Anthropology and Human Behavior

Anthropology and Human Behavior

Anthropology and Human Behavior

Anthropology and Human Behavior

Excerpt

The papers in this volume constitute the 1960-61 series of lectures before the Anthropological Society of Washington. In simplest terms the objective of the series, and therefore of this volume, is to take a critical look at a variety of strategies available for the study of human behavior in a cultural context. Some of these strategies are old, and constitute the familiar tools of the field of culture and personality. Some are less widely known in anthropology, while at the same time their cultural implications are perhaps not fully appreciated by their practitioners in related fields, especially psychology and linguistics.

The first paper, by Anthony F. C. Wallace, was actually presented at the end of the series and constituted a critical review of the preceding lectures. In this volume it serves in effect as an introduction, providing historical and theoretical perspectives for the individual papers which follow.

The five papers which follow Wallace's introduction describe strategies in the study of human behavior which are in some respects new, at least in the manner of their application. Each draws upon several disciplines. Together they lend encouragement to the hope that we are moving with increasing tempo toward a unified science of human behavior. The first three, by Hymes, Neisser, and Frake, with a commentary on the last by Conklin, have a primary focus on cognition, using the tools of linguistics and of psychology. Jessor's discussion, fourth in this group, combines theoretical schemes from psychology, sociology, and anthropology to elucidate the learning of behavior from a social and cultural, rather than a psychodynamic, point of view. The final "new" contribution is perhaps historically the earliest of all; it might best be called the intellectual history of a pioneer in the study of anthropology and human behavior, Margaret Mead. This paper is genuinely new simply because so few anthropologists appear from their writings to have fully perceived the central strategies embodied in Mead's interrelated theoretical and empirical contributions.

The volume is completed by an examination of the two major bodies of psychological theory which have been the mainstays of culture and personality studies to date, behavior psychology and psychoanalysis. Both were introduced into anthropology a number of years ago, and both are un-

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