Cultural selection theory  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Cultural selection theory is a scientific discipline that explores sociological and cultural evolution the same way that Darwinian selection theory is used to explain biological evolution.

This theory is an extension of memetics. In memetics, memes, much like biology's genes, are informational units passed through generations of culture. However, unlike memetics, cultural selection theory moves past these isolated "memes" to encompass selection processes, including continuous and quantitative parameters.

A good example of this theory is found by looking to the reason large businesses tend to grow larger. The answer includes the benefits of mass production and distribution, international advertising, and more funds for product development. These self-amplifying effects, known as the economies of scale, give rise to selection effects which have a quantitative nature, unlike the qualitative effects described by the theory of memetics.

On the whole, cultural selection theory embraces the inherent complexity of cultural change and vouches for a systemic, rather than deconstructionist, approach to analyzing the way a society's norms and values change.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cultural selection theory" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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