The Enthography and Ethnology of Franz Boas

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Author: Boas, Franz [Leslie Alvin White (1900–1975)]

Year: 1963

Publisher: University of Texas Press

Place: Austin


76pp with 12 illustrations. Royal octavo (10" x 7") issued in wrappers. Texas Memorial Museum of the University of Texas Bulletin 6. 1st edition.

White's views were formulated specifically against the Boasians, with whom he was institutionally and intellectually at odds. This antagonism often took on an extremely personal form: White referred to Franz Boas's prose style as "corny" in no less a place than the American Journal of Sociology, while Robert Lowie referred to White's work as "a farrago of immature metaphysical notions" shaped by "the obsessive power of fanaticism [which] unconsciously warps one's vision."One of the strongest deviations from Boasian orthodoxy was White's view of the nature of anthropology and its relation to other sciences present. White understood the world to be divided into cultural, biological, and physical levels of phenomenon. Such a division is a reflection of the composition of the universe and was not a heuristic device. Thus, contrary to Alfred L. Kroeber and Kluckhohn or Edward Sapir, White saw the delineation of the object of study not as a cognitive accomplishment of the anthropologist but a recognition of the actually existing and delineated phenomena which comprise the world. The distinction between 'natural' and 'social' sciences was thus not based on of method, but rather on the nature of the object of study – physicists study physical phenomena, biologists biological phenomena and culturologists (White's term) cultural phenomena.


Corners bumped. A very good copy.

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