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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They behave, however, in concert with each other, as a system external to individuals —— society. Over time I would like to work on the British side of the tradition, since that was actually how I was trained as well at least in undergrad. Do not think of a dog as a carbon atom or a hydrocarbon molecule. All living things, plants thhe animals, are built up of inorganic elements, mainly hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, plus some trace elements. Much Boasian oroeber is now in the public domain, but is difficult to find and inconvenient to read.

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

And yet it is little read today. But he also argues that individual organic endowment cannot affect civilization. A living entity transcends its inorganic parts. But HAU may beat me to it. But much of the blame can be laid at the feet of Kroeber himself.

The superorganic is another way of describing —— and understanding —— culture or shperorganic socio-cultural system. Originally published in in American Anthropologistthe article drew important responses from Edward Sapir and Alexander Goldenweiser. No longer will you be shackled to Victor Turner now that you can read Kroeber, Sapir, and Goldenweiser!


The original essay is around 19, words.

It operates at a higher level of complexity than the organic. Human beings are animals, and as such are organic systems.

Why not prefer a biological reduction of human action? One quick note, folks: Race, Language, Culture, Psychology, and Prehistory. Dear Robin, Thanks for writing. What do you think?

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

Difficulty of access supsrorganic them. The links are symbolic, not genetic as in biological systems. Culture and society comprise the third level. With regard to isolated peoples, each South American country has its own unique and varied history with regards to indigenous peoples and their rights, and these varied historical policies directly affect their approach to the specific case of isolated peoples.

But if the organic causes the mental, the mental does not, then, cause the cultural. In it, I will present a series of open access, curated texts from the history of anthropological theory. Even the greatest inventions, he argues, will only take root if a culture superoryanic prepared to accept them. 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 of culture.

These are indicated with brackets.

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

They have developed communications between themselves to an elaborate degree, much more sophisticated than other animals. And if a culture is ready for an innovation, then anyone with above average intelligence may be able to invent it.


Key Words Modules Sociology: Is anthropology a unique discipline because it has a unique subject matter? Similarly, do not think of a community, an institution, a society as a human being. There is a parallel, therefore, in the relations between the inorganic and the organic, as between the organic and the superorganic.

If you separate the dog or tree into its separate elements, it dies. For recently contacted peoples, FUNAI tries to do as much as possible to convince them to continue living as they did prior to contact. The arrangement makes them alive. It is indeed a very tricky situation, especially since Peru lacks the kind of organized institution with clear policies and relevant experience such as FUNAI in Brazil. Kroeber included material from the article in his textbook Anthropology: The essay is clearly written and structured, but there is little explicit signposting.

If a peoples e. When it comes to speaking for a contemporary audience, then, Kroeber is his own worst enemy. If we start with the inorganic, it is the physical universe, all the atoms of elements without life. If you analyse all those parts, in themselves, or even as a collection, they are not living.