Accepted Paper:

The translocation of the concept of "culture" between primatology and social anthropology  


Mateusz Stepien (Jagiellonian University)

Paper short abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to track a migration of the concept of "culture" from social anthropology to primatology, and then to compare the ways the concept of "culture" has been understood in these two fields.

Paper long abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the new phenomena associated with the concept of culture used in evolutionary sciences, especially in primatology (see authors such as Whiten, McGrew, Boesh, de Waal, Horner, Carpenter) and a concomitant decrease in its popularity (and perhaps utility) within social anthropology. A process called "naturalization of the social sciences" (anthropology included) is accompanied by less evident process of "anthropologization" of the evolutionary sciences. But such "anthropologization" is done selectively. The question is, what are the factors responsible for the reception of the certain concepts, theories, studies developed in anthropology? How evolutionists deal with problems and dilemmas (e.g. the conflict between the "behaviorists" and "psychologists") essential for classical social anthropology? Do they remain unresolved, abolished or are still hidden? On the other hand, "naturalized" social anthropology (more generally - social sciences) absorbs some contents of the concept of culture, which is based on specific way of its conceptualization stemming from the logic of a scientific discovery essential for evolutionary sciences. So, will naturalized anthropology absorb an unified understanding of the concept of culture developed in evolutionary sciences? Finally, this analysis allows one, both to compare ways the concept of "culture" has been understood in social anthropology and evolutionary sciences (especially in primatology) and to identify a main mechanisms responsible for translocation of the concept of "culture" between these two fields.

Panel P112
Interdisciplinary research and nature-society interactions