Gregory Bateson (9 May – 4 July ) was an English anthropologist, social scientist, . Until Bateson published Naven, most anthropologists assumed a realist approach to studying culture, in which one simply described social reality. “Naven” is the name of a peculiar ritual practiced by Iatmul, a head-hunting tribe of New e ceremony is Gregory Bateson. Stanford University Press. Naven is the name of a peculiar ritual practiced by Iatmul, a head-hunting tribe of New Cover of Naven by Gregory Bateson. Naven. A Survey of the Problems.

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British-American anthropologist, psychologist, etiologist, and cybernetic theorist. During fieldwork, he met Margaret Meadwho later became his wife, and through her he was acquainted with the psychologically oriented anthropology of Ruth Benedict.

He moved to the United States in His monograph Naven Bateson reflects his effort to reconcile the formalism of Alfred R. Radcliffe-Brown ‘s structural functionalist approach with Benedict’s interests in esthetics and emotion.

The empirical base of the monograph is – as Bateson himself emphasizes – rather poor.


Nevertheless, he successfully transforms an ethnographic sketch of an Iatmul male initiation ritual into a fundamental treatise on universal questions of conflict and equilibrium in social systems, concluding with his theory of complementary and symmetrical schismogenesis: In the late ‘s, Bateson and Mead did pioneering work in visual anthropology. Their “photographic fieldwork” on Bali attempted to document and analyze the implicit body language or habitusas we would call it today of their informants.

The result appeared in Balinese Character: In the ‘s, Bateson participated in the interdisciplinary group lead by Norbert Wiener that invented cyberneticsa discipline that would have a major influence on Bateson’s later work.

The second edition of his monograph published contains a long appendix, where his attempted synthesis of Benedictean and Radcliffe-Brownian themes is radically restated in cybernetic terms.

Gregory Bateson – Wikipedia

After the Second World War and his divorce from Mead, Bateson moved to California and drifted out of mainstream anthropology which largely disregarded his work into psychology where he invented the double-bind theory of schizophrenia, see Bateson and communication theory see for example Bateson A number of his articles from the ‘s and 60’s were collected in the volume Steps to an Ecology of Mind In one of the minor contributions of this collection, he makes a navwn definition of flexibilityas a system’s “unused potentiality for change” Bateson In these articles, Bateson explores the phenomenon he called “mind” – a term he used to refer to complex, autonomous, cybernetic systems, such as the ecosystem, the organism, the psyche, a culture.


In Mind and Nature: Bateson’s influence starts to become noticeable in mainstream anthropology in the ‘s, when he is referred to e.

But it was only with the appearance of Steps to an Ecology of Mind that his true impact became apparant. Since Steps has been published in seven English editions and has been translated e.

To read texts on AnthroBase dealing with Gregory Bateson, see: New York Academy of Sciences. Psychiatric research reports2, Reprinted in Bateson Towards an epistemology of the sacred.