Martin’s Weblog

Culture and Meaning – Introducing the Ceme

Culture can be considered as the circulation of meanings within a community. A culture can be considered through the nature of its community (members and connections), through the way meanings circulate and through the nature of its meanings (as manifest in ideas and behaviours). Community, connection and meaning are so interconnected that they have to be considered holistically – each defined through the others and each shaped through the others.

Memetics is a powerful theory with which to explore how meaning develops and evolves. In Memetics  there is a “unit” of culture called the Meme – an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices. In Memetics memes are analogous to genes in biology – memetics considers how memes develop and evolve through natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution through variation, mutation, competition and inheritance.

Connectivism considers meaning as emergent from the connections and associations in a network – it could be considered as the application of neuro-psychology associative memory and learning ideas to culture. For connectivism learning and the development of meaning are “the process of creating connections and developing a network”.

For me, Memetics alone doesn’t go quite far enough in considering the holistic connected nature of culture and meaning  – the way meaning, culture and the network (the medium) are one.

Connectivism sees the holistic nature of culture, meaning and the network but connectivism alone doesn’t go far enough in considering how they evolve.

A connectivist  perspective on memetics would view the meme as a network connection configuration – something emergent from the connectivity pattern in a network and something I would describe as a ceme (connectivist meme).

A Memetic perspective on connectivism would view the network through evolutionary terms – seeing variations and mutations competing for selection and inheritance – something I would describe as Cemetics.

What I am proposing is a concept that combines the memetic view with the connectivist view to get a holistic perspective on culture, connection and meaning – the ceme.

Ceme: connected emergent meaning evolution (Connectivist Meme) – a unit of culture which has evolved through the natural selection of emergent variations and mutations in network connectivity configurations.

Cemetics considers how cemes develop and evolve through the natural selection and inheritance of emergent variations and mutations in network connectivity configurations.

Networks are central to meaning, culture and evolution. They define the community and the circulation of meaning within a community; from a connectivist perspective they define knowledge and meaning, from a memetic perspective they are the means through which memes are transmitted and from a cemetic perspective networks are culture – they are community, meaning and evolution.


April 29, 2012 Posted by | culture, media, society | , | 5 Comments