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Patterns of Culture Paperback – January 25, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (January 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618619550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618619559
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

RUTH BENEDICT (1887-1948) was one of the twentieth century's foremost anthropologists and helped to shape the discipline in the United States and around the world. Benedict was a student and later a colleague of Franz Boas at Columbia, where she taught from 1924. Margaret Mead was one of her students. Benedict's contributions to the field of cultural anthropology are often cited today.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By John Boland on April 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
I read this book many years ago and I haven't looked at it lately. So, this is strictly from memory. What I remember about the book is that from the book I acquired this "insightful idea" : that as we learn our own culture we become a "prisoner" of our ONE culture. We become a prisoner because we only know ONE culture. If we only know ONE culture we have "no choice" but to "live and think" WITHIN that ONE culture. But, if we know two or three or twenty cultures we can then "free" outselves from living and thinking and perceiving in ONE way. We will then have choices BETWEEN more than one way of life, we will have choices between more than one way of thinking and we will have choices between more than one way of perceiving the world. The knowledge of more than one culture gives us "more freedom" of choice. Thus we cease to be "a prisoner of culture". We become somewhat of an "overman" because we are "free to choose" among many cultural possibilities that people with only ONE culture cannot. And, we can become a "participant observer" among many cultures. We can choose how to live, perceive, and think among many more possibilities which gives us "more freedom" of action. This "insight" has freed me to choose "the best" aspects among many cultures thus enriching my life and giving me more choices about how to live my life. If this book does the same for you, then it has served its purpose. I recommend the book because of the "cultural freedom" you may acquire from reading it. Email: Boland7214@aol.com
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52 of 66 people found the following review helpful By greend@newschool.edu on October 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book describes several diverse cultures in depth and detail. The emphasis is on overall world view and the conceptual foundations of each culture. The writing is lucid, involving and evocative. This book sheds more light on the issue of what is basic to all human nature, and what is culturaly influenced, then any other I know.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Etienne ROLLAND-PIEGUE on May 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
For generations of students and readers, Ruth Benedict's Patterns of Culture has served as a general introduction, not only to anthropology as an academic field of enquiry, but to our variegated diversity of cultures. The structure of the book is at once so simple, so compact, and so sharply outlined, that it never fails to impress the reader by its analytical rigor and logical coherence. The study of three sharply contrasting cultures--the Zuni Pueblos of New Mexico, the natives of Dobu in Melanesia, and the Indian tribes (mostly the Kwakiutl) of the American Northwest coast--form the core chapters of the book. They are bracketed by three introductory chapters and two concluding essays. The opening part insists on the role of custom in shaping human behavior, the diversity of cultural traits, and the coherence of a culture brought about by a dominating principle. The last two chapters make a plea for cultural relativism and for tolerance towards individuals who do not fit into the dominant social pattern.

The diversity of cultures and the coherent pattern that they form are presented as the core message of anthropology. The argument is made stronger by references to other social sciences and by powerful metaphors. According to Benedict, all the possible human behaviors are distributed along a great "arc" which covers the whole range of possible cultural traits. Each culture then select along this arc a configuration of human possibilities that fits its environment and forms a coherent whole.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By TMacPhail on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Very, very easy to digest. Anyone interested in the history of anthropology or in Native American Indians will find this book a good read. It's a bit dated, but if you can let that go, you'll get a lot out of it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Service very good. 4 star rating for a book in good condition as described.
A lot of hi-liting not mentioned
Would recommend this book to social scientists especially anthropologists
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By Xi on November 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very nice, I like it, It is what I expect. The quality is very good. ^_^ I like it .
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