OUR PROJECT

Mimicry is a central term in biology which, over the last four decades, has gained increasing conceptual and analytical relevance in the humanities and the social sciences. While definitions and concepts of mimicry differ widely across disciplines, we introduce a new integrative approach to mimicry as communication. Common to all concepts of mimicry, our research has shown, is that they reference forms and processes of communicative interaction, exchanges of signals between two or more participants operating in a regime of costs and benefits. Defining mimicry as a mode of communication that involves forms of transparent imitation and cooperative deception, we suggest that mimicry and related phenomena of imitation serve a crucial mediating function in processes of interaction between individual organisms, subjects, social groups, and cultures.