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What are cultural attractors?

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Peer-reviewed

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Article

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Abstract

Concepts from cultural attractor theory are now used in domains far from their original home in anthropology and cultural evolution. Yet these concepts have not been consistently characterised. I here distinguish four ways in which the cultural attractor concept has been used and identify three kinds of factors of attraction typically appealed to. Clarifying these explanatory concepts identifies problems and ambiguities in the work of cultural epidemiologists and commentators alike.

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Keywords

cultural evolution, cultural epidemiology, cultural attractor theory

Journal Title

Biology & Philosophy

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Journal ISSN

0169-3867
1572-8404

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Publisher

Springer
Sponsorship
European Research Council (284123)
The research leading to this paper was supported by funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. 284123.