In this sense, as a science, it was incumbent on the sociologist to identify the fundamental characteristic that distinguishes science as such, and the manner in which sociology as one more science fits into the scientific field. He identifies three universal types of repetition, physical repetitions or vibrations, biological repetitions or heredity and social repetitions or imitations. As the science of the social then, sociology will be interested in uncovering what the laws are that organize the behavior of imitations in the social field are. Therefore, Tarde understands social subjects as essentially imitative and as being social to the extent that they imitate.
|Published (Last):||13 November 2017|
|PDF File Size:||1.53 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||7.93 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
In this sense, as a science, it was incumbent on the sociologist to identify the fundamental characteristic that distinguishes science as such, and the manner in which sociology as one more science fits into the scientific field. He identifies three universal types of repetition, physical repetitions or vibrations, biological repetitions or heredity and social repetitions or imitations. As the science of the social then, sociology will be interested in uncovering what the laws are that organize the behavior of imitations in the social field are.
Therefore, Tarde understands social subjects as essentially imitative and as being social to the extent that they imitate. Tarde characterizes the process of imitation as being somnambulist; in imitating we are not consciousness that we are doing as such, but rather take our imitations to be subjectively inherent.
In speaking for instance, we do not take our speech to be the imitation of a prior model, to the contrary we understand this imitative behavior of language to be subjectively essential. On the other side of imitation, Tarde places invention. Inventions arise through the intersection of what Tarde describes as two currents or waves of imitation, which propagate or pass contagiously in their movement.
Eventually, two waves of imitation will find a meeting place in the mind of an inventor, producing an interference whose result will be the emergence of an invention that will serve as a model for subsequent currents of imitation. In this manner imitation and invention enter into a self-generative cycle whereby imitations produce inventions which in turn produce new cycles of imitation. It is worth noting that in the case of invention, Tarde takes the brain itself of the inventor to somehow be the agent of the invention.
However, for Tarde, it is only the imitations which can be said to behave according to a truly social logic. Invention, to the contrary will behave according to what he describes as an individual logic.
There are two basic ways in which currents of imitation can interact, either through reinforcement or negation, via each imitation augmenting the efficacy of the other or through the diverse waves of imitation entering into conflict and generating finally the ascendancy of one or the other of the two waves.
Tarde conceptualizes these interactive processes as being properly logical, that is, generating contradictory or mutually beneficial relations which seek to resolve themselves either through growth or ascendancy.
Below the level of the imitations and inventions which constitute the form of the social, Tarde conceives of a field of desire and belief which animate or instigate the movements of imitations and inventions. For Tarde, these will be the social forces, in the properly physical sense of the concept. Desires, Tarde associates with a temporal character, being fundamentally dynamic while beliefs possess a structural or conceptual character, being therefore spatial in character.
Desires animate our voluntary activity while beliefs organize our intellectual perspectives. It is the tendency of desires to move in the direction of beliefs, to establish themselves as conceptually coherent structures reducing in the process the intensity of the initial desire which animated the emergence of the belief.
Taking all of this into consideration imitations and inventions, and beliefs and desires can potentially enter into a diverse constellation of relations.
The question for Tarde however is that we can deal numerically with all these variables that belief and desires a properly social quantities according to their level of intensity or weakness at any given moment. Just as we can measure the speed and range of the spread of an invention via imitative practice, so to can desires and beliefs show different levels of commitment at given moments of their existence.
For Tarde it is statistics which most accurately captures the range of movement which waves of imitation pass through, showing the pure quantity of acts of imitation in the present.
The laws of imitation
Life[ edit ] Tarde was born in Sarlat in the province of Dordogne , and he studied law at Toulouse and Paris. From to he worked as a magistrate and investigating judge in the province. In the s he corresponded with representatives of the newly formed criminal anthropology, most notably the Italians Enrico Ferri and Cesare Lombroso and the French psychiatrist Alexandre Lacassagne. With the latter, Tarde came to be the leading representative for a "French school" in criminology. Work[ edit ] Among the concepts that Tarde initiated were the group mind taken up and developed by Gustave Le Bon , and sometimes advanced to explain so-called herd behaviour or crowd psychology , and economic psychology , where he anticipated a number of modern developments. He was critical of the concept of the atavistic criminal as developed by Cesare Lombroso. The plot is a post-apocalyptic story of an Earth destroyed by a new Ice Age.
Forefathers of Memetics: Gabriel Tarde and the Laws of Imitation
The Laws of Imitation