Wednesday, 14 September 2016

New on Lagraziana's Kalliopeion: Patterns of Culture by Ruth Benedict The Variety of Standards of Human Behaviour:
Patterns of Culture by Ruth Benedict

Confronted with other cultures or just life-styles we all tend to be rather judgemental classifying the one as primitive, the other as aggressive, yet another (usually our own) as civilised, and so forth. Moreover, we use to think in the categories of good and evil like we who were born into an environment marked by Christian-European customs and values have been taught from early childhood. However, what seems perfectly normal behaviour to us may look completely absurd or even immoral in the eyes of a person socialised in a different culture... and vice versa. For many centuries Westerners – almost as a rule – looked down on other cultures. Not even scientists exploring all corners of the world were free of this arrogance. It is thanks to anthropologists like Ruth Benedict (1887-1948) and her likes that today we seek a wider and less biased picture. In her 1934 book Patterns of Culture she brought the then relatively new approach to the attention of the public.

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  1. This sounds like an important book. Reminds me a bit of the work of Margaret Mead.

    1. Yes, an old book and still relevant... even more in times when everybody talks of a "clash of cultures".


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