Ruth Benedict: beyond relativity, beyond pattern
University of Nebraska Press, 2005 - 379 pagina's
Considered one of the most influential and articulate figures in American anthropology, Ruth Benedict (1887–1948) was trained by Franz Boas and Elsie Clews Parsons and collaborated with the equally renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead, a student of hers with whom she was for a time romantically involved. When Benedict died suddenly at the age of sixty-one, she was popularly known for two best-selling works: Patterns of Culture, which became an exemplary model of the integration of societies, and The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, a study of Japanese culture commissioned by the U.S. government during World War II.†Benedict's lasting contribution to anthropology, however, cannot be appreciated solely through her more famous works. Equally innovative were her unpublished or little-noticed writings, which covered such topics as cross-cultural attributes of free societies, the national cultures of Thailand and Romania, and the comparison of Asian consensus politics with American political patterns. This biography by one of Benedict's last graduate students, Virginia Heyer Young, draws on these works, on Benedict’s correspondence and collaborative work with Margaret Mead, and on unpublished course notes. Young finds the ordering patterns in the rich materials Benedict left in her papers and demonstrates that Benedict was embarking on new interpretive directions in the last decade of her life—bringing her methods of holistic comparison to bear on contemporary cultures and on the dynamics of social cohesion. Benedict’s work, in fact, anticipated trends in anthropology in the decades to come by projecting a framework of individuals not only shaped by their culture but also using their culture for personal or collective objectives.†Young's arresting and nuanced portrait of Benedict in her last years leads one to wonder what direction American anthropology might have taken had Benedict completed the book she was working on at the time of her death.
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Ruth Benedicts Life and Work l
The Search for Boass Successor
Friendship with Margaret Mead
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acculturation American Indians ancestor worship anthropology aspects attitudes behavior Benedict wrote Blackfeet Boas Boas's Boasian boys ceremonies chapter character structure Cheyenne child childhood Chinese Chrysanthemum Chukchi Columbia concept contrast course criticism cultural relativity culture and personality culture pattern described diffusion discussed Durkheim Edward Sapir example explanation field fieldwork freedom function Gregory Bateson human idea important individual institutions interest Japan Japanese kinship Kroeber Kwakiutl later learning letters Linton Lowie Malinowski Margaret Mead marriage material matrilineal Mead's methods national culture notes Ojibwa papers Patterns of Culture Personality and Culture phrase political primitive societies problems Project 35 psychological Pueblo Radcliffe-Brown Ralph Linton relations religion Reo Fortune Review Romanian Ruth Benedict Ruth Bunzel seminar Shaw lectures Social Organization sorcery stressed structure theory thought traits tribal tribes University women writing Zuni