Keywords

Evolution, evolutionary communication, culture, meme, cultural transmission, cultural development

Abstract

Whether gathering around bonfires, watching TV, or sitting in front of computer screens, the pressures of Darwinian natural selection have forced individuals into tight patterns of interdependency, welded together by communication links. Can the information-sharing behavior of our species ever be brought into broader perspective and eventually foster greater harmony for all humankind? The authors argue that the answer to this question is «yes». Culture provides the necessary space for social negotiation and change. Advanced communication ability is the means by which this necessary cultural work is perpetually accomplished. A non-deterministic understanding of culture must be acknowledged from the outset. Cultural life differs greatly from biological conditions. Even under repressive conditions, culture is not determined the same way viral infections ravage biological bodies or computers. Technological advances in communication do not simply reinforce and intensify top-down, dominant cultural messages as theories of imperialism, memetic transmission, or social contagion contend. The pace of cultural development over the past 10,000 years has been particularly fast compared to any other time since hominids split from our common ancestor with chimpanzees millions of years ago. Our species’ unique skill as communicators in the dynamic technological and cultural environment of today offers real hope for retrieving the primordial affinities that unite us all.

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Lull, J., & Neiva, E. (2011). Communicating culture: An evolutionary explanation. [Hacia una nueva conceptualización evolutiva de la comunicación «cultural»]. Comunicar, 36, 25-34. https://doi.org/10.3916/C36-2011-02-02

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