A recently published research paper lends support to the idea that genes and culture influence one another mutually, effectively co-evolving. A link has been proposed between the collectivism-individualism scale of national cultures and a gene that affects the supply of seratonin to the body, the seratonin transporter gene 5-HTTLPR. A media-friendly summary of the research … Continue reading Do genes drive culture? New developments in culture-gene coevolutionary theory
Category: Mary Douglas
#approvalmatrix – fourfold typologies make it to Twitter
Here's an older post from the Savage Minds anthropology blog about Mary Douglas's grid-group typology (the basis of the four cultures explored on this site). It's basically a mashup of that typology and an alternative scheme deriving from Pierre Bourdieu (if he wrote for the New York Magazine, that is): highbrow/lowbrow; brilliant/despicable. I like it … Continue reading #approvalmatrix – fourfold typologies make it to Twitter
The meaning of culture
When Glasgow won the honour of hosting the 1990 European City of Culture festival the joke was, Culture? Isn't that what we've got growing on our walls? (from memory, this was Rab C Nesbitt's contribution). It wasn't far off the mark though. I interviewed an amazing woman, Cathy McCormack, who had successfully campaigned for a … Continue reading The meaning of culture
How to deviate from climate change destruction – the case of the Great Barrier Reef
A confession: I visited the Great Barrier Reef a couple of years ago and it was the most stunning experience of my life. The beauty, intricacy, diversity, were amazing. The experience of immersion in this underwater world was and is vivid – literally alive. But I felt profoundly uneasy participating iin the industrial system that … Continue reading How to deviate from climate change destruction – the case of the Great Barrier Reef
Why Psychology fails to explain the Global Financial Crisis
Listening to Australian historian Robert Mann's recent lecture at the Melbourne Writers' Festival on whether neo-liberalism has a future, I was struck by the deficiency of the rush to psychological explanation. In seeking to analyse the supposed inadequacies of the free-market ideology, there is an increasing tendency to rely on psychology as the master discipline, … Continue reading Why Psychology fails to explain the Global Financial Crisis
The Social Sciences – two ways of looking at a chess board
At Crooked Timber there's a nice reference to Italo Calvino's great book Invisible Cities, in which there's an allusion to the different ways we try to make sense of the world.
Why do we disagree about Climate Change?
In his foreword to a recent collection on the social construction of climate change, Nicholas Onuf writes: 'As a social constructon, climate change is no one thing. Instead it is an ensemble of constitutive processes, yielding an ever changing panoply of agents and insitutions, fixed in place only for the moment.' Mary E Pettenger (ed) … Continue reading Why do we disagree about Climate Change?
Accountability is the problem, now what’s the solution?
Individualist social organisation operates on the assumption that accountability structures and measures are the problem, not the solution. They act as a brake on the forward momentum of heroic risk. Who dares wins. The only accountability required is clearly success or failure in the market. Accountability is an obstacle to success that needs to be … Continue reading Accountability is the problem, now what’s the solution?
Can Education reform cope with competing visions of fairness?
There has been some discussion recently about social mobility and parental school choice. This arose, in part, from a UK report on how to improve ‘fair access to the professions’. The problem with almost all such reports and many such debates is that they assume we all agree on what counts as ‘fair’, that we … Continue reading Can Education reform cope with competing visions of fairness?
‘I think we won’: Mary Douglas Interview
Mary Douglas, anthropologist and originator of what became grid-group cultural theory, was interviewed in 2006 by Cambridge anthropologist Alan MacFarlane. An annotated video is part of a large series of fascinating interviews he has conducted over many years. Exerpts are posted at Youtube (see below), The long version is worth watching to find out what … Continue reading ‘I think we won’: Mary Douglas Interview