Boas, Franz

A German-born anthropologist who founded modern cultural anthropology (see social anthropology ) in the United States. He and his students came to dominate American anthropology for the first three decades of the twentieth century. Boas revolutionized fieldwork methodology, relying on analysis of local texts, linguistics, and training local representative researchers to document their own culture . His Primitive Art (1927) greatly influenced later approaches to examining the material culture of peoples.
Using these methods Boas provided an enormous amount of ethnographic data on native American cultures of the Pacific Northwest. He gave priority to empirical ethnographic investigation over any search for scientific laws of cause and effect in culture. Boas was a cultural relativist, arguing that culture should be understood in terms of its own framework of meaning, rather than being judged by outside investigators according to the values of their own culture. He exposed and undermined the grandiose pretensions of evolutionary theory as espoused by Edward Tylor and James Frazer . Instead, Boas insisted on study of cultures as wholes, as systems of many interrelated parts. His later interest in psychology served as a precursor to the culture and personality approach. His other principal works include Race, Language and Culture (1940), and The Mind of Primitive Man (1911).

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • BOAS, FRANZ — (1858–1942), U.S. anthropologist who established anthropology as an academic discipline in the U.S.A. Born in Minden, Germany, he taught geography at the University of Berlin, which led to his Arctic expedition to Baffin Island in 1883–84.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Boas, Franz — born July 9, 1858, Minden, Westphalia [Germany] died Dec. 22, 1942, New York, N.Y., U.S. German born U.S. anthropologist. Trained in physics and geography (Ph.D., 1881), Boas was part of an early scientific expedition to Baffin Island (1883–84),… …   Universalium

  • Boas, Franz — (1858–1942)    German anthropologist who spent most of his life in the United States and is known as a “founding father” of American (i.e., cultural) anthropology, at Columbia University heading the first Department of Anthropology in the country …   Historical dictionary of shamanism

  • Boas, Franz — ► (1858 1942) Etnólogo y lingüista alemán. Fue pionero en los estudios de campo de las lenguas amerindias. Su aportación a la teoría lingüística está en el análisis semántico de las formas gramaticales. Es autor del Manual de las lenguas de los… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Boas, Franz — (1858–1942)    US anthropologist. Boas is considered a major figure in American anthropology and the pioneer of modern scientific methods in that discipline.    Born and educated in Germany, he was at first a geographer. On an expedition to… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Boas,Franz — Bo·as (bōʹăz), Franz. 1858 1942. German born American anthropologist who emphasized the systematic analysis of culture and language structures. * * * …   Universalium

  • Boas, Franz — (1858 1942)    American anthropol ogist. Born in Minden, Westphalia, he studied the Eskimos in Baffin Island. After teaching at Berlin University, he went to the US where he taught at Clark University, later becoming professor of anthropology at… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • BOAS, Franz — (1858 1942)    German/Jewish/American whose is considered one of the founders of ANTHROPOLOGY. He pioneered the technique fieldwork among the Kwakiutl of British Columbia. His works include    The Social Organization and Secret Societies of the… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Боас Франц / Boas, Franz — (1858 1942). Боас стремился сделать антропологию строгой и точной наукой. Во многих своих исследованиях он отмечал сходные события в очень разных, далеких друг от друга областях …   Психологическая энциклопедия

  • Boas — Boas, Franz …   Enciclopedia Universal

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