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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Why not prefer a biological reduction of human action? Humans have thoughts and behaviour.


Since you know well the Lowie collection at Berkeley, are there any texts that might be available online? Difficulty of superprganic supports them. These are indicated with brackets. Thanks for your comment and I hope to continue this discussion with you and others, Glenn. There are many reasons: Or does anthropology have a unique method? But he also argues that individual organic endowment cannot affect civilization.

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.

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

And if a culture is ready for an innovation, then anyone with above average intelligence may be able to invent it.

Savage Minds

They behave, however, in concert with each other, as a system external to individuals —— society. Similarly, do not think of a community, an institution, a society as a human being. What do you think? As you can imagine, a better part of the bibliography comes from Anthro. It may have a life of its own, but its life more resembles an amoeba than a human.


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. Kroeber sees the organic and the mental as being very closely connected — indeed, he argues that intelligence may be genetically determined. I want to give my students early 20th Century essays by Anthros, on the value of oral history as indigenous interpretation of their past. Kroeber occupies several positions here, and the loose ends in this section of his argument would tthe taken up by future thinkers.

If we start with the inorganic, superorganix is the physical universe, all the atoms of elements without life. If other minds want to publish in the series, then kroeeber can do so too — who knows what projects they may want to cook up….

The original essay is around 19, words. The socio-cultural level, culture or society, therefore is carried by humans and transcends humans.

It operates at a higher level of complexity than the organic. 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.


The arrangement makes them alive. 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 second level of complexity is composed superotganic living things.

Knowing the dynamics of how carbon atoms operate, or that combining kroebet and oxygen can result in a rapid combustion if not an explosion, does not explain how the tree works, with its leaves fhe sunlight into energy to change water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon, channels to transfer sap from leaves to root, and so on.

Culture as the superorganic

tje I hope that this will koreber one of a series of papers which present early anthropological theory in a form that is accessible to everyone. One quick note, folks: I will keep going until I complete a free anthology suitable for classroom use, or until I get bored.

There are no superior races. If you separate the dog or tree into its separate elements, it dies. On the contrary DJ — this was designed to introduce you to the anthropology you always wanted to do but never knew existed!