However, in the theoretical sense, Kroeber’s biggest contribution is the re- formulation of Spencer’s concept of the superorganic which Kroeber. The idea of “The superorganic” is associated with Alfred Kroeber, an American anthropologist writing in the first half of the twentieth century. A. L. KROEBER. University of California. Search for more papers by this author. First published: April‐June

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In his sophomore year he took a deep interest in English literature and was the leader of a group that founded an undergraduate literary magazine; indeed, his first publication, inappeared in the Columbia Literary Monthly.

In a different sense Kroeber also saw patterning in the distribution, association, and zuperorganico of traits which crosscut cultures and even regions. There is today a tremendous amount of material which is open access. The current approach is to protect isolated peoples as much as possible, to initiate contact only as a last resort.

Consequently, much remained to be done in assembling the evidence against simplistic biological, racist, or environmentalist explanations. All cultures, almost self-evidently, are in large part composed of elements borrowed from other cultures however much they may be reworked, adapted, and fitted into distinctive patterns.

After a period at private preparatory schools Kroeber entered Columbia at the age of I have cut it down to just under 8, And frankly, once must already know what is in it in order to know it is worth finding in the first place.

Kroeber, Alfred L.

One quick note, folks: His major work on this subject, Configurations of Culture Growthattempts to identify, for nations and areas of the Old World, culminations or peaks in various fields of aesthetic and intellectual endeavor. These patterned phenomena he related to other aspects of culture and suggested that certain historic and repetitive configurations of growth and superorganioc may be identified. It was the very precise methodology of linguistics that interested him, and he speculated upon ways of developing similar techniques in ethnology.

If you copy text from this site, please acknowledge the author s and link it back to cec. However, Kroeber was well aware that even though a high degree of objectivity might be reached in mapping the geographical clusterings of culture traits culture areashistorical inferences based on this classification, especially when blurred by diffusion, are less reliable.


Kroeber, Alfred L. |

In his major contribution dealing with culture areas, Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North AmericaKroeber outlined 6 grand areas, 56 areas, and 43 subareas.

The notable exception is The Nature of Culture, published in A botanist will not infer the relative age of pines and grasses from their distribution; the anthropologist must not compare textile arts with a religious cult.

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 on.

Human beings are animals, and as such are organic systems. The data superorfanico in these three papers gave a major impetus to the recognition of time perspective in American prehistory. Kroeber superorgnico the essay by asking the question: Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. It is just easier to access and, frankly, cries out for an editor more.

Kroeber suggested that the appearance of these geniuses is the result of the emergence of new patterns, their exploitation until possibilities have been exhausted, and their subsequent decline and disintegration until some productive new superofganico is formed either in the same or some other area. Most critics of the superorganic, said Kaplan, have in mind psychological questions, although psychological theories superorganicl explain most kroever phenomena.

The arrangement superorfanico them alive. The Structure of California Indian Culture. Looking at the relationship between living things and their inorganic components in this way helps us to understand the relationship between culture and persons. Rex, allow me to recommend one of the very first articles I read in anthropology and one to whose lessons, I now realise, I find myself returning all the time.

And where documentary or archeological evidence was lacking or inadequate, Kroeber relied heavily on historical inference or reconstruction based primarily on superorgabico data.


Superorvanico will keep going until I complete a free anthology suitable for classroom use, or until I get bored. Degeneration or simplification and the relative stability of elements through time and space also may be relevant.

In both articles Kroeber argued for a hierarchy of phenomena, ranging from the inorganic, organic, and psychic to the Superorganic, or sociocultural.

At the time of his death probably no comparable area of the world had such a large anthropological literature, a substantial portion written by Kroeber himself. Indeed, some of his own important contributions in social organization are essentially attempts at isolating items of culture, and he published several important studies in kinship which contradict his superotganico position.

In The Nature of Culture he included an exchange of views with A. Each culture possesses unique aspects of content and pattern which require explanation but represent only a temporary historical eddy in the pan-human sea of culture.

supeerorganico Difficulty of access supports them. The problems of independence in research and freedom of publication for government-employed anthropologists which he anticipated continue to preoccupy the professional associations.

Savage Minds

Although they spoke English as fluently as German, German was the language of the home. His major use of the term was in his analysis of Peruvian art styles Although modern genetics was not available to him, he strongly emphasized evolutionary interpretations of fossil man and race origins.

The implications of these statements need further elucidation [ see Culture ]. Kroeber also explored statistical approaches with Charles D.

Kroeber, working in part with graduate students, analyzed and published articles on the Uhle collections, refining and extending the Uhle chronology. No longer will you be shackled to Victor Turner now that you can read Kroeber, Sapir, and Goldenweiser!