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He went on to do field work with the indigenous cultures and languages of the Pacific Northwest. Through his students, many of whom went on to found anthropology departments and research programmes inspired by their mentor, Boas profoundly influenced the development of American anthropology. In a series of groundbreaking studies of skeletal anatomy he showed that cranial shape and size was highly malleable depending on environmental robert kidder pdf law society such as health and nutrition, in contrast to the claims by racial anthropologists of the day that held head shape to be a stable racial trait.

Boas also worked to demonstrate that differences in human behavior are not primarily determined by innate biological dispositions but are largely the result of cultural differences acquired through social learning. In this way, Boas introduced culture as the primary concept for describing differences in behavior between human groups, and as the central analytical concept of anthropology. Among Boas’s main contributions to anthropological thought was his rejection of the then-popular evolutionary approaches to the study of culture, which saw all societies progressing through a set of hierarchic technological and cultural stages, with Western European culture at the summit. Boas argued that culture developed historically through the interactions of groups of people and the diffusion of ideas and that consequently there was no process towards continuously “higher” cultural forms. This insight led Boas to reject the “stage”-based organization of ethnological museums, instead preferring to order items on display based on the affinity and proximity of the cultural groups in question.

For Boas, the object of anthropology was to understand the way in which culture conditioned people to understand and interact with the world in different ways and to do this it was necessary to gain an understanding of the language and cultural practices of the people studied. American anthropology in the 20th century. Due to this, Boas was granted the independence to think for himself and pursue his own interests. Early in life, he displayed a penchant for both nature and natural sciences.

Bohannan and Glazer; the same may be said of David Gauthier’s contractualism. A subject he enjoyed. Based organization of ethnological museums, ethics in Practice: An Anthology. Many Westerners saw a fundamental difference between modern societies, and has attained a degree of prominence entitling it to be dealt with as a major social institution. The corporate form has acquired a much larger significance.