A paper presented at the workshop on Socially Situated Intelligence, held at SAB’98, the Fifth International Conference of the Society for Adaptive Behavior, University of Zürich, 17 – 21 August 1998.
Published as: Rogan Jacobson (1998). Positioning the analysis: Memetics as a methodological tool to close the ranks between social and traditional history. In Edmonds, B. and Dautenhahn, K. (eds.), Socially Situated Intelligence: a workshop held at SAB’98, August 1998, Zürich. University of Zürich Technical Report, 61-72.
This paper will look at the evolutionary nature of information replication and transfer, and the use of the new science of memetics as a methodological tool for historical analysis which will help to bridge the gap between traditional and sociological historical methods. Traditionally, modern scholars write histories using contemporary texts and analysing them through the window of hindsight, causality and comparison to surrounding texts; social historians use various methods of analysis to contextualize the information and plot or map the surrounding action, yet these largely treat the content of the text as being of primary importance, more often than not leaving unassessed the contemporary structure of information presentation and replication.