The Culture And Concept Of Culture

1665 WordsDec 2, 20167 Pages
One of the most influential and central concepts of anthropology is the nature and concept of culture. The concept and idea of culture dominated 20th century thought, and can be used as an explanation as well as an object of fascination for many anthropologists today. While there are various theories and approaches to culture and the interpretation of it, I would solely like to examine the Cultural Relativist approach, and the Boasian thinkers associated with this particular approach. I would also like to examine how the current time period in which the cultural relativist approach emerged truly conflicts with the dominant politics. In specifics, I would like to examine Franz Boas himself, but most notably Ruth Benedict, and the paradoxes that have occurred within the period after her publications. Franz Boas (1858-1942) was a famous anthropologist credited with the founding of the cultural relativist approach, which is a major theory within the discipline of anthropology. What is important for many involved in the study of anthropology is that Franz Boas cultivated a foundation that many other thinkers and theorist built their own ideas upon, especially associated thinkers like Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict (which will be mentioned in greater detail later). What Franz Boas is also credited with, is his efforts of using his academic and scientific background in the effort to combat racism (Liro, 2003). During his lifetime, Boas often cited the difference between the
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