Anthropology Founding Fathers

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A History of Anthropology: Chapter 3 – Four Founding Fathers

End 19th century: cultural globalisation, cultural imperialism, colonialism → evolutionist theories give a legitimation for ‘superior western culture’ Authoritarian, conformist, evolutionist
Begin 20th century: Modernity/modernism: ambivalent view on truth, morality and progress More liberal and tolerant thought (cfr. 18th century - Enlightenment)
WW I: 4 founding fathers [in what follows ‘4ff’] of anthropology: Franz BOAS (USA) Bronislaw MALINOWSKI (Britain) Alfred RADCLIFFE-BROWN (Britain) Marcel MAUSS (France) → caused modern, largely non-evolutionist revolution in respectively American, British and French anthropological thinking. German tradition remains: diffusionism → 4ff no shared programme, significant methodological & theoretical differences → evolutionism had failed, but evolutionists (Morgan, Tylor) established basic parameters of anthropological discipline

Boas and historical particularism: • Influence from German diffusionism (critical to evolutionism) • Development of theory = sufficient empirical grounding → collect and systematize detailed data on particular cultures → theoretical generalisations (but with great care) • Four-field-approach: linguistics, physical anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology (↔ France, Britain: not specialized, but generalistic approach) • Field work: Inuit, Kwakiutl, NW coast of America, short, repeated visits, teamwork • CULTURAL anthropology (USA): culture = everything mankind has created, including society (material phenomena, social conditions, symbolic meaning) – (cfr. definition Tylor) (↔ Britain: SOCIAL anthropology: sociologically (social structure, norms, statuses, social…...

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