White, Leslie A.


White, Leslie A.

▪ American anthropologist
in full  Leslie Alvin White 
born Jan. 19, 1900, Salida, Colo., U.S.
died March 31, 1975, Lone Pine, Calif.

      American anthropologist best known for his theories of the evolution of culture (cultural evolution) and for the scientific study of culture that he called “culturology.”

      After serving in the U.S. Navy, White entered Louisiana State University, but after two years he transferred to Columbia University. He received his B.A. and M.A. in psychology from Columbia and his Ph.D. in anthropology and sociology (jointly) from the University of Chicago. In his early career, White did fieldwork among the Keresan Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest. From 1930 to 1970 he taught at the University of Michigan, where he won great popularity as a teacher and lecturer. In the last years of his life he was associated with the department of anthropology of the University of California, Santa Barbara. His most important works include The Evolution of Culture (1959) and The Concept of Culture (1973, with Beth Dillingham).

      White firmly supported cultural evolution along the lines laid down by the 19th-century writers Lewis H. Morgan and Edward Tylor, even when this view was in great disfavour. For White, cultural evolution was generated by technological changes, particularly with regard to the increased harnessing of energy per capita. White's evolutionary views put him in conflict with the anti-evolutionary theories of Franz Boas and his supporters, who were then dominant in the field of cultural anthropology.

      White considered his greatest contribution to anthropology to be his conception of culturology, outlined in a series of essays called The Science of Culture (1949). By culturology, White meant the application to culture of the organismic analogy of structure-function that Herbert Spencer had applied to society. This approach to culture was philosophically materialistic and nonreductionist. However, White was never a social Darwinist, and he opposed Spencer's interpretations of the Darwinian terms “competition” and “survival of the fittest.” He promoted Tylor's definition of culture and denied that cultural variation derived from racial differences among humans.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Leslie Alvin White — (* 19. Januar 1900 in Salida, Colorado; † 31. März 1975 in Lone Pine, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Anthropologe. Bekannt wurde er durch seine Theorien der kulturellen Evolution, des sozialen Evolutionismus und besonders des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • WHITE (L. A.) — WHITE LESLIE ALVIN (1900 1975) Le plus remarquable représentant de l’école néo évolutionniste américaine. L’anthropologue Leslie A. White suivit d’abord un itinéraire intellectuel complexe qui lui donna une formation largement encyclopédique;… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • White (surname) — White is a surname. In the 1990 United States Census, White ranked fourteenth among all reported surnames in frequency, accounting for 0.28% of the population. [United States Census Bureau (9 May 1995). . Retrieved on 2008 07 04.] A list of… …   Wikipedia

  • Leslie White — Pour les articles homonymes, voir White. Leslie White (1900 1975) était un anthropologue américain. La pensée de White s inscrit dans le courant du « matérialisme culturel » américain et il est souvent considéré comme l un des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Leslie Cheung — Kwok Wing Leslie Cheung at the Cannes Film Festival Chinese name 張國榮 (Traditional) Chinese name 张国荣 (Simplified) …   Wikipedia

  • Leslie White — Leslie Alvin White (19 January 1900, Salida, Colorado ndash; 31 March 1975, Lone Pine, California) was an American anthropologist known for his advocacy of theories of cultural evolution, social evolutionism and especially neoevolutionism, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Leslie White — Leslie Alvin White (* 19. Januar 1900 in Salida, Colorado; † 31. März 1975 in Lone Pine, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Anthropologe. Bekannt wurde er durch seine Theorien der kulturellen Evolution, des sozialen Evolutionismus und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leslie White — Leslie Alvin White (19 de enero de 1900, Salida, Colorado 31 de marzo de 1975, Lone Pine, California) fue un antropólogo estadounidense conocido por su defensa de las teorías de evolución sociocultural y especialmente el neoevolucionismo, y por… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Leslie Coffelt — Leslie William Coffelt (August 15, 1910 ndash;November 1, 1950), was an officer of the White House Police, now known as the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division, who was killed in the line of duty. Coffelt was killed by Griselio… …   Wikipedia

  • Leslie A. White — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Leslie A. White fue un Sociólogo y antropólogo Estadounidense. Nació en Colorado en 1900 y falleció en Santa Bárbara en 1975. En 1927 se convirtió en profesor de sociología y antropología en la Universidad de Búfalo …   Wikipedia Español


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.