The Holon/Parton Theory of the Unit of Culture (or the Meme, and Narreme): In Science, Media, Entertainment, and the Arts

The Holon/Parton Theory of the Unit of Culture (or the Meme, and Narreme): In Science, Media, Entertainment, and the Arts

J. T. Velikovsky (University of Newcastle, Australia)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 39
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0016-2.ch009
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A universal problem in the disciplines of communication, creativity, philosophy, biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, history, linguistics, information science, cultural studies, literature, media and other domains of knowledge in both the arts and sciences has been the definition of ‘culture' (see Kroeber & Kluckhohn, 1952; Baldwin et al., 2006), including the specification of ‘the unit of culture', and, mechanisms of culture. This chapter proposes a theory of the unit of culture, or, the ‘meme' (Dawkins, 1976; Dennett, 1995; Blackmore, 1999), a unit which is also the narreme (Barthes, 1966), or ‘unit of story', or ‘unit of narrative'. The holon/parton theory of the unit of culture (Velikovsky, 2014) is a consilient (Wilson, 1998) synthesis of (Koestler, 1964, 1967, 1978) and Feynman (1975, 2005) and also the Evolutionary Systems Theory model of creativity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1988-2014; Simonton, 1984-2014). This theory of the unit of culture potentially has applications across all creative cultural domains and disciplines in the sciences, arts and communication media.
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Background To The Problem

A long-standing (unsolved, and universal) problem in the disciplines of Communication, Creativity Studies, Philosophy, Biology, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Archaeology, History, Linguistics, Information Science, Mathematics, Cultural Studies, Literature, Media, the Digital Humanities - and other domains and disciplines of knowledge in the arts, media and the sciences - has been the definition of ‘culture’, including a practical specification of the unit of culture. ‘Culture’ has long been a problematic term as there is currently no consensus across all of the various domains and disciplines on ‘culture’. In 1952, 164 extant definitions of culture were extant (Kroeber & Kluckhohn, 1952), and more recently in 2006 the list was extended to over 300 extant definitions (see Baldwin, Faulkner, Hecht, & Lindsley, 2006, pp. 139-226). Summarizing the contemporary state of knowledge about the problem of culture in Muses and Measures: Empirical Research Methods for the Humanities,1 van Peer et al concluded ‘As far as can be seen, there is no consensus on the notion of culture anywhere to be found’ (van Peer, Hakemulder, & Zyngier, 2007, p. 30). Similarly, in a recent survey of contemporary knowledge in the domain of Memetics (1976-2009) - a discipline which aims to identify and track ‘units of culture’ - in the article ‘Evolution of Culture, Memetics’ in the Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science, it is noted that ‘The lack of a universally accepted meme definition and the vagueness of meme boundaries… indeed make empirical studies less evident’ (Heylighen & Chielens, 2009, p. 3217).

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