Ruth Fulton Benedict (1887-1948)

American anthropologist of the Boas school. Benedict argued strongly for a culturally deterministic, anti-hereditarian view, following other Boasians like Kroeber and Lowie. Argued for the use of "cultural patterns" as a primary descriptive tool. Emphasized Native Americans in her field work, studying the Zuni in 1925 and the Pima in 1927. Benedict interpreted cultural differences between the Zuni and Pima as demonstrating the overriding importance of culture in determining behavior. Her 1934 book also discussed the Kwakiutl of British Columbia and the Dobuans of New Guinea. Also a published poet. A mentor and later close friend of Mead, Benedict had a major influence on Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa; Mead later (1974) published a biography of Benedict.


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