To be effective, whistleblowing policies should be adapted to the organisational culture. They need to be custom-made and not follow a one-size-fits-all logic, specifically when they are installed to stimulate responsible peer reporting, a highly sensitive and value-laden type of whistleblowing. This paper attempts to illustrate that grid-group culturaltheory could help to construct a whistleblowing policy by linking reporting styles to the organisational culture. First, we will identify four types of policy measures that are hypothesized to be (...) effective in four types of organisational culture. Second, we develop the hypothesis that certain organisational cultures can induce peer reporting that is harmful for the organisation. The whistleblowing policy can then be used as a catalyst for cultural change. (shrink)
Media are surely central to Western societies of the past several centuries and to the emerging global societies of the contemporary era and the future. There is a thickening, an intensification and an increasing complexity to the use of information machines, technologies that are necessary in the production, reproduction, storing and distribution of texts, images and sounds, the constituent elements of culture. The phenomenon has been termed a “media ecology,” adding a new layer to the ecologies of animal, vegetable and (...) mineral. It behooves anyone engaged in critical discourse to take serious account of media. I argue they offer a key to understanding the process of globalization in relation to a new configuration of interaction between humans and machines. (shrink)
F.A. Hayek’s theory of cultural evolution has often been regarded as incompatible with his earlier works. Since it lacks an elaborated theory of individual learning, we try to back his arguments by starting with his thoughts on individual perception described in hisTheory of Mind. With a focus on the current discussion concerning biological and cultural selection theories, we argue hisTheory of Mind leads to two different stages of societal evolution with well-defined learning processes, respectively. The first (...) learning process describes his Morality of Small Groups, in which Hayek’s thoughts coincide with learning theories that do not allow for the perception of behavior from outside the group. His second stage of cultural evolution, the Open Society, involves a different kind of learning behavior. We connect this notion with a model of local interaction in which the cultural learning aspect is addressed by a distinction between interaction and learning neighborhoods. This results in a situation in which individuals change their strategy and —depending on the radius of interaction and learning neighborhood—eventually may adopt new strategies that lead to higher payoffs. (shrink)
In recent years, many researchers engaged in diverse areas and approaches of “cultural-historical activity theory” (CHAT) realized an increasing international interest in Lev S. Vygotsky’s, A. N. Leont’ev’s, and A. Luria’s work and its continuations. Not so long ago, Yrjö Engeström noted that the activity approach was still “the best-held secret of academia” (p. 64) and highlighted the “impressive dimension of theorizing behind” it. Certainly, this remark reflects a time when CHAT was off the beaten tracks. But if (...) this situation begins to change today, in which direction will CHAT be heading? Will it continue to be one of those projects “unique for its practical, political, and civic engagement” committed “to ideals of social justice, equality, and social change” as it was in the beginning (Stetsenko & Arievitch, 2004, p. 58)? Although a positive future of CHAT seems to lie ahead, we consider in this article some of the problematics that may challenge all those who want to pass the “impressive dimensions of theorizing” from “insider” circles to a larger audience and from one generation to another as well as encourage newcomers to become part of this tradition through critical engagement in its theory and practice. A key to these engagements, we suggest, is not only the comprehensive empirical and philosophical basis, but also the role of dialectics as both topic and method. Therefore, the challenge for newcomers (as well as for “old-timers”) to take on the tradition of CHAT is not a small one indeed. We assume that a major reason for the increasing interest in CHAT lies in its potential to provide a non-reductionist approach to human development, which is due to its affinity to dialectics; however, the close interrelation to a tradition that reaches back to the theories of Georg W.F. Hegel and Karl Marx, among others, is not the easiest to master. In consideration of these difficulties, the purpose of this article is to investigate how contemporary approaches within CHAT can continue to provide a dialectical framework to preserve and renew the critical intention of this tradition, and how we run the risk of losing this sting. Thereby, we sensitize researchers to the problem of developing a cultural-historical approach within a historical situation that confronts us with new, unanswered questions. In this light, we also problematize the use of scientific language, for it may lead us to speak and argue un-dialectically when in fact we intend or ought to think dialectically. This article seeks to convey insights and arguments of how we can relate our theoretical approaches to a tradition of dialectical thinking and in what ways this is paramount for a critical engagement in theory and practice. In the first part, we therefore discuss not only some major theorems in Hegel’s and Marx’s work but also, and above all, Vygotsky’s way of developing the cultural-historical approach of psychology. Second, we argue that the contemporary, widely known version of CHAT, related to Yrjö Engeström’s theoretical and empirical work, neglects different aspects of dialectical thinking and consequently narrows its potential to a socio-critical approach to societal practice and human development. A crucial question of this scrutiny will be the notion of contradictions and how development is supposed to be achieved. In general, our intention is not only to clarify the role of dialectics as a method for activity theory but also to problematize the role of the subjects of research in CHAT and to confront ourselves with the problems of practicing and developing a critical science in face of a complex and challenging societal world. (shrink)
Once seen as synonymous with "anti-feminism" postfeminism is now understood as the theoretical meeting ground between feminism and anti-foundationalist movements such as postmodernism, post-structuralism and post-colonialsm. In this clear exposition of some of the major debates, theorists and practitioners, Ann Brooks shows how feminism is being redefined for the twenty first century. Individual chapters look at postfeminism in relation to feminist epistemology, Foucault, psychoanalytic theory and semiology, postmodernism and postcolonialism, cultural politics, popular culture, film and media, and sexuality (...) and identity. For all students looking for guidance through the sometimes murky waters of contemporary feminist theory, this book will provide a reassuring first port of call. (shrink)
Everyday Life and CulturalTheory provides a unique critical and historical introduction to theories of everyday life. Ben Highmore traces the development of conceptions of everyday life, from the Mass Observation project of the 1930s to contemporary theorists. Individual chapters examine: * Theories of the everyday * Fragments of everyday life * Surrealism: the marvelous in the everyday * Walter Benjamin's Trash Aesthetics * Mass Observation: the science of everyday life * Henri Lefebvre's Dialectics of Everyday Life * (...) Michel de Certeau's Poetics of Everyday Life * Everyday life and the future of cultural studies. (shrink)
This book offers an exciting look at the important and often uneasy place of philosophy in culturaltheory today. In the United States and Britain, cultural studies has taken a largely non-philosophical form. Yet, in its hostility to disciplinary boundaries and its search for theoretical generality, cultural studies has much in common with a philosophical tradition of totalization from which it has historically distanced itself. Throughout, Osborne shows how and why concepts currently popular in cultural (...)theory have brought philosophical questions to center stage. He discusses many important thinkers who have straddled the philosophy-cultural divide such as Benjamin, Adorno, Jameson, and Clement Greenberg. (shrink)
This article deals with cross-cultural ethics. It discusses the grid-group model and is ethical implications. We try to show how cross-cultural ethics remain possible under this paradigm of ethical relativism. We discuss the theory of discourse and apply it to intercultural communication. Finally we offer some rules for (an ethical) intercultural discourse, which also may be interpreted as metanorms for cross-cultural interaction.
Machine generated contents note: -- Clinical Theory -- 1. Psychiatry on schizophrenia: clinical pictures of a sublime object -- 2. Schizophrenia: the sublime text of psychoanalysis -- CulturalTheory -- 3. Antipsychiatry: schizophrenic experience and the sublime -- 4. Anti-Oedipus and the politics of the schizophrenic sublime -- 5. Schizophrenia, modernity, postmodernity -- 6. Postmodern schizophrenia -- 7. Glamorama, postmodernity and the schizophrenic sublime -- Conclusion.
Liberalism sanctifies the values chosen by the sovereign individual. This tends to rule out criticisms of an individual's ?preference? for one value over another by, ironically, establishing a deterministic view of the self that protects the self's desires from scrutiny. Similarly, rational choice approaches to social theory begin with previously determined individual preferences and focus on the means by which they are pursued, concentrating on the results rather than the sources of people's values. A striking new attempt to go (...) behind the liberal and rational?choice starting point in order to understand political preferences is found in Aaron Wildavsky's CulturalTheory. Yet CulturalTheory does not facilitate the criticism of preferences, because its understanding of them is fundamentally liberal. Even while rejecting methodological individualism, CulturalTheory's monocausally social theory of preference formation retains in a new guise the liberal preservation of preferences from criticism by reestablishing a deterministic view of the formation of values, leading it to share with liberalism an a historical view of their origins. (shrink)
In an essay in these pages, Jeffrey Friedman charged that CulturalTheory obscures the unity and uniqueness of modern egalitarian individualism; reduces culture to society; ignores history; is only applicable to contemporary, Western politics; provides an unsatisfactory account of preference formation and preference change; and leaves no place for the vitally important debate over what we should prefer. Although some of Friedman's criticisms stem from a misreading or strained reading of CulturalTheory, others raise vitally important (...) questions not only about CulturalTheory but social theory generally. My reply to Friedman offers not just a defense of the particular categorization of cultures used in CulturalTheory, but a defense of the entire enterprise of constructing general social theories that seek to discern transhistorical patterns in the all too evident diversity and contingency of history. (shrink)
How can one examine the sources of people's beliefs, tastes, and preferences without falling into the self?refuting determinism that has so often characterized the most systematic theory of preferences, Marxism? CulturalTheory's attempt to do so posits five anthropologically derived, competing ?ways of life"? individualism, egalitarianism, hierarchism, fatalism, and withdrawal from social life?that are intended to apply to all forms of culture and, therefore, to provide a universal framework for explaining people's preferential biases. Richard Ellis's defense of (...)CulturalTheory, however, does not adequately address the concerns expressed in my critique of it. Ellis fails to instance a single case of a premodern culture containing the five ways of life; he does not show that exclusivist premodern versions of ?individualism? and ?egalitarianism? are more than superficially comparable to the inclusive modern variants of these alleged universals; and he adds new evidence to support my claim that in modern societies, people's preferences are largely unlinked to the particular social relations identified by CulturalTheory. While Ellis overtly denies that CulturalTheory is deterministic, his search for links between preferences and social relations shows that this denial cannot be sustained. CulturalTheory's reductionism stems from its neglect of historically contingent cultural traditions that thwart a priori attempts to predict culture. This ahistori?cism transforms a myopic view of American politics as a battle of egalitarianism against individualism into a timeless truth, providing ideological self?affirmation for ?individualists? but diminishing the prospects for being able to explain or criticize individualism?or any other political preference. (shrink)
Comparative analysis of civilizations has recently revived and has led into a debate about varieties of modernity. This connection between an empirically defined area of study, `civilizations', and a theme that is predominantly seen as conceptual, `modernity', is a peculiar one and raises crucial questions for any social theory. Can `modernity' be located spatio-temporally among the civilizations? Is it itself a civilization (or the successor to all civilizations), or does it not rather refer to a human condition? This article (...) takes its starting point from the observation that civilizational comparison is always some form of cultural analysis and asks if and how a culturaltheory of modernity is possible and fruitful under current theoretical and historical conditions. (shrink)
This paper intends to highlight the philosophical and ethical implications of culturaltheory as initiated in the seventies by the British anthropologist, Mary Douglas. The first part will present culturaltheory, mainly through her early works. We will particularly insist on the originality of this functionalist theory based on four interpersonal relationships patterns – defined according to grid and group dimensions – and their associated cultural biases, namely the egalitarian bias, the hierarchical, the insulated (...) and the individualist one. In the second part of our study, we will show that in each of these biases, people behave and perceive differently and we will concentrate on these differences regarding risk. Finally, we will focus on one essential implication of this theory, its conception of rationality. Indeed, culturaltheory implies a framework of plural rationalities, which is of paramount importance if we consider its ethical consequences. We will try to lighten these and show how it might influence risk management. (shrink)
After modernism and postmodernism, it is argued, the everyday supposedly is where a democracy of taste is brought into being - the place where art goes to recover its customary and collective pleasures, and where the shared pleasures of popular culture are indulged, from celebrity magazines to shopping malls. John Roberts argues that this understanding of the everyday downgrades its revolutionary meaning and philosophical implications. Bringing radical political theory back to the centre of the discussion, he shows how notions (...) of cultural democratization have been oversimplified. Asserting that the everyday should not be narrowly identified with the popular, Roberts critiques the way in which the concept is now overly associated with consumption and 'ordinariness'. Engaging with the work of key thinkers including, Lukacs, Arvatov, Benjamin, Lefebvre, Gramsci, Barthes, Vaneigem, and de Certeau, Roberts shows how the concept of the everyday continues to be central to debates on ideology, revolution and praxis. He offers a lucid account of different approaches that developed over the course of the twentieth century, making this an ideal book for anyone looking for a politicised approach to culturaltheory. John Roberts is a Senior Research Fellow in Fine Art at the University of Wolverhampton. He is the author of The Art of Interruption: Realism, Photography and the Everyday (Manchester University Press, 1997) and The Philistine Controversy (Verso, with Dave Beech, 2002), plus other books and numerous articles, in Radical Philosophy and elsewhere. (shrink)
Feminist theory is a central strand of cultural studies. This book explores the history of feminist cultural studies from the early work of Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, through the 1970s Women's Liberation Movement. It also provides a comprehensive introduction to the contemporary key approaches, theories and debates of feminist theory within cultural studies, offering a major re-mapping of the field. It will be an essential text for students taking courses (...) within both cultural studies and women's studies departments. (shrink)
The texts selected here present the entire scope of the Lacan debate, from the late 1970s through the present. Focusing on the four principal domains of Lacan's influence--psychoanalytic theory and practice, philosophy, social sciences, and cultural studies, this set includes a new introduction by the editor and a thorough index.
Economics and culture are in a complex, developing relation to each other. Yet, to introduce ?culture? into economic theory requires, first of all, an appropriate understanding of culture itself. The crucial point of this paper is that culture in its development and structure is only understandable if one considers it in connection with the autonomous structural development of the forms with which the subjects experience and construct their world. In recognition of the socio?cultural organization of human society, there (...) is no absolute autonomy of individuals in comparison to society and economics, while together with this interdependency the development of rationality exceeds mere instrumentality. Through ontogenesis, every individual is located ?within the boundaries of society?. What are consequences for economic theory? First of all: Economics is a cultural science in a double sense. Its object is the changing world of economic phenomena that are bound in a very specific cultural context. However, culture is not only relevant for the phenomena of socio?economic life, but also for the phenomena of economic science, i.e. for the development of economic thought. (shrink)
Hunt and Vitell''s General Theory (1992) is used in a cross-cultural comparison of U.S. and Taiwanese business practitioners. Results indicate that Taiwanese practitioners exhibit lower perceptions of an ethical issue in a scenario based on bribery, as well as milder deontological evaluations and ethical judgments relative to their U.S. counterparts. In addition, Taiwan respondents showed higher likelihood of making the payment. Several of the paths between variables in the theory are confirmed in both U.S. and Taiwan samples, (...) with summary data suggesting the Hunt and Vitell theory performs well in both U.S. and Taiwan. Some unanticipated linkages within the model were uncovered in the samples. Results and implications are discussed. (shrink)
A philosopher of education, Jim Garrison, has suggested that John Dewey's philosophy is a philosophy of cultural retooling and that Dewey adopted both his conception of work and the idea of tool as "a middle term between subject and object” from Hegel. This interpretation raises the question of what the relationship of the idea of cultural retooling in Dewey’s work is to his naturalism and to his allegiance to Darwinian biological functionalism. To deal with this problem, this paper (...) analyzes how the idea of cultural retooling is elaborated in Dewey’s logic and in his theory of reflective thinking and compares it to the concept of retooling in Vygotsky and activity theory. Dewey does recognize the significance of tools in human practice and the role of language in the formation of meaning. However, in his theory of thinking and problem solving, he primarily resorts to the biological or ecological language of the organism–environment, in which the concepts of habit and situation play a central role. It is argued that this language does not deal with the functions and relationships of different kinds of tools and artifacts in changes of activity nor supply satisfactory means of analyzing the historical, institutionalized and cultural dimensions of human activity. (shrink)
The second edition of Cultural Studies and the New Humanities provides a comprehensive overview of issues in the humanities at the turn of the new millennium, providing historical background, defining key terms, and introducing the ideas of key thinkers. This second edition has been thoroughly revised and updated, and new chapters have been added about the rise of visual cultures and the fierce contemporary debate between identity politics and queer theory.
The branch of evolutionary theory known as signaling theory attempts to explain various forms of communication. Social scientists have explained many traditional rituals as forms of communication that promote cooperative social relationships among participants. Both evolutionists and social scientists have realized the importance of trust for the formation and maintenance of cooperative social relationships. These factors have led to attempts to apply signaling theory to traditional cultural rituals in various ways. This paper uses the traditional ritual (...) of mumming in small Newfoundland fishing villages to evaluate alternative hypotheses about the connection between rituals, communication, trust, and cooperation. Mumming is found to be most consistent with the hypothesis that it is a ritual of trust wherein participants take a specific type of risk: the risk of harm at the hands of other participants. Individuals who take this risk actively signal their trust. Conversely, individuals who restrain themselves from inflicting harm on other participants actively signal their trustworthiness. (shrink)
Pierre Bourdieu's theory of cultural change is more powerful and comprehensive than other recent theories, which neglect one or another of the important dimensions of cultural markets. Bourdieu's theory conceptualizes both the supply and demand sides of the market, as well as specifying their interaction with external social factors. Two cases from American culture are developed to demonstrate the explanatory power of Bourdieu's theory of cultural change: the demise of tail fins in automobile design (...) and the fall of modernism in architecture. These cases reveal, however, that Bourdieu's theory fails to account for the leveling of cultural hierarchies and the emergence of pluralized cultural fields. The general conditions for such leveling and pluralization are developed from a comparison of the two cases. (shrink)
The principles of liberal political theory are often said to be "freestanding." Are they indeed sufficiently detached from the cultural setting where they emerged to be intelligible to people with other backgrounds? To answer this question, this essay examines the Indian secularism debate and develops a hypothesis on the process whereby liberal principles crystallized in the West and spread elsewhere. It argues that the secularization of western political thought has not produced independent rational principles, but transformed theological ideas (...) into the "topoi" of a culture. Like all topoi, the principles of liberalism depend on other clusters of ideas present in western societies. When they migrate to new settings, the absence of these surrounding ideas presents fundamental obstacles to the interpretation and elaboration of liberal principles. The case of Indian secularism illustrates the cultural limitations of liberal political theory rather than showing its universal significance. (shrink)
Learning is a changing phenomenon, depending on the advances in theory and research. This book presents a relatively new approach to learning, based on meaningful human activities in cultural practices and in collaboration with others. It draws extensively from the ideas of Lev Vygotsky and his recent followers. The book presents ideas that elaborate this learning theory and also gives recent developments and applications of this approach in a variety of educational situations in and outside of school. (...) A core issue in the research presented in this book consists of the way people learn to make sense of and give meaning to cultural instruments and practices in collaboration with others. (shrink)
Darwinian theories of culture need to show that they improve upon the commonsense view that cultural change is explained by humans? skillful pursuit of their conscious goals. In order for meme theory to pull its weight, it is not enough to show that the development and spread of an idea is, broadly speaking, Darwinian, in the sense that it proceeds by the accumulation of change through the differential survival and transmission of varying elements. It could still be the (...) case that the best explanation of why the idea has developed and spread is the conscious pursuit of human goals. Meme theory has the potential to do explanatory work in diverse ways. It can challenge the goal-based account of cultural change directly. Other possibilities for meme theory include explaining the acquisition of our goals and showing that memes and genes evolve together, each affecting the selective forces acting on the other. Raising the question of meme theory?s explanatory payoff brings out the importance of the ?selfish-meme? idea and the idea of non-content biases. Both have the potential to challenge the claim that our goals are in the driver?s seat. In order to show that a Darwinian theory of culture is more than an idle redescription, however, it is necessary to make the case that it offers explanatory gain over its competitors, in particular over the common sense goal-based account. (shrink)
Subjective experience is transformed into objective reality for societal members through cultural idea systems that can be represented with theory and data models. A theory model shows relationships and their logical implications that structure a cultural idea system. A data model expresses patterning found in ethnographic observations regarding the behavioral implementation of cultural idea systems. An example of this duality for modeling cultural idea systems is illustrated with Arabic proverbs that structurally link friend and (...) enemy as concepts through a culturally defined computational system. Computational systems also generate new concepts, as will be illustrated through a theory model for the structure of a .. (shrink)
Within the traditions of critical social theory and cultural criticism, there are many models of cultural studies. Both classical and contemporary social theory have engaged the relationships between culture and society, and provided a variety of types of studies of culture. From this perspective, there are neo-Marxian models of cultural studies ranging from the Frankfurt School to Althusserian paradigms; there are neo-Weberian, neo-Durkheimian, poststructuralist, and feminist studies of culture; and there are a wide range of (...) eclectic approaches that apply distinctive social theories to the study of culture. (shrink)
It is with great pleasure that I remember my visit to the University of Alberta in Fall 1995, and I would like especially to thank Eric Higgs, Andrew Light, and Ray Morrow for making my visit an especially memorable one. During my visit, we participated in a series of seminars on postmodern theory, critical theory, media culture, cultural studies, and the philosophy of technology and not surprisingly these themes were the focus of the symposium of my book (...) Media Culture, which we are now committing to print. Accordingly, I shall respond to each of the three commentators, focusing on the themes which they highlighted. This will enable me to clarify my positions on media culture, the philosophy of technology, and the Internet (Higgs); social theory, media culture, and cultural studies (Morrow); and media culture, identity, and identity politics (Light). The interconnection of these issues in Media Culture and my work in general points, I would argue, for the need to develop transdisciplinary theories to confront the issues, problems, and challenges of the contemporary moment as we negotiate the troubled terrain between the modern and the postmodern. (shrink)
The greatest challenge for Cultural Selection Theory lies is the paucity of evidence for structural mechanisms in cultural systems that are sufficient for adaptation by natural selection. In part, clarification is required with respect to the interaction between cultural systems and their purported selective environments. Edmonds et al. have argued that Cultural Selection Theory requires simple, conclusive, unambiguous case studies in order to meet this challenge. To that end, this paper examines the songs of (...) the Rufous-collared Sparrow, which seem to exhibit cultural adaptations minimizing signal degradation relative to local environments. Specifically, the more forested the habitat, the more the tail end of the song resembles a whistle rather than a trill; yet, variation in song is uncorrelated with genetic variation. This paper explores the mechanisms responsible for these putative acoustic adaptations through a series of computer simulations. The main point of this research is not to test this model, but to demonstrate that models of this type have the resources to meet the in-principle objections that have been raised against Cultural Selection Theory. This research lends much-needed empirical support to Cultural Selection Theory by clarifying the nature of the interaction between culture and environment. It also contributes to evolutionary theory by clarifying the scope and limits of adaptation by natural selection. (shrink)
Summary and ConclusionsThis paper presents the argument that the character of illness in psychiatry requires embracing phenomena which falls outside the area of concern of basic biologic sciences. The argument is developed by introducing the idea of a “theory of illness,” a cultural trait of a society, and by examining features of our biomedical theory of illness. The disease “depression” is then examined in terms of this theory. A basic point made is that an appraisal of (...) any medical system involves dealing with social factors and cultural conventions. Another one is that the effective and prudent application of biomedical knowledge requires dealing with neurobiologic as well as social and cultural factors that in a complementary fashion provide understanding about the organization and meaning of behavior. An emphasis on the organization and meaning of behavior, with the aim of uncovering illness conditions which can be effectively controlled, is and very likely will continue to be a central concern of psychiatry. (shrink)
Cultural evolutionary theory, like other evolutionary theories, links individual-level and population or society-level phenomena. It provides numerous bridges between social psychology and other disciplines and sub-disciplines. The theory uses mathematical models to understand the population-level consequences of the individual-level processes of individual and social learning. The theory has been used to explain group-level behavior such as cooperation, altruism, and the cross-cultural variation associated with social institutions. The empirical study of social psychological assumptions of such models (...) and experimental tests of cultural-evolutionary hypotheses are in their infancy. (shrink)
This paper traces the historical origins of Friedrich A. Hayek's theory of cultural evolution, and argues that Hayek's evolutionary thought was significantly inspired by Alexander M. Carr-Saunders and Oxford zoology. While traditional Hayek scholarship emphasizes the influence of Carl Menger and the British eighteenth-century moral philosophers, I claim that these sources underdetermine what was most characteristic of Hayek's theory, viz. the idea that cultural evolution is a matter of group selection, and the idea that natural selection (...) operates on acquired as well as on inherited properties. (shrink)
This paper examines conceptual issues that arise in applications of Darwinian natural selection to cultural systems. I argue that many criticisms of cultural selectionist models have been based on an over-detailed reading of the analogy between biological and cultural units of selection. I identify five of the most powerful objections to cultural selection theory and argue that none cuts to its heart. Some objections are based on mistaken assumptions about the simplicity of the mechanisms of (...) biological heredity. Other objections are attributable, rather, to mistaken inferences from observations of biological subject matter to what is essential in natural selection. I argue that such features are idiosyncratic of biological systems, but not essential for natural selection. My arguments throughout are illustrated by examples from biological and cultural evolution, and counter-factual illustrations from the history of theoretical biology. Introduction Cultural Selection Theory First Objection: Lamarckianism Second Objection: Genotype–Phenotype Distinction Third Objection: Common Hereditary Architecture Fourth Objection: Biological Analogue for Cultural Units 6.1 Regarding strict analogues 6.2 Regarding the trait analogue 6.3 Regarding the virus analogue Fifth Objection: Environmental Interaction Conclusion CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Next SectionCultural differences in end-of-life care and the moral disagreements these sometimes give rise to have been well documented. Even so, cultural considerations relevant to end-of-life care remain poorly understood, poorly guided, and poorly resourced in health care domains. Although there has been a strong emphasis in recent years on making policy commitments to patient-centred care and respecting patient choices, persons whose minority cultural worldviews do not fit with the worldviews supported by the conventional principles of western bioethics (...) face a perpetual struggle in getting their care needs met in a meaningful, safe, and healing way. In this essay, attention is given to exploring why cultural differences exist, why they matter, and how health care providers should treat them in order to reduce the incidence and impact of otherwise preventable harmful moral outcomes in end-of-life care. In addressing these questions, a novel application of the renowned terror management theory will be made. (shrink)
Schmitt recognized that research is needed to identify other factors associated with sex ratio and with sociosexuality that may explain cross-cultural variation in sexual behavior. One such factor may be the risk of sperm competition. Sperm competition theory may lead us to a more complete explanation of cultural variation in sexual behavior.
Examining homology in biological and cultural evolution is of great importance in investigations of humanity. The proposal presented in the target article retains substantial methodological weaknesses in the identification and use of “cultural traits.” However, with refined toolkits and the incorporation of recent advances in evolutionary theory, this overall endeavor can result in substantial payoffs for biological and social scientists. (Published Online November 9 2006).
This paper traces developments in Jeffrey Alexander’s cultural sociology. The aim is to introduce the reader to the key components of this theory as it developed from a functionalist focus on societal values through semiotics and linguistic structuralism to a theory of cultural trauma and collective performance.
From which evaluative base should we develop public policies designed to promote wellbeing among different cultural groups in different circumstances? This article attempts to advance an objective, universal theory of cultural evaluation grounded in a eudaemonistic account of human wellbeing. The approach evaluates cultures on the success with which they enable societies to promote the wellbeing of individuals through provision of needs and capabilities within their given, determinate circumstances. This provides the basis for a normative functionalism capable (...) of identifying and explaining cultural deficits. (shrink)
Niche construction theory (NCT) can be applied to examine the influence of culturally constructed learning environments on the acquisition and retention of beliefs, values, role expectations, and skills. Thus, NCT provides a quantitative framework to account for cultural-historical contingency affecting development and cultural evolution. Learning in a culturally constructed environment is of central concern to many sociologists, cognitive scientists, and sociocultural anthropologists, albeit often from different perspectives. This article summarizes four pertinent theories from these fields—situated learning, activity (...)theory, practice theory, and distributed cognition. As a basis for interdisciplinary investigation, the article considers how these theories may be addressed using a cultural niche-construction framework, including the utility of an embedded model that explicitly accounts for effects of the constructed learning environment on within-individual learning dynamics in an evolutionary framework. (shrink)
Cross-cultural understanding stands as one of the great pillars of multicultural education and yet rarely do multiculturalists provide a full account of what it is and how it takes place. This paper will serve as an initial investigation into the complex nature of cross-cultrual understanding. Drawing on the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer, I will layout the framework for a theory of understanding and provide a concept of culture that avoids the pitfalls of essentialism and instrumentalism. I will (...) then raise, as the backdrop for my examination, the issue of authenticity in the hip hop world. This will allow me to put these hermeneutic theories to work by illuminating the interpretive process through which a hypothetical middle-aged teacher might go about gaining an apprecitaion for rap music to better understand his suburban students who, for him, embody hip hop culture. This phenomenological account of cross-cultural understanding will in turn raise thought-provoking questions about human agency, translation, and the various implications of cross-cultural understanding in the classroom. (shrink)
In the English-language context, Benjamin's influence continues to grow, along with the already massive secondary literature on his writings. This collection brings together a selection of the most critically important items published in the literature on Benjamin, across the full range of his cultural-theoretical interests, from all periods of the reception of his writings, but focusing upon the most recent, to produce a near-definitive overview of the best critical literature. The main national contexts of reception represented are German, French (...) and Anglo-American, but also included are some important items from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latin America and East-Asia. These are mainly in English translation, with many new translations appearing here for the first time. (shrink)