the Culture Bomb

Anthropology and the Social Sciences

Now while some of the interest of anthropology in its early stages was in the exotic and out of the way, yet even this antiquarian motivation ultimately contributed to a broader result. Anthropologists became aware of the diversity of culture.

They began to see the tremendous range of its variations. From that, the commenced to envisage it as a totality, as no historian of one period or of one period or of a single people was ever likely to do, nor any analyst of his own type of civilization alone.

They became aware of culture as a “universe,” or vast field, in which we of today and our own civilization occupy only one place of many.

The result was a widening of a fundamental point of view, a departure from unconscious ethnocentricity toward relativity. This shift from naiive self-centeredness in one’s own time and spot to a broader view based on objective comparison is somewhat like the change from the geocentric to the Copernican interpretation of the solar systems and the subsequent still greater widening to a universe of galaxies.

Alfred Kroeber (1923-What Anthropology is About)

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This entry was published on September 26, 2015 at 8:55 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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