Does the Internet Subvert Culture?

Lead Essay

  • How the Internet Subverts Cultural Transmission by Jerome H. Barkow

    Jerome H. Barkow describes how cultures perpetuate and improve themselves - and how that process can dramatically break down. He suggests that the Internet is creating the conditions for a potentially disastrous social breakdown: When youth no longer respect and emulate high-status transmitters of culture, cultural knowledge is lost. And when that happens, cultures will dramatically change. With this change many adaptive behaviors may disappear, although we cannot say for sure just what will remain afterward. The dramatic substitution of sports stars and entertainers for local authority figures has been going on for quite some time, and its effects have only accelerated in the age of social media.

Coming Up

Essays by Donald J. BoudreauxJulian Sanchez, and Zeynep Tufekci. Conversation through the end of the month.

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