Thursday, January 19, 2012

'Patterns of Culture' by Ruth Benedict

Anthropology is the study of human beings as creatures of society.It fastens its attention upon those physical characteristics  and industrial techniques those conventions and values  which distinguish one community from all others that belong to a different tradition.

The distinguishing mark of anthropology among the social sciences is that it includes for serious study other societies than our own.For its purposes any social regulation of mating and reproduction is as significant as our own.To the anthropologist our customs and those of a New Guinea tribe are two possible  social schemes for dealing with a common problem and in so far as he remains an anthropologist he is bound to avoid any weighting of one in favour of the other.He is interested in human behaviour not as shaped  by one tradition our own but as it has been shaped by any tradition whatsoever.

He is interested  in the great gamut of custom that is found in various cultures and his object is to understand the way in which these cultures change and differentiate the different forms through which they express themselves and the manner in which the customs of any people function in the lives of the individuals who compose them.

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