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Culture and Ethnology by Robert Lowie, edited and with an introduction by Alex Golub

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Title: Culture and Ethnology by Robert Lowie, edited and with an introduction by Alex Golub
Authors: Lowie, Robert
Golub, Alex
Keywords: culture
LC Subject Headings: Ethnology
Lowie, Robert Harry, 1883-1957
Issue Date: 28 Oct 2013
Series/Report no.: Savage Minds Occasional Papers No. 4
Abstract: This number of the Savage Minds Occasional Paper Series presents an edited version of Robert Lowie’s Culture and Ethnology. Culture and Ethnology is worth reading today because it captures in a nutshell the fundamental arguments of Boasian anthropology and presents them in condensed form. It was originally a series of three lectures given at the American Museum of Natural History in 1917. A fourth and final chapter which focused on kinship was then added to these and the whole were published as a small book. In the book Lowie asks a simple question: how can we study culture, and what causes cultural phenomena? His answer is that culture is a ‘sui generis’ (Latin for ‘of its own kind’) force. Each chapter takes up a potential cause of culture -- first psychology, then race, and then environment -- and demonstrates that none of them can explain culture on its own. Culture, he argues, cannot be reduced to any of these things, even though it interacts with them. Neither, he argues, can culture be explained by any universal tendency for all societies to move through the same evolutionary stages.
Pages/Duration: 24
Rights: This original work is copyright by Alex Golub, 2013. The author has issued the work under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license. You are free • to share - to copy, distribute and transmit the work • to remix - to adapt the work Under the following conditions • attribution - you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author • noncommercial - you may not use this work for commercial purposes • share alike - if you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. This work includes excerpts from Lowie, Robert. 1917. Culture & Ethnology. Boni & Liveright: New York. This book is in the public domain. The author has taken care to respect the rights of all copyright holders and welcomes communications regarding the copyright status of this work. Please contact him at
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
Appears in Collections:Mana'o - Papers on Anthropology

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