Continuities in Cultural Evolution

Margaret Mead

Language: English

Publisher: Yale Uni Press

Published: Aug 15, 1964


Margaret Mead once said, "I have spent most of my life studying the lives of other peoples--faraway peoples--so that Americans might better understand themselves." Continuities in Cultural Evolution is evidence of this devotion. All of Mead's efforts were intended to help others learn about themselves and work toward a more humane and socially responsible society. Scientist, writer, explorer, and teacher, Mead brought the serious work of anthropology into the public consciousness.This volume began as the Terry Lectures, given at Yale in 1957 and was not published until 1964, after extensive reworking. The time she spent on revision is evidence of the importance Mead attached to the subject: the need to develop a truly evolutionary vision of human culture and society. This was desirable in her eyes both in order to reinforce the historical dimension in our ideas about human culture, and to preserve the relevance of historical and cultural diversity to social, economic, and political action. Given the present state of academic and public discourse alike, this volume speaks to us in a language we badly need to recover. Margaret Mead (19011978) was associated with the American Museum of Natural History in New York for over 50 years. Her early work on child-rearing and personality resulted in such works as Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), Growing up in New Guinea (1930), and Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935). After collaborating with Ruth Benedict in developing the application of anthropology to contemporary cultures, she focused increasingly on processes of culture change, in such works as New Lives for Old: Cultural Transformation--Manus, 1928-1953 (1956), Culture and Commitment (1970), and Rap on Race (with James Baldwin, 1971). She taught at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research. Stephen E. Toulmin is the Henry R. Luce Professor for the Center for Multiethnic and Transnational Studies at the University of Southern California. His works include The Inner Life, the Outer Mind; Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity; and Beyond Theory.