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On Creating a Usable CultureMargaret Mead and the Emergence of American Cosmopolitanism$
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Maureen A. Molloy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831165

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831165.001.0001

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On Creating a Usable Culture

On Creating a Usable Culture

(p.134) 7 On Creating a Usable Culture
On Creating a Usable Culture

Maureen A. Molloy

University of Hawai'i Press

This concluding chapter argues that Mead's turn to a more essential version of the self in relation to culture was intimately connected to two “absences.” The first is her lack of any endogenous or nuanced theory of the genesis of human variation, such as a more rigorous understanding of psychoanalytic theory might have afforded. The second is her implicit belief in the existence of homogenous, integrated, smoothly functioning cultures that are not subject to internal processes of change. Thus, Mead lacked—at the level of both the individual and the socio-cultural—any theory of endogenous change. Therefore, variation in human “personality” or responses to life could generally be found only in that realm she understood to be outside history and culture—that is, biology.

Keywords:   human genesis, psychoanalytic theory, endogenous theory, endogenous change, biology

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