American Anthropologist 1963
Aberle, David F., Urie Bronfenbrenner, Eckhard H. Hess, Daniel R. Miller, David M. Schneider, and James N. Spuhler. The Incest Taboo and the Mating Patterns of Animals American Anthropologist April, 1963. Vol. 65(2): 253-65
The authors of this paper are interested in understanding the origins of the incest taboo. The paper is the result of a work group, which met in the spring of 1956 at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. The group had originally planned to publish a more extensive article after collecting more material on the limitations of inbreeding in animals. The schematic statement of approach the group developed is being publishing due to an increased interest in theoretical and empirical study of the incest taboo.
There are various theories on the origin of the incest taboo. The authors discuss criticisms of each theory to determine which if any claims by the theory are correct or useful. The theories that are centered on religious or mystical ideas in determining the specific prohibition on incest are excluded. The authors analyze the family theory, social and cultural system theory, indifference theory, demographic theory, inbreeding theory and socialization theory.
Animal behavior exhibits a broad the range of behavior regarding incest. Of the birds and non-human mammals examined some have no restrictions on mating, some have only a parental pair with no family while others have a parental pair and family. The elimination of familial inbreeding on a cross-species basis “is found among the larger, longer-lived, slower nurturing, and more intelligent animals.” (260) All animals who limit inbreeding form families. Animal and human data is used to explain how and why humans most likely acquired this taboo.
This article presents good case by comparing different aspects of theories and making animal behaviors relevant. It is often hard to follow the article as it takes from so many sources and examples; however, the analysis uses all of these sources to back up the argument.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
SHAUN GODWIN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Ascher, Maria and Ascher, Robert. Chronological Ordering by Computer. American Anthropologist October 1963 Vol.65(5):1045-1052
In order to solve anthropological problems there have been many solutions introduced, and two of those methods will be discussed in this article. The Aschers’ objective is to introduce the procedure for ordering using a digital computer. The authors first discuss a method introduced by W. S. Robinson in 1951, based on the fact that, “archeological deposits from periods close in time exhibit similar percentage distribution types, while deposits separated in time show dissimilar percentage distributions” (1045).
Harold E. Driver introduced the second method in 1956. His method covered, “culture traits rather than types…” (1045). He explained that the closeness between a pair of traits is calculated by using the number of tribes or territorial units.
The authors introduced a procedure to derive an ordered matrix from unordered data, where the matrix is placed in symmetric form. This form contains, “elements in each row and column which increase in size until the diagonal element is reached and then decrease in size” (1046). They feel this procedure does not elaborate on comparisons as much as the other two methods. Instead this procedure focuses on, ” each row and column being placed as soon as it satisfies the criteria” (1047). Also noted in the article, ” as with any procedure, anthropological analysis is needed for the evaluation of the results” (1048).
In summation, the authors said that, “one of the most important problems in anthropology is the discovery of meaningful relationships in sets of data” (1050). Only when the problem is discovered, can the order be organized chronologically. The two methods introduced gave opposing views of ordering, while the procedure clarified how the ordering is done in order to reach the specified goal.
This article was interesting, it gave two opposing viewpoints about chronological ordering, and then it gave a detailed description on a procedure, which explained both the viewpoints. There was not enough information about how a computer was used as a research tool for anthropological problems. The article only mentioned a method or hypothesis fit for anthropological theory. This leads to inconsistencies of how the result is calculated by chronological ordering done by the computer.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JENINE CLEMENTS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Baumhoff, M.A. and D.L. Olmsted Palaihnihan: Radiocarbon Support for Glottochronology American Anthropologist April-June, 1963 Vol 65(2):278-284
The authors of this article have set out to clear up some cultural history problems of the Hokan and to obtain a date for the entry of the Palaihnihan people, mainly the Achumawi and the Atsugewi, into their northeastern territory of California. Next they intend to compare this date to their linguistic separation as calculated by glottochronology. Glottochronology uses a standard 200-item list, in which must be cognates and must be a frequent way of expressing the meaning in that language. An example of this is the English word hound which is cognate with the German word “Hund”, but cannot be used because the word “dog” is the most frequent way of expressing the word. In order for an item to be recognized as a cognate it must meet certain requirements. The authors determined that the Achumawi and Astugewi languages began to differ between 31 and 35 centuries ago.
From here they moved on to Palaihnihan archaeology using the archaeological sequence established at an Achumawi site near Falls Mills, California. They used seven types of projectile points at the site to establish a chronology. They then compared these materials to neighboring areas in the Central California Early Horizon and the Middle Horizon. They found no evidence for any population change and used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of three levels of the site. From this they divulged that before 2000 B.C., Northern California was entirely occupied by the Hokan speakers, after 2000 B.C., Proto-Penutian speakers entered the area, displacing the Hokan. One such group comprised the ancestors of the Achumawi and the Astugewi, who at the time were speaking a single language. Shortly after this time the Proto-Penutian split into two groups, the Achumawi and the Astugewi. The authors state that there is evidence of a major discontinuity in Central California archaeology at about 2000 B.C., with the end of Early Horizon, based upon a radiocarbon date for the sites. They suggest that this would have been followed by linguistic differentiation among the Hokan. The article concludes that further radiocarbon dating of the sites indicates the Palaihnihan have been in their present territory for over 33 centuries.
The article by Baumhoff and Olmsted was a good article, but one that may need to be read a few times before one is able to full understand what the authors are talking about. Re-reading of the first two pages is especially suggested in order to understand the authors definition and usage of glottochronology, notably if you have no prior knowledge of the word.
JULIE SCHWARTZ Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Befu, Harumi. Patrilineal Descent and Personal Kindred in Japan American Anthropologist December, 1963 Vol.65(6):1328-1341
Befu starts by asserting that systems of descent can be divided into three major categories: unilineal, nonunilineal, and bilateral. He states that a combination of the bilateral rule with either of the other types is logically possible, but has not been given an adequate amount of theoretical consideration. Befu’s purpose in this paper is to discuss how both patrilineal (a form of unilineal) and bilateral descent operate together in Japanese society.
Befu declares that the dominant rule of succession and inheritance in Japan over the past few hundred years has been patrilineal, with the eldest son being heir. Patrilineal descent in Japan performs the function of perpetuating the kinship unit called the family through ancestor worship, inheritance of property, succession of the family headship, and assumption of the family name. A corporate kin group called a dozoku often arises and is comprised of a stem family headed by the oldest son of the previous head, and a number of families established by junior sons branching out from the stem. In the dozoku, the stem family has principal command of the economic resources and also has superior political status. The reciprocal relationship in this system consists of the stem family assisting the branches in times of economic hardship, and the branches providing the stem family with labor services in return.
Befu characterizes bilateral kindred in Japan as a well-recognized category of kinship traced through blood, marriage, or adoption and expressed as ties between households. Bilateral ties provide a network of relationship that helps resolve recurrent problems in the areas of economic assistance, celebration of life crises, and expressive solidarity. He claims that personal kindred has an impermanent character because it lacks the corporate quality of the patrilineally organized group. Conversely, personal kindred assumes more of a functional significance where the corporate character of the dozoku is weak or nonexistent.
Lastly, Befu notes that many writers hypothesize “that kindred organization arose, at least in some parts of Japan, as a result of the gradual disintegration of the dozoku system” (1337). Since the decline of the dozoku structure, non-kin associations have taken over some of its former function. An important point is that Japanese kindred is only concerned with cooperative function and does not own property nor posses political function because it would compete with the rule of patrilineal descent. Befu professes that this functional division and complementary relationship between the two descent rules in Japan makes their simultaneous practice possible.
This is an interesting characterization of descent in Japan and the specific obligations of family members in the different descent systems. The article reads smoothly for the most part, but gets overly in-depth and slow at a few parts.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JUSTIN LEBIECKI Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Brown, Judith K. A Cross-Cultural Study of Female Initiation Rites. American Anthropologist August 1963 Vol.63(4):837-853.
The author’s objective in this article is to address two questions concerning initiation rites for girls. The first question is why certain ceremonies take place in some societies but not others. The second question asks how variation in the rites from culture to culture can be accounted for.
Brown notes several anthropologists who have addressed the female initiation rites in various cultures. Some covered what occurred at the initiations, while others looked at the rites from a psychoanalytic viewpoint.
The author describes the female initiation as a series of mandatory ceremonial events taking place for girls in a culture between the ages of eight and twenty. Brown’s definition includes the ceremony must take place for all girls in a society, not just a select group such as aristocrats.
In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of female initiation rites, the author selected cultures that were widely separated from each other. She tried to use cultures that differed in areas such as language and economy to be sure there were as few common origins as possible. She had difficulties with this, and instead of the 100 cultures originally sampled, she only used 75 because of common origins.
Brown hypothesized that societies where the daughter does not leave her mother’s home to live with her husband after marriage were more likely to engage in female initiation rites. Her research showed this to be a sound hypothesis, while also finding many variations on that statement.
The author divides the societies that participate in female initiation rites into two groups: those that inflict pain on the initiate, and those that do not. Brown claims that the initiate’s status in the household during infancy will define her sexual identity later. If there is a “conflict of sex identity,” the ritual (Brown names seclusion and genital operation) will be more painful. She notes that ceremonies sometimes allow behavior that would normally be considered taboo within the society, if there is a conflict of sex identity for the initiate.
Brown claims that female initiation rituals may be found within societies where women are needed for “subsistence activities,” or contributions to the society. Because of the girl’s future importance to the society, she is reassured during the rituals of her ability to contribute to the group. Brown uses ratings of women’s relative importance to subsistence found by G. P. Murdock to test her hypothesis.
This article was fairly easy to read and understand. The author clearly defined her objectives and succeeded in answering the questions. The tables were also beneficial to the article and helped Brown accomplish her objectives.
KRISTA CHAMBERS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Brown, Paula From Anarchy to Satrapy American Anthropologist February, 1963 Vol.65(1):1-15
In this article, the author, Paula Brown, seeks to address the issue of colonial rule as it affects the traditional authorities in the changing of political systems. Brown is well aware of the popular notion that “native rulers will be shorn of power by colonial administrations” (1). However, she asserts that rather than destroy native rulers, “alien rule gives new powers to the native authorities it establishes” (1).
The case Brown presents is of the Chimbu area of New Guinea. She describes the societies as stateless, or tribal, with small, autonomous, scattered communities. There was no formal leadership or political unit. As this is the case, administrators who come into these communities intending to establish some form of government, and intending to utilize native leaders in order to be effective, have a difficult time in locating likely candidates, as there is no precursor to such a position.
Brown looks at the Chimbu area after 25 years of contact with Europeans. She argues that “tribal leadership changed in a generation from the absence of any fixed government (‘anarchy’) to a system giving officials the opportunity to dominate (‘satrapy’)” (3). Previously, there was an equal opportunity for leadership, as it was dependent upon qualities and support for specific tasks within the group. This form of leadership was often short lived, with no traditional office holders for specific tasks. Wealth in this area resulted from exchanges. The yomba pondo or ‘man big’ had more social contacts than other men.
The Chimbu had their first encounters with the Australians in 1933. By 1940, 300 headmen had been selected as native leaders, and tribal fighting had nearly stopped. Between 1945 and 1960, the area saw improvements in communication, road construction, medical services, schools, and the production of cash crops. The leaders, however, were an example of colonial satrapy. They were given unprecedented power, and allowed free reign, supported with the force of the colonial administration. Interestingly, a native leader kept his job only as long as the Australian officer thought he was doing it successfully. After being appointed, lulais often used their position for obtaining wealth, and so worked with government officials who could give them wealth, instead of being for his people. When this happened, the appointed chiefs often exploited their neighbors.
Brown concludes by saying, “although some sort of traditional leader existed before colonial rule was established, his social role changed greatly after he was recognized as a chief with administrative authority” (13). Clearly the argument can be made that while the indigenous peoples as a whole may have lost autonomy with the introduction of European government, those who made it into seats of power in fact gained influence and (too much) political power as a result.
This was a very interesting article. It was clearly written, with a strong thesis and plenty of supporting data.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
SHANNA CRUMMEL Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Cancian, Frank Informant Error and Native Prestige Ranking American Anthropologist October, 1963 Vol.65(5):1068-1075
The religious cargo system in Zinacantan is used as an example for Cancian to “present a technique which will distinguish more and less psychologically real descriptions from each other.”(1068). He will make evident psychological reality, “a description which approximately reproduces in an observer the world of meaning of the native users of that culture,” by use of informant error.
The hierarchy of the cargo system is arranged in four levels of progress with the costs rising as the levels go up. It becomes clear that cost is not the only factor that leads to prestige, through talking with people and observing their interpersonal behaviors. Authority that one man of a cargo has over another is a factor that determines prestige. Peculiar features of a cargo also seem to influence prestige for the man of that cargo. Cancian made a prestige scale to rank prestige of cargos. He “guessed” that his ranking was close to the perceive ranking by Zinacatecos.
Every attempt to get a direct ranking estimate from informants was obstructed by a statement about the cost of a cargo or a statement saying that all cargos are equally virtuous. Cancain found that erroneous statements made by informants regarding a person’s prestige were not random guesses; they were general impressions in the community.
The first conclusion drawn from the prestige scale data is that Zinacantecos do perceive cargos in terms of prestige although this is not openly discussed. They tend to remember an individual’s approximate prestige even though they have forgotten which cargo he had passed through. Cancian’s second conclusion is that his prestige scale is “a fairly accurate ranking of the cargos in terms of the prestige that they bring to the person who passed them”.
The assumption these conclusions are drawn from is that in most cases they informant making an erroneous statement is approximating the truth in terms that are important to him. Evidence supporting this assumption is that it explains the patterning of informant error and that Miller uses the same reasoning in a different study. Instead of informant error acting as an obstacle to the ethnographer it becomes “an invaluable aid”.
Frank Cancian makes clear statements regarding the conclusions he has drawn and evidence to support those conclusions. The tables and graphs are distracting during the reading of this article.
KELLY MARCIKIC Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Caso, Alfonso Land Tenure among the Ancient Mexicans American Anthropologist August, 1963 Vol.65(4):863-878
The author begins this article as an overview of errors made in the past that pertain to ancient Aztec society. Previous reports of land tenure of the Aztec people failed to document a specific people of the large society. For the purposes of this article, the author makes it clear that the specific subjects of study are the Tenochcas and the Tlatelocas. The social organization of these peoples consisted of a high king, who were said to be ancestors of Quezalcoatl, the son of the creation gods. The king acted as a tribal chief, a religious leader, and a military chief. Under the fourth king of Mexico, a land tenure law was established. Land ownership fell into two categories, public domain and private domain. Public land belonged to the king and could be allotted to nobles and distinguished people as perceived by the king. Temples, schools, and armies also used the public land for their needs. Land in the private domain belonged to men of noble standing and other distinguished men in the society. This land was set aside for only those holding an office, and was not directed through inheritance.
It was the author’s intent to clarify misconceptions of ancient Mexican land tenure. The article is set up in a distinct way that serves to define the division of and use of the land of the Aztecs. It should also be noted that this article was taken in translation, which is not usually the policy of American Anthropologist.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ALLISON GOFF Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Christensen, James Boyd. Utani: Joking, Sexual License and Social Obligations Among the Luguru. American Anthropologist. December, 1963 Vol.65 (6) 1314-1327.
The author’s objective is to explain the concept of utani in and among the Luguru of Tanganyika. Utani is the term given to the relationship formed among members of a clan, or between clans themselves, based on “joking, sexual license, or obligations” (p.1314). The author cites Radcliffe-Brown’s definition of a joking relationship as being “a technique of resolving problems inherent in the social structure and an alternative to extreme respect or avoidance” (p. 1314). By this definition, it is evident that the author sees utani as a way of maintaining harmony in and among clans.
The author then begins with a description of the people he uses to demonstrate utani. The Luguru are “a Bantu tribe numbering 200,000″ (p.1315). The Luguru use, “hoe-type agriculture,” therefore they live “barely above the subsistence level” (p.1315). The social structure of the Luguru is matrilineal, with ” succession and inheritance ideally [going] to the sister’s son” (p.1315). The author uses the Luguru as an example because they claim to have utani relationships with clans in their vicinity. The word for the plural form of utani is “watani,” and the singular form is “mtani” (p. 1315).
The author explains the manifestations of utani in three sections. First, joking and privileged familiarity explains the nature of joking between watani. “The greatest degree of joking is carried on between watani of the same generation” (p. 1315). Included in this form is sexual joking. The author also gives examples of social rules of joking, such as avoidance of joking with mothers-in-law. Another function of joking is to “introduce a bit of levity” into a funeral situation (p. 1317).
The author points out that “sexual license [is] permitted between unmarried cross-cousins” without being scrutinized by the community (p.1319). Another example of acceptable sexual license among the Luguru is when a married man is allowed to seek outside sexual relations, preferably with a widow or divorcee (p.1319). These extra-marital relationships are especially preferred if chosen among watami.
Another aspect of the utani relationship is that of social obligations. “The obligatory aspects may be noted primarily at times of crisis, such as birth, death and disputes” (p. 1320). An example of this is when the watani are expected to assist the clan in the preparation of the body of a deceased person for burial. In return, the watani are permitted to confiscate food as payment.
The author also touches on intertribal utani, or utani witnessed between different clans. These examples of utani could have resulted from the dispute of two tribes. Instead of a “potential master-slave relationship”, the dispute ended in forming “mutual obligations” (p. 1325).
The article was very detailed and sometimes hard to understand. The terminology is rapidly interchanged and makes for semi-difficult comprehension. Overall, the main theme is not too hard to understand.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ALLISON BOISVENU Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Coult, Allan D. Unconscious Inference and Cultural Origins American Anthropologist February, 1963 Vol.65(2):32-35
Coult is concerned that social science sees cultural facts as being unexplainable by psychological phenomena. Reductionism is not the problem, Coult asserts. The problem is the analysis of differences between the cultural and the psychological. The psychological process is what cultural processes are based on.
The reduction of cultural facts to psychological processes can be shown through widespread menstrual taboos. These cultural facts can be shown to be based in reality and to affect perceptual expectancies. Perceptual expectancies based on such facts can be shown by looking at the geographical belief in a taboo and the resistance to the removal of the taboo.
Coult explains perceptual expectancies are how humans know what is likely to occur in their environments. Studies show that humans “anticipations of stimuli correspond closely with the actual probabilities of the stimuli occurring.” (32) Humans also tend to utilize a “minimax strategy” anticipating stimuli according to the probability of reward. If a stimulus was always rewarded negative results it would be avoided entirely which is called “unconscious inference.”
Social taboos are the result of unconscious inference and are not based on irrational beliefs. Menstruating women produce depressant effects on organic substances including “withering freshly cut flowers” (33) and can take place at a distance due to mitogenetic rays.
Explanations of social taboos are often analyzed as irrational due to an inability to explain them in an empirical fashion. However, it is possible that taboos were developed not through empirical reasoning but formed through an unconscious understanding in order to avoid unfavorable conditions.
The evidence Coult presents on the damaging effects of women menstruating is questionable. Coult, by presenting this questionable evidence, seems to be perpetuating a cultural myth based on no empirical fact. Coult does not prove his point by using a cultural myth to prove the unconscious realities on which psychological phenomenon is based.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
SHAUN GODWIN Michigan State University, (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Coult, Allan D. Causality and Cross-Sex Prohibitions. American Anthropologist. April, 1963 Vol. 65(2):266-277.
In his article, Coult discusses various theories about the causes behind exogamy and incest taboos, which he refers to jointly as cross-sex prohibitions. He spends some time explicating different theories of causation and then sets out his own definitions. He defines cause “in terms of spatial and temporal alignments so that A is said to be the cause of B if A precedes B in time and is related to B spatially in such a way that an observer concludes that the two are interdependent” (266), thus concluding that the study of causes and the study of change are inextricably linked. He divides the types of causes he will discuss in terms of those first posited by Aristotle, formal causes, material causes, efficient causes, and final causes. He defines a formal cause as the conglomeration of all of the parts of a given phenomenon, while a material cause is defined as the past phenomenon that precedes the current phenomenon being examined (basically, the element which has undergone a change to become the phenomenon currently observed). An efficient cause is essentially an agent of change, which an observer identifies as altering a phenomenon. Coult defines a final cause as the agent that perpetuates the existence and continuity of a phenomenon.
Coult believes that since taboos against exogamy are more frequent and extensive than those against incest, that exogamy must determine incest taboos. He supports his claim by drawing upon the work of a variety of anthropologists, such as Slater, Levi-Strauss, Radcliffe-Brown, Malinowski, and Parsons. He splits his discussion into categories based on the different types of causes governing the creation and maintenance of cross-sex taboos. Concerning the material causes of exogamy, Coult discusses claims by Slater and Levi-Strauss that are based in the material causes of symbolic systems (such as taboos) and family structure. He cites work by Radcliffe-Brown as some of the strongest in terms of the formal causes of exogamy. Radcliffe-Brown claims that cross-sex taboos prevent internal conflict between members of a group by preserving pre-existent social bonds between people and preventing individuals from developing dual responsibilities with each other. Parsons extrapolates from this idea claiming that cross-sex prohibitions prevent family members from developing dueling roles with one another, i.e. if a child has an erotic relationship with a parent, it undermines both the traditional role of parental authority and the nature of the relationship of child to parent by giving the child dueling responsibilities as both spouse and child. Coult writes that efficient causes of exogamy usually assist in the adaptation of an individual to new family roles without disturbing pre-existent ones. He also briefly explores the final causes of cross-sex prohibitions, and concludes that they occur specifically among societies with a nuclear family structure.
Coult’s article, though very informative, is densely written, and due to the complexity of the theories of causation, very confusing in many respects. His navigation through the different theories behind the existence of cross-sex prohibitions might best be used as a brief history of some of the scholarly work done in that field up to 1963.
ALYSSA BROWN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Deshon, Shirley K. Compadrazgo on a Henequen Hacienda in Yucatan: A Structural Re-Evaluation. American Anthropologist June 1963 Vol 65(3):574-583.
This article is the result of fieldwork done by the author in which she looked at the practice of compadrazgo on a hacienda in Mexico. The hacienda on which she did her fieldwork was one that produced henequen, a plant from which rope is made. Compadrazgo is an institution of coparenting in Mexico surrounding the Christian baptism of children, though non-Christians also practice it. It is an extension of the kinship structure, providing “spiritual” kin. The author notes three patterns of compadrazgo proposed by anthropologists Mintz and Wolf. The first involves ties between hacienda owners and workers; the second involves both kinship and compadrazgo; and the third involves “multiple and extending relationships under conditions of increased culture change” (574). The work of Mintz and Wolf was the springboard for this fieldwork. The evidence derived from Deshon’s fieldwork is different from the first and last of these patterns, a finding she did not expect. Her purpose in the article is to account for the discrepancy between her expectations and her findings. The method employed for this paper was to look at selections of baptismal godparents, and then to examine them “with reference to other systems of interaction which are brought into the compadre framework as a result of these selections” (575). The data collected were based on observations, informants’ testimony, and census materials.
Mintz and Wolf correlate sponsor relationships, horizontal and vertical, with socioeconomic conditions, cultural change, and individual mobility. Citing two periods of cultural and socioeconomic change, the most recent in 1937, the author expected to see a shift away from selection of close kin as sponsors toward a widening of outside choices. However, her expectation was not validated by her findings. She found “a persistent dominant pattern of grandparent selection and horizontal relationship, little compadre link with the owner, and an increase in multiple relationships which … [fell] below [her] expectations” (577). Her conclusion was that, on the hacienda under study, choices of sponsorship “were more vertical during the nuclear stage and more horizontal during the extended stages” (582). It was a predominance of the latter stages that gave the hacienda in question “its horizontal character” and which “maintained [it] during the periods of accelerated culture change” (582).
Before getting very far in understanding this article, I had to find out just what compadrazgo is and what a henequen hacienda is. Once I knew those two things, I was able to make more sense of the article. It is not really difficult to see the point of the article. There is a lot of information in the article and it is quite interesting. In places, it is technical and can be a bit confusing to the novice.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
SHERRY BRUMGARD Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Falk Moore, Sally Oblique and Asymmetrical Cross-cousin Marriage and Crow-Omaha Terminology American Anthropologist April, 1963 Vol.65(2):296-311.
The goal of the article is to explore the place of oblique marriage in cultures having asymmetrical cross-cousin marriage while simultaneously trying to disentangle the relationship between oblique marriage and Crow-Omaha terminology. In order to accomplish this, Moore concentrates on three main areas of discussion. First, how oblique marriage may precede or be combined with asymmetrical cross-cousin marriage; second, why such combinations would tend to produce the matrilateral form; and third, why it is explicable but quite logical that Crow and Omaha terminologies both occur within matrilateral and patrilateral asymmetrical cross-cousin marriage.
Since oblique marriages (aunt-nephew or uncle-niece) are often secondary marriages, Moore believes that they have been wrongly dismissed by scholars as peripheral to kinship systems with low levels of occurrence and influence. Moore insists, infrequent as oblique marriages may be, they can yield considerable amounts of information about kinship systems by suggesting which close relative (or relatives) in the generation above a young man or woman is the younger person’s counterpart. Asymmetrical cross-cousin marriages and oblique marriages involve some of the same partners, depend upon a brother-sister connection, and reiterate an affinal alliance.
In Moore’s discussion she lists 54 peoples that prescribe, prefer, or allow asymmetrical cross-cousin marriage; concluding that in roughly half the cultures having asymmetrical cross-cousin marriage, evidence of what may be a related oblique marriage or sexual relationship may be found. Furthermore, Moore goes on to state that if oblique marriages in patrilateral cross-cousin marriages were repeated over successive generations, they would inevitably result in matrilateral cross-cousin marriage, thus, reproducing the matrilateral form.
Lastly, Moore believes the identification of children with relatives of a higher generation is the core of Crow-Omaha terminology. Oblique marriages and the terminology are an expression of this identification, not a determinant of it, nor of each other. Crow and Omaha terminology express relationships within lineage, and since marriage rights and terminology are both connected with the nature of lineage, they impinge upon another.
The insight provided by Moore on oblique marriages and their relationship to asymmetrical cross-cousin marriages and kinship terminology is clearly well thought-out, providing a fresh perspective into anthropology’s age-old infatuation with kinship systems and correlating terminology. However, for those less familiar with kinship systems and the terminology used to describe them, the article is at times both overwhelming and confusing.
SARA A. FELLOWS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Freed, Stanley A. An Objective Method for Determining the Collective Caste Hierarchy of an Indian Village American Anthropologist August, 1963 Vol.65(4):879-891
This article focuses on Freed’s attempt to determine a collective caste hierarchy for the population of Shanti Nagar (a pseudonym), near Delhi, India. The author explains statistical methods used to identify a common stratification of castes. Freed also observes the effects of membership in certain castes and of urban experience upon those surveyed.
Hinduism is the only religion in Shanti Nagar and agriculture is practiced among most villagers, although now some men are taking jobs in the city. There are thirteen castes in a population of 799, but one caste has been excluded due to its recent addition to Shanti Nagar. However, it is difficult for different anthropologists to interpret caste data in the same way. Ways discussed to avoid incorrect assumptions are to identify ways in which castes commonly relate and differ. This still, however, indicates the subjectivity of interpretation by a researcher.
The strategy can be taken further by establishing guidelines for the collection process and not just interpretation. Freed instigates Marriott’s method, which determines a median rank for each caste by sampling the respondents from the population. The author interviewed 26 men, over the age of 25 years, from within the castes of Shanti Nagar. One man from smaller castes and four men from larger castes were polled. Following Marriott’s procedure, movable cards were placed in front of the subjects. Each man was told to place the cards, with the caste names on them, in order of highest to lowest social rankings.
Preliminary statistical methods compare the median rankings of a pair of castes and determine which one of each pair ranks higher. By this initial process, the hierarchy from high to low follows as: Brahman, Baniya, Jat, Bairagi, Lohar, Mali, Jhinvar, Mahar Kumhar, Gola Kumhar, Nai, Chamar, and Chuhra. The last step is to look at the possibility of equal rankings of some castes. Analysis of these statistics reveals seven ranks instead of the twelve named.
Finally, anthropologists question if caste membership has anything to do with how a person places himself stratigraphically in society. Freed comments that most respondents accurately viewed themselves in regard to the hierarchy in the interviews, therefore implying that personal views do not taint the overall view as much as previously suspected. In addition, studies of the mixture of castes in an urban work setting have not affected village caste divisions as presupposed.
Although results found from this study are subjective to the interpretation of the author, the ideas discussed are supported by tables; illustrating the success of the sampling procedure chosen. However, this article does not deal with the introduction of the thirteenth caste, nor does it show a clearly effective way to identify two castes as being equal in status.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
STEPHANIE SMITH Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Gibbs, James L, Jr. Marital Instability among the Kpelle: Towards a Theory of Epainogamy. American Anthropologist. June, 1963. Vol.65:552-573
The author’s objective is to explain marital instability between men and women of the Kpelle who are located in central Liberia. The article begins with talks of marital stability from an outside source. “Gluckman suggests that ‘father-right’ or patriliny is associated with low divorce; and ‘mother-right’ or matriliny, with high divorce” (552). Most theorists agree with this notion, but Embree expands and uses the term epainogamy. He says that epainogamy refers to the condition of marriage, which is supported socially, honored and approved. An epainogamous society stabilizes marriage through removing deviance and misunderstandings of certain behavior. The author then explains that there are seven features of kinship systems under fixed marriages. They include: weak marital band, favored marriage, alternative marriage, continuation of marriage, polygamy, regulations of incest, and children. All of these are seen as a threat to a marriage. However, in an epainogamous society, stabilization can occur through rewarding conformity and through the value of personal rights.
The Kpelle are used to show how far their society moves away from the stereotype of an epainogamous society. One of the problems that the Kpelle are faced with is that marriage is a result of acquisitions of individual rights over the partner. This means that they try to acquire the rights of their partners. Although the Kpelle are a patrilineal society, there is an absence of powerful kin groups. “The actual over-all divorce rate among the Kpelle is high” (560), the rate is steady at approximately twenty percent. Although is has been thought that sexual deprivation lead to marriage, it was not an issue at the time of divorce. Research has found that in this society, adultery is not frowned upon. They are tolerant towards it. Generally, the main problem with the Kpelle is that the woman are seen as property and objects. This leads to high divorce rates.
The author accomplishes his objectives in this article. The article tends to drag on at the end, but is very interesting. Although some of the content is hard to understand, the author gets the main points across. Overall, if you do not know who the Kpelle are, do not read the article.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
ADAM COHEN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Gimbulas, Marija. The Indo-Europeans: Archeological Problems. American Anthropologist. August 1963. Vol.65(4):815-836.
The author’s objective is to describe in detail “the homeland area of the Indo-European” people, Indo-European migrations, and other miscellaneous developments (Gimbutas 815). The author states that linguistic and archeological evidence contradicts P. Bosch-Gimpera’s theory of a European homeland for the Indo-European people. Many examples of diverse Neolithic cultures provide evidence to support the author’s claim that Indo-European people originated exclusively in Europe.
The author explains the cultural developments and expansion of the Kurgan people of the Eurasian steppes. It is mentioned that “the Kurgan people succeeded in conquering almost two-thirds of the European continent” between the years of 2400-2200 BC (827). Metallurgy, oxen-drawn vehicles, battle-axes, and a complex social organization are described as enabling factors for their conquest. Their intrusion is said to have lead to the downfall of “the old European neolithic and chalcolithic cultures and to the Early Bronze Age Aegean and western Anatolian cultures” (834). The wave of invasions by the Kurgan people in “the North Pontic area, Anatolia, the Aegean, the Balkans, central Europe, northwestern Europe, the East Baltic area, and central Russia” brought about a “hybridization” of “different cultural elements” (827,834). It was also mentioned that along with the hybridization of all the different cultures, the Kurgan culture “spread astonishingly uniform cultural elements all over the vast area of Europe, the Caucasus, and Anatolia” (834). The author describes the Kurgan people as a culture that enjoyed a powerful civilization led by powerful rulers, who broke their civilization into states.
The author claims that the existence of the Hittite, Luvian, and Kassitic Indo-European languages of the Kurgan people means that they were separated into tribes with their own dialects or languages previous to their expansion. With their expansion, “further differentiation” occurred, creating new culture (834). The author also points out that the Kurgans from northern Caucasus “may have been the parents of the Cimmerians, Hittites, and possibly the Kassites and the Hyksos (834). After the second millennium BC, “new cultural groups of Kurgan origin arose” such as the Proto-Germanic, the Proto-Baltic, the Proto-Slavic, and the Proto-Dacian. (834).
The author meticulously lays out many migrations of many different cultural groups, and describes the archeological and linguistic evidence for these migrations. This makes for a very long and careful read.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
KEVIN BULGER Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Hall, Edward T. A System for the Notation of Proxemic Behavior American Anthropologist October, 1963 Vol.65(5):1003-1026
Hall’s article describes proxemics, the study of how man unconsciously structures microspace. Microspace includes the distance between people in everyday situations like conversations. His purpose is “to present a simple system of observation and notation with a view to standardizing the reporting of a narrow range of microcultural events” (1003). Hall stresses the point that proxemics is relative to the culture being observed. For example, Arabs stand very close to each other in conversation, but this closeness makes Americans uneasy.
When examining proxemics, one must look for patterned distinctions. These patterns can be examined using the eight dimensions of proxemic behavior and their appropriate scales. These dimensions are postural-sex identifiers, sociofugal-sociopetal orientation, kinesthetic factors, touch code, retinal combinations, thermal code, olfaction code, and voice loudness scale. Each factor comprises a closed behavioral system.
Postural sex identifiers indicate the sex of the subjects, and whether they are standing, sitting, squatting, or prone. Sociofugal and sociopetal describe spatial arrangements that push people apart and pull them in, “orientations that increase interaction, or decrease it” (1008). Kinesthetic factors are based on what people do with their arms, legs, and bodies. Kinesthetic relationships can be coded as one of four distances, or as one of four distances plus space.
Touching is coded on a seven-point scale. 0 stands for caressing while 6 stands for no contact. The role of vision in communication is very complex, and vision is the most complex human sense. Culture determines at what, at whom, and how on looks, as well as how much communication comes from the eyes. Greeks emphasize the use of the eyes, but Americans shy away from this practice. Regarding the retina, the eye provides three types of viewing: foveal (sharp), macular (clear), peripheral, and no vision at all.
With thermal factors, “the sensing of heat from another body can result in a movement either towards or away from the source” (1014). Olfaction deals with smell and there is a wide range from pleasant to awful. When olfaction is present, it is usually in an intimate setting. Smell often determines distance. Voice loudness modifies to cultural norms for distance, relationship between people involved, and the situation or subject of conversation. There are seven degrees of loudness and they vary with the individual.
Proxemics can be viewed as a form of communication. Hockett, an anthropologist, lists seven principal features of language as duality, productivity, arbitrariness, interchangeability, specialization, displacement, and cultural transmission. Proxemic behavior includes every one of these features, plus others, but it is much less specialized than language. Proxemics can be reduced to a “transaction between two or more parties, or one or more parties, and the environment” (1021).
Hall’s article is organized into very clear sections that are easy to understand. The article was well written and the diagrams were very helpful as aids to the text.
JUSTIN ZAMBO Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Hickerson, Harold The Sociohistorical Significance of Two Chippewa Ceremonials American Anthropologist February, 1963 Vol.65(1):67-85
The author’s objective in this article is to describe why two Chippewa ceremonies, the Feast of the Dead, and the Midewiwin, have such profound sociohistorical significance. In this article the author’s purpose is to explain how ceremonial changes related to the alterations in the sociopolitical life of the Chippewa communities. The Feast of the Dead involved the burial of bones of dead members of Indian villages. It also involved exchange of fur and commodities. Typically, trading allies were invited to participate in this ceremony as a way of renewing alliances. It was a good way for uniting strong ties politically, economically, and socially, which was an advantage in that time period because it was in the fur trade era. The other ceremony, Midewiwin, emerged as the Chippewa developed their organization based on tribal affiliation. This ceremony was devoted to mystical arts. It incorporated a priesthood and tribal rituals.
In this article, many examples are used to explain the significance of these two ceremonies. The author talks about how the Feast of the Dead had no tribal cohesion. He goes on to explain that the relationships among those at the feast were voluntary and equal. While the feast was based on the burials of their deceased, it involved the exchange of wealth among these people. The effect of this ceremony was that these people many times bonded in alliances of intermarriage and common interest in trade. What this did was lessen friction among competitors and created better ties among these people. This ceremony stayed intact until 1695, when it ended because of transitions that fostered the decline of this ceremony. When the people of the ceremony remained separate and autonomous the feast was continual, but as the Feast started losing its social and local distinctness, it ended.
As the author tells of this end, he then goes on to explain how the Midewiwin ceremony emerged. This emerged as the Chippewa developed their village organization based on tribal affiliation. This ceremony was based in Indian traditions, an organized priesthood, and the regular recurrence of celebration. To many it was looked at as a way to provide a basis for tribal gathering, a solution to the problem of authority, and tribal solidarity of discrete kin groups with one political authority. The priesthood that resided in these ceremonies played a big role in the political life of the village. With all of its virtues and characteristics combined it aimed at tribal cohesion. The author explains that as transformations occurred in civil life, ceremonial changes needed to be made to adjust to them and the Midewiwin adjusted to these needs. Both the Feast of the Dead and Midewiwin came into effect as ceremonials which responded to the social life and ways of the time era they evolved. They helped organize and unite the Chippewa of these eras.
The author accomplishes his objectives in this detailed and long article. He uses concrete examples to demonstrate his points. Through reading this article, the author gives great insight to the significance to these two ceremonials and it is very easy to comprehend.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
KRISTEN WOLOSZYN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Kay, Paul Tahitian Fosterage and the Form of Ethnographic Models American Anthropologist October, 1963 Vol.65(5):1027-1044
The author’s objective in this article is to assert that ethnographic research can be modeled with both qualitative and quantitative methods. Kay furnishes the following definitions of qualitative and quantitative models: “Qualitative models are models all of whose measured variables are both finite and discrete. Quantitative models may contain continuous or non-finite measured variables as well as finite and discrete ones” (1027). The author explains that anthropological studies “have been largely of the qualitative kinds,” as they have been the study of kinship “where finite and discrete variables often present a natural representation of the data” (1027). Kay proposes that qualitative models alone do not suffice in all anthropological research.
The author explains that when a researcher is engaged in an “ethnographic description as a model, it is characterized as (1) rather more discursive than formal and (2) of the general, quantitative, and not the special qualitative, kind” (1028). Kay elaborates on the limits of the use of the qualitative model in ethnographic research, suggesting that, “considerations of measurement determine the properties of variables and hence set limits on the meaningful combination of variables, that is on the possible models in which these variables are used” (1028).
To test the usefulness of the quantitative model, the author applies the model to his research of Tahitian fosterage. Kay discovered that “Tahitians (in rural communities) appear to have strong preferences for fostering close relatives” (1038) as opposed to more distant relatives. The child is seen as an “enjoyment and a pleasant distraction” (1039) to the fostering relatives. The author further states that in the urban areas, fosterage is of a less personal value and is usually for financial benefit, as the foster parents receive “compensation from the natural parents” (1039). Kay discovered that “although a model of Tahitian fosterage based on ordinal measurement of an independent variable can produce certain verifiable predictions, it cannot produce a formal model which satisfactorily represents the ethnographic situation” (1041).
The author’s presentation of the material is extremely complex and confusing. The reader should have a good understanding of advanced algebra to comprehend the equations to their fullest. The average reader would have tremendous difficulty with this article.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
DEBORAH ROELS Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Kloss, Peter Matrilocal Residence and Local Endogamy: Environmental Knowledge or Leadership American Anthropologist August, 1963 Vol.65(4):854-861
Peter Kloss attempts to give some diversified arguments regarding the assumption that their is an “association between matrilocal residence in sedentary communities and local endogamy.” In other words, Kloss attempts to give alternative viewpoints to the simple assumption that in matriarchal societies men will marry within the confines of his own community rather than venturing out and marrying elsewhere. This process of marrying within one’s own community is called endogamy, as contrasted with exogamy, meaning to marry outside one’s own community. Kloss explains that in the discussion of this matter, it is imperative to consider the “succession in leadership,” i.e. whether the community survives on the basis of patrilineal or matrilineal orientation.
In his discussion, Kloss points out the specific objections to the earlier assumption. Kloss discusses the problems that arise with the harmony between a matrilineal culture and the progression of leaders in a community throughout time. Briefly, Kloss states that a matrilocal community almost denies the possibility of purely endogamous marriages. Rather, in order for the demographics of a matrilineal community to allow for leadership by women, some marriages must be exogamous. Throughout the article Kloss presents situations which show (however confusingly) objections to the assumption first proposed by Kloss. In his conclusion he states that without the succession of matrilineal leaders, the relationship between males marrying within a community and matrilocal residence is to be negated.
Although this summery is somewhat terse and does not exactly do justice to Kloss’s analysis, I can say with a high level of certainly that the article was excessively confusing for a few reasons. First, Kloss did a poor job introducing the topic of his investigation. Furthermore the relevance of Kloss’s investigation seemed somewhat lacking. Throughout the article I struggled to comprehend the confusing scenarios of cultures laid out by Kloss: an exogamous matrilocal community, a endogamous patrilineal community, etc. Perhaps my opinion of this article is bias due to the fact of my ignorance of the topic. However, in judging the overall effectiveness of this article, my understanding of its meaning seemed an important factor. Considering I had to read the article multiple times in order to finally grasp some of its implications, I concluded that the article was fairly unclear.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
DAN LINK Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Layrisse, Miguel, Zulay Layrisse and Johannes Wilbert. Blood Group Antigen Studies of Four Chibchan Tribes. American Anthropologist. February, 1963. Vol65(1):36-55
The authors’ objective is to examine the Chibchan-speaking tribes of Central America. They begin by explaining that these tribes are located between Honduras and Venezuela. Generally, these are highland people who live in the mountains.
The first tribe that they speak about is the Tunebo. This tribe lives in the Sierra Nevada de Cocuy with a population of approximately 2000 people. The Tunebo live in small houses with an economy based on agriculture such as maize, sugar cane, and yucca. Their marriage is usually monogamous and their family life is nuclear.
The second group that the authors speak of is the Ica. This tribe lives in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, just inside of Colombia. Their population had remained stable roughly at 3000. The Ica economy is based with yucca, potatoes, malanga, and maize and they use hunting and gathering minimally. Their property is inherited bilineally.
The third group is the Paez who are located in central Colombia. Although missionaries have heavily affected them, agriculture is the basis on which they live. They grow crops such as batata, bananas, and maize. They live in nuclear families and “prevailing monogamy may be due to mission influence” (41).
The Warrau, located on the coast of British Guiana, is the last tribe spoken about. Their population is at around 8000 individuals. Upon mission influence, they adopted agriculture such as yucca and sugar cane, but their economy depends on fishing and domesticating Maurita palm. This tribe is matrilineal and has a society founded on kinship and not class.
The article then turns to the blood group studies of these tribes. With approximately 400 samples, the blood was tested for hemoglobin, haptoglobin, and for antigens. The authors’ goal was to find if there was a mixture between these groups. With a low-rate of non-Indian admixture, the authors came to a couple of conclusions. The Tunebo and the Warrau have had little contact with other groups such as whites and blacks. The Ica and the Paez have been in heavy contact with other cultures and groups. The authors came up with two hypotheses: “The Tunebo and Warrau are genuine Chibcha tribes in accordance with their actual linguistic affiliation” (51) and “The Tunebo and Warrau are not genetically Chibcha and originally Diego-negative tribe” (52). Overall, they found that there was a gene drift, which led to differences in origin.
This article was excellent at explaining tribes and their habits. However, the article takes a turn for the worse when the authors begin speaking about mixtures and blood types. The article shows no pictures, but is very easy to read.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ADAM COHEN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Lowie, Robert H. Religion in Human Life American Anthropologist June, 1963 Vol.65(3):532-542
This article discusses the impact of religion on human life. Lowie describes the fieldwork that he has done concerning American Indians, among other examples of culture studies that have been done which all focus on the religious aspect of the cultures. Lowie uses these examples to show that religion is a cultural universal and serves as an important part in people’s lives. He begins with a small amount of background information on how religion has affected societies in the past, giving the example that religious devotion was much more of an integral part of people’s lives in the middle ages than it necessarily is to those living in modern societies today. Though most modern people do not necessarily center their lives on religion, Lowie gives examples of some Native American tribes that do base their societies around their religion. The Hopi of Arizona and the Crow of Montana both are very religious according to Lowie and spend a great amount of time out of each year celebrating religious festivals. These tribes value their religion and believe that there are higher powers or spirits that have a great effect on the goings on in their daily lives.
Lowie uses these examples to show how people use religion “to integrate the individual’s behavior in society, to give him confidence in meeting the crises which life inescapably brings, and to introduce into his existence a stable central core in the light of which he can assign values” (539). This is the basic point that Lowie is making throughout the article. All of the examples that he gives support religion as something that brings people together and helps to keep an order in life. Lowie finishes up the article by addressing the controversy between religion and science. He states that the average person does not understand the relationship between the two. Average people see science as truth because it can be proven in experiments. The main argument that he makes in this section is that scientific theories are only true until proven otherwise. He says that theories are good enough for the time that they are developed, but there is always a chance that they can be proven wrong. Though science has come up with theories that seem contradictory to religious beliefs, Lowie writes that science is ever changing and that present theories can be proven otherwise.
Lowie covered a good amount of information on the subject of religion and the roles that it plays in people’s lives and their behaviors. The article gives many examples that back up Lowie’s point of religion playing an important part of many people’s lives. It was not very difficult article to read and is interesting also.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
AMY KROON Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Mitchell, William. Theoretical Problems in the Concept of Kindred. American Anthropologist April 1963 Vol.65(2):343-354.
William Mitchell’s purpose in his essay is to explore the assumptions of kindred that are misleading and have obscured our cross-cultural understanding of kinship structure. Mitchell lays out his evidence in a critiquing manner in which he questions past statements about kindred.
Mitchell initially provides material from various writers and their concept, research, and conclusion about kindred among different societies. The first set of excerpts is from Murdock who concludes that kindred can be found in bilateral societies. Mitchell emphasizes that kindred are characteristic of all societies, which is supported by his next set of evidence from the writing of Morgan. Mitchell uses Morgan’s work to support his own theory that kin networks are universally applicable to all individuals in all societies.
Aside from presenting excerpts and critiquing or advocating them, the author presents the methodological problem whether the sociological existence of kindred in different societies is assumed from an anthropologists’ construct of social behavior or is employed as a native linguistic category. Mitchell agrees with and presents Levi Strauss’s conclusion that culturally produced models of social structure are important, but when anthropologists seek structural models they must meet requirements of methodology.
Lastly, Mitchell explains the two main approaches to the study of kinship behavior. Following this description of procedure, the author explains these two approaches are complementary. Using quotations from other anthropologists, Mitchell again supports his theory and shows a wrongful assumption from Davenport that these approaches are mutually exclusive in the context of any one society.
In Mitchell’s concluding paragraphs he restates his purpose and provides suggestions for avoiding the problematic confusion of kindred. Although this article is short in length, Mitchell’s presentation is difficult. The manner in which he lays out his evidence is scattered and his ideas are not clearly presented. Overall, this essay is extremely confusing and difficult to understand. Many words used which the reader may not know are not found in standard dictionaries. These words are crucial to the comprehension of the information and the reader may have to look them up in a special anthropology dictionary.
SUSIE CAIN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Naroll, Raoul and Roy G. D’Andrade Two Further Solutions to Galton’s Problem American Anthropologist October, 1963 Vol.65(5):1053-1067
This article focuses on a problem in the field of social science known as Galton’s Problem. Galton’s problem is determining whether social factors, which appear to correlate, are actually related to each other. The authors use an example taken from a study done in 1947, where the original research suggested that single people eat more candy than married people. The 1947 social curvy seemed to reflect a direct correlation between marital status and candy eating. However, when examined further that correlation was disproved. When researchers surveyed candy eating based on age as opposed to marital status, the correlation between marital status and candy eating disappeared. What researchers realized was that candy eating was really a correlate of age and the original research showed a relationship between candy eating and marriage, because marriage is affected by age. This type of false correlation shows the importance of thoroughly examining the results of a study, especially in evaluating correlations.
The article notes that there are four possible solutions to Galton’s problem of differentiation. This article focuses on two of the four solutions, specifically, the interval sift method, and the matched pair method. The interval sift method relies on the idea that traits often diffuse through neighboring cluster. Interval sifting is the systematic sampling of factors from predetermined diffusion arcs. The matched pair method refers to the process of sampling from pairs of cultures and then matching pairs together base don historical background.
This article uses very detailed description of the solutions as well as varied charts and data. However, due to the wealth of information provided and the complexity of the charts, it is difficult for the reader truly to evaluate either of the authors’ findings.
CLARITY RANKING: 3
ANGELA TAYLOR Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Obesyeskere, G. Pregnancy Cravings (Dola-Duka) in Relation to Social Structure and Personality in a Sinhalese Village. American Anthropologist. April, 1963 Vol. 65(2):323-342.
This article’s main concern is about the analysis of the early months of pregnancy of women. The main focus is in a village in the Patte of Laggala, which is northeast of Matale in the Central Province of Ceylon.
Obesyeskere discusses the term dola-duka, craving or suffering of pregnant women. Dola-duka refers to women’s experience during the second month of pregnancy to about the fifth month. Dola-duka is a craving for certain foods, arrack, and cigars. If the craving is not met it is seen as a sin, which has serious repercussions. For example, it is believed that if a women’s craving is not fulfilled the ears of the fetus will “rot”.
While the article does discuss the type of food one craves, the majority of the article discusses the basis or orientation for this craving. Obesyeskere takes a look into the psychological aspects behind dola-duka.
Obesyeskere explains the attitude about women that are found in the Laggala culture. Once women reach an age of puberty, they are no longer permitted their childhood freedom. When women begin to menstruate, they are viewed differently by their culture. The word kili refers to women’s impurity involving menstruation. Women are seen as inferior for they have periods. Therefore women must clean, cook, look after children, obtain food and water and obey their husbands. Husbands are allowed to beat their wives.
Obesyeskere goes on to describe that women feel much hostility towards men for all the above mentioned. This in return causes the symbolic nature behind dola-duka. Women reject certain foods during this time. These foods are eaten by women on a daily basis and are associated with their social roles as wife or mother.
The last section of the article discusses the symbolic meaning behind the food cravings. For example, women crave sweets, cookies. These foods are seen as childhood foods. Obesyeskere believes that women crave these foods because when children cry they are given sweets. Also, when a child’s father goes into town he usually comes back with these treats.
Other foods mentioned are sour foods, festival foods, expensive and rare foods, foods expressing hostility, male foods, “penis symbols”, and idiosyncratic foods. All of these have some kind of symbolic meaning behind them. Most of these foods express the desire to be treated like a male or to express the hostility women feel for the way they are treated.
Overall, while this article is rather long, it reads easily. I found the article to be very interesting and profound.
AMANDA DEKARSKE Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse).
Pollitzer, William S. Hemoglobins, Haptoglobins, and Transferrins in Man American Anthropologist December, 1963 Vol.65(6):1295-1313
William S. Pollitzer states that although human genetics may seem boring and sterile, there is continuing interest in the quest for human variation and the interactions between genetic and ecological factors. “Recently accumulated evidence indicates that some, and perhaps most, aspects of polymorphism in man are adaptive and that cultural factors are commonly involved in the process of adaptation” (1295). This evidence has led to a more intimate alliance between physical anthropologists and human geneticists. With the advancement of technology, there has come a greater understanding of the structure of the hemoglobin molecule, the strategy of the gene in producing its end product in the individual and the flow of these genes through the course of human history. It is this recently accumulated evidence that Pollitzer highlights and how this evidence binds the physical anthropologist closer to the human geneticists.
Pollitzer explains the differences between normal human hemoglobin and hemoglobin of those who suffer from sickle cell anemia. Included in his explanations are structural differences, variations in the naming of the hemoglobin and the techniques used to determine the different varieties of hemoglobin. The majority of his article focuses on the human hemoglobin molecule, but he also states that detailed investigations have been carried out on a variety of animals in recent years. “Such investigations have invited speculation on phylogenetic relationships and the evolution of the hemoglobin molecule” (1298).
Spending most of the article on the structure and distribution of abnormal human hemoglobin, Pollitzer also addresses two other genetic traits that have become of some interest in recent years. Haptoglobin and transferrin are detailed in the same fashion as hemoglobin, but majority of the time is spent on the frequency of the traits within different populations and the distribution of the frequencies throughout the Old World.
Pollitzer makes an important suggestion as to the importance of genetic markers to anthropology. “Equal in interest to the hemoglobins as racial markers are the problems of genetic mechanisms required for their persistence at high frequencies” (1301). Experiments and observation in Africa have shown that persons with the sickle cell trait have a greater protection from deadly malaria than those with normal hemoglobin. The recognition of selective mechanisms, which maintain genes within human populations, has grown in importance. Along with the growing importance of selective mechanisms comes an increase in opportunity for the understanding of gene action both in individual development and the evolution of populations.
Although Pollitzer produced a short article, it takes a second look to fully understand the complexity at hand. The underlying scientific aspect of the hemoglobins, haptoglobins and transferrins with the statistics of their frequency, produced confusion. The author spent so much time explaining the intricacies of hemoglobins, haptoglobins and transferrins that little was left for the anthropological view.
SARAH M. LITTLE Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Sapir, Philip, Julius Segal, and Marcus S. Goldstein Anthropology and the Research Grant and Fellowship Programs of The National Institute of Mental Health American Anthropologist February, 1963 Vol.65(1):117-132
The authors’ objectives in this article are to explain the influences and contributions anthropology has had on the National Institute of Mental Health. In this article they explain the relevance between medicine and anthropology. Some of fields of medicine that the authors focus on in this article are mental health and psychiatry and how there is a great appreciation for anthropologists in these fields. The authors go on to explain that the National Institute of Mental Health supports research done by anthropologists because they are significant in much of the research done by their institute. Therefore there are many grants and fellowships which have been rewarded to anthropologists. To get these grants the anthropologists have to apply and go through a competitive process. Over the years the number of accepted and granted research proposals awarded to anthropologists have increased. This is because of the need the National Institute of Mental Health has for anthropology and its influence.
The authors demonstrate many examples of how anthropologists have contributed to the National Institute of Mental Health and how their presence has increased over the years. They first explain the relevance anthropology has to this institute. The goal of this institute is to prevent and control mental illness and promote the health of the nation.
In order for the anthropologist to obtain support for research on diagnosis and treatment, he/she has to apply for grants or fellowships. It is explained in this article that over the years more and more anthropologists have been approved for research through this institute. To get this approval they have to go through a competitive application process and once they are approved, nearly ninety percent of their research is funded. Over the years the disapproval rate of anthropologists has decreased. In 1948, when the institute began, two thirds of anthropology applicants were disapproved; by 1956 less than one third of anthropology applicants were disapproved. As these numbers increased so did the influence and need of anthropology at this institute. In fact, in this article the authors discuss how the number of anthropologists being used increased, with projects on drug addiction, alcoholism, sociocultural analysis of hospital and treatment studies, and many other topics on specific phases of mental illness or health. Before anthropologists were added to this institute its main focus was to prevent illness and maintain health among a nation. Anthropologists helped research on issues that traditionally were not focused on. While doctors focused on the maintenance of health, the anthropologists focused on the treatment and causes of the illness by looking at factors such as culture, social group, behavior, and environment. Anthropology has influenced the emphasis on maintaining and fostering mental health by looking at aspects such as behavior and environment to help improve mental health.
This long article was very well written and easy to read. It fully explained the influence anthropology has had on the National Institute of Mental Health. It was clear and concise and demonstrated the main points well.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
KRISTEN WOLOSZYN Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse).
Stocking, George W. Matthew Arnold, E.B. Tylor, and the Uses of Invention American Anthropologist August, 1963 Vol.65(4):783-799
This article serves to examine the establishment of culture as the central concept in anthropology, by examining two major anthropologists, Tylor and Arnold. The author, George Stocking, first sets up the context within which they worked, and then examines their respective beliefs, arguing that even in their differences, they are fundamentally similar.
The article begins by setting Tylor up as the “inventor” of the working definition of culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge belief, art, morals, law custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of a society” (783). Stocking goes on to say that Tylor’s main goal was to show that “savagery and barbarism were early manifestations or grades of civilization” (784). Tylor is therefore shown to be of the develomentalist or progressionist side of the debate between progressionists and degradationists. In other words, he believed that cultures evolved over time, and the inventions of a culture (spiritual and material) could be used to determine how high up the hierarchy of cultures the society should be placed. Tylor’s ideas were placed into context by establishing the ideas of those who opposed him, most notably Whately. Whately said that savages could not progress without assistance. Tylor clearly opposed this, and was as interested in the process by which societies progressed as he was by the progression itself.
The article devotes considerably less time to Arnold than to Tylor, but perhaps this is a conscious action, as much of the discussion on Arnold is centered around his relation to the ideas of Tylor. Indeed even the variations between Arnold and Tylor were discussed in the context that they “can be explained better as by-products of Tylor’s ethnographic focus than of any fundamental difference in conceptual orientation” (792).
Thus both Tylor and Arnold saw culture as a progression, “by means of getting to know, on all matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world; and through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits”(792). In other words, culture progresses by invention (of thought), and uses invention to help move towards further progress.
This was a fairly straight forward, if long and wordy, article.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
JULIE SCHWARTZ Michigan State University (Susan Applegate-Krouse)
Taylor, Douglas The Origin of West Indian Creole Languages: Evidence from Grammatical Categories American Anthropologist August,1963 Vol.65(4):800-814
This article provides information on West Indian creoles and attempts to classify where these creoles originated. Douglas starts off by defining creoles and describes how they are formed, starting out as a pidgin. The summery of this first section is that “a creole can have grammatical categories not found in its European parent, differing from those of a sister creole, yet virtually equivalent to those of some entirely other creole or non-creole languages” (803).
In the next section the author gives examples of different creoles. He focuses on three different creoles: the Martinican, Haitian, and the Sranan creole. Douglas shows the relation of these creloes to French and English. He also compares the creoles to each other. Douglas uses history to help explain the origin of the pidgins that later formed into creoles. He concludes the article with the main idea that his article “may suffice to show that the predicative systems of these three creole languages cannot be explained as reduced or corrupt versions of those found in French or English of whatever variety and period” (810).
This article provides a better understanding of how West Indian creoles were formed. Douglas provides substantial amount of evidence and examples to prove the correlations between creoles and other languages. The article is also very well organized. However, sometimes examples are given in other languages, without providing a translation; this can be confusing and is a waste of space in his article. Also, if one is not well versed in grammar, the article could be difficult to comprehend.
CLARITY RANKING: 4
HEATHER MCISAAC Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Trigger, Bruce Graham. Settlement as an Aspect of Iroquoian Adaptation at the Time of Contact. American Anthropologist February, 1963 Vol. 65(1):86-101
This article serves as an investigation of the settlement patterns and other factors affecting the adaptation to the land and resources of the Iroquoian societies. Trigger begins his article by first presenting facts about the area of study. The Iroquoian groups included the Huron, Five Nations, Neutral Confederacies, and the Laurentian group. These groups all lived within relative distance to one another and shared similar land and resource conditions. However, as the author points out in the conclusion, two of the four societies were more successful at agriculture and as a result, more data has been collected on them, rather than the societies that were limited by poor soil conditions and warfare. The pattern of settlement can be attributed to two factors, the overall population of one area, and the actual pattern of settlement (i.e., hunting and gathering, agriculture, etc.) The author outlines each of the societies by briefly listing the subsistence base, soil conditions, and relationship with surrounding peoples, and effect of European contact on health conditions. In the conclusion, the author states that the pattern of settlement must rely on all of the aforementioned factors, especially subsistence base. The settlement pattern of the Iroquoian societies provided a generally fertile subsistence in agriculture, water sources, and land defense.
The article was highly organized and clearly written. The author states the purpose of his article several times throughout the paper.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
ALLISON GOFF Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Voegelin, C.F. and F.M. Patterns of Discovery in the Decipherment of Different Types of Alphabets American Anthropologist December, 1963 Vol.65(6):1231-1253
This article is a summary of and explanations of the discoveries in deciphering languages. The authors begin by laying a framework for the reader to follow; they tell the reader what languages have in common and how they are deciphered. The first section of the article is about the structural correlations between languages and how that eases the decipherment process, such as the relation between Chinese and ancient Egyptian. The second section deals with the people who decipher the languages and how they relate. The authors dismiss the correlations that all the decipherers were either very adapt at languages or good at math by using examples of some of the most famous cases of decipherment and how these ideas only correspond to a few individuals in each case. The authors use people like Champollion, Grotefend, and Young, all of whom have become famous for the languages they deciphered. The article ends with descriptions of several languages and details of its decipherment to give the reader examples of what the authors have been writing about.
This was one of the hardest articles I have ever read. I found the language was directed at linguists and the reader was given little if any description of how the languages were closely related. The authors name famous deciphers but the links to the languages they decipher were unclear.
CLARITY RANKING: 2
MICHAEL FOURNIER Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Williams, Thomas Rhys The Form of a North Borneo Nativistic Behavior American Anthropologist June, 1963 Vol.65(3):543-551
Williams wrote this article to discuss a nativistic, or revitalization, movement among the Murut people of North Borneo. He studied these people during 1959-1960 and 1962-1964. Williams defines a nativistic or revitalization movement as “short term, turbulent modifications in custom” (543). The Murut experienced quite a few modifications to their culture as different cultural groups took over their land. Each group did more and more damage, eventually almost destroying the Murut culture and creating unstability among the Murut people. At the end of this article, Williams adds an anaylsis, based on the work of Wallace, of the data he gathered on the Murut.
Williams begins by giving some background information on the Murut and how they live. Next he describes the history of the many different cultural influences that have come into contact with the Murut, all of which were oppressive. The Murut experienced their first contact with a foreign influence when Europeans began to explore Borneo. The European influence and rule began to increase gradually and would stay with the Murut on and off, for many years. During World War II, the Japanese invaded the Murut, staying for some time. Finally, they were thrown out by the Australian army and many were murdered by the resentful Muruts for the awful treatment that had been forced upon them. To the disdain of the Muruts, European rule was put back into effect. Various religions were also introduced to the Muruts over time such as Catholisism, the Protestant religion, and Hinduism. The Muruts were experiencing great instability throughout all facets of their culture and great instability. In 1948, a man named Garing claimed he was to be the leader of a new religion and began to spread it among the Muruts. People saw this as a means of stability and converted in large numbers. Eventually the European rule in place at the time crushed Garing’s influence, the religion, and the new found stability of the Murut people.
Using Wallace, Williams analyses the data he has gathered about the changing cultural influences that have been imposed on the Murut. He describes the revitilization movement as a sequence of culture contact changes (548). Williams outlines the Muruts contact with foreigners in a series of stages. He describes each contact with a foreign culture and then the effects both, physical and mental, that this contact had on the Murut people. Williams notes that Wallace’s “scheme for analysis of short term cultural change provides a most effective device” (550).
This article was easy to read and laid out in an orderly fashion. It gave a lot of useful information on the Murut people and their culture changes.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
AMY KROON Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Wilson, H. Clyde. An Inquiry into the Nature of Plains Indian Cultural Development. American Anthropologist April, 1963 Vol 65(2):355-369.
“What was the magnitude and direction of culture change occurring on the Plains after the introduction of the horse?” This is the question that the author aims to answer in this article. Wilson’s study is divided into five parts: 1) discussion of the classic interpretation of Plains development; 2) discussion of the role of the horse in Plains development in terms of White’s law of cultural development; 3) discussion of nomadic pastoral culture in Plains cultural development as opposed to a purely hunting culture; 4) discussion of nomadic pastoral culture and its implications in terms of Plains development; and 5) conclusions drawn from the study with suggestions for further study.
The classic interpretation of Plains cultural development focuses on hunting technology and the notion that the introduction of the horse was merely the introduction of a more efficient tool for hunting which had an intensifying effect on the hunting culture. Wilson suggests that it was more than hunting technology that brought about the cultural changes seen in the Plains after the introduction of the horse.
In part two, Wilson deals with White’s law of cultural development. Wilson proposes that the horse be viewed as a new source of energy for Plains Indians rather than as a more efficient too for hunting. Wilson suggests that this new source of energy resulted in a new technology that was more than a mere hunting technology.
Part three deals with the nomadic pastoral quality of Plains culture after the introduction of the horse. Wilson points out that the classic anthropological view does not classify Plains Indian culture with nomadic pastoralists, though that is clearly an important element of their culture.
Part four is an extensive discussion of nomadic pastoralism revolving around the following definition of nomadic pastoral technology: “a technology involving the use of one or more large domesticated animals to the extent that the cultural system is primarily dependent upon these animals for exploiting the physical environment, and such that the exploitative techniques require a year-round movement of the communities within a restricted territory” (364). The horse is a domesticated animal that requires care. It is not merely a tool that can be taken out and put away as needed. The suggestion is that Plains cultural development involved more than simply hunting technology.
In part five, Wilson states his conclusion that Plains culture should be classified as nomadic pastoralist. He points out that there are many elements of Plains culture that he ignored in this study but that his proposed classification can prove useful in answering other questions about Plains Indian culture such as political structure.
This article is well written, very interesting, and easy to follow. Wilson convincingly makes the point that Plains Indian culture was more than a hunting culture.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
SHERRY BRUMGARD Michigan State University (Susan Applegate Krouse)
Yoshida, Teigo Cultural Integration and Change in Japanese Villages American Anthropologist February, 1963 Vol. 65(1):102-116
The author is comparing the differences between two villages in Japan. The author proposes that the differences be due to spatial distance and communication to a city. The studies were done at various times between 1955-1960, in the secluded farming town of Nao and the more accessible town of Honjo. The article begins with a brief community background summary. The differences between these communities are broken down into the categories of cooperative systems, political systems, religious and folk-observance systems, and age-group systems. In the cooperative system, some major differences are that Honjo’s traditional work system, which was more self-sufficient culturally, socially, and economically, has become more disintegrated and weaker than Nao’s work network. Honjo has more cooperative work than Nao. In the political arena, Honjo’s leaders are voted on. n Nao, they simply take turns being the leader. The Nao headman is a messenger. Honjo’s leader is more powerful, is economically stable, and intelligent. Unlike Honjo, Nao’s power lies in a few, old upper-class men, not the headman. Honjo is more traditional in its religious practices. Nao has more arranged marriages. As far as age groups go, Honjo has more than Nao. Honjo’s earlier age system is almost identical to that of Nao’s pre-war divisions. In conclusion, the author admits that proximity is not the sole factor that affects all these differences. Some other contributors could be limitations of mechanization, mutual aid, and higher productivity of agriculture.
The author gave a lot of examples. The ideas were all categorized which aided clarity. I appreciated that he not only rethought his hypothesis, but also gave suggestions for possible alternatives.
CLARITY RANKING: 5
SALENA K. KOUNTZ: Michigan State University. (Susan Applegate Krouse)