recent stuff in the print literature

From: derek gatherer (
Date: Thu 05 Jun 2003 - 13:43:20 GMT

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    Article The Evolution of a ‘Memeplex’ in Late Mozart: Replicated Structures in Pamina's ‘Ach ich fühl's’
     Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 2003, vol. 128, no. 1, pp. 30-70(41)
      Jan S.[1]
    [1]The University of Huddersfield.
    ‘Memetics’, a concept most elegantly expounded by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, asserts that human culture consists of a multitude of units transmitted between individuals by imitation and subject to evolutionary pressures. Such particles,
    ‘memes’, are broadly analogous to the genes of biological transmission. Four late pieces of Mozart's, including Pamina's aria ‘Ach ich fühl's’ from Die Zauberflöte, are examined in terms of the meme concept and a conglomeration, or ‘memeplex’, consisting of seven memes is identified within them. The nature of the musical memeplex, in this specific case and also more generally, is considered, particularly from the perspective of its location at different levels of the structural hierarchy. The evolutionary history of some of Mozart's memes is examined with reference to selected passages from works of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Finally, relationships between the musical memes under investigation and memes in the verbal-conceptual realm are explored.

     Memetics and innovation: profit through balanced meme management
     European Journal of Innovation Management, 1 February 2003, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 111-117(7)
      Pech R.J.
      Abstract: One of the major driving forces behind a firm's success can be attributed to its meme management. Memes, analogous to the biological gene, are self-replicating. They represent the knowledge, views, perceptions, and beliefs communicated from person to person. In a business context, memes can be used to manage market perceptions as well as managing the views a firm has of itself. If a firm focuses too persistently on replicating a specific product meme, and by its singularly unyielding focus fails to innovate, a competitor may obliterate it with a disruptive leap in product development. The former firm has failed because of its lack of flexibility and its inability to adapt to a product or market's ongoing evolutionary process. Discusses the example of Rip Curl, the Australian surf-wear giant, and how it has developed and managed three memes that are central to Rip Curl's product success as well as the company's innovative operations.
      How do we learn from each other? Memetics as a new view of human nature
     Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 1 June 2002, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 125-130(6)
      Barnett S.A.
      Abstract: Since 1859 influential attempts have been made to fit the peculiarities of the human species into a
    'Darwinian' frame. The most prominent have portrayed a human nature fixed by naturally selected genes. A more recent, alternative system is based on units called
    'memes', analogous to genes. Memes include concepts and practices and are described as moving directly from mind to mind, as a result of imitation. They are also said to be selfish, to reproduce themselves, and to be subject to a process similar to natural selection. In its most extreme form, memetics reduces a human being to a 'memeplex' evolved for the benefit of memes. Ideas and skills do not, however, evolve merely by competition or by a form of natural selection. Imitation does not provide an account of how we learn from each other, and still less of social change, for this often arises from dissent and originality. Memetics also ignores the complexities of language, and it conspicuously disregards the elaborate exchanges during the crucial activity of teaching. Nonetheless, memetics has made an advance by turning away from the current obsession with genes, and by provoking interdisciplinary debates about humanity as a 'political animal'. If memetics can allow that human beings are argumentative and sometimes rational, it is possible to suggest ways in which it can generate fruitful studies.

    Evolutionary Theology and God–Memes: Explaining Everything or Nothing
     Zygon, December 2002, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 775-788(14)
      Poulshock J. [1]
    [1] Tokyo Christian University email:
      Abstract: It is not uncommon for Darwinists and memeticists to speculate not only that god–memes (cultural units for belief in a god) evolved as maladaptive traits but also that these memes do not correspond to anything real. However, a counter–Darwinian argument exists that some god–memes evolved as adaptive traits and did so with a metaphysical correspondence to reality. Memeticists cannot disallow these positive claims, because the rules they would use to disallow them would also disallow their negative claims. One must either accept that positive Darwinian theological claims can fall within the bounds of science (and therefore be judged on their explanatory merits alone) or must disallow both sets of arguments, including any claims that god–memes fail to correspond to reality. Given that many Darwinists do not appear to accept a modest version of science that avoids negative metaphysical claims, precedence exists in memetic and Darwinian discourse for making positive metaphysical claims as well.

      Keywords: atheism; Susan Blackmore; Richard Dawkins; faith–memes; god–memes; memeplex; memes; memetics; metaphysics; methodological naturalism; noncorrespondence to reality (NCR); positive correspondence to reality (PCR); religion; science; science–meme; theism; theology
      Memetics: a new paradigm for understanding customer behaviour?
     Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 12 June 2002, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 162-167(6)
      Williams R.
      Abstract: Looks at memetics, a new science of memes (a unit of cultural material propagated by an imitation process). Examines its origins and attempts to show its significance for the business audience in relation to understanding customer behaviour. Concludes that memetics is still in its infancy and, because of this, it still has philosophical and methodological issues that need to be addressed before it can be considered to be a new paradigm for understanding customer behaviour.
      Keywords: Paradigms; Consumer Behaviour
      Brand positioning: meme's the word
     Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 14 August 2002, vol. 20, no. 5, pp. 307-312(6)
      Marsden P.
      Abstract: This paper illustrates how memetics, the Darwinian science of culture and creativity, can be used to enhance brand positioning. Using a simple but powerful technique of memetic analysis, it is shown how marketers can unpack how brands are actually positioned in the minds of consumers in terms of their component memes, that is, their "genes of meaning". A demonstration of the validity and reliability of memetic analysis is given through an investigation of how the notion of "healthy living" is positioned in the minds of consumers. The practical utility of memetic analysis in brand positioning is discussed, and the possibility is raised of using the analytical tool to increase profitability by "memetically modifying" brands with true, unique and compelling consumer values.
      Keywords: Brands; Positioning

    Exposure versus Susceptibility in the Epidemiology of
    "Everyday" Beliefs
     Journal of Cognition and Culture, 1 June 2002, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 113-157(45)
      Aunger R.
      Abstract: This paper shows that epidemiology, an approach developed to study the social communication of biological information, can be instructively applied to the diffusion of "endemic" cultural beliefs. In particular, I examine whether exposure to information
    (as determined by physical and social access), or susceptibility to belief (a variety of cognitive biases underlying belief adoption) is more important in determining the distribution of food taboos in an oral society from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Matrix regression techniques are used on optimally scaled cultural similarity data to infer which social and psychological characteristics of the participating individuals are correlated with a higher probability of taboo transmission between them. Results indicate that, despite a lack of mechanized transportation, access to information in this population is nearly universal. Constraints on belief adoption rather than on information flow are much more important in determining the intra-cultural distribution of food taboos. At least for one class of taboo, belief susceptibility is a function of an individual's social role rather than any intrinsic quality of the individual or the believability ("virulence") of the cultural trait. Nevertheless, the processes underlying the dissemination of both cultural traits and pathogens, considered as replicating units of information, appear close enough to justify using epidemiology as a common framework for investigating cultural and biological diffusion.
      Keywords: cultural epidemiology; memetics; food taboos; democratic republic of congo (zaire); social norms

    Pain and Folk Theory
     Brain and Mind, August 2000, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 209-222(14)
      Chapman C.R.[1]; Nakamura Y.[1]; Chapman C.N.[1]
    [1]University of Washington, Department of Anesthesiology, Seattle, Washington
      Abstract: Pain is not a primitive sensory event but rather a complex perception and a process by which a person interacts with the internal and external environments, constructs meaning, and engages in action. Because folk beliefs are central to meaning, folk concepts of pain play multiple causal roles in a pain patient's interaction with health care providers and others. In every case, the notion of pain is linked to a goal-directed behavior that is useful to the person. The wide variation in concepts of pain across individuals suffering with pain underscores the richness and complexity of the pain experience. In some cases involving chronic pain, the patient may form a maladaptive cluster of behaviors around the concept of pain. Patient beliefs and expectations are an important part of many chronic pain syndromes, and patients can benefit from intervention directed at revising the individual's folk model of pain. Memetics offers a framework for identifying the memes that patients hold and determining whether patient memes fit or clash with provider memes.

      Keywords: pain; medicine; folk theory; consciousness; memetics

    The business of memes: memetic possibilities for marketing and management
     Management Decision, 4 May 2000, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 272-279(8)
      Williams R.[1]
    [1] Dundee Graduate School of Management, Scotland
      Abstract: Introduces the business community to the new science of memes. The roots of the meme concept from Richard Dawkins’ original work in the area of biology to the social (business) world are outlined, and the value of its study (memetics) proposed. One claim from memetics is that it can help provide an understanding of the human mind. This claim is explored within the context of advertising and management theory. The conclusion from this project to operationalise the meme concept for a business audience is, however, mixed. Whilst memetics has an intuitive appeal to it, much more is still needed before mankind’s mind may be understood,
    “filled” and manipulated at the discretion of advertisers and management thinkers using a memetic understanding.
      Keywords: Marketing; Advertising; Theory; Psychology

    Being scientific about our selves
     Journal of Consciousness Studies, 1999, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 85-98(14)
      Midgley M.
      1a Collingwood Terrace, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE2 2JP, UK.
      Abstract: We cannot really understand other people unless we make some serious effort to understand ourselves as well. This is well known in ordinary life, but it sets a problem for any psychology which aims to be
    ‘scientific’ by the narrow standards which define that term today. Those standards have sharply narrowed the notion of ‘science’ to exclude reference to anything subjective. By contrast, the older, wider concept of it simply required disciplined, methodical thought, which could of course be shown in many kinds of enquiry (for instance history and language). The current narrowing is perfectly acceptable in the physical sciences but it cannot accommodate psychology. This has become clear from the dismal failure of behaviourism, which was carefully designed to implement it. It is that failure that has made room for the current upsurge of interest in consciousness. This upsurge gives us an enormous opportunity for better thinking. Yet we shall waste that opportunity if we remain so obsessed with a narrow notion of what constitutes ‘science’ that we merely go on devising thought-systems which look vaguely scientific (as behaviourism did) instead of ones that actually help us to understand human life. A striking example of such an etherial, quasi-scientific system may be seen in ‘memetics'.

     Memetics: a new paradigm for understanding customer behaviour and influence
     Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 10 December 1998, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 363-368(6)
      Marsden P.S.[1]
    [1] D Phil Research Student, Graduate Research Centre in the Social Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
      Abstract: The objective of this paper is to provide a non-technical introduction to the science of memetics and to suggest how this new discipline may be applied to the design and development of effective marketing campaigns. The technique is based on a neo-Darwinian evolutionary model of information transmission that may be used to explain and predict the
    “infectiousness” of certain ideas and behaviours. It is argued that traditional marketing theories based on rational choice theory may rely on an impossible homuncular psychology and it is suggested that a viable alternative would be to understand customer behaviour from a memetic perspective - the result of contagion rather than conscious choice. From the memetic paradigm the role of marketing communications becomes one of designing and engineering infectious
    “mind viruses” that will influence customer perceptions and behaviour. Whilst memetics is still in its infancy, it is suggested that memetic engineering may provide a viable and effective complementary framework to standard techniques for developing successful marketing strategies.
      Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Consumer marketing; Influence; Marketing communications; Marketing information systems; Marketing theory
      The memetics of firms, entrepreneurship and the new body politic: the memetics of the marketplace
     Management Decision, 20 August 1997, vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 447-451(5)
      Carney D.P.[1]; Williams R.[2]
    [1] Independent Researcher, Baguley, Manchester, UK
    [2] Lecturer, Sunderland University Business School, Sunderland, UK
      Abstract: If business success were the elixir of life, there have been, and will always be, many who claim to have its formula. Each attempts to sell a new generation this complex, ever-changing solution, and does so with concepts and ideas which are, perhaps, inordinately simplistic in relation to the problem, but which nevertheless can be comprehended. Considers the selling of solutions via abducted concepts and ideas as entrepreneurship. It is a skill to be valued, but it is not without its problems for the business practitioner, as its outcome in terms of downsizing is subsequently proving.
      Keywords: Business strategy; Commodities; Downsizing; Entrepreneurialism

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