ANTH 3690 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Franz Boas, Marcel Mauss, Cultural Relativism

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Mauss, the gift and the nation of reciprocity. "now that i have given you all these things, i have won, i have knocked you down by giving so much. An inherent mental structure, logic shared by everyone. Mauss = shift focus from durkheim"s "mind" of the group to the minds of the individuals. Shaping humanistic outlook on life, new way of understanding human beings. Inuit knowledge of land compares to geographical conditions of terrain. Minimized the importance of race as a determinant of human behaviour. The proposition that cultural differences should not be judged by absolute standards. Boas claims a holistic anthropological perspective that includes four fields of study. 19th century anthropology: head shape was considered "fixed" B/c the head contains the brain, the head represented a fixed measure of intelligence. Boas: no, head shape can change in only one generation. According to boas, to explain cultural customs, they must be examined from the three basic perspectives.

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