Anthropologist at Work: Writings of Ruth Benedict

Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead (Ed.)
An Anthropologist at Work is the product of a long collaboration between Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead. Mead, who was Benedict's student, colleague, and eventually her biographer, here has collected the bulk of Ruth Benedict's writings. This includes letters between these two seminal anthropologists, correspondence with Franz Boas (Benedict's teacher), Edward Sapir's poems, and notes from studies that Benedict had collected throughout her life. Since Benedict wrote little, Mead has fleshed out the narratives by adding background information on Benedict's life, work, and the cultural atmosphere of the time. Ruth Benedict formed her own view of the contribution of anthropology before the first steps were taken in the study of how individual human beings, with their given potentialities, came to embody their culture. In her later work, she came to accept and sometimes to use the work in culture and personality that depended as much upon social psychology as upon cultural anthropology. She came to recognize that society made up of persons or organized in groups was as important as a subject of study as the culture of a society.

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