Franz Boas

Explorable.com 4.9K reads

Franz Boas is one of the most influential and well-known anthropologists within the discipline. His contributions to anthropological thought have influenced countless anthropologists and academics.

Discover 35 more articles on this topic

Browse Full Outline

Boas is particularly known for speaking out against the then-prevailing ideas of unilineal cultural evolution—the belief that culture is meant to progress in a set, hierarchical sequence leading up to Western civilization. Instead, Boas argued that culture can change in an infinite number of ways, and there is not one path that is inherently better than all others.

Boas was also a strong opponent to scientific racism—the theory that race is a biological concept that can be used to understand cultural thought and behaviour. Today, we can recognize this idea as highly racist, but at the time these ideas were prevalent in academic literature. Instead, Boas argued that culture is a result of social learning rather than biological differences. These thoughts influenced other anthropologists in the field, leading more and more academics to recognize that race is a cultural construct.

Boas influenced many other popular and successful anthropologists, including Margaret Mead, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Zora Neale Hurston.

Full reference: 

Explorable.com (Aug 22, 2015). Franz Boas. Retrieved Dec 09, 2018 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/franz-boas

You Are Allowed To Copy The Text

The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

This means you're free to copy, share and adapt any parts (or all) of the text in the article, as long as you give appropriate credit and provide a link/reference to this page.

That is it. You don't need our permission to copy the article; just include a link/reference back to this page. You can use it freely (with some kind of link), and we're also okay with people reprinting in publications like books, blogs, newsletters, course-material, papers, wikipedia and presentations (with clear attribution).

Search over 500 articles on psychology, science, and experiments.

Want to stay up to date? Follow us!