From: Vincent Campbell (VCampbell@dmu.ac.uk)
Date: Thu 20 Mar 2003 - 11:52:01 GMT
Welcome to the list, and good question I think.
<My question for the list (and I hope it is relevant) is this: can
memetics play any part in explaining why these norms should arise in
different societies as they have? Perhaps it would be useful to take the
example of murder for fun as the norm that is prevalent in many societies,
though I am sure there are others that may be more suitable (after all, I am
just an undergraduate trying to make sense of both sociology and
There is no need for a universal norm, if such things exist (the
taboo on sex with children would be one strong contender), to have come from
a God or anything like that. Fundamental norms, I would argue are
essentially reflect the long term rejection of non-adaptive strategies.
That would be an evolutionary psychology approach I suppose. Many specific
cultural norms have their roots in social hierarchies- people with high
status set trends of behaviour to try and maintain their status, people with
low status comply with that behaviour to try and improve their status.
Since humans are fundamentally the same the world over (biologically
speaking I mean), it is no surprise to see some behaviours spontaneously
emerging in lots of different places and lots of different times.
Whether memetics adds to this a mechanism for transmission of
cultural traits across communities/societies is indeed a question.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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