Claims that each society has its own unique historical development and must be understood based on its own specific cultural context, especially its historical process.
Puts a high value on fieldwork and history as a method of cultural analysis
Franz Boas was the key anthropologist in this school of thought. He believed all humans are biologically equal; the difference among human society is the result of culture.
This type of thought rejected what was being studied in the late 19th to early 20th century. The theories of: Institutionalized Racism & Cultural Evolution Model.
Boas’s claims of historical particularism had important implications.
1. No umbrella evaluation system for cultures — DOES NOT WORK
So…Cultures must be evaluated under their own terms
2. Cross cultural comparison can be done but it is not a reliable source of info.
So… All elements of a culture need to be taken into account when comparing cultures, an anthropologist cannot pick and choose characteristics
Ethnographic data collection through fieldwork is a good way to collect reliable data.
This had a significant effect on American Anthropology and is now a primary means of research.
3. Cultural Anthropology. 10e. Nanfa & Warms.pg 383.