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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In future editions these may be corrected.

If you copy text from this superorgaic, please acknowledge the author s and link it back to cec. Humans have thoughts kroever behaviour. 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. The superorganic is another way of describing —— and understanding —— culture or the socio-cultural system. I have cut it down to just under 8, We can call this the lowest level of complexity.

If we start with the inorganic, it is syperorganic physical universe, all the atoms of elements without life. Kroeber begins the essay by asking the question: There is a parallel, therefore, in the relations between the inorganic and the organic, as between the organic and the superorganic. There may be typos or other errors in the manuscript.


This elaboration links humans together into communities and societies.

If you separate the dog or tree into its separate elements, it dies. The second level of complexity is composed of living things. Race, Language, Culture, Psychology, and Prehistory. They have developed communications between themselves to an elaborate degree, much more sophisticated than other animals. Thanks for your comment and I hope to continue this discussion with you and others, Glenn.

Now to the meat of the paper itself: Please feel free to share it widely, including dumping it in whatever archive works for you. 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.

But HAU may beat me to it. Since you know well the Lowie collection at Berkeley, are there any texts that might be available online?

Do not anthropomorphise culture. If you analyse all those parts, in themselves, or even as a collection, they are not living. What articles come to mind?

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

Both Darwin and Wallace imagined evolution, and neither would have been accepted if society was not ready for the idea. Looking at the relationship between living things and their inorganic components in this way helps us to understand the relationship between culture and persons.


Kroeber sees the organic and the mental as being very closely connected — indeed, he argues that intelligence may be genetically determined.

When it comes to speaking for a contemporary audience, then, Kroeber is his own worst enemy. Difficulty of access supports them. The links are symbolic, not genetic as in biological systems.

I will keep going until I complete a free anthology suitable for classroom use, or until I get bored. These are indicated with brackets. Please feel free to share widely! Or does anthropology have a unique method?

Savage Minds

It operates at a higher level of complexity than the organic. A living entity transcends its inorganic parts. But in doing so, he argues, we miss the ths dimension of conduct that makes human lives so unique. So hard to find good materials that draw students into particular debates or key ideas. But if the organic causes the mental, the mental does not, then, cause the cultural.