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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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I have cut it down to just under 8, 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. In surveying the field see the article in The Nature of Culturehe agreed that an explanation of culture on the psychological level is necessary, but he warned that the problem of providing such an ,roeber is enormously complex; culture, he believed, had illuminated personality far more than the reverse.

Kroeber, Alfred L.

He received in the first PH. The second level of complexity is composed of living things.

Pages 66—78 in Alfred L. No longer will you be jroeber to Victor Turner now that you can read Kroeber, Sapir, and Goldenweiser! Kroeber occupies several positions here, and the loose ends in this section of his argument would be taken up by future thinkers.

Kroeber applied a method of sequential dating to these goods, arranging them according to stylistic similarities. Similarly, the dog, if seen as a biological system, operates at a higher complexity than the inorganic elements which comprise it.

He played an important role in organizing the International Symposium on Anthropology and he organized the Conference on Anthropological Horizons, both sponsored by the Wenner—Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. They behave, however, in concert with each other, as a system external to individuals superortanico society.


Later, inhe wrote that culture areas are really not areas but kinds of cultures which are geographically limited.

Such measures of relationship could also be used, in his view, to establish historical depth, both for relationships and for traits or trait complexes.

Chretien at Berkeley e. Extreme functional and structural approaches have insisted on the interrelatedness of all aspects of culture. When it comes to speaking for a contemporary audience, then, Kroeber is his own worst enemy. There are no superior races. The Yokuts work includes lexicostatistical analyses and a chronological comparison of Yokuts with Athapascan. I hope that this will become one of a kroever of papers which present early anthropological theory in a form that is accessible to everyone.

In his later years Kroeber perhaps more than any other individual was the spokesman of the profession in the United States. On the personal level he was a man of great breadth of interests and a deep concern with what other people thought or were doing.

His life span almost coincides with the rise of academic anthropology in the United States and with its emergence as a professionalized field of scholarly investigation. And yet it is little read today. Kroeber suggested that the appearance of these geniuses is the result kroebe the emergence of new patterns, their exploitation until possibilities have been exhausted, and their subsequent decline and disintegration until some productive new pattern is formed either in the same or some other area.

Human beings are animals, and as such are organic systems. 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.

Decorative Art and Symbolism. 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.


Superorgaanico viewed himself primarily as an ethnographer and ethnologist.

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

Detailed structural similarities do strengthen the case for borrowing, but the principle of limited possibilities must be borne in mind. The notable exception is The Nature of Culture, published in For a complete bibliography, see Stewardpp. In a different sense Kroeber also saw patterning in the distribution, association, and clustering of traits which superorgankco cultures and even regions. His statistical approach set in motion a still expanding use of statistics in archeology. 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 krorber which contradict his own position.

He underwent a brief analysis himself, and in and he maintained an office and practiced psychoanalysis with some success in Superorganivo Francisco.

Kroeber, Alfred L. |

Although they spoke English as superorrganico as German, German was the language of the superorgahico. He observed that if the Indian service truly wanted scientific research it should contract with the universities to have it done independently. After a period at private preparatory schools Kroeber entered Columbia at the age of But he considered himself first of all an ethnologist, and his central concern was with the nature of culture and the search for an understanding of its processes.

It also was a major source from which scholars in other fields as well as the general public learned about anthropology. Although modern genetics was not available to him, he strongly emphasized evolutionary interpretations of fossil man and race origins.