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Bastian, Adolf

ethnologist who theorized that there is a general psychic unity of humankind that is responsible for certain elementary ideas common to all peoples. Bastian proposed that cultural traits, folklore, myths, and beliefs of various ethnic groups originate within each group according to laws of cultural evolution and are essentially the same, merely differing in form because of geographic environment. His views are thought to have influenced a number of prominent anthropologists, including Bronislaw Malinowski. The concept of the collective unconscious advanced by the psychoanalyst Carl Jung is believed to have been derived from Bastian's theory of elementary ideas

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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