“Journal of Cultural Evolution” meeting at EHBEA 2014

Some months ago I wrote a post mentioning the difficulties that, at times, people working in the interdisciplinary field of “cultural evolution” may face in order to find an appropriate scientific journal to submit their research. Also, I wondered whether, given that the general feeling seems to be that the field is quite coherent, and that it is starting to be “mature”, it was perhaps time for a “Journal of Cultural Evolution” (If all this does not make much sense please go to the aforementioned post).

I was pleased to see that the reaction was  generally positive  – and, above all, that there was a reaction - which made me think that probably I was exposing a common concern, and indeed many people thought that there was an empty niche in the academic publishing that one could fill.

Therefore, with Fiona Jordan, we are organising a meeting at EHBEA 2014 (the European Human Behavior and Evolution Association Conference, which will be held in Bristol from 6 to 9 April, and which is with no doubts a cultural evolution-friendly conference) to discuss about this project, and possibly to start to do something concrete in this direction.

The meeting, which will be short and informal, will be Wednesday 9 April at 13.00 (lunchtime) in the conference venue (I’ve been told that people tend to run to pubs  at the end of the day after the talks; and anyway the lunch is provided on-site by the conference, so we would be there in any case).

I’ll try to post in the next days some material to start a discussion, but of course I’d be very happy if someone want to use this space (or elsewhere) to share some ideas before the actual meeting. Also, please, circulate the information to cultural evolutionists and EHBEA-goers who happen to not read this blog (shame on them).

See you in Bristol!

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One comment

  1. To play Devil’s advocate, “cultural evolution” rather implies that evolution works differently in the cultural realm. That is not really true – cultural evolution is mostly just evolution applied to cultural variation. What differences there are are mostly to do with the properties of the genetic materials involved. DNA is generally read-only, whereas some cultural media permit random access and in-place modification. There are also differences in mutation types and recombination operators. These differences do go on to impact the resulting evolutionary dynamics – but they are more to do with the cultural version of *genetics* than the cultural version of *evolution*. That’s part of why there are more hits on memetics than there are on memevolution.

    As the “cultural evolution” term has become more popular in modern times, we have less emphasis on the nuts and bolts of how cultural recombination and mutation work, and a lot of confusion about alleged differences between cultural and organic evolution. The label perpetuates a misplaces emphasis on where the real differences lie. As Spencer put it: “there are not several kinds of Evolution having certain traits in common, but one Evolution going on everywhere after the same manner.”

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