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Comments for Patterns of Culture

Patterns of CulturePatterns of Culture: 06/06/07

When I was a teen and had a $20 a week allowance, I didn't use the money on clothes or music. Instead I used the bulk of my funds on books. One of those early acquisitions was a 1957 copy of Patterns of Culture. I got it simply because it looked interesting. It was until recently that I realized this book is a classic in its field.

Patterns of Culture tries to separate the assumptions of one culture from its study of another culture. The book starts with a lengthy thesis of cultural relativism. She explains it as the importance of culture and tradition and how it must be taken as a part of the whole study of any given group of people.

The later chapters are cast studies, mostly from various Native American tribes. I remember picking this book up for these chapters. At the time of the purchase I was especially interested in the Navajo and Pueblo cultures.

The chapter on the menstruation huts links up nicely with another book I read in May, The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland. Reading Benedict's book first helped me better understand the setting of Vreeland's novel.

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