Ruth Benedict, In Her Patterns Of Culture (1934), Coined The Term Cultural Relativism, Which Means:


Grafton Elliot Smith (1871-1937) — Smith is widely regarded as the founder and leader of the British school of diffusionism, which was established in 1871. The idea developed by Smith after conducting a comparative study of different peoples from across the world who have done mummification is that all of the peoples that conducted mummification originated in Egypt, according to his findings. He came to the conclusion that civilisation was born just once in Egypt and then spread over the world, much like mummification had done, through colonization, migration, and dissemination.

Perry and, for a while, W.



  1. Smith’s major writings are The Migrations of Early Culture (1915) and The Ancient Egyptians and the Origin of Civilization (1923), both of which are considered classics in their fields (Lupton 1991:644-5).
  2. Fritz Graebner(1877-1934) — Graebner is best known as the founder of the German School of Diffusionism, which he founded in 1877.
  3. Graebner adopted the concepts of culture area and psychological unity developed by Adolf Bastian and used them to develop his theory of culture circles (Winthrop 1991:222).
  4. By considering these numerous cultural characteristics, one may construct a history of world culture (Winthrop 1991:61-62).
  5. His most important work, Die Methode der Ethnologie, is the most comprehensive presentation of his points of view (Putzstuck 1991:247-8).
  6. Boas was born in the Westphalian town of Minden (now part of Germany).
  7. He attended both Heidelberg and Bonn universities to study physics and geography.

from the University of Kiel in Germany.

After doing his first ethnographic-geographic field research among the Eskimo (Inuit) of Baffin Island in Canada in 1883, Boas wrote his classic anthropological book, The Central Eskimo, which became a classic in the discipline of anthropology.

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The next year, he obtained an American citizen and accepted a post as an Instructor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Upon joining Colombia University in 1899, he became the university’s first Professor of Anthropology, a position that provided him with the opportunity to train a number of prominent ethnologists who together had an impact on anthropological thought in a variety of ways.

The name Boas is the one that is most frequently linked with the historicist approach to anthropological research.

According to him, the concept that all cultures are part of a single human culture that is growing towards a cultural apex is erroneous, particularly when it is proposed that the western model of civilization is the cultural pinnacle.

He maintained that different civilizations formed separately, each based on its own unique set of conditions, such as location, climate, resources, and specific cultural borrowing, and that they were all related.

After that, a plot depicting the distribution of these cultural features must be created.

Individual histories of distinct cultures may be reconstructed as a result of this information, which informs the investigator which cultural aspects were imported and which were formed independently (Bock 1996:299).

He was a key influence in pushing more women to pursue careers in the industry and to achieve success in it.

Alfred Louis Kroeber was born in 1876 and died in 1960.

from Columbia University in the discipline of Anthropology, which he did in 1901.

Over the course of his career, he made significant contributions to these two sub-fields through a succession of extremely influential essays and books that were published.

The application and development of the concept of culture as a superorganic phenomenon that must be studied using methods that are particular to its nature are other notable aspects of Kroeber’s work.

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Despite the fact that Boas had a significant effect on his work, Kroeber was at odds with his master on a number of fundamental issues.

Kroeber was interested in tangible phenomena and their evolution through time, and he came to the conclusion that Boas did not place sufficient emphasis on these features in his own analyses (Buckley 1991:364-6).

Benedict studied under Boas at Columbia University, where she graduated with a Ph.D.

She remained in New York, her hometown, and continued to work at Columbia University for the remainder of her life.

Through her career, she conducted extensive fieldwork, gathering information on a variety of indigenous groups, including the Serrano in California, the Zuni, Cochitii, and Pima people in the Southwest, the Mescalero Apache in Arizona, the Blackfoot and Blood people of the Northwest Plains, and the Mescalero Apache in Arizona (Caffrey 1991:44).

  • Benedict developed the notion of culture configuration as a method of categorizing particular cultures as a historical development of their personalities or temperaments, which he called “culture configuration” (Voget 1996:575).
  • Robert H.
  • Lowie was born in 1883 and died in 1957.
  • He received a bachelor’s degree from City College of New York in 1901 and a Ph.D.
  • His principal interests were kinship and social structures, which he found fascinating.
  • Primitive Society, published in 1920, was his most important contribution to Anthropology, as it was the first book to critically investigate and evaluate Lewis Henry Morgan’s views of social development.
  • Edward Sapir was born in 1884 and died in 1939.

His fieldwork with the Chinook, Takelma, and Yana Indians of the Pacific Northwest was inspired by his studies under Boas.

in 1909, after writing his dissertation on Takelma grammar, which was published in 1909.

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But Boas and Kroeber believed that the individual should be reconciled with society, and he disagreed.

His opinions on this issue were more in line with those of his companion, Ruth Benedict (Golla 1991:603-5).

Radin died in 1959.

Radin proved to be a harsh critic of Boas’ methods and cultural concept, as well as of two of his other friends, Edward Sapir and Leslie Spier, whom he considered to be his superiors.

Kroeber’s superorganic view of culture was questioned by Radin, who stated that it is the individual who contributes change or innovation into a culture, and hence it is the individual who shapes culture rather than culture shaping the individual, as Kroeber contended (Sacharoff-Fast Wolf 1991:565).

Wissler grew raised in Indiana and went to the University of Indiana, where he received his A.B.

in psychology, among other degrees.

Wissler, in contrast to Boas and the majority of his other students, was more concerned with broad theoretical statements about culture and anthropology than with specific examples.

He was particularly well-known for his use of cultural regions in cross-cultural studies and the development of ideas.

Arjun Appadurai (born 1949) – Arjun Appadurai was born in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay).

Brandeis University awarded him his bachelor’s degree in 1970, followed by master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago in 1973 and 1976, respectively.

According to Appadurai, cultural activity is best understood through the lens of what is known as the social imagination.

This elevated the imagination to the realm of global cultural processes, and it quickly rose to the top of the priority list for all forms of agency.

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