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What is “Primitive”?

In The Mind of Primitive Man (1938), Franz Boas (1858–1942), founder of American Cultural Anthropology, told us just who are the primitives.

Primitive are those people whose forms of life are simple and uniform, and the contents and form of whose culture are meagre and intellectually inconsistent.

A better definition of the subject is the standard anthropological joke – “the study of man embracing woman”.

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