Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Innovation in Cultural SystemsContributions from Evolutionary Anthropology$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Michael J. O'Brien and Stephen J. Shennan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262013338

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262013338.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Issues in Anthropological Studies of Innovation

Issues in Anthropological Studies of Innovation

(p.2) (p.3) 1 Issues in Anthropological Studies of Innovation
Innovation in Cultural Systems

Michael J. O’Brien

Stephen J. Shennan

The MIT Press

This chapter reviews the role that innovation has played in the explanation of cultural phenomena from roughly the late nineteenth century to the present. It reveals that tempo and mode are only two of the myriad issues that have as yet been inadequately addressed with respect to the origin and spread of cultural innovation, yet they offer exciting entry points into the discussion. It shows that any innovation in a cultural lineage is cladogenetic, creating a new branch in an evolutionary tree. This chapter also suggests that evolutionary anthropology has made great strides in developing a body of theory that complements biological evolutionary theory as opposed to borrowing it wholesale and hoping that it contains something of value.

Keywords:   cultural innovation, tempo, mode, cultural lineage, evolutionary anthropology, biological evolutionary theory

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.