Journal article Open Access

Is there a scientific research program in memetics? - The case of bird songs

León, Malena; Gimenez, Ignacio; Roffé, Ariel Jonathan; Bernabé, Federico Nahuel; Ginnobili, Santiago

Memetics is an approach to cultural evolution that has been the focus of much discussion and has attracted criticism of various kinds in recent decades. The purpose of our paper is to investigate whether, beyond the existing criticisms and defenses, there exists at present any research program that can be adequately characterized as memetic. We will focus, specifically, on the field of the study of the cultural evolution of bird songs, since some authors have used the word "meme" to refer to the cultural items under study. However, not all use the word, since, probably due to its controversial nature, it has fallen into disuse. This implies that to fulfill the objective of our work we cannot appeal to bibliometric analyses. For this reason, we will elucidate the different senses in which memetics can be characterized. Our objective is to defend that in the area of bird songs we can find research that responds to the memetic perspective in all the above-mentioned senses.

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