Psychological Anthropology

Imagine preview
(7/10 din 1 vot)

Acest referat descrie Psychological Anthropology.
Mai jos poate fi vizualizat cuprinsul si un extras din document (aprox. 2 pagini).

Arhiva contine 1 fisier docx de 14 pagini .

Iti recomandam sa te uiti bine pe extras, cuprins si pe imaginile oferite iar daca este ceea ce-ti trebuie pentru documentarea ta, il poti descarca. Ai nevoie de doar 4 puncte.

Domeniu: Antropologie


1) A short introduction in Psychological Anthropology.
2) Famous representatives of Psychological Anthropology.
a) Edward Sapir .
b) Ruth Benedict .
c) Margaret Mead.
3) The main issues debated in Psychological Anthropology .
4) Major contributions made in Psychological Anthropology.

Extras din document

1) A short introduction in Psychological Anthropology

As a general idea, anthropology may be defined as the study of human beings as creatures of society. In the 20th century a major development occurs in the field of anthropology. A new form of anthropology was born and placed its roots around culture and the study of human personality, more precisely a new innovative discipline that would seek to place its accent on the relation between culture and personality. This new discipline was to be known for future generations as psychological anthropology. It was created in order to provide a clear answer for some important theoretical questions: “What role does personality play in human behavior? Should personality be seen as part of a structural system? If personality is part of culture, what is the linking cause of it to the structural system? “(Coposescu, 125) In order to see how this new discipline works, they placed the methods of how a child is raised in the centre of their preoccupation in order to reveal the structure of individual personality at an intercultural level. They argued that this issue has a major influence upon culture. As a direct consequence, this key concept will play a crucial role and will be further developed later on. “Psychological anthropologists, who study the relation between culture and personality, would be interested, as an example, about the question: How is the structure of American children personality affected by the habit of watching television, and how do these structures of personality, in turn, affect other parts of culture?”(Coposescu, 126)

2) Famous representatives of Psychological Anthropology

This necessity of bringing new ideas and theories to this matter brought together none other than very skilled disciples of Boas. “While Boas had very wide-ranging interests, his students tended to specialize. Each followed up a part of the master’s total project, and could therefore with equal legitimacy claim to be true Boasians.”(Barnard, 61)

Therefore the major figures which set out to carry this important duty were: Edward Sapir, Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, as well as other contributors. They were especially concerned with language, culture, personality, and biology.

“Like many of Boas’ students, Benedict and Mead paid little attention to the political and economic aspects of the societies they studied, concentrating instead on the relationship between psychological factors (personality, emotions, ‘character’), and cultural conditions, such as socialisation, gender roles and values. These questions were almost entirely absent from contemporary British anthropology. The fundamental problem addressed by Mead and Benedict was to what extent human mental characteristics are inborn, and to what extent acquired. Boas had argued that the sheer amount of cultural variation among humans is a strong indication that

culture is not inborn, and Benedict andMeadwere also consistently ‘culturalist’ in their orientation.”(Barnard, 61)

“Their work concerned itself with the psychological reality of symbols, hence with living with and within myth.”(Birx, 499) By describing the work of the following anthropologists we will not only see the main concern in their studies but also important theories which form key concepts in this domain.

a) Edward Sapir

Edward Sapir (1884-1934) arrived to the USA as a German-Jewish immigrant child, then spent his youth working at the Canadian National Museum in Ottawa, where he was in charge of the ethnographic collections at the University of Chicago. We also need to mention the fact that he studied some Native-American languages and contrary to what people might think, he was very interested about culture and personality. Some would argue that he is best known for the synthesis of linguistics, but his activity was also distributed in anthropology. Then he moved to Yale University, where he founded and conducted a new anthropological department until his premature death. Sapir is regarded as the father of modern ethnolinguistics, and his main work Language (1921) is still a standard work of anthropological linguistics.

To connect Edward Sapir to psychological anthropology, we need to add the fact that Sapir suggested that individuals as such learn cultural patterns unconsciously, similarly as when they learn to use ones mother tongue. Furthermore, he conducts an experiment in which he tries to prove that culture and social facts can be somehow psychological. The next question he tried to answer is regarding this very own theory of his and found out that social processes must be interpreted through human activity.

Fisiere in arhiva (1):

  • Psychological Anthropology.docx


1) LeVine, A. , Psychological Anthropology A Reader On Self in Culture , Blackwell Publishing , 2010 , UK
2) Erickson, P. ; Murphy, L. , A History Of Anthropological Theory , Broadview Press , 2008, Canada
3) Birx, H. , 21st Century Anthropology A Reference Handbook , Sage Publications , 2010 , UK
4) Barnard, A. , History And Theory In Anthropology , , Cambridge
5) Eriksen, T. ; Nielsen, F. , A History Of Anthropology , Pluto Press , 2001 , London