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Ruth Benedict

Page history last edited by runningafterantelope@... 16 years, 3 months ago

Ruth Benedict

1887 - 1948

American Anthropologist


Image:Ruth Benedict.jpg


Strengths: pioneer fieldworker, feminist, applied anthropology to "modern" socieities

Weaknesses: subjective, demeaning, withdrawn emotionally, depressed

Special Features: Shared a romantic relationship with Margaret Mead, her student. Most of her books were published for the American public and became bestsellers.


Ruth Benedict was a founding within the field of cultural anthropology and was a feminist pioneer within the social science. She is more remebered for her work dealing with national character of various culture groups. Studying under Franz Boas at Columbia University, she became committed to social causes such as racism and religious bigotry. Through her work on Native American and Japanese culture, she noticed that culture is to society as personally is to the individual. She looked to better understand the dynamic between the ways our culture defines who we should be and the kinds of choices we make to either make or break that definition. She was also fascinated by the choices that individuals make and by the interplay between individual goals and the dictates of that person's culture. She was one of the first to apply anthropology to modern societies when she worked for the government during World War II by using media outlets to understand their culture. Through hindsight, most of her predictions were correct even though she never visited Japan.


Selected Bibliography:

Patterns of Culture (1934, anthropology)

Zuni Mythology (1935, anthropology)

Race: Science and Politics (1940, anthropology)

The Chrysanthemum and the Sword (1946, anthropology)

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