A History of Anthropology as a Holistic Science defends the holistic scientific approach by examining its history, which is in part a story of adventure, and its sound philosophical foundation. It shows that activism and the holistic scientific approach need not compete with one another. This book discusses how anthropology developed in the nineteenth century during what has been called the Second Scientific Revolution. It emerged in the United States in its holistic four field form from the confluence of four lines of inquiry: the British, the French, the German, and the American. As the discipline grew and became more specialized, a tendency of divergence set in that weakened its holistic appeal. Beginning in the 1960s a new movement arose within the discipline which called for abandoning science as anthropology's mission in order to convert into an instrument of social change; a redefinition which weakens its effectiveness as a way of understanding humankind, and which threatens to discredit the discipline.
Glynn Custred is professor emeritus of anthropology at California State University, East Bay.