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Innovation in Cultural SystemsContributions from Evolutionary Anthropology$
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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

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Fashion versus Reason in the Creative Industries

Fashion versus Reason in the Creative Industries

(p.121) 8 Fashion versus Reason in the Creative Industries
Innovation in Cultural Systems

R. Alexander Bentley

The MIT Press

This chapter is concerned with the characterization of innovation using the random-copying (neutral) model. It explores databases to test differences between genres over the short, modern, and long prehistoric timescales and within several different niches of knowledge production. This chapter shows that social science examples displayed more indications of drift, consistent with the neutral model. It suggests that it is difficult to distinguish purposeful selection from random drift. It highlights an alternative, objective approach which is the revitalized efforts at social modeling within the physical sciences, particularly in network science.

Keywords:   neutral model, network science, drift, social modeling, physical sciences, innovation, social science

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