Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Thanks to Alun, I've learned a new word: extelligence
Extelligence is a term coined by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen in their 1997 book Figments of Reality. They define it as all the cultural capital that is available to us in the form of tribal legends, folklore, nursery rhymes, books, videotapes, CD-ROMs, etc.
One in a long line of attempts to narrowly define the term "culture" or "civilization" in such a way as to be a useful heuristic and analytical concept. Now I have to decide if it's a useful concept: it's not just that it's still a relatively new word and rather obscure, but I'm not sure that it's sufficiently distinct from "culture" or "cultural capital" or "tradition+pop culture" to be worth explaining myself (or not: Alun doesn't) everytime I use it. Gives me the mulligrubs to think of it.

(Yes, I'm reading the latest History Carnival and Ancient/Medieval Carnivalesque today, why?)

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