R. Alexander Bentley and Michael J. O'Brien
The Acceleration of Cultural Change
From Ancestors to Algorithms
MIT Press, 2017
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What happens to culture when technology accelerates “cultural transmission?”
A small theater. Hand axes. iPhones. Such fascinating or mundane objects exemplify “cultural transmission” in R. Alexander Bentley and Michael J. O’Brien’s pleasant, quirky thesis. They engagingly discuss a range of topics, from orcas to oral history, to detail, illustrate and explain cultural transmission. Their clear writing is evocative as they outline the forces shaping cultural change in areas as distinct as beer and prehistoric projectiles. The way they connect ideas and historical progression leads to fascinating insights on change, culture and modern challenges.
About the Authors
R. Alexander Bentley, PhD, leads the anthropology department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Michael J. O’Brien, PhD, is provost and history professor at Texas A&M University–San Antonio.
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