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historical particularism

school of anthropological thought associated with the work of Franz Boas and his students (among them A.L. Kroeber, Ruth Benedict, and Margaret Mead), whose studies of culture emphasized the integrated and distinctive way of life of a given people. Particularism stood in opposition to theories such as cultural evolution, Kulturkreis, and geographical or environmental determinism, all of which sought to discover for the social sciences a series of general laws analogous to those in the physical sciences (such as the laws of thermodynamics or gravity).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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