Margaret Mead & Ruth Benedict

by alekosblog

“Benedict’s book was as successful as Mead’s, selling hundreds of thousands of copies over the years, available not just in bookstores but in drugstores, too. Together these two students of Boas, using their own research but also his and that of Malinowski and Mead’s husband, Reo Fortune, transformed the way we look at the world. Unconscious ethnocentrism, not to say sexual chauvinism, was much greater in the first half of the century than it is now, and their conclusions, presented scientifically, were vastly liberating. The aim of Boas, Benedict and Mead was to put beyond doubt the major role played by culture in determining behaviour and to argue against the predominating place of biology. Their other aim – to show that societies can only be understood on their own terms – proved durable. Indeed, for a comparatively small science, anthropology has helped produce one of the biggest ideas of the century: relativism”.

The Modern Mind – An intellectual history of the 20th century, Peter Watson (2001)

Margaret Mead & Ruth Benedict