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They Studied Man: The Major Anthropologists and Their Contribution to the Understanding of Culture

by Abram Kardiner Edward Preble

This book is an experiment in the description of an episode in cultural change. It takes as its text a segment of the cultural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the period in which, from nebulous origins, cultural anthropology developed into a scientific discipline. The authors have not attempted to write a history of anthropology, for they are neither qualified nor interested in such an enterprise. Rather, they have attempted to relate the seminal hypotheses of the few great innovators in the development of a "science of man" to the ethos of the times and to the specific lives of these innovators. By using this method of treatment, the birth and growth of this scientific tradition can be presented within an adaptational framework. On the cultural level the hypotheses, theories, and techniques of these scientists are portrayed as creations responsive to the collective interests and needs of the time.

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