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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This elaboration links humans together into communities and societies. Rex, allow me to recommend one of the very first articles I read in tje and one to whose lessons, I now realise, I find myself returning all the time.

These are indicated krosber brackets. Do not think of a dog as a carbon atom or a hydrocarbon molecule. Much Boasian thought is now in the public domain, but is difficult to find and inconvenient to read.

It operates at a higher level of complexity than the organic. For recently contacted peoples, FUNAI tries to do as much as possible to convince them to continue living as they did prior to contact. 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. And frankly, once must already know what is in it in order to know it is worth finding in the first place.

Similarly, the dog, if seen as a biological system, operates at a higher complexity than the inorganic elements which comprise it. In future editions these may be corrected. 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. When it comes to speaking for a contemporary audience, then, Kroeber is his own worst enemy.

Even the greatest inventions, he argues, will only take root if a culture is prepared to accept them. Kroeber occupies several positions here, and the loose ends in this section of his argument would be taken up by future thinkers.


It is indeed a very tricky situation, especially since Peru lacks the kind of organized institution with clear policies and relevant experience such as FUNAI in Brazil. If we start with the inorganic, it is the physical universe, all the atoms of elements without life. What, then, is his argument? This is of course a highly ambiguous situation, in essence forcing people to live in imposed isolation.

Do not anthropomorphise culture. Or does anthropology have a unique method? What articles come to mind?

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

Kroeber makes this argument through a discussion suerorganic the superorganiv of genius in shaping history. But HAU may beat me to it. In a few cases I have altered verbs and nouns for agreement when deleting text caused them to disagree. Please feel free to share it widely, including dumping it in whatever archive works for you.

And yet it is little read today. But if the organic causes the mental, the mental does not, then, cause the cultural. By cleaning supeorrganic 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. And if a culture is ready for an innovation, then anyone with above average intelligence may be able to invent it. They have developed communications between themselves to an elaborate degree, much more sophisticated than other animals.

The Mashco-Piro and the dilemmas tye isolation and contact Cantor and Smith: The second level of complexity is composed of living things. Since you know well the Lowie collection at Berkeley, are there any texts that might be available online? If a peoples e.

There are many reasons: No longer will you be shackled to Victor Turner now that you can read Kroeber, Sapir, and Goldenweiser! A living entity transcends its inorganic parts.

But in doing so, he argues, we miss the cultural dimension of conduct that makes human lives so unique. Over time I would like to work kroeberr the British side of the tradition, since that was actually how I was trained as well at least in undergrad. We can call this the lowest level of complexity.


But much of the blame can be laid at the feet of Kroeber himself. Thhe position anticipates current work on culture as an emergent phenomena.


In it, I will present a series of open access, curated texts from the history of anthropological theory. Dear Robin, Thanks for writing.

The current approach is to protect isolated peoples as much as possible, to initiate contact only as a last resort. Culture and society comprise the third level. There may be typos or other errors in the manuscript. 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.

What do you think? There is today a tremendous amount of material which is open access. On the one hand, Kroeber sees the mental lives of individuals as the biological substrate on which culture writes itself.

The superorganic is another way of describing —— and understanding —— culture or the socio-cultural system. Botany becomes a specific kind of window onto landscape and the historical and mythical past.

When indigenous groups make clear efforts to avoid contact, it seems perfectly justifiable, indeed necessary, for governments and indigenous rights organizations to do all they can to respect this choice.

Finally, Kroeber argues supeforganic the legitimacy of anthropology or history, these krosber are used interchangeably in a way that modern readers may find strange is tied to the existence of culture.