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Malinowski, Rivers, Benedict and Others

Essays on Culture and Personality

Edited by George W. Stocking, Jr.

Publication Year: 1987

History of Anthropology is a series of annual volumes, inaugurated in 1983, each of which treats a theme of major importance in both the history and current practice of anthropological inquiry. Drawing its title from a poem of W. H. Auden's, the present volume, Malinowski, Rivers, Benedict, and Others (the fourth in the series) focuses on the emergence of anthropological interest in "culture and personality" during the 1920s and 1930s. It also explores the historical, cultural, literary, and biological background of major figures associated with the movement, including Bronislaw Manlinowski, Edward Sapir, Abram Kardiner, Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, and Gregory Bateson. Born in the aftermath of World War I, flowering in the years before and after World War II, severely attacked in the 1950s and 1960s, "culture and personality" was subsequently reborn as "psychological anthropology." Whether this foreshadows the emergence of a major anthropological subdiscipline (equivalent to cultural, social, biological, or linguistic anthropology) from the current welter of "adjectival" anthropologies remain to be seen. In the meantime, the essays collected in the volume may encourage a rethinking of the historical roots of many issues of current concern. Included in this volume are the contributions of Jeremy MacClancy, William C. Manson, William Jackson, Richard Handler, Regna Darnell, Virginia Yans-McLaughlin, James A. Boon, and the editor.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. vii-viii

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Essays on Culture and Personality

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pp. 3-12

If the history of anthropology were to be made into a television miniseries, one of its "great moments" would surely be set on the Sepik River early in 1933. Reo Fortune and his wife, Margaret Mead, "starved for theoretical relevance" after two long bouts of fieldwork among the Arapesh and the Mundugumor, ...

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Anthropology and the Science of the Irrational: Malinowski‘s Encounter with Freudian Psychoanalysis

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pp. 13-49

When Sigmund Freud arrived in London in 1938 after Marie Bonaparte's ransom enabled him to escape from Nazi-occupied Vienna (Bertin 1982:200), one of the first English intellectuals to communicate with him was Bronislaw Malinowski. Describing himself as a "devoted admirer of your Father and his Work," ...

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Unconventional Character and Disciplinary Convention: John Layard, Jungian and Anthropologist

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pp. 50-71

To study unconventional characters is to throw into relief the conventions of their day; to define the nature of their eccentricity is to illuminate the central concerns of their more orthodox colleagues; to detail the reasons for their failure (if indeed they fail) is to make plain how others were held to have succeeded. ...

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Abram Kardiner and the Neo-Freudian Alternative in Culture and Personality

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pp. 72-94

Among historians of American anthropology of the interwar period, the significance of the psychocultural theorizing of Abram Kardiner (1891-1981) has remained persistently unappreciated. As a psychoanalyst with some anthropological training, Kardiner collaborated with anthropologists in a seminar at Columbia University ...

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Melville Herskovits and the Search for Afro-American Culture

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pp. 95-126

In the years immediately following World War I, Franz Boas and his students faced a delicate task as they analyzed race and ethnicity in the United States. In a period of intense racism and nativism, Boas used two conflicting strategies to oppose popular beliefs that immigrants and blacks were genetically inferior ...

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Vigorous Male and Aspiring Female: Poetry, Personality, and Culture in Edward Sapir and Ruth Benedict

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pp. 127-155

Edward Sapir and Ruth Benedict have been placed together in the history of American anthropology-as theorists of cultural patterning, as ancestors of Culture and Personality, as humanists and poets. Yet neither Sapir nor Benedict agreed or felt comfortable with the ideas that the other held concerning cultural "integrity" ...

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Personality and Culture: The Fate of the Sapirian Alternative

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pp. 156-183

In 1930, Edward Sapir invited his junior colleague Robert Redfield to come with him to the annual Hanover Conference of the Social Science Research Council. The Conference had its origins in 1925, when the Committee on Problems and Policy of the newly founded Rockefeller-funded Council met in Hanover, New Hampshire, ...

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Science, Democracy, and Ethics: Mobilizing Culture and Personality for World War II

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pp. 184-217

"When it comes to the ethics and politics of their discipline," Margaret Mead wrote in 1978, "anthropologists have shown themselves to be extraordinarily incapable of applying the principles of their own discipline to themselves" (1978:438). Actually, for more than a decade, criticism of anthropology's ties to colonialism ...

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Between-the-Wars Bali: Rereading the Relics

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pp. 218-248

Bateson's words, worth intoning, grace ''An Old Temple and a New Myth," an article about rearranging contemporary concerns to render plausible, and alluring, the past. That article was occasioned by Balinese culture, ritual practice, and speech, meticulously recorded and translated. ...


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pp. 249-257

E-ISBN-13: 9780299107338
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299107307

Publication Year: 1987