RE: USA Today - interview with Gugatkin and de Waal on animal cul ture

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon Jun 11 2001 - 18:13:49 BST

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    Subject: RE: USA Today - interview with Gugatkin and de Waal on animal cul ture
    Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 13:13:49 -0400
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    >From: Vincent Campbell <>
    >To: "''" <>
    >Subject: RE: USA Today - interview with Gugatkin and de Waal on animal cul
    >Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 14:23:56 +0100
    > <I wonder how media studies defines "media".>
    > I think the problem with leaving terms like culture and media to
    >their uses in the natural sciences, is that these terms are more popularly
    >understood in the general terms that broadly apply to cultural and media
    >studies. In other words, if you asked the person on the street what was
    >culture or what a medium was they're are unlikley to talk about stuff in
    >petri dishes or whatever.
    > A medium is a means of communication. Media studies, generally
    >refers to the study of the mass media. Mass media are distinguished by a
    >number of characteristics, not least their large scale, and thus the
    >dominant strands of media studies are research into broadcasting,
    >periodicals, film, and recorded music. We study the mass media (and
    >generally ignore things like fine art, or opera, which are media too, of
    >course) because of the immense social importance of mass media that their
    >large scale affords.
    > With new media technologies, like the one we're using, the
    >boundaries are becoming more blurred however. For example, at one time
    >media studies scholars wouldn't generally have done anywork on
    >telecommunications, on say, telephones. Now with 3G phones offering always
    >on internet with streaming video etc. etc., the boundaries between telecoms
    >and media are less and less apparent.
    Thanks for explanation of the basics of the media studies field. I'd
    probably enjoy studying film and music in more depth myself.

    I'm lukewarm to cold onthe collapsing of social sciences to biology or the
    cal to arms of the Darwinizers against the so-called "standard social
    science model" bogeyperson. Fields of thought should enjoy some autonomy,
    though bridging should be explore, but not at the expense of one field.
    Would you want a bunch of sociobiologists telling you how you should be
    doing things or trivializing your field?
    > Perhaps in the context of this discussion, media are_tools_of
    >communication. Other organisms communicate with each other with varying
    >degrees of sophistication, but do any other than ourselves use tools to
    I'm still trying to decide what tools are and whether chimps use them. IIRC
    _Homo habilis_ was the species which started using stone tools. If what
    chimps use for palm nut cracking (the "hammer" and "anvil" stones), for
    sponging water , and/or for catching ants or termites are tools, then did
    they arrive at this tool usage point in parallel with the human branch or
    did the common ancestor (ca. 6 million ya?) have some rudimentary tendencies
    which gave rise to the stone tools of _Homo habilis_ and the simple tools
    (if this term is apt) of the chimps?

    I've been reading Steven Mithen's _The Prehistory of the Mind_ (1999. Thames
    and Hudson, Ltd. London) for something complementary to de Waal's book. I've
    just turned the corner early in the book where he introduces Haeckel's
    concept of recapitulation and the honeymoon may be over already ;-) More on
    this as it develops.
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