Frontier settlement and cultural change

Publikation: Beiträge in SammelwerkenKapitelbegutachtet


Innovations and inventions, whether in technology, in science, or in business—or more generally, as we argue in this chapter, in culture—involve the active production of new ideas, as well as the effort to make them work and to promote them so that they are successful. These efforts can eventually lead to payoffs in economic, political, and symbolic terms. If these ideas are successful economically, politically, and symbolically, then they are likely to be adopted by many other people and thus become widely disseminated. Equally important, however, is that any serious innovation or invention entails a variety of risks. The new ideas may not work. The technologies or novel business models may not receive much support from consumers, colleagues, or fellow group members. One may go bankrupt or have one’s reputation tarnished. Our goal in this chapter is to explore the idea that voluntary immigration to and subsequent settlement in the frontier is linked to the ethos of independence. This thesis has been examined under the rubric of the voluntary settlement hypothesis (e.g., Kitayama, Conway, Pietromonaco, Park, & Plaut, 2010). We use frontier as a term that broadly encompasses all geographic regions (e.g., Western states in the 18th century United States) and spheres of human activity (e.g., cutting-edge science, technology, fashion, art) that are at the periphery of existing social entities such as existing countries or regions (and the values, practices, and ways of thinking that are common to them), as well as the conventions and common practices in given technological and business circles. By ethos, we mean a complex of beliefs, values, and practices that as a whole is grounded in certain key ontological ideas and ultimate values such as freedom, community, purity, democracy, and the like. The ethos of independence, then, is defined by a complex of meanings and practices that are based on independence as a value and ultimate goal.
TitelCultural reexamined : Broadening our understanding of social and evolutionary influences
HerausgeberAdam B. Cohen
Anzahl der Seiten34
VerlagAmerican Psychiatric Association
ISBN (Print)978-1-4338-1587-4
ISBN (elektronisch)978-1-4338-1588-1
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 2014
Extern publiziertJa