Chapter 17

Margaret Lantis: Culture, Personality, and Acculturation
Thomas Weaver

Two Important Roles in Organizations and Communities
Margaret Lantis

Margaret Lantis (1906–2006) is best known for her work in Alaska including studies of Alaskan Eskimo ceremonialism and culture and personality of Inuit children. After receiving a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1939, she spent most of her early career (from 1943 to 1963) working in public agencies. She spent almost a decade with the U.S. Public Health Service and was employed by or consulted for a number of other agencies. In these positions Lantis researched socialization, health, and economy in rural communities and provided the information to administrators, publishing little of her work. She also held visiting faculty positions at several universities and was at the University of Kentucky from 1965 to her retirement in 1974. In her 1987 Malinowski Award address, Lantis analyzed the roles of leader and follower, highlighting interdisciplinary contributions to the field and calling attention to the paucity of work by anthropologists on this topic. Hers is one of the earliest references by anthropologists to the study of organizational culture, today found mainly in the work of business management experts and psychologists.