This section considers the consolidation of anthropology as a discipline in its own right. However, there is far from a monolithic building. Like all schools of thought, is directly related to the social context in which it occurs. In this way one can understand the difference between the various national schools of anthropology, which were consolidated during the last years of the nineteenth and twentieth century.
The development of French sociology and ethnology
French anthropology has a less clear genealogy than the British or American traditions. Many commentators believe falsely Marcel Mauss as the founder of the French anthropological tradition. Mauss was a member of the Annee sociologique , the magazine run by his uncle, Émile Durkheim and Mauss while studying the situation of modern societies, Mauss and his collaborators (such as Henri Hubert and Robert Hertz ) drew on ethnography and philology to analyze companies were not as distinct as the European nation states. In particular, in the Essay on the gifts would prove the continued relevance in anthropological studies on the redistribution of goods and reciprocity .
In the interwar years, French interest in anthropology concurred in wider cultural movements such as surrealism and primitivism which resorted to ethnography as a source of inspiration. Marcel Griaule and Michel Leiris are examples of people who mixed anthropology and French avant-garde. During this period most of what is known as ethnology was restricted to museums, and anthropology had a close relationship with the research of folklore .
However, it was mostly Claude Levi-Strauss who helped institutionalize the science in France. Besides the importance of structuralism , Lévi-Strauss established ties with American and British anthropologists. At the same time he established centers and laboratories throughout France to provide an institutional context for anthropology while training influential students such as Maurice Godelier and Françoise Héritier who would become very influential in their school. Many peculiarities of French anthropology today are the result of an investigation in private laboratories than in universities.
The American culturalism
The cultural mainstream was called that way by the special interest set in the analysis of culture, unlike British social anthropology (interested in the functioning of social structures), and ethnology French developed by Emile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss .
The pioneers of American anthropology were members of the staff of the Bureau of Indian Affairs ("Bureau of Indian Affairs") and the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology ('Agency of Ethnology American Smithsonian Institution') and John Wesley Powell and Frank Hamilton Cushing . Academic anthropology in the United States was established by Franz Boas , who took his post at Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History to train and develop multiple generations of students.
Boas's anthropology was politically active and suspicious of government investigations or the patrons. It was also rigorously empirical and skeptical of generalizations and attempts to establish natural laws. Boas studied immigrant children to show that biological races were not immutable and that the conduct and behavior of each human group resulted from its own history and relationships that have developed over time with its social and natural environment, and not the ethnicity of groups or natural laws. To Franz Boas race, language and culture were independent variables could not be explained in relation to others.
Based on German philosophy, Boas (who was Austrian) said the diversity of cultures whose evolution could not be measured with respect to European civilization. Boas proposed as a basic premise that each culture should be studied in its particularity, and it was not possible to generalize about different cultures, as had been done in imitation of the emerging anthropology of science (Boas, 1964: Chap. III) .
The first generation of Boas's students included Alfred Kroeber , Robert Lowie , and Edward Sapir . They produced highly detailed studies were the first to describe the North American Indians. In doing so, released a lot of details that were used to attack evolutionary theory alone. His emphasis on the languages indigenous contributed to the development of linguistic modern (started by Ferdinand de Saussure ) and overall a true science.
The book Anthropology (Anthropology), written by Alfred Kroeber , was a turning point in American anthropology. After decades of gathering grew the desire to generalize. That was most evident in the culture and personality studies conducted by Boasians as Margaret Mead (1967), Ralph Linton (1972) and Ruth Benedict (1964). Influenced by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung . These authors examined how the socio-cultural forces shape the individual personality.
The British functionalism
central thesis of functionalism
Functionalism was inspired by the work of Emile Durkheim . Appealed to the strict parallelism between human societies and living organisms (Radcliffe-Brown, ch.8, Durkheim, 2000: chap. V), as regards the form of evolution and conservation. Both in social structures such as biological organisms, harmony depends on the functional interdependence of the parties. The functions in the light of this approach are analyzed as obligations (behaviors needed) in social relations. The function supports the social structure, allowing the fundamental cohesion within a system of social relations.
A historical perspective on British functionalism
As the anthropologist Franz Boas insisted particularistic attention to detail, in Britain modern anthropology was formed by rejecting historical reconstruction in the name of a science of society that focused on analyzing how societies held in the present.
The two most important people in this tradition were Alfred Reginald Radcliffe-Brown and Bronislaw Malinowski , who released their seminal work in 1922 . Initial investigations of Radcliffe-Brown in the Andaman Islands was made the old way, but after reading Emile Durkheim published an account of his research (entitled simply The Andaman Islanders) that was heavily influenced by the French sociologist.
Over time he developed an approach known as structural functionalism which focused on the institutions of the companies seeking to create a balance or equilibrium in the social system to continue running smoothly. Malinowski, however, defended functionalism which examined how society functioned to meet individual needs. But Malinowski is not known to this theory , but for his detailed ethnography and advances in methodology . Its classic Argonauts of the Western Pacific defended the idea that we need to get "the native point of view" and an approach that wanted the investigators did their work for society, which became the standard in this discipline (Malinowski 1973: Introduction).
Both Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown had success with that, like Boas, actively trained students and institutions that helped develop their programmatic ambitions, especially in the case of Radcliffe-Brown, who plans to spread its teaching in social anthropology universities throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. Since the late 1930's to the postwar period were published a series of monographs and edited volumes that established the paradigm of British social anthropology. The most famous ethnographies include The Nuer, Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard and The Dynamics of clanship Among the Tallensi by Meyer Fortes, while the most popular volumes that were edited include African systems of kinship and marriage and African Political Systems.