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19th Century Anthropologists

            One of the most difficult concepts to understand in anthropological studies is the view of culture held by the 19th century evolutionary anthropologists. The model was broken up into two categories: Civilized and primitive. The 19th century popular view of the civilized was that of a moral force. The primitive cultures were "brute savages." The previous century had a bit of a different view of these two cultures. In that period, the civilized were deemed as corrupt and the primitive were "noble savages." The model went on to discuss the evolution of society. The linear evolution diagram shows how different things diverted from simple to complex. Some of these things were technology, social organization, and most importantly culture. This was one of the first times that culture was proven to evolve as well. One of the most important concepts that surfaced during this time was data collection which allowed things to be proven wrong and right.
             The studies of Lewis Henry Morgan identified some of the more scientific views of culture. He identified that the evolution of society had three different stages. Civilization was first, followed by Barbarism, and savagery. Each group was also broken down into Upper, Middle, and Lower societies. Morgan's theory was that every level of culture and society moved along this process of evolution. .
             Franz Boas was another man who had many a critique of the evolutionary perspective. Unlike many other anthropologists of the time, Boas used culture modernly. He referred to culture as a "mind and spirit" of a group of people or even as a "coherent whole." Boas is most notable for his studies of cultural relativism. This is the perspective that each culture has its own distinct history and one cannot use universal laws to assume how culture operates. Cultural relativism pointed out that the differences in peoples were the results of historical, social and geographic conditions and all populations had complete and equally developed culture.

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