Culture and Personality School
), it emphasized the cultural moulding of the personality and focused on the development of the individual. Culture-and-personality theorists argued that personality types were created in socialization, and they placed particular emphasis on child-rearing practices such as feeding, weaning, and toilet training. The perspective is best demonstrated in the work of anthropologists such as Gregory Bateson, Ruth Benedict, Geoffrey Gorer, and Margaret Mead. Mead, in particular, has become associated with the main tenet of the School: that different cultures (or societies) produce different personality types as a result of different socialization practices. Her controversial findings—notably that sex roles were culturally rather than biologically determined—influenced a generation of American sociologists to reexamine their cultural assumptions about the roles of men and women in society.
Numerous other studies offer variations on this theme. In The Psychological Frontiers of Society (1945), Abram Kardiner looked at the way in which personality types are present in cultural patterns. Kardiner and his colleagues argued that religion and politics are screens on to which the basic personality-orientation of a society is projected. In ‘Anthropology and the Abnormal’ (Journal of General Psychology, 1934)
, Ruth Benedict examined social deviance, and drew attention to the fact that a highly valued personality type in one society may be considered deviant in another. She argued that different societies have different means for dealing with whatever behaviour is considered abnormal—and that this changes over time.
The Culture and Personality School was particularly important in the wartime National Character Studies, undertaken in an attempt to understand the character (and hence the strategies) of the Axis Powers, one result of which was Benedict's classic account of the Japanese, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword (1946). Mead's parallel account of the United States was published as And Keep Your Powder Dry (1942). After 1950 greater emphasis was placed on the use of statistics in demonstrating connections between child-rearing practices, personality, and culture. Thus, in Child Training and Personality (1953), John Whiting and Irving Child used a large cross-cultural sample to show the alleged connection between experiences of early childhood and systems of curing illness.
In the post-war period, the School came increasingly to be criticized for exaggerating the congruence of personality types within any given society; for ignoring the significance of relationships that exist between cultures; and, most seriously, for reifying culture rather than viewing it as a social construction. It also proved difficult to demonstrate the connections between early child-rearing practices and later adult personality traits. Culture-and-personality studies have little currency in contemporary anthropology and sociology, even in the United States, to which their influence has mostly been confined. The influence of the School has not, however, entirely disappeared.
"Culture and Personality School." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 14, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/culture-and-personality-school
"Culture and Personality School." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Retrieved March 14, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/culture-and-personality-school
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.