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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Originally published in in Kroebeer Anthropologistthe article drew important responses from Edward Sapir and Alexander Goldenweiser. The Mashco-Piro and the dilemmas of isolation and contact Spuerorganic and Smith: Human beings are animals, and as such are organic systems. Knowing the dynamics of how carbon superorgani operate, or that combining hydrogen and oxygen can result in a rapid 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 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.

Both Darwin and Wallace imagined evolution, and neither would have been accepted if society was not ready for the idea.

But much of the blame can be laid at the feet of Kroeber himself. Superorgqnic are many reasons: On the one hand, Kroeber sees the mental lives of individuals as the biological substrate on which culture writes itself.

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. Do not think of a dog as a carbon atom or a hydrocarbon molecule. Kroeber included material from the article in his textbook Anthropology: The links are symbolic, not genetic as in biological systems. Looking at the relationship between living things and their inorganic components in this way helps us to understand the relationship between culture and persons.


Since you know well the Lowie collection at Berkeley, are there any texts that might be available online? These are indicated with brackets. What do you think? And if a culture is ready for an innovation, then anyone with above average intelligence may be able to invent it.

In a few cases I have altered verbs and nouns for agreement when deleting text caused them to disagree.

The essay is clearly written and structured, but there is little explicit signposting. On the contrary DJ — this was designed to introduce you to the anthropology you always wanted to do but never knew existed! Difficulty kroebfr access supports them.

It is just easier to access and, frankly, cries out for an editor more. Kroeber sees the organic and the mental as being very closely connected — indeed, he argues that intelligence may be genetically determined.

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The second level of complexity is composed of living things. I have cut it down to just under 8, In future editions these may be corrected.

If you analyse all those parts, in themselves, or even as a collection, they are not living. Is anthropology a unique discipline because it has a unique subject matter?


If a peoples e. In it, I will present a series of open access, curated texts from the history of anthropological theory. Those are carried by individuals. Race, Language, Culture, Psychology, and Prehistory. Or does anthropology have a unique method? Similarly, do not think of a community, an institution, a society as a human being. What articles come to mind?

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

As you can imagine, a better part of the bibliography comes from Anthro. At the same time, Kroeber argues, art and literature conveys truths that are enduring, but which are aesthetic superrganic not scientific. So hard to find good materials that draw students into particular debates or key ideas. But if the organic causes the mental, the mental does not, then, cause the cultural.


Even the greatest inventions, he argues, will only take root if a culture is prepared to accept them. When it comes to speaking for a contemporary audience, then, Kroeber is his own worst enemy. For recently contacted peoples, FUNAI tries to do as much as possible to convince them to continue living as they did prior to contact.

I want to give my students early 20th Century essays kroebe Anthros, on the value of oral history as indigenous interpretation of their past. Botany becomes a specific kind of window onto landscape and the historical and mythical past. 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…. 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.

Kroeber makes this argument through a discussion of the role of genius in shaping history.

But HAU may beat me to it. Please feel free to share widely!

Culture as the superorganic

And frankly, once must already know what is in it in order to know it is worth finding in the first place. The arrangement makes them alive. This position anticipates current work on culture supegorganic an emergent phenomena. Predictably, Kroeber argues that organic racial difference cannot affect the growth of civilization.