SIEF2013 11th Congress.
Urban, Greg: Four forces affecting cultural motion.

Video by: UTTV 01.07.2013 3537 views Cultural Science and Arts



Properly speaking, "inertia" is resistance to change. At the same time, if we think of culture
as moving through time and space between individuals, inertia is the tendency of that culture
to continue moving at the same rate unless other forces act upon it. Counting inertia in this way
as a kind of inherent tendency or "force," I offer illustrative evidence in this paper for three
additional classes of force: entropy, interest, and metaculture. I show that these forces operate
at the level of micro-processes of discourse replication, as well as in larger-scale phenomena.
The force of interest is the foundation for economic theory and its law of supply and demand,
but it can be glimpsed as well at the microlevel in narrative replication. However, taken alone
it provides an incomplete and distorted account of cultural motion, which takes place not only
at the behest of inertia, but also in response to reflexive cultural processes grouped here under
the heading of "metaculture." The latter can be glimpsed at the micro-plane in self-correction
within narration or in instructional correctives, but it operates as well on a large scale in
ideological formations such as modernity and the emphasis on newness.

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