Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The meme is a recently coined name for an old idea: one that explains how culture evolves through a process of inheritance involving bits of information. A meme is thus considered to be analogous to a gene as the unit of cultural, as opposed to genetic, evolution. Some memeticists believe that inheritance is enough to define replication. This article also uses the term ‘imitation’ in the broad sense. However, this is not a definition of imitation which social psychologists would accept. For most psychologists, imitation involves observation of a behavioural model — a figure conspicuously absent when reading a text. This article demonstrates that replication must be something more than just the inheritance of information. The question then is whether cultural reproduction of any type fulfils the criteria for replication.

Keywords: meme, culture, inheritance, gene, evolution, replication, imitation, behavioural model

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.