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Russian Culture

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Volume 3

Margaret Mead: The Study of Contemporary Western Culture

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Russian Culture

Margaret Mead and Geoffrey Gorer/John Rickman
Introduction by Sergei Aruitnov, Russian Academy of Sciences

320 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-230-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2001)

ISBN  978-1-57181-234-6 $24.95/£19.95 Pb Published (July 2001)

eISBN 978-1-78920-598-5 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“These texts expose… the impoverishing effect of recent emphases on critical virtuosity. The phenomenological status, processes, and practices involved (in our culture) in terms such as "character" are fascinating to study.” • Journal of Anthropological Research

“Regardless of the dated theoretical approach of these classics, their valuable factual material and the ability of the authors to inspire further reflection still make them worth reading.” • Ethnos


This volume brings together two classic works on the culture of the Russian people which have been long out of print. Gorer's Great Russian Culture and Mead's Soviet Attitudes towards Authority: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Problems of Soviet Character were among the first attempts by anthropologists to analyze Russian society.

They were influential both for several generations of anthropologists and in shaping American governmental attitudes toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War period. Additionally they offer fascinating insights into the early anthropological use of psychological data to analyze cultural patterns. Read as part of the history of the anthropology of complex contemporary societies, they are as fascinating for their more questionable conclusions as for their accurate characterizations of Russian life.

Margaret Mead served as Curator of Ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History from 1925 to 1969. She began her career with a study of youth and adolescence in Samoan society, published as Coming of Age in Samoa (1928). She published prolifically, becoming a seminal figure in anthropology, and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1979.

Subject: Theory & Methodology in Anthropology General Cultural Studies
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


Penetrating Views of Russian Culture

Introduction: Russian Culture in the 20th Century
Sergei Arutiunov

The People of Great Russia

Geoffrey Gorer

Ten Sketches of Russian Peasant Life (1916–1918)
John Rickman

  • Iron
  • Snow
  • Placenta Praevia
  • The Apology
  • The Threat
  • The Bridal Dress
  • Police
  • Peasant Officers
  • A Political Episode
  • Moujiks want Glasses

Geoffrey Gorrer

  • Childhood Training
  • Character Developments
  • The Enemy and Hate
  • The Leader, Love, and Truth
  • Conclusions

Appendix I: Development of the Swaddling Hypotheses
Geoffrey Gorer

Appendix II: A Note on the Swaddling Hypotheses
John Rickman

Appendix III: Truth and Guilt
John Rickman

Soviet Attitudes Toward Authority
Margaret Mead

  1. Questions Which This Study Seeks to Answer
  2. Methods and Materials
    • Research Team of Studies in Soviet Culture and Their Areas of Research
  3. Background of the Soviet System of Authority
    • Bolshevik Assumptions About Human Behavior as Abstracted from Theory and Practice
    • Bolshevik Willingness to Accept or to Fabricate Token Events
  4. Soviet Ideals of Authority Relationships
    • Expectations from Different Leadership Levels
    • Characteristics of the Ideal Leader
  5. Soviet Official Expectations Regarding Motivation
    • Motivation for Leadership
    • Expectations Concerning the Masses and Children
  6. The Place of the Political Police in the Soviet Authority System
  7. Possible Developments in the Soviet Union

APPENDIX A: Abstract of Research on Leadership in Soviet Agriculture and the Communist Party
APPENDIX B: Summary of Conclusions of Research on Soviet Child Training Ideals and Their Political Significance, by E. Calas
APPENDIX C: Summary of Conclusions of Research on Party and Non-Party Organizations in Soviet Industry, by L. H. Haimson
APPENDIX D: Source Materials Used by Other Members of the Research Group
APPENDIX E: Excerpt Concerning the Communist "Election of May, 1948, in Czechoslovakia" - Taken from Chapter XVI of Unpublished Manuscript "Czechs, Slovaks, and Communism," by David Rodnik
APPENDIX F: "To Aid the Agitator," from Pravda, May 27, 1948
APPENDIX G: "Your Strength" (Poem about Atomic Energy)


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