Responses to the Boasian School of Anthropology Essay

The Boasian school of anthropology. headed by Franz Boas. was among those that pioneered modern constructs in anthropology. The Boasian school was critical of overgeneralising positions or theories in the scientific disciplines. including the cultural evolutionary school in anthropology. taking alternatively to follow strict empiricist philosophy in its attack. The Boasian school believed in the universe holding distinguishable civilizations and that cross-cultural generalizing frequently made in the natural scientific disciplines are non possible in anthropology.

The school today uses the “four field approach” that divides the field into socio-cultural. biological. lingual and prehistoric anthropology. While Leslie White was educated in the Boasian school of anthropology. he subsequently began to oppugn the anti-evolutionary positions of his early instruction. He developed and advocated an anthropological. ethical and political position of the universe about targeted against the Boasian school.

Leslie White embraced two contradictory theoretical accounts of civilization: the sut generts constructs from his Boasian instruction and the materialist-utilitarian model developed out of his concern with cultural theory of evolution. White ne’er reconciled the two but he decidedly gave emphasis to the Boasian-based sut generts in instance of struggles. White feared that the Boasian school’s construct of cultural determinism represented an emasculation of anthropology and alternatively advocated scientific discipline and development. peculiarly 19th Boasian School 1 century theories.

White regarded civilization as superorganic made up of the engineering. societal organisation and political orientation degrees. It should be noted. nevertheless. that White still held on to the Boasian-based sut generts and that he still tended to downgrade the impact made by the natural environment on civilization and society. Julian Steward was a fellow evolutionist with Leslie White. Differing somewhat from White. Julian steward’s constructs of development and advancement was non limited to 19th century constructs. Steward. who was a pluralist in footings of openness to other positions. ne’er aggressively broke up with the Boasian school.

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But he did happen anomalousnesss in the historical particularism paradigm of the Boasian school. Steward viewed development as ‘recurrent signifiers. procedures. and functions’ . in resistance to Boasian’s renunciation of development and regularity in civilization. He besides perceived civilization as superorganic. similar to a limited extent to White’s culturology. Steward’s multi-linear development facet of his attack to anthropology differed from the utmost particularism of the Boasian school but without following the antithetically unilinear development construct of White.

Boasian School 1 References ( December 2006 ) . The Paradoxical Anthropology of Leslie White. Retrieved from the American Anthropological Association Website hypertext transfer protocol: //www. aaanet. org/gad/history/088white2. pdf. Leslie White. ( 2006. July 25 ) . In Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:16. December 4. 2006. from hypertext transfer protocol: //en. wikipedia. org/w/index. php? title=Leslie_White & A ; oldid=65691607. ( May 2006 ) . ESP/ANT 133. University of California Davishttp: //www. diethylstilbestrols. ucdavis. edu/ esp133/133-08l. htm.