Alfred Kroeber and the concept of the superorganic

  • Marko Škorić Department of Sociology Faculty of Philosophy University of Novi Sad
Keywords:
Alfred Kroeber, superorganic, culture, configurations, relativism

Abstract

Alfred Kroeber was a student of Franz Boas, and thus Boas' influence is visible in some aspects of Kroeber's relationship towards biology. However, in the theoretical sense, Kroeber's biggest contribution is the re-formulation of Spencer's concept of the superorganic which Kroeber used to analyze the notion of culture. The paper analyzes Kroeber's version of the superorganic, the critique he received for it as well as the latter (supposed) change in his theoretical position. Also, in Kroeber's anthropological system the classification of sciences and the configurations which are tightly connected to earlier articulations of the superorganic are of importance. Finally, the harmful consequences of such an understanding when it comes to anthropology and its connection to biology and evolution are pointed out. 

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Published
2016-04-18
How to Cite
Škorić, Marko. 2016. “Alfred Kroeber and the Concept of the Superorganic”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 11 (1), 85–111. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/EAP.V11I1.4.