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The Study of Life History: Gandhi

  • Author(s): Mandelbaum, David G.
  • et al.

The study of lives as wholes has not yet been well developed in the social sciences, though a good many anthropologists, psychologists, political scientists, and sociologists have written about its importance. These authors agree that a main shortcoming in such study is the lack of suitable concepts to make up a coherent frame of reference. Three procedural suggestions, the ideas of adaptation, dimension, and turning, may be useful for the beginnings of such a frame. These suggestions are intended as guidelines for the collection and analysis of data. Their applicability is illustrated in the life history of Gandhi, a man whose life is worth studying for a number of reasons.

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