Tylor Edward

Tylor Edward

(1832-1917) early anthropologist, whose Researches into the Early History of Mankind and the Development of Civilization (1865) did much to establish anthropology as a scientific discipline. He can also take credit for the introduction into English of the German, now standard anthropological and sociological usage of the term CULTURE. Drawing upon Darwinism and on discoveries in archaeology which suggested that cultures manifest a serial progression, the persistent theme of Tylor's approach was evolutionism. In Primitive Culture (1871) he applied this perspective to the development of RELIGION, which he suggested had developed through three stages: ANIMISM, polytheism, and MONOTHEISM. Tylor's works were works of synthesis based on comparative analysis in which he searched for evidence of cultural 'survivals’ which could provide clues to sequences of social development. His emphasis on the possession of rich ‘cultural’ traditions by all peoples meant that his anthropology was relatively little marred by the overtones of racism often present in the work of other 19th-century evolutionary theorists. see also EVOLUTIONARY THEORY.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000