This book was originally published in 1935. For some years past the scientific study of primitive peoples has experimented in a variety of directions for new methods of investigation. Criticism of the comparative method, of which Sir James Frazer is recognized as the foremost exponent all the world over, has been directed mainly against the fragmentary character of its evidence when torn from its context.
In this book Dr Benedict offers an alternative method of approach. The aim of the investigator, she maintains, should be the discovery in the diversity of cultures of the 'configuration' of each - that is the cultural drive in group and individual which determines the characteristic reaction to stimulus in any and every situation in life.