Continuities in Cultural Evolution

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Essays reworked from a lecture series give a picture of ideas considered 40 years ago on the evolution of human cultures. Includes b&w photos of indigenous peoples. Originally published as part of the Dwight Harrington Terry Foundation Lecture Series on Religion in the Light of Science and Philosophy in 1964 by Yale University Press. Mead (1901-1978) was associated with the American Museum of Natural History in New York for over 50 years. This edition includes a new introduction by Stephen Toulmin, who teaches multiethnic and transnational studies at the University of Southern California. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765806048
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/18/1999
  • Pages: 526
  • Sales rank: 926,545
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Mead (1901-1978) was associated with the American Museum of Natural History in New York for over fifty years, becoming curator of ethnology in 1964. She taught at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research as well as many other universities throughout her lifetime. Some of her books include Culture and Commitment, Continuities in Cultural Evolution, andThe Mountain Arapesh.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Preface
Introduction
1 The Climate of Opinion and the Study of Evolution 3
2 Stress on Continuity 24
3 Conditions of Early Forms of Cultural Transmission 36
4 Evolutionary Implications of Learning by Empathy, Imitation, and Identification 54
5 Evolutionary Significance of Transmission of Culture through Artifacts 83
6 Borderlines between Learning and Teaching 107
7 Directionality of Human Evolution 145
8 The Unit of Cultural Micro-Evolution 170
9 The Paliau Movement in the Admiralties 192
10 The Conditions of Conscious Participation in the Evolutionary Process 237
11 The Conditions of Scientific Participation 249
12 Difficulties in Creating Evolutionary Clusters 264
13 An Evolutionary Focus for Thinking 282
14 Ongoing Social Forms 293
15 Possible Forms of Centers with an Evolutionary Potential 303
16 Invoking the Future 316
App. A Micro- and Macro-Cultural Models for Cultural Evolution, Theodore Schwartz and Margaret Mead 327
App. B Seven Pacific Cultures 336
App. C Bibliographical Considerations 358
Notes 365
References 423
Index of Sources 465
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