Edward Burnett Tylor
E.B.Tylor was born on 2nd October, 1832 in England. He championed anthropology, he was often called as the Father of Anthropology. Tylor was a lawyer by profession and an anthropologist by interest. When he was young, on his way to Havana he met Henry Christy, a businessman turned archaeologist and ethnologist. Tylor accompanied Christy on an anthropological expedition to Mexico. With his careful observations, Tylor reconstructed the pre-history of Mexico.
Tylor took into consideration the material remains of culture, antiquities and observed them among the contemporary people of Mexico. He found that many extant customs were similar to the customs of the ancient people. By this observation he formulated the theory of Cultural Survivals. He also observed that the practice of Mexican penitents, scourging themselves at church under the fierce exhortations of moth were similar to the Egyptian festival of Isis.
With the observations and the analysis he has drawn, he gained good recognition and that led the way to establish anthropology as a separate discipline. It was he who laid foundations for experimental archaeology. He introduced statistics in the methodology of anthropological research.
Contributions of Edward Burnett Tylor
- Anahuac also known as Mexico-Mexican, Ancient and Modern. Published in 1861.
- Researches into the early history of Mankind and development of civilization. Published in 1865.
- Primitive Culture. Published in 1871.
- Anthropology: An introduction to the study of Man and Civilization. Published in 1881.
- Essay- A Method of Investigating the Development of Institutions: Applied to the Laws of Marriage and Descent. Published in 1889.
Anahuac - Mexico-Mexican, Ancient and Modern
This book was published in the year 1861. Evolution or reconstruction of history of Mexico was detailed in it. According to Tylor, culture of Mexico-Mexican has developed from primitive to civilized stage.
Tylor used the following techniques for the reconstruction of cultural history of Mexico:
- Conditions opposite to present one to early stage of development.
- Concept of Survivals: He inquired about the customs and opinions and concluded that even though they lose their utility they continued to persist by force of habit.
Example for the Concept of Survivals: Saying "God Bless You" to someone when who sneezed. This was the custom existing even in civilized society. The belief was, sneezing was an attempt of the soul to leave the body and people say God Bless You to encounter this danger.
Researches into the early history of Mankind and development of civilization
This book was published in 1865. Progressive theory of cultural development on the basis of similarities of human mind was the subject detailed in it.
Tylor's approach for the above said study was collecting material and non-material aspects of cultural survivals and comparing them in time sequence.
By the above study he concluded that, progress that took place in culture as a whole has differentiated primitive and civilized people. Also his researches indicated that present civilization has evolved from savagery through barbarism
He analyzed and explained that psychic unity of mankind was the cause for the similarities in the culture of the world. Mankind were equally capable of progress was his conclusion in this book.