Seeking publisher for 'Cultural Selection'

Agner Fog (
Sun, 29 Jun 1997 12:19:40 +0100

From: (Agner Fog)
Subject: Seeking publisher for 'Cultural Selection'
Date: Sun, 29 Jun 1997 12:19:40 +0100
Message-Id: <>

I assume that most readers of this list are familiar with my manuscript
entitled 'Cultural Selection', which is available at Important parts of my theory are also
presented in my article 'Cultural r/k selection' in the first issue of Journal
of Memetics.

I want to publish the manuscript as a book and therefore I am seeking a
publisher. The problem is that this is a new paradigm which is unknown to most
academic publishers. Furthermore, my book is interdisciplinary to such a degree
that it doesn't fit into any established research tradition. It is difficult to
convince editors to venture an investment in a new and unknown field. Just
writing letters to publishers doesn't seem to work.

One publisher was very positive about the project, but after several months he
backed out with the following reason: "it's not a project that fits well into
any of the defined academic disciplines within which we publish." Of course
not! It's a new paradigm.

So far we have seen several books about memetics in the popular genre, but
virtually nothing hard-core. The emerging discipline of memetics is in serious
want of advanced theoretical treatises. Excellent articles have been written in
various theoretical biology journals, but such articles are unlikely to attract
the attention of social scientists and others who might benefit from the
principles of memetics. What is needed is a book which bridges the
communication gap between the biological and the social sciences and provides a
solid theoretical foundation for memetics in a way which is immediately
applicable to the study of real world social and cultural phenomena.

If you agree on this, then hopefully you will be motivated to help me find a
publisher. I have no experience with publishing scientific monographs and I do
not have the right personal connections. Any help or advice will be
appreciated. If economy is the problem, then I will try to raise money for the
project, but finding funding for a new and unknown area is probably not easy.

A brief outline of the book follows:

- The idea of cultural selection is traced more than a hundred years back in
the history of science. The various versions of cultural selection theory are
presented, and the impediments to advancement of the theories are discussed.

- A theoretical foundation for memetics is elaborated, drawing on many
different areas of research. The complications of defining unit of selection,
innovation, reproduction, selection mechanisms, and fitness criteria, are

- Further aspects like vicarious selection, barriers in evolution, and cultural
selection in animals, are explained.

- Similarities and differences between genetic and cultural evolution are

- The new model of cultural r/k-selection is presented. This model provides an
attractive explanatory power which is applicable to many different areas of
social research.

- The applicability of the theory to social sciences is demonstrated with
examples from the history of religion, political history, sexual mores, art,
music, play, sport, etc.

- Applicability and limitations of the theories are discussed. It is concluded
that memetic models are particularly suited for explaining irrational or
unintended aspects of cultural change.

- Political implications of the theory are discussed in a separate chapter in
order to keep the theoretical treatise value-neutral.

The manuscript is ready for publication. You can find it at the website given

Thank you in advance for any help and advice in relation to finding a
Agner Fog, Ph.D. See my electronic book: 'Cultural Selection'
Denmark at:

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