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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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. Humans have thoughts and behaviour. What articles come to mind?

By cleaning and curating a selection of open access, Hte hope to make open access resources better known and to raise awareness of the actual history of yhe theory.

It is also important to emphasize that in asking this question, Kroeber clearly sees the importance of biological anthropology and human evolutionary history to cultural anthropology.

I hope that this will become one of a series of papers which present early anthropological theory in a form that is accessible to everyone. On the one hand, Kroeber sees the mental lives of individuals as the biological substrate on which culture writes itself.

The essay is extremely long, and larded with multiple examples used to make the same point. All living things, plants and animals, are built up of inorganic elements, mainly hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, plus some trace elements. This elaboration links humans together into communities and societies.

Culture and society comprise the third level. They have developed communications between themselves to an elaborate degree, much more sophisticated than other animals.


Savage Minds

It operates at a higher level of complexity than the organic. So hard to find good materials that draw students into particular debates or key ideas. The links are symbolic, not genetic as in biological systems.

Is anthropology a unique discipline because it has a unique subject matter? This position anticipates current work on culture as an emergent phenomena. Please feel free to share widely! But if the organic causes the mental, the mental does not, then, cause the cultural.

Difficulty of access supports them. But much of the blame can be laid at the feet of Kroeber himself. The arrangement makes them alive. krpeber

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

There is today a tremendous amount of material which is open access. In it, I will present a series of open access, curated texts from the history of anthropological theory. Since you know well the Krleber collection at Berkeley, are there any texts that might be available online? Knowing the dynamics of how carbon atoms 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 tbe.

It is just easier to access and, frankly, cries out for an editor more. But HAU may beat me to it. At the same time, Kroeber argues, art and literature conveys truths that are enduring, but which are aesthetic and not scientific. Kroeber begins the essay by asking the question: But in doing so, he argues, we miss the cultural dimension of conduct that makes human lives so unique.


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. It may have a life of its own, but its life more resembles an amoeba than a human.

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…. I want to give my students early 20th Century essays by Anthros, on the value of oral history as indigenous interpretation of their past.

On the contrary DJ — this was designed to introduce you to the anthropology you always wanted to do but never knew existed!

Kroeber included material from the article in his textbook Anthropology: Similarly, the superotganic, if seen as a biological system, operates at a higher complexity than the inorganic elements which comprise it.

Dear Robin, Thanks for writing. When it comes to speaking for a contemporary audience, then, Kroeber is his own worst enemy. These are indicated with brackets.

The current approach is to protect isolated peoples as much as possible, to initiate contact only as a last resort. Folks, today I am beginning something new: There may be typos or other errors in the manuscript. If you analyse all those parts, in themselves, or even as a collection, usperorganic are not living.

We can call this the lowest level of complexity. Those are carried by individuals.