ON THE DRIVING FORCES OF CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN PREHISTORY
The question of the driving forces and mechanisms of cultural development in the primitive era rarely becomes the subject of special consideration in Russian literature. As a rule, only specific cases of cultural changes in prehistory, such as the spread of geometric tools in the Mesolithic, pottery in the Neolithic, or the transition to a productive economy, can be explained, but not the process as a whole, not the evolution of culture as such. If, however, we are talking about the latter, it is usually assumed that both in prehistoric times and in later epochs, basically the same factors of cultural development were at work, and, therefore, no special theory, limited to primitiveness alone, is needed to explain them. In this article, I aim to show that such an attitude is incorrect and that one general theory is not enough to explain cultural development; there must be at least two theories: one for prehistory, the other for history. An attempt to substantiate the thesis about the very special nature of the mechanism of cultural evolution in primitive times, which is the main content of this paper, is based on the analysis of archaeological data on the Stone Age and, to a lesser extent, ethnographic data on hunter - gatherers and other traditional societies of the present or recent past. This analysis is preceded by a historiographical section, where the main approaches to explaining cultural changes in prehistory are considered, and at the very beginning of the article, in order to avoid possible discrepancies and terminological confusion, brief definitions of the most general and important concepts used in it are given. BASIC CONCEPTS Culture. We are talking here about culture in the broadest sense. Despite the extreme variety of proposed interpretations of this concept, in my opinion, there are only two main approaches to its definition. One of them-the traditional one-is that culture, before defining what it is, is already considered in advance as something sp ... Read more
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29.06.2024 (24 days ago)
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