Gregory Bateson

Is your surname Bateson?

Research the Bateson family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Gregory Bateson

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Grantchester, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: July 04, 1980 (76)
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Professor William Bateson and Caroline Beatrice Bateson
Husband of Elizabeth Bateson and Private
Ex-husband of Margaret Mead
Father of Mary Catherine Kassarjian; Private; Private and Private
Brother of John Bateson and Martin Bateson

Occupation: anthropologist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Gregory Bateson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Bateson

Gregory Bateson (9 May 1904 – 4 July 1980) was an English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, visual anthropologist, semiotician and cyberneticist whose work intersected that of many other fields. In the 1940s he helped extend systems theory and cybernetics to the social and behavioral sciences. He spent the last decade of his life developing a "meta-science" of epistemology to bring together the various early forms of systems theory developing in different fields of science. His writings include Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972) and Mind and Nature (1979). Angels Fear (published posthumously in 1987) was co-authored by his daughter Mary Catherine Bateson.

Work

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Bateson#Work


Gregory Bateson was an English anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, visual anthropologist, semiotician, and cyberneticist whose work intersected that of many other fields. In the 1940s he helped extend systems theory and cybernetics to the social and behavioral sciences. He spent the last decade of his life developing a "meta-science" of epistemology to bring together the various early forms of systems theory developing in different fields of science. His writings include Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972) and Mind and Nature (1979). Angels Fear (published posthumously in 1987) was co-authored by his daughter Mary Catherine Bateson. Bateson was born in Grantchester in Cambridgeshire, England, on 9 May 1904. He was the third and youngest son of (Caroline) Beatrice Durham and the distinguished geneticist William Bateson. He was named Gregory after Gregor Mendel, the Austrian monk who founded the modern science of genetics.

The younger Bateson attended Charterhouse School from 1917 to 1921, obtained a Bachelor of Arts in biology at St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1925, and continued at Cambridge from 1927 to 1929. Bateson lectured in linguistics at the University of Sydney in 1928. From 1931 to 1937 he was a Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, spent the years before World War II in the South Pacific in New Guinea and Bali doing anthropology. During 1936–1950 he was married to Margaret Mead. At that time he applied his knowledge to the war effort before moving to the United States. In Palo Alto, California, Bateson and his colleagues Donald Jackson, Jay Haley and John H. Weakland developed the double-bind theory. Bateson's interest in systems theory and cybernetics forms a thread running through his work. He was one of the original members of the core group of the Macy conferences in Cybernetics, and the later set on Group Processes, where he represented the social and behavioral sciences. Bateson was interested in the relationship of these fields to epistemology. His association with the editor and author Stewart Brand helped to widen his influence. From the 1970s until his last years, a broader audience of university students and educated people working in many fields came to know his thought. In 1956 he became a naturalised citizen of the United States. Bateson was a member of William Irwin Thompson's Lindisfarne Association. In the 1970s, he taught at the Humanistic Psychology Institute (renamed the Saybrook University) in San Francisco;[6] and in 1972 joined the faculty of Kresge College at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1976. In 1976, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Bateson to the Board of Regents of the University of California, in which position he served until his death (although he resigned from the Special Research Projects committee in 1979, in opposition to the university's work on nuclear weapons). He died on Independence Day, 1980, in the guest house of the San Francisco Zen Center.

Bateson's life, according to Lipset (1982), was greatly affected by the death of his two brothers. John Bateson (1898–1918), the eldest of the three, was killed in World War I. Martin Bateson (1900–1922), the second brother, was then expected to follow in his father's footsteps as a scientist, but came into conflict with his father over his ambition to become a poet and playwright. The resulting stress, combined with a disappointment in love, resulted in Martin's public suicide by gunshot under the statue of Anteros in Piccadilly Circus on 22 April 1922, which was John's birthday. After this event, which transformed a private family tragedy into public scandal, all William and Beatrice's ambitious expectations fell on Gregory, their only surviving son. Bateson's first marriage, in 1936, was to American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead. Bateson and Mead had a daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson (born 1939), who also became an anthropologist. He separated from Mead in 1947, and they were divorced in 1950. In 1951 he married his second wife Elizabeth "Betty" Sumner (1919–1992), the daughter of the Episcopalian Bishop of Oregon, Walter Taylor Sumner. They had a son, John Sumner Bateson (1951-2015), as well as twins who died shortly after birth in 1953. Bateson and Sumner were divorced in 1957, after which Bateson married his third wife, the therapist and social worker Lois Cammack (born 1928), in 1961. They had one daughter, Nora Bateson (born 1969). Bateson was a lifelong atheist, as his family had been for several generations.

Where others might see a set of inexplicable details, Bateson perceived simple relationships. In "From Versailles to Cybernetics," Bateson argues that the history of the twentieth century can be perceived as the history of a malfunctioning relationship. In his view, the Treaty of Versailles exemplifies a whole pattern of human relationships based on betrayal and hate. He therefore claims that the treaty of Versailles and the development of cybernetics—which for him represented the possibility of improved relationships—are the only two anthropologically important events of the twentieth century.

Although initially reluctant to join the intelligence services, Bateson served in OSS during World War II along with dozens of other anthropologists. He spent much of the war designing 'black propaganda' radio broadcasts. He was deployed on covert operations in Burma and Thailand, and worked in China, India, and Ceylon as well. Bateson used his theory of schismogenesis to help foster discord among enemy fighters. He was upset by his wartime experience and disagreed with his wife over whether science should be applied to social planning or used only to foster understanding rather than action.

view all

Gregory Bateson's Timeline

1904
May 9, 1904
Grantchester, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom
1939
December 8, 1939
New York, New York, United States
1980
July 4, 1980
Age 76
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, United States