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Robert Lowie

Page history last edited by runningafterantelope@... 14 years, 3 months ago

Ojaswi Kafle

Robert Heinrich Lowie





Born: 06/12/1883      Died: 09/21/1957

Sign: Gemini


American Anthropologist


Strengths: Emphasized the importance of rigorous scientific research.


Weaknesses: Did not fully utilize the ‘participant’ aspect of ‘participant observation’, presentation of work filled with mainly just facts and figures.



Special Features: Was also interested in literature, and formed literary-scientific societies.



Robert Lowie was born in Austria and moved to the United States, where he studied under Franz Boas at Columbia University. Lowie emphasized cultural relativism and devalued cultural evolution. He worked at the American Museum of Natural History and did fieldwork on North American Indians. He became a famous anthropologist through his study of the Crow Indians. A lot of his works involved salvage ethnography, which is the rapid collection of information on cultures that are believed to be at the brink of extinction. Although he did not believe laws of culture existed, he insisted cultural regularities did. He argued that these regularities could be discovered through intensive scientific research. He later became a professor at University of California, Berkeley, and then went on to do fieldwork in Germany. Lowie died of cancer in 1957.


Selected Biography:

Primitive Society (1920)

Social Organization (1948)

Primitive Religion (1924)

An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (1934)

The History of Ethnological Theory (1938)

Indians of the Plains (1954)


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