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Re: [mythsoc] Disconnections? (was Readings and re-readings)

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  • alexeik@aol.com
    In a message dated 11/29/4 2:07:07 PM, Diane Joy wrote:
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 1, 2004
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      In a message dated 11/29/4 2:07:07 PM, Diane Joy wrote:

      <<I wonder if the middles of countries tend to be more conservative than the

      coasts, since coastal folk have more foreigners and trade, hence they get

      exposed to different kinds of "culture?" So who's more "connected?" (It's a

      model I've used for designing my own fantasy lands.)

      >>

      Actually, the model that most anthropologists and cultural historians refer
      to nowadays has it as "innovative centre vs. conservative periphery". The
      centres are where social and economic power is concentrated, they attract talent
      and creativity, and they tend to process new cultural information at a more
      rapid rate. The farther any area is from such a centre, the longer it will take
      for such developments to reach it, and in some cases they may never reach it at
      all. At times the discrepancy cany be so great that the culture of the centre
      and the culture of the periphery may be perceived as different cultures, even
      though the latter is really an early version of the former. A lot of what gets
      called "Celtic music", for instance, falls into this category: it's really
      the kind of music that was current everywhere in Europe before the Industrial
      Revolution, but survived only in remote peripheral regions, many of them with
      Celtic populations.
      Of course, "centres" defined this way don't have to be in the real
      geographical centre of a culture area. In the US, more trade opportunities related to
      coastal or border regions led to greater urbanisation of those regions, and
      so tended to concentrate social and economic power there, making them the
      "centre" even though they were geographically on the periphery.
      I don't see that there's a marked tendency for geographical centres to be
      more conservative. If anything, the opposite holds. Look at the survival of
      Indo-European tradition: we see the richest and most ancient survivals at the
      two opposite extremes of the Indo-European world: among the Celts and in India.
      Alexei
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