The Other Side Essay

979 Words Sep 28th, 2016 4 Pages
On the other side was the historical view, which Boas ascribed to. In this, culture dispersed (or communicated) throughout societies. Some proposers of diffusion stated that inventions emerged from a source, then diffused to other civilisations over time. They began from the same geographic locale and hence had similarities. Some went further with this hypothesis by claiming that man was essentially a mimic (Smith, 1916; F. Graebner: 191). Therefore, true invention occurred rarely, and many inventions were simply different versions of the same thing.
The common origin and other arguments supporting the view of dispersal involved, to an extent, both creation and dispersal. The argument which Boas raised against psychic connectivity was, like Mason, historically based. He pointed out that not one invention was ever the same in different societies and cultures. Accordingly, it took on different forms in each, similar but not identical. How did variety come about then? Dispersal was not simply “mechanical additions” or imitation (1924, Boas: 344) but was of itself an invention. A “stimulus for original inner development” that produced new “unique cultural types”. This diversity, moreover, involved the geographic, demographic, and social make-up of the locale. The development of culture occurred through history being passed down, a view Clark Wissler shared (Wissler, 1916).
To the advocates of diffusion, only by comparing and not speculating could one solve the problem of…

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