George Peter Murdock

Murdock, George Peter


Born May 11, 1897, in Meriden, Conn. American anthropologist. Representative of the anti-evolutionist (historical) school of ethnology in the USA.

From 1939 to 1960, Murdock was a professor at Yale University. In 1960 he became chairman of the anthropology department at the University of Pittsburgh, and in 1962 editor of the journal Ethnology. Murdock conducted field research on the northwestern coast of North America and in Micronesia. He is the author and editor of numerous works on ethnology, primarily on the social organization of certain primitive peoples. Murdock’s best-known theoretical work, Social Structure (1949), is an attempt to refute L. H. Morgan’s theory of the clan in favor of the theory of multilineal evolution.


Outline of South American Cultures. New Haven, 1951.
Social Structure in Southeast Asia. Chicago, 1960.
Africa: Its People and Their Culture History. New York, 1959.