The term “superorganic” was probably first used by the early sociologist Herbert of the time, Alfred Kroeber and Edward Sapir, in the American Anthropologist. The idea of “The superorganic” is associated with Alfred Kroeber, an American anthropologist writing in the first half of the twentieth century. Why the Superorganic Concept Serves the Human Sciences Badly. Peter J. Richerson University of California – Los Angeles. Los Angeles . Dobzhansky’s usage was probably inspired Kroeber and kindred influential social. scientists of his.

Author: Mibei Tejora
Country: Mongolia
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Career
Published (Last): 12 September 2004
Pages: 342
PDF File Size: 14.63 Mb
ePub File Size: 1.22 Mb
ISBN: 985-8-39514-419-7
Downloads: 58415
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Goltikree

Culture as the superorganic

It may have a life of its own, but its life more resembles an amoeba than a human. Knowing the dynamics of how carbon atoms operate, or that combining hydrogen and oxygen can result in a superorgankco combustion if not an explosion, does not explain how the tree works, with its leaves converting sunlight into energy to change water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon, channels to transfer sap kroeer leaves to root, and so on.


We can call this the lowest level of complexity.

Humans have thoughts and behaviour. They behave, however, in concert with each other, as a system external to individuals —— society.

All living things, kroebwr and animals, are built up of inorganic elements, mainly hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, plus some trace elements. The arrangement makes them alive.


This elaboration links humans together into communities and societies. Do not think of a dog as a carbon atom or a hydrocarbon molecule. It operates at a higher level of complexity than the organic. Looking at the relationship between living things and their inorganic components in this way helps us to understand the relationship between superorganjco and persons. Those are carried by individuals. Human beings are animals, and as such are organic systems.

Similarly, the dog, if seen as a biological system, operates at a higher complexity than the inorganic elements which comprise it. They have developed communications between themselves to an elaborate degree, much more sophisticated than other animals. If we start with the inorganic, it superorgainco the physical universe, all the atoms of elements without life.

Do not anthropomorphise culture. The links are symbolic, not genetic as in biological systems. The second level of complexity is composed of living things. The socio-cultural level, culture or society, therefore is carried by humans and transcends humans. A living entity transcends its inorganic superorganjco. The superorganic is another way of describing —— and understanding —— culture or the socio-cultural system.


If you copy text from this site, please acknowledge the author s and link it back kroebed cec.

Culture and society comprise the third level. If you separate the dog or tree into its separate elements, it dies. Key Words Modules Sociology: If you analyse all those parts, in themselves, or even as a collection, they are not living.

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 su;erorganico the organic, as between the organic and the superorganic.