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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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This is of course a highly ambiguous situation, in essence forcing people to superorbanico in imposed isolation. American Anthropological Association, Memoirs 2: Race, Language, Culture, Psychology, Prehistory. Culture and society comprise the third level. His early interests were primarily historical, and, partly in collaboration with Roland Burrage Dixon, he grouped the California Indian languages into a number of larger families.

Predictably, Kroeber argues that organic racial difference cannot affect the growth of civilization. Indiana University Publications in Anthropology and Linguistics, There is a parallel, therefore, in the relations between the inorganic and the organic, as between the organic and the superorganic.

They behave, however, in concert with each other, as a system external to individuals —— society. In the s, when, for the first time, the Bureau of Indian Affairsunder John Collieremployed anthropologists, a step widely hailed by young and unemployed anthropologists, Kroeber disapproved and even refused to recommend students to Collier. Kroeber makes this argument through a discussion of the role of genius in shaping history. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article.

These are indicated with brackets. 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. This elaboration links humans together into communities and societies. 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.

The socio-cultural level, culture or society, therefore is carried by humans and transcends humans. At the time of his death probably no comparable area of the world had such a large anthropological literature, a substantial portion written by Kroeber himself. It operates at a higher level of complexity than the organic.


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

American Anthropologist New Series Kroeber early became familiar with Greek and Latin and attributed his enduring interest in linguistics to his childhood contact with four languages. If other minds superorgsnico to publish in the series, then they can do so too — who knows what projects they may want to cook up….

Both Darwin and Wallace imagined evolution, and neither would have skperorganico accepted if society was not ready for the idea. He developed one of the major university-affiliated anthropological museums, in San Francisco now in Berkeleyone of the early departments of anthropology—at the University of California —and a major monographic publication series.

American Journal of Physical Anthropology Many of his recurring scholarly interests and viewpoints are related to his own experience and were krorber at an early age. American Museum of Natural History, Bulletin Field workers found the trait-list approach confining, and at least part of the ethnographic data they collected turned out to be unsuitable for tabular listing.

These patterned phenomena he related to other aspects of culture and suggested that certain historic and repetitive configurations of growth and change may be identified.

A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. In it, I will present a series of open access, curated texts from the history of anthropological theory.

Kroeber also explored statistical approaches with Charles D. No longer will you be shackled to Victor Turner now that you can read Kroeber, Sapir, and Goldenweiser!

Human beings are animals, and as such are organic systems.

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

Looking at the relationship between living things and their inorganic components in this way helps us to understand the relationship between culture and persons.

For his early education he was tutored by Dr. Do not anthropomorphise culture. This decision was influenced in part by the Uhle collections in the University Museum. For Kroeber the culture area is similar to the biotic area of the biologist, whose definition depends upon the scale of the units compared; from a continental view culture areas may be identified as very large units; from a more microscopic view, they break down into subareas or provinces, depending upon the intensity of analysis.


Actually Kroeber had a lively interest in psychology, his minor subject as a graduate student. Radcliffe-Brown on this subject.

We superorgnaico call this the lowest level of complexity. Sometimes the terms are used to describe the spatial distribution of concrete clusterings; more importantly, in explaining the peaks or climaxes in the history koreber culture areas and the differential frequency of geniuses at different times and places.

Modern kinship studies have gone sulerorganico Kroeber and in different directions, but the questions he raises are kroebre significant and partly unanswered [ see Culture ; Kinship].

Key Words Modules Sociology: Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all siperorganico is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Most of the book consists of reprints of earlier papers or selections therefrom, arranged and annotated by Kroeber himself to indicate the development of his major theoretical interests.

Each he suggested has varying modalities of change and may have an independent history. Much of his work stemmed from his research in California, but he also wrote on the relationships among Australian languagesand he suggested several Middle American language groupings.

It is just easier to access and, frankly, cries out for an editor more. As a result, many of the reports contain extensive ethnographic footnotes or appendices. Kroeber to Culture Area Theory and Practice.

Inin the Quarterly Review of Biology, he anticipated a currently active research field in a paper on subhuman cultural beginnings see b and in he called attention to the importance of blood-group classifications see a. And if a culture is ready for an innovation, then anyone with above average intelligence may be able to invent it. Many of his earlier theoretical interests concerned kinds of problems superorgamico are no longer central.