All Tomorrow's Cultures: Anthropological Engagements with by Samuel Gerald Collins

By Samuel Gerald Collins

• How do we reside sooner or later?
• Are we relocating in the direction of worldwide homogeneity?
• Will the realm succumb to the worldwide unfold of speedy nutrition and Hollywood video clips?
• Or are there different percentages?

In this e-book, Samuel Collins argues not just for the significance of the way forward for tradition, but additionally stresses its centrality in anthropological inspiration during the last century. starting with 19th-century anthropology and carrying on with at the present time within the paintings of anthropologies of emergent sciences, anthropologists haven't purely used their wisdom of current cultural configurations to take a position on destiny tradition yet have extensively utilized their assumptions concerning the way forward for tradition to appreciate the current.

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Conferences on Cybernetics, interdisciplinary congeries which met ten times over a period of seven years (1946–1953) to discuss the applications of Norbert Wiener’s “cybernetics,” “the field of control and communication theory, whether in machines or animals” (Wiener 1961: 11). Although Wiener had applied what would become information theory to physical systems (the nervous system, the homeostat, et cetera), Mead and Bateson wanted to apply it to cultural systems, using cybernetics to describe and predict deviance, schism, et cetera.

As Peter Pels (2003) has recounted, Tylor and Wallace sparring over the existence of the spirit world made for exciting press in Victorian times, with Wallace challenging Tylor to attend a séance with him. Wallace, for his part, took Rousseau’s tactic, holding up the civilized behavior of the Malays he studied and castigating Britain for its manifest inequality (Pels 2003: 259). And Morgan laid into Mormons for practicing what he believed to be atavistic, polygamous marriage. So here, caught in the gears of the Victorian time machine, we have heterogeneous times.

Space operas picture the return of the last broken spaceship from imagined galactic societies to the “hall of beginnings” on Terra of Sol. In the Midwich Cuckoos, John Wyndham killed off the strange, golden-eyed, perceptive children bred by earth women to visitors from outer space. The film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, ended in failure. This deep unwillingness to have children go far into the future suggests that the adult imagination, acting alone, remains fettered to the past. (1972: 47) From the 1950s until her death, much of Mead’s critical output moved from more programmatic pronouncements to more ludic evocations of cultures that may be, whether on this Earth or beyond.

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