Benedict Ruth

Benedict Ruth

(1887-1948) US cultural anthropologist who followed in the tradition of Franz BOAS in adopting a culturally relativist orientation to comparative anthropology. Her research contributions primarily involved a psychologically oriented exploration of the relationship of culture to personality, and she has been influential in the study of race. In her best-known book, Patterns of Culture (1935), she sought to demonstrate how conceptions of psychological normality are culturally produced and highly variable, and that personality traits highly valued by one society may be negatively viewed in another. Margaret MEAD was perhaps her most famous pupil. See also CULTURE AND PERSONALITY SCHOOL.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000