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Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age$
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Alberto Acerbi

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198835943

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198835943.001.0001

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Transmitting and sharing

Transmitting and sharing

(p.156) 7 Transmitting and sharing
Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age

Alberto Acerbi

Oxford University Press

The chapter examines in more detail the processes that underpin cultural transmission offline and compare it with the online equivalents. Starting from the cultural evolution criticism of memetics, it discusses how cultural stability can be achieved both with preservative processes, where new information is passed on with fidelity, and reconstructive ones, where the material is transformed by individual minds in a non-random way. Different domains are characterized by different degrees of reconstruction and preservation. Whereas internet memes are not always replicated exactly, as often thought, digital technologies do provide several fidelity amplifiers that make online transmission, in this respect, an interesting case of cultural transmission. The author finally discusses possible consequences of this difference between online and offline transmission.

Keywords:   memes, cultural transmission, cultural attraction, imitation, cultural fidelity, online sharing

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