Social Reproduction

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Mon Feb 18 2002 - 22:35:35 GMT

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    Hi Frankie

    I don't know that everyone thinks social reproduction is collective.
    I have been playing around with the idea, but I don't know where
    everyone else on the list stands on this point. I suspect that just
    as organisms exist at a single-cell and multi-cell level; just as
    there are emergent properties, there has to be a word that recognizes
    processes that function across/at all levels of complexity.


    I don't know of a word but i do think that cultural reproduction is a two
    way process between the individual and society. If cultural reproduction
    were due just to individuals then all i can see i anarchy, and i don't mean
    a political system, but chaos. Conversely, if society is the sole arbiter of
    of cultural reproduction, then you could end up with a society that is
    almost ossified and unable to react to a changing world. My tendency is to
    think that there is a tension between the two extremes, and that given that
    any society is not usually isolated from another, external features such as
    trade, warfare etc provide the evolutionary enviroment for culture change.
    The result for me is that there is an oscillation between the two poles.

    An example might be (and Grant can correct me if i'm wrong) that of Japan,
    which sealed its borders to the outside world, which it considered barbaric.
    With the landing of the Americans in the 19th Century, and the realisation
    that they had to change to survive, there was a top down change in Japan,
    with rapid industrialisation and militarisation, though retaining many of
    the old social structures, some of which remain to this day.

    On the flip side, you have things like the Solidarity movement in Poland
    which came from the bottom up, ie from individuals grouping together to
    challenge the state.

    If culture change were easily explained we would have now't ta talk a'bah't
    (that old Yorkshire dialect)



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