Nov 8, 2010

Ralph Linton: Study of Man (1936)

The Study of Man established Linton as one of anthropology's premier theorists, particularly amongst sociologists who worked outside of the Boasian mainstream. As a result, Linton was invited to succeed Boas as the chair of the department of anthropology at Columbia in 1937. His appointment was contentious—the Boasian heir-apparent was Ruth Benedict and Linton's appointment by the president met considerable resistance within the department. Throughout this early period Linton became interested in the problem of acculturation, working with Robert Redfield and Melville Herskovits on a prestigious Social Science Research Council subcommittee of the Committee on Personality and Culture. The result was a seminal jointly-authored piece entitled Memorandum for the Study of Acculturation (1936). Linton also obtained money from the Works Progress Administration for students to produce work which studied acculturation. The volume Acculturation in Seven American Indian Tribes is an example of the work in this period, and Linton's contributions to the volume remain his most influential writings on acculturation. Linton's interest in culture and personality also expressed itself in the form of a seminar he organized with Abraham Kardiner at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute.

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