a child, found in Europe among the Basques and in Brazil among some Indians.
Botany becomes a specific kind of window onto landscape and the historical and mythical past.
Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. Those of his students who became involved in archeology had to teach themselves the superorgznico elementary mapping, excavating, cataloguing, and preservation techniques. The review is thorough and friendly but mildly skeptical. Knowing the dynamics of how carbon atoms operate, or that combining hydrogen and oxygen can result in a rapid combustion if not an explosion, does not explain how the superorrganico works, with its superroganico converting sunlight into energy to change water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon, channels to transfer sap from leaves to root, and so on.
By cleaning and curating a selection of open access, I hope to make open access resources better known and to raise awareness of the actual history of anthropological theory. Kroebber is also important to emphasize that in asking this question, Kroeber clearly sees the importance of biological anthropology and human evolutionary history to cultural anthropology. Each culture possesses unique aspects of content and pattern which require explanation but represent only a temporary historical eddy in the pan-human sea of culture.
Kroeber was particularistic also in his search for basic cultural units of study.
Savage Mind’s new occasional paper series: first up, The Superorganic | Savage Minds
For his early education he was tutored by Dr. Race, Language, Culture, Psychology, and Prehistory. The concept has been attacked as mystical and as sheer reification because it fails to predict variations in individual behavior and because it is deterministic. Yet his emphasis on multiple causation and the importance of historical and linguistic variables may yet prove a way out of the blind alleys encountered in the closed and static systems of functionalism and structuralism.
Why not prefer a biological reduction of human action? This is true insofar as he was interested in the unity of anthropology as a discipline.
See for a statement by Kroeber of the purpose of the culture element surveys.
Such measures of relationship could also be used, in his view, to establish historical depth, both for relationships and for traits or trait complexes. Pages 66—78 in Alfred L.
Kroeber, Alfred L.
Yet he had no such qualms about isolating culture traits in his comparative studies or identifying complexes for cross-cultural studies. His notebooks are meticulous and orderly.
The superorgnaico published in these three papers gave a major impetus to the recognition of time perspective in American prehistory. He simply expected his students to become knowledgeable through the literature and the diverse problems they encountered, always recognizing that each situation requires special adaptations.
Students in ethnology might be advised to take plenty of paper and pencils or not to supetorganico involved with reservation factions. He underwent a brief analysis himself, and in and he maintained an office and practiced psychoanalysis with some success in San Francisco.
Kroeber remained oriented toward natural history and biology, and implicit or explicit biological analogies run through his later work. Although they spoke English as fluently as German, German was the language of the home.