Ruth Benedict

Anthropologist (1887 - 1948)

She was an anthropologist with PhD from Columbia University (1922) and taught there from 1923 to 1948. She became good friends with Margaret Meade. She wrote of the differences between the cultures around the world and talked about different patterns related to culture and behavior and wrote four books. In 1934 she published Patterns of Culture which became an American classic and vaulted her to immediate acclaim. It remains one of the most widely read books in the social sciences ever written. She helped to shape anthropology not only for the United States but also the world.

If any society wishes to pay that cost for its chosen and congenial traits, certain values will develop within this pattern, however "bad" it may be. But the risk is great, and the social order may not be able to pay the price. It may break down beneath them with all the consequent wanton waste of revolution and economic and emotional disaster.


No man ever looks at the world with pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and institutions and ways of thinking.

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