Unilinear Evolutionism

Decent Essays
In the past anthropologist have compared different cultures and set up an explanation for their development starting from an uncivilized society and transforming to a civilized society. This is based on different theory's that sets the basis of the Unilinear evolutionist thought. This thought is shared and best explained by evolutionists like Taylor, Spencer, and Morgan. This theory views a societies development as a linear path of progression. Here, the western society is set to be in the height level of society and the rest follow the line towards the western view. With time we see that a new theory of thought is set into motion. In Contrast to the unilinear view is Boas historical particularity. He argues that cultural change can't be measured…show more content…
The evolutionist Taylor argues on the definition of culture, "Culture or civilization, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is the complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, moral, laws, costume, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a number of society" (Tylor 2013, 28). Here he expresses the idea that a Society must follow a given pattern in order to qualify as civilized. Morgan view follows the same motion as Taylor. "Mankind commence their career at the bottom of the scale and work the way up from savagery to civilization" (Morgan 2013, 40). Classifying society's under Ethical periods Savagery, Barbarism and Civilized based on their development. Each period containing their own sub-division based on their particular way of life and progress. Finally, the view of Spencer, that expresses the same line of thought as Morgan. "They proved from the general to the special..." (Spencer 2013, 52). In the other hand, Boas believes that even if some culture presents some similarities it will not necessarily determine that every development will follow the same progress. "Parallelism seems to exist on the two continent, it would be futile to try to follow out the order in detail" (Boas 2013, 109). This is due to the fact that progress can be defined by the unique history of the
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