Women and Laughter

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The comparative method is a search for comparable culture patterns in multiple societies, particularly the comparison of cultural traits taken out of cultural context (Winthrop 1991: 43). Students carry out ethnographic field research in a local community group under faculty supervision. Against the biological and racial determinism of the time, they held that cultures develop according to the particular circumstances of history rather than in a linear progression from “primitive” to “savage” to “civilized,” that culture (rather than race or biology) most affects social life and human behavior, and that culture shapes the way members of a particular cultural group think, act, perceive, and evaluate.

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Publisher: University of Virginia Press (May 28, 1994)


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