Details zu 10.14361/9783839442364-003

Roy Ellen
Transmitting Symbolic Concepts from the Perspective of Cultural Cognition - The Acquisition and Transfer of Folk-biological Knowledge
DOI: 10.14361/9783839442364-003
The chapters of this book illustrate the transmission of sets of concepts so complex and diverse that it might be thought an unlikely assemblage from which to draw productive comparative generalizations about how knowledge is acquired and transferred. However, issues relating to how knowledge moves around the anthroposphere are in theory much the same regardless of whether we are dealing with movement across the generations (temporal change) or between different groups separated geographically (spatial change), or whether knowledge is technical or symbolic. In this chapter Roy Ellen uses ethnographic data on ethnobiological knowledge to show how an examination of one cognitive domain, one that permits »radical simplification« through the identification of elemental units, can highlight some generic problems in current models of cultural transmission, and the extent to which it might also help us make sense of complex systems of symbolic knowledge.