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October 14 , 2010

Malinowski, Rivers, Benedict and Others: Essays on Culture and Personality


History of Anthropology is a series of annual volumes, inaugurated in 1983, each of which treats a theme of major importance in both the history and current practice of anthropological inquiry. Drawing its title from a poem of W. H. Auden's, the present volume, Malinowski, Rivers, Benedict, and Others (the fourth in the series) focuses on the emergence of anthropological interest in "culture and personality" during the 1920s and 1930s. It also explores the historical, cultural, literary, and biological background of major figures associated with the movement, including Bronislaw Manlinowski, Edward Sapir, Abram Kardiner, Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, and Gregory Bateson. Born in the aftermath of World War I, flowering in the years before and after World War II, severely attacked in the 1950s and 1960s, "culture and personality" was subsequently reborn as "psychological anthropology." Whether this foreshadows the emergence of a major anthropological subdiscipline (equivalent to cultural, social, biological, or linguistic anthropology) from the current welter of "adjectival" anthropologies remain to be seen. In the meantime, the essays collected in the volume may encourage a rethinking of the historical roots of many issues of current concern. Included in this volume are the contributions of Jeremy MacClancy, William C. Manson, William Jackson, Richard Handler, Regna Darnell, Virginia Yans-McLaughlin, James A. Boon, and the editor.
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