Study of Culture at a Distance

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Overview

The United States on the eve of the Second World War was still a society largely isolated from the world. Facing enemies with unfamiliar cultural traditions, the U.S. government turned to anthropologists for insight. The result was a research effort that continued long after the war, aimed, in the words of Margaret Mead, at analyzing the cultural regularities in the characters of individuals who are members of societies that are inaccessible to direct observation. In 1953 Margaret Mead and Rhoda Metraux produced ...
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Overview

The United States on the eve of the Second World War was still a society largely isolated from the world. Facing enemies with unfamiliar cultural traditions, the U.S. government turned to anthropologists for insight. The result was a research effort that continued long after the war, aimed, in the words of Margaret Mead, at analyzing the cultural regularities in the characters of individuals who are members of societies that are inaccessible to direct observation. In 1953 Margaret Mead and Rhoda Metraux produced The Study of Culture at a Distance, a compilation of research from this period. This work, long unavailable, presents a rich and complex methodology for the study of cultures through literature, film, informant interviews, focus groups, and projective techniques. The book also provides fascinating insights into such diverse cultures as China, Thailand, Italy, Syria, France, Germany, Russia, Romania, and Great Britain and includes some highly original analysis such as that of the Soviet style of chess, a study of Jean Cocteau's classic film La Belle et la Bete, and the cultural interpretation of Rorschach tests administered to Chinese subjects.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571812162
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2000
  • Series: Margaret Mead Series
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.17 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2001

    An astonishingly contemporary work

    Where are you, Margaret Mead? We need you! Mead and Métraux wrote this 'manual' as a guide to the extensive research project called Research in Contemporary Cultures. They were trying to analyze cultures 'at a distance' by looking at their film, literature, interviewing immigrants and carrying out projective tests. Sound familiar? This is cultural studies, but decades in advance of the movement in the United States. Their dead-on portraits of Russia, France, China and Germany show how valuable this approach was. This is a delight to read, and an invaluable contribution to knowledge.

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