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American Anthropologist 1959

Barber, C. G. Peyote and the Definition of Narcotic. American Anthropologist. 1959 Vol. 61:640-646

The article Peyote and the Definition of Narcotic by Carroll G. Barber is a discussion regarding whether or not peyote should be termed a narcotic. Barber demonstrates the difficulty in defining the term narcotic and then relates this to the difficulty in considering peyote a narcotic. She shows how there are many definitions for the term narcotic, such as medical definitions, legal definitions and cultural definitions.

The article demonstrates how even though peyote should perhaps be considered a narcotic for medicinal purposes it should not be considered a narcotic when concerned with legal matters. The reasons for this are the numerous cultural contexts in which peyote is used as part of a ritual. The article discusses the difficulties that anthropologists encounter when attempting to understand such things. It also presents us with a “working definition” of narcotic that perhaps peyote and other substances of the like will fit into: “a narcotic is a substance which can alter or distort the user’s perception of himself and the external world, and which is taken or administered primarily for that purpose.” This definition is suitable for anthropologists.

Barber presents her arguments through a discussion of several different definitions of the term narcotic and compares and contrasts them. She places a lot of attention on Maurer and Vogel’s medical opinions. She also refers to the U.S. Public Health Service hospitals, J. D. Reichard and Slotkin.


SARAH RICHARDSON York University, Toronto, Ontario (Naomi Adelson)

Barber, Carroll G. Peyote and the Definition of Narcotic. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61: 641-645

In this article, Carroll G. Barber explores the notion of “narcotic” and how the word has been defined and subsequently used in society. “Narcotic” is a word whose meaning is unclear, and Barber explores this mysterious lack of clarity, particularly in relation to whether or not peyote should be classified as a narcotic.

Originally, for medical purposes, “narcotic” meant a drug that “allays sensibility, relieves pain, and a produces profound sleep” (p. 641). In this sense, peyote cannot be classified as a narcotic, because its main effect is as a stimulant rather than a sedative. However, popular usage has altered the definition to include stimulants as well. Also, peyote cannot solely be classified as a stimulant, because it also contains some depressants.

Barber from here goes on to discuss the notion of “addiction,” usually an effect of drugs commonly referred to as narcotics. Like “narcotic,” however, the meaning of “addiction” has been altered in popular usage from its original medical definition. Originally, only physical dependence could be referred to as addiction, but now addiction is more a function of the personality. While peyote is not “physically” addictive like heroin, there is some evidence that continued use may build emotional propensity for the drug, as evidenced by mescaline users in Paris.

I don’t really understand why Barber is so intent on labeling peyote a narcotic. I personally believe that medical definitions carry more validity than popular definitions, and by medical definition peyote is not a narcotic. Labeling it as such would only confuse those interested in knowing the true effects of the drug, and would criminalize a substance whose long-term detrimental effects are relatively unknown.


KATHRINE RUSSELL Columbia University (Paige West)

Barnett, H. G. Peace and Progress in New Guinea. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61: 1013-1019.

Peace and Progress in New Guinea is an article which details some of the trials and tribulations of the inhabitants of an area of New Guinea called Ajamaroe District by the Dutch colonial authorities. The main focus of this article is on the people of Ajamaroe and their colourful customs. In the background to this main subject, the author also attempts to provide an example of colonial discourses of the time under working conditions.

The article begins with a familiarization period, where the reader is made more familiar with the context of the paper. Most specifically, the audience is informed of the many unique rituals and situations that come to bear in this particular instance. Most important of all this information is the identification of Kapala Parang, literally “head knives”, and the political power they wielded. Also important to this article is how the Kapala Parang used the political power of being able to kill others as a means to establish credit and create a market system. Barnett establishes that the Kapala Parang were actually the moneylenders of these people, and that they developed a system of credit so complex that nearly everyone was in debt to someone else. The Dutch colonialists sought to alter this for the benefit of the Ajamaroe peoples, but instead, the Ajamaroe decided to do it themselves.

One of the most striking aspects of Barnett’s article is the amazing situation that faced the Dutch colonial government. Here was a group of people who had developed their own ideas of commerce, and were loathe to part with it in favor of Dutch capitalism. However, after World War II and Japanese enslavement, many of the Kapala Parang were more than happy to give up their old ways of living to ensure the new ones went smoothly.

The overall significance of this article is that it provides the audience with a sense of what a colonial discourse is and how such a discourse takes effect. Also, this article serves to reinforce the significance of the entire globalization ideal, therefore redirecting much needed research into this particular area of study.


JAMES STREET York University (Naomi Adelson)

Barnett, H. G. Peace and Progress in New Guinea. American Anthropologist, March 1959. Vol.104 (1): 1013-1019.

H. G. Barnett investigated the affects of Dutch colonization of New Guinea on the Ajamaroe people. Barnett’s investigation focused on the Dutch attempts to civilize the Ajamaroe and the consequences of these actions. The evidence that Barnett uses to elucidate his theory is his observations of the Ajamaroe people. Barnett structures the article well, first explaining the geography of the particular place in New Guinea that will be discussed, then elucidating the history of Dutch colonization, and finally explaining the cultural tradition of the Ajamaroe people that is in question. After this initial ground is covered, Barnett continues to explain the effects of the Dutch colonization on the Ajamaroe.

The Dutch had two main objectives in terms of their attempt to civilize the Ajamaroe. First, the Dutch government sought to secure peace, to prevent the notoriously warlike, vigilant Ajamaroe people from continuing their pattern of warfare and homicide. The main individuals that the Dutch government sought to suppress the activity of were the men known as kapala parang. These men are individuals, as Barnett explains, who continually kill others due to an inescapable pattern of vengeance built into the Ajamaroe culture.

When the Dutch limited the violent nature of Ajamaroe culture, they actually produced negative effects. When the “system of warrior capitalism,” as Barnett refers to it, finally subsided due to the Dutch efforts, other various forms of manipulation replaced the warfare economy. Basically, many petty capitalists developed and much time was spent settling and collecting debts, to the detriment of other more useful activities. The culture suffered: marriage rates decreased, age of marriage increased, etc.

To rectify this problem, the District Officer attempted to alter the economic structure of the Ajamaroe, hoping that his efforts would jumpstart the economy. The effect that Barnett observed was initially, remarkably successful. More people moved into the villages, more people attended school, marriage rates increased, etc. The communities turned their attentions towards making connections with the world outside their secluded area.

Barnett reveals that these positive affects did not last for long. The negative affects took precedent; the final affect of the Dutch interference in Ajamaroe practices, as Barnett notes, was the that “the Ajamaroe were caught in a spiral of doubt and fear.” The article sadly demonstrates the common affect of colonization, displaying that when outsiders interfere in the culture of those who they are colonizing, they often cause harm even though they had attempted to bring help.


SAMANTHA SHAPIRO Columbia College (Paige West).

Barry, Herbert III, Child, Irvine, and Bacon, Margaret. Relation of Child Training to Subsistence Economy. American Anthropologist. February, 1959. Vol. 61 (1): 51-64.

The authors used scientific method to examine child training practices in relation to subsistence economy. Their hypothesis suggested economic behaviour was “an adaptation to the general type of subsistence economy”. Statistical analysis was employed to test the hypothesis using Murdock’s (1957) classification of subsistence strategies. Ratings were determined using ethnographic data on child training practices from 104 societies.

Children (4-5 yrs) were rated as either extremely high in accumulation of food resources (predominantly pastoral or agricultural having an emphasis on animal husbandry), intermediate in accumulation (having grain/root crops with no emphasis on animal husbandry), or extremely low in accumulation (relying on hunting or fishing). Data was rated separately for girls and boys on six training practices examined: obedience, responsibility, nurturance, achievement, self-reliance, and general independence training. Each practice was rated on strength of socialization where a positive ranking indicated reward given for behaviour and a negative ranking when punishment occurred for the lack of the desired behaviour. Ratings were compared only to other training aspects for each society, serving as a means of internal validity.

A positive correlation between extremely high accumulation societies and high pressure on responsibility and obedience training was found. Where animal husbandry was significantly important, lower weight placed on achievement, self-reliance, and independence child training practices was stressed less. Conversely, in low accumulation or hunting/fishing societies, vice versa held true. Certain training was sex-specific, ie. achievement, self-reliance, and independence were more important for boys in low accumulation societies. High accumulation societies pressured for compliance, while low accumulation societies focused on assertion.

It was also found that cultural variables, other than behavioural requirements of adult economic roles, affected child training. The relationship between these cultural variables with assertion vs. compliance indicated a greater correlation between them and accumulation (not compliance vs. assertion). Findings suggest obedience and responsibility training would produce adults who could ensure the continuation of their group in high accumulation societies where food supply is safeguarded. Self-reliance and achievement training would encourage less dependence on others for subsistence in a low accumulation subsistence economy. Pressure on this training would drive children to have more individual behaviour and personal successes. “Findings are consistent with the suggestion that child training tends to be a suitable adaptation to subsistence economy” (p. 62).


HELENA KOSKITALO York University (Naomi Adelson)

Barry, Herbert, Irving Child, and Margaret Bacon. Relation of Child training to Subsistence Economy. American Anthropologist February, 1959 Vol.61(6):51-63

Arising from their interest in how child training influences the typical personality of a people, the authors aim to relate economic situations to varying types of Child training. Their assumption is that the kind of adult behavior that is useful to society is likely to be taught to the children of the society. This suggest that child training is developed out of the behaviors and goals that are useful in the adult economy. The authors researched many different societies and ranked each on six key aspects of child training practices. These aspects were then compared to the economy used by the respective societies. The main emphasis of the economic aspect of the research was placed on the amount of accumulated food resources a society amassed. The results show that societies which have a high accumulation rate of these food resources tend to pass on teachings of responsibility and obedience in child training. On the other hand societies with lower rates of accumulation tend to emphasize aspects of self-reliance and independence in child training. Thus compliance is marked as a key personality trait taught to children in societies holding high accumulation rates while assertion is emphasized in societies with little or no accumulations of food resources. The influence that a societies economic system has on the adults personality traits is ultimately a strong factor in the emphasis being place on the training of the youth in that society.


SCOTT MORRELLI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Brues, Alice. Selection in Body Build. American Anthropologist September, 1959 Vol. 61(3):457-469.

Selection in Body Build, by Alice Brues, is a comprehensive essay concerning the effects of natural selection upon early Man. Contrary to the commonly held belief that man is physically unspecialized, Brues delineates a number of ways in which the evolution of man has been dictated by man’s own inventions and innovations, as well as his environment. The original tool used by man for hunting was a blunt instrument used to bludgeon the prey. The effectiveness of the bludgeoning instrument depends upon two factors, the weight of the object and the velocity that the object attains. The determining factor, in terms of body structure of the user, will then be the total bulk of muscle. Thus, larger builds were favorable, although there was no preference in particular for leaner or stockier types. The next innovation that aided man in the hunt for sustenance was the spear. Maximum efficiency of the spear is attained in creating the greatest speed possible as the spear leaves the hand. This provides for greater range as well as an increased force of impact. Thus, the invention of the spear favors longer limbed people. The longer, leaner build allows the thrower to produce greater speed around the lever arm or elbow joint. It is simple physics that provides the motivation for natural selection. However, in order to be most effective with the next significant advancement in hunting technology, the bow and arrow, one must have short limbs and short muscles to increase the power leverage, and increase the speed at which the arrow leaves the bow. Therefore, once again Man’s own technology provided the impetus for natural selective processes. Culture and man share a reciprocal relationship in these instances. However, habitat also has played an equally important role in the development and the resulting polymorphism seen in the human body today. Remember that early Man did not live in a world where other animals were “naturally” afraid of them. Animals would attack humans, and humans had to be physically equipped to deal with such an attack. Thus, in the plains, body types that allowed for the fastest running speed were advantageous while in the forests, body types that allowed one to climb and maneuver around obstacles were advantageous. In these two arenas, Brues clearly demonstrates how natural selection has influenced the development of Man, which is the goal of her essay.


KEVIN LANIK University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Buettner-Janusch, John. Natural Selection in Man: The ABO(H) Blood Group System. American Anthropologist September, 1959 Vol. 61(3):437-451.

In this article Buettner-Janusch contends that natural selection is still active in today’s civilized societies. While many believe that technological advancements leading to disease prevention and economic policies that, for the most part, limit starvation have diminished the role of natural selection in human evolution. Buettner-Janusch believes that polymorphic human populations imply that the forces of natural selection are still at work. “Polymorphism is the condition that exists when two or more discontinuous forms of a species share the same habitat and the frequency of the least common of them is to great to be accounted for by the effect of natural mutation”(Ford, 1940). Buettner hypothesizes that it is natural selection that supports this polymorphism. In order to support his original hypothesis, Buettner-Janusch puts forth an argument based upon studies done on the ABO(H) blood group system. The basic premise is as follows:

1.) There is a unique distribution in the four different blood phenotypes in every population group.

2.} The polymorphism is balanced. For example, it appears that individuals of phenotypes A and B are naturally eliminated at birth, while natural mechanisms eliminate the O phenotypes at later ages.

3.) The frequencies of the different genes appear to vary with geographical location.

He supports his claims with numerous statistics and data. One support for his argument is the apparent ABO(H) compatibility problem. Specifically, there appears to be a reduced number of A and B children among the offspring of O woman in a large set of matings which were heterospecific with respect to the ABO(H) phenotypes. Since there are more childless matings in the heterospecific group, it appears that natural selection operates against the A and B phenotypes. Another piece of research that indicates the presence of natural selection is the correlation between disease and the ABO(H) groups. There appears to be a strong relationship between phenotype O and duodenal ulceration, between phenotype A and carcinoma of the stomach, and between the secretor phenotype and resistance to rheumatic sequelae of streptococcus infections. In these two ways, Buettner-Janusch supports the existence of naturally selective processes still at work in civilized society


KEVIN LANIK University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Carlson, Roy L. Klamath Henwas and Other Stone Sculptures. American Anthropologist February, 1959 Vol. 61 (8): 88-96.

Carlson’s article looks at three distinct types of sculptures found in historic Klamath territory in south central Oregon. The first type of sculpture that Carlson distinguishes is called Henwas, which were used by Klamath Shaman. Eleven of such sculptures have been discovered, five of which are owned by a 70 year old Klamath Indian women. Henwas are small stone figures found in both male and female forms. Stories offered by the Klamath woman who owns them suggest these sculptures are capable of self-locomotion.

The second type of sculpture Carlson presents is freestanding sculptures. These consist of small stone animal figures and one stone sculpture called the wind rock. Ethnographic research has shown that the Klamath believe these wind rocks can create wind in whichever direction you tap on the rock.

The last type of Sculpture that was presented by Carlson consisted of utilitarian and decorated forms. These included manos, metates, mortars and bowls as well as heating stones. Carlson’s aim then shifts towards developing a special relationship between these Klamath sculptures as well as age estimations. He compares and contrasts design and decorative features of all the sculptures and provides a systematic analysis of this in the form of an extensive Chart. In conclusion he offers a perspective conclusion to the question of age and relationship to other ancient sculptures of the area while also emphasizing another possible alternative view which he feels deserving of further exploration.


SCOTT MORRELLI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Cole, Fay-Cooper and Eggan, Fred. Robert Redfield 1897-1958. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol.61:652-656

This paper is an obituary which focuses on the life and successes of Robert Redfield. Robert Redfield was born in Chicago, Illinois on the 4th of December, 1897. He graduated from the University High School in 1915 where he achieved ultimate excellence and honours. Redfield practiced law for a short period yet later he developed a strong interest in the country of Mexico and its problems. This brought him to pursue his studies in the field of anthropology. His interests caused him to leave law school and persist in a brilliant career in the social sciences. From his experience in a traditional village in Mexico City, he attained a deep interest in the problems of folk societies, which was exemplified in Tepotzlan, the forerunner of a long series of important studies.

Soon after, Redfield returned to the University as an Instructor in 1927, he received his Ph.D. degree the following year, and an appointment as Assistant Professor. With the establishment of a separate Department of Anthropology he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1930, and Professor and Dean of the Social Science Division in 1934. Eventually, Redfield resigned to become Chairman of the Department of Anthropology. In 1953 he was appointed Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology (1959:653).

Redfield participated in many conferences which led him to begin his fieldwork on the relations of tribal, peasant and urban cultures, but his work was cut short by a serious illness and he again returned to Chicago. In 1953, The Primitive World and Its Transformations was published; in 1955 The Little Community followed, and in 1956, Peasant Society and Culture was published. All of his published books eventually led him to participate in a seminar on the Comparative Study of Civilizations.

During his active life, he participated in many public activities and received many honours such as the president of the American Anthropological Association, he was a member of the Commission on the Freedom Press and many more. On October 16, 1958 Robert Redfield died at the Billings Memorial Hospital of lymphatic leukemia.

Redfield’s work allowed us to obtain a more clear understanding of a community’s aspirations and values in the process of cultural change. He attempted to see man as a whole and to recreate unity. This obituary was very clear and thoroughly written. As a result, it can be easily read and understood.


ANGELA ADU York University (Naomi Adelson)

Cooper, Cole-Fay and Eggan, Fred. The obituary of Robert Redfield. American Anthropologist August 1959 Vol. 61 (4): 652-657

Originally trained as a lawyer, WW I veteran Robert Redfield (1897-1958) re-entered academic life to pursue studies in anthropology, particularly following his strong interests in comparative cultures and civilizations, after a trip to Mexico in 1923. Academically, Redfield was a high achiever: two undergraduate degrees from the University of Chicago, PhD in anthropology from the University, Social Science Research Council Fellow, Dean of the Social Science Division, Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, Research Associate of the Carnegie Institution, and Fulbright Visiting Professor to the National Tsinghua University in China. Redfield also lectured extensively around the world and also received several awards, notably the Viking Fund Medal and the Huxley Memorial Medal from the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Primarily an academic and intellectual rather than a field researcher, nevertheless Redfield made many important contributions to anthropology and continued to work arduously in his favored field of comparative civilizations. He strived to achieve a synthesis between the social sciences and the humanities that would better serve anthropology’s aims and purposes at a time when anthropology was being transformed from historicism to functionalism. Redfield is well known for demonstrating anthropology’s paradigmatic function concept when he discovered that the Mexican Tepoztlan community evaded traditional anthropological categorizations of the primitive which led to Redfield’s call for the development of new concepts and new investigational methods. Constantly broadening his intellectual capacities, Redfield included in his methodological approaches the historical dimension to better compare civilizations, which resulted in his belief that civilizations are enduring historic structures as systems that relate the larger traditions of urban and intellectual elites with the smaller traditions of more tribal societies. Redfield’s longest and greatest preoccupation was the comparative study of China, India, Islam and the West, and how this grand study correlated with his basic belief that the fundamental character of human nature is linked to understanding civilization. His publications include The Folk Culture of Yucatan (1941), The Primitive World and its Transformations (1953), The Little Community (1955), and Peasant Society of Culture (1956). Redfield died from leukemia on October 16, 1958.


PETER SCHWARZ University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Das, G.N. Obituary: John Marshall (1876-1958) American Anthropologist 1959 Vol 61 Pg. 1071-1074

In the article about John Marshall written by G.N. Das, the author discusses Mr. Marshall’s impact on archeological work towards preserving, maintaining and discovering India’s Heritage.

During the 1900 Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, sought to preserve India’s monuments and to uncover new ones. At that time the country was divided into five archeological circles with one Surveyor for each region who was hired by the local government. Curzon felt that under these conditions there was no unity amongst each Surveyor when the task of conservation and repairs was needed, which needless to say resulted in further deterioration to many famous monuments. In light of this information, Curzon submitted a minute to the Secretary of State for India proposing that there be one Director General of Archeology to take on the responsibility of harmonizing the five Surveyors tasks. This proposal was approved and the next year John Marshall was hired to take on this responsibility.

Upon taking on this position, Marshall was in charge of ensuring monuments were taken care of, repairs/restorations were executed based on artistic lines and that these sacred places were not utilized in inappropriate ways. (Das 1071). Although Marshall supervised many of these tasks, he was also involved in formatting the principles of “…archeological work relating to excavation, conservation of monuments, and museum organization should be carried on.” (Das 1071). Marshall insisted that original parts of any structure be undisturbed unless it was indispensable and did not approve any work in restoring sculptured pieces that could not be achieved by an original artisan of that time. In addition, Marshall erected the first Archaeological Library in India that has become “the best archaeological library in India and perhaps in Asia.” (Das 1072).

Curzon was impressed with what Marshall had done in the lines of conservation by constructing beautiful parks and restoring “…water channels and flower-beds of the garden more exactly to their original state.” (Das 1072). One can infer because of Marshall’s influence in preservation, in 1904 the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act was approved, which served to further protect the integrity of monuments/objects and oversee excavation sights. His influence also served in creating a permanent Archeological Survey as passed by the Government of India on April 28, 1906.

Marshall has been seen as the father of conservation and his early findings have paved the way towards the relevance and importance of one’s past. Because of Marshall’s works heightened interest in the area of Archeology took flight. Marshall carried on a legacy of Archeology and stressed that after excavation one’s main responsibility was to accurately document and concisely report information. This was important in order to maintain the original state so others could learn and hypothesize their own findings. Curzon and Marshall can be said to have brought forward the idea that the past was a direct link to present and future conditions.


TRACY WOOLRIDGE York University (Naomi Adelson)

Das, G. N. John Marshall. American Anthropologist, 1959 Vol. 61: 1071-1074.

This is an obituary of Sir John Hubert Marshall, C.I.E., Litt.D., F.B.A. (1876-1958). Das heralds him as one of the “major architects” of “Indian archeology” (1071). In 1900, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, sent a report to the Secretary of State for India in London detailing the disrepair of several key Indian monuments. The British government chose Marshall to head the office of Director General of Archaeology. At the time, Marshall had studied at Dulwich and Cambridge and eventually became a Greek scholar at eh latter, and went on to Greece, Turkey, and Crete to participate in archaeological studies.

In India, Marshall’s duties were to determine which monuments were worth saving, and to “advise the Government of India as to the operations for which special subsidies may be allotted from imperial funds” (1071). In 1904, Marshall successfully petitioned the British Government for the “permanent retention of the Archaeological Survey” (1072). In 1915, Marshall became a knight and made a convincing case for restoring Buddhist and Hindu temples, as well as Muslim mosques. Despite the budget cuts in 1923, due to the war, the Indian Restoration project progressed rapidly. Marshall focused on “unraveling the protohistoric civilization of India” (1073), asserting that three thousand years ago, the Indians were advanced technically, socially and politically, a grand statement about India which elevated his organization. He retired in 1928 and left India in 1934.

Das does recognize that Marshall and his co-excavators were criticized for “not following the system of stratified excavation already in vogue in the West” (1074). But he defends him by asserting that he would “whole-heartedly” agree with Lord Curzon’s words: ‘All I know is there is beauty in India in abundance…and amidst our struggles we can join hands I pious respect for the past” (1074).

Marshall’s obituary, put forth by Das, is very sympathetic and lauds Marshall’s exploits in India. He writes chronologically, with simple language, which makes it very easy to understand. It is not a complete obituary, for it does not explain Marshall’s complete biographical history.


BETSY SUMMERS (Barnard College) Paige West

Davenport, William. Nonunilinear Descent and Descent Groups. American Anthropologist August, 1959 Vol. 61 (4): 557-572.

William Davenport’s article examines the different types of social structures present in different societies. Davenport illustrates how non-unilinear systems are not quite as unusual and uncommon as thought to be. In his analysis, Davenport proposes three structural features that he sees to operate in all kinship systems. Through his proposal, he is able to explain how numerous non-unilinear kinship systems exist and operate.

Davenport begins his analysis by describing the concept of descent for which he uses descriptions from a few authors such as Murdock, Lowie and Brown. He goes on to give a more detailed description of non-unilinear descent by investigating Goodenough’s work on the bilateral social structure. He then proceeds to investigate various types of non-unilinear descent by examining works by different anthropologists on a number of different cultures. He ends his paper by restating the three features that he sees to be operative in all kinship structures namely, descent, “jural exclusiveness” and “collateral restriction.”

The features that Davenport proposes unite all kinship systems. He argues that all types of kinship structure operate on the same basic level. Therefore, each structure can be understood better by examining it on the premise of the three features. Davenport is not trying to refute the fact that unilinear structures exist, but rather, he is merely trying to point out and prove that other kinship structures exist and function in other cultures in the world.

Davenport’s article addresses the argument regarding descent and kinship systems. This will be of interest to individuals seeking to gain more knowledge about bilateral systems and non-unilinearity in general. This article will hopefully encourage future researchers to have a more open-minded and to avoid sweeping generalizations about how different societies are structured.


DEBORAH LIM University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Dunning, R. W. Rules of Residence and Ecology Among the Northern Ojibwa. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61: 806-816.

Dunning looks at residence patterns and how it is affected by ecological and economical limitations. Dunning states that his purpose in entering the discussion is to go “beyond the ethnographic facts.” He mentions that residence rules are important, especially in Algonkian groups. There were conflicting data from his predecessors on whether certain groups were matrilocal or patrilocal. He collected data from September 1954 to August 1955.

Dunning goes into the different marriage patterns, taboos, family patterns and seasonal patterns. He shows some of his finding in charts. He states that with the increase of outside factors, such as economical changes, the Northern Ojibwa has increased in group size, where as before the groups tended to be smaller and families would separate when the group was too big for the land to support them.

Dunning concludes that only with further research could he conclude his findings.


CHRISTINA SAUNDERS York University (Naomi Adelson)

Dunning, R. W. Rules of Residence and Ecology Among the Northern Ojibwa. American Anthropologist October, 1959 Vol. 61(5): 806-816.

Dunning’s article addresses Steward’s theory which suggests that demographic form and social system depend on ecology. The article presents ethnographic data that help to support Steward’s ecological theory. More specifically, the data comes from studies done on the Northern Ojibwa.

Dunning’s article suggests the importance of resident rules for society. He describes in great detail the resident patterns of the Ojibwa as he presents much data from his studies. Residence for the Ojibwa change seasonally as families move from the husband’s family’s domain to the wife’s or vice versa. The data showed that the residence patterns were also changing over time because there started to be a high proportion of uxorilocal residence in a patrilateral hunting society with patronymic totem groups. Dunning suggests the reason for this phenomenon rests in the fact that in former times of small population concentrations and low male numbers, uxorilocal residence was crucial to the survival of these trapping bands.

But further study and data showed a change to almost complete virilocal residence. Dunning offers government subsides as the impetus for the change as the provided monies freed the Ojibwa from the rigid demographic control caused by the environment.

Dunning then goes on to suggest that a great division exists between cross and parallel relationships. Despite the marriage between cross-cousins, cross relationships are intentionally avoided. Relationships between parallel members results in more friendly, open interactions that those between cross relatives.

Dunning’s article seems only applicable to a small number of anthropologists. I feel that the only students of anthropology that would find this article relevant or interesting would be those interested in the Ojibwa. This article just seems to provide some detailed facts about the Ojibwa and fails to suggest anything about culture in general. Also, the paper’s choice of words limits its potential audience. In order to actually understand the paper, one would have to be quite familiar with residential and anthropological terminology.


RYAN WONG University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Eisenstadt, S. N. Primitive Political Systems: A Preliminary Comparative Analysis. American Anthropologist April, 1959 Vol. 61 (2): 200-221.

Eisenstadt’s article presents a new general approach to the comparison and analysis of primitive political systems. He seeks to present this general approach using only limited data for the express purpose of illustrating and analyzing the approach method.

Eisenstadt begins by explaining the two main approaches used in comparative primitive political society analyses. One is to differentiate between segmentary societies and those with centralized political institutions. One problem with this dichotomy approach is that it tends to focus on the social units themselves rather than the political functions that they are responsible for. The second approach is to demonstrate the existence in all primitive societies of some basic mechanism of social control to regulate and resolve conflict. The problem here is that conditions under which the mechanism would function are not defined.

This examination of the foundations for the comparative study of primitive political institution is instructive because Eisenstadt gives many examples and references for each point of view, and then systematically points out why these works are inadequate in more ways than one. He then goes on to present some general information on political institutions within a social structure before presenting his scheme for the analysis of comparative political systems and their related social conditions.

To illustrate his approach, Eisenstadt selects several cases, including various types of segmentary tribes, autonomous village-communities, and centralized kingdoms. He draws distinctions between the groups in the degree to which the major groups regulate their own affairs and the extent to which the political sphere differs from local kin and economic spheres. Using those criteria as a reference point, broad dissimilarities are exposed, which then allows for the inquiry as to how aspects of social structure are related to characteristics of political structure.

Several hypotheses are proposed; one of which is that the less able society is to regulate their interrelations, the greater the development of political organizations. Each hypothesis has good evidence to support it, and Eisenstadt develops the argument in such a systematic way, that each hypothesis a sound conclusion to the logical progression. In general, he found that in a society, the emphasis on different types of political activities depends on the goals and values of that particular society.

Eisenstadt introduces new variables with his new perspective on analysis, but also realizes that data he presents is incomplete and will have to be modified through application to a wider data array. He does, however, successfully illustrate the feasibility of this attempt “to establish meaningful correlations between different aspects of social structure and political organization.”


JENNY HOGE University of Pennsylvania (Dr. Melvyn Hammarberg)

Eisenstadt, S. N. Primitive Political Systems: A Preliminary Comparative Analysis. American Anthropologist April, 1959 Vol. 61(2): 200-220.

Eisenstadt presents a new approach to the analysis of comparative political systems of primitive societies by using a new schema to analyze political systems in several types of primitive societies and the social conditions which are related to these types. Eisenstadt reviews previous studies and approaches that have laid the foundations for the comparative analysis of primitive politics, but concludes that these are not systematic and focus too much on groups that perform governmental functions, rather than on the functions themselves. He lays out some general characteristics of political institutions while also stressing the importance of two aspects of political systems: the regulation of power relations and the processes of social control in various groups and subsystems of a society. He then introduces new variables to better understand some of the differences between political systems: the degree with which political activities are emphasized and elaborated; the scope and nature of political struggle in a society; and the extent and nature of changes that are possible within a political system.

Eisenstadt states that political systems can be distinguished by the extent to which different political functions are performed by specialized units and also the extent of organization of these functions in different types of political roles and organizations. These various political systems are broken down into types of “segmentary tribes, “associational” tribes, and “centralized chiefdoms,“ where an emphasis is placed on such dynamics and differences of role allocation, the extent of differentiation and self-regulation of political units, and the major goals and values of the different societies. In his hypotheses, an idea of how aspects of a societies social structure are related to the political structure are provided. The greater the differentiation of various groups within a society of regulating the relations between them, the greater the development of specialized political organizations. Less differentiated societies such as segmentary tribes have fewer special political positions, while the more centralized chiefdoms with strong universalistic orientations have a more complex system of political organization and centralized roles of political authority. Lastly, Eisenstadt emphasizes that different types of political activities depend on the goals and “value orientations” of a society, where more collective goals require a more centralized political system and more “party-politics” activity.


LUKE BORKENHAGEN University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones)

Ember, Melvin. The Nonunilinear Descent Groups of Samoa. American Anthropologist August, 1959 Vol. 61 (4): 573-577.

Melvin Ember’s article examines the non-unilinear descent groups in Samoa. He quotes Murdock regarding how much attention is given to the world’s unilinear descent groups as opposed to the existing non-unilinear ones. Ember provides the readers with evidence that non-unilinear descent groups really do exist in a number of societies by giving a detailed description of his study of the Samoan kinship system.

Ember starts off his argument by evaluating William Davenport’s paper on non-unilinear descent. He adopts Davenport’s proposed term “sept” as the corresponding term to “sib.” He also defines terms such as “sept,” “sub-sept,” and so on, which are crucial to understanding his study of Samoan kinship system. He frames his investigation using the three structural features namely membership, residential distribution and relationship to land. He defines and describes three different descent groups present in Samoa by using the framework. The descent groups he recognizes in Samoa are the sept or ‘aiga sa, the sub-sept or faletama, and the clan.

Through careful analysis of the descent groups in Samoa, Ember is able to illustrate the existence of non-unilinear kinship systems. He argues that the fact that a society such as Samoa has existed and functioned well proves that non-unilinear systems warrant more attention and do not have to be secondary to unilinear systems.

Ember’s article provides evidence to the argument that non-unilinear descent groups exist in several societies. This article supports Davenport’s argument regarding the same issue as well. Ember also expresses the need for increased awareness of different forms of social structures in existence.


DEBORAH LIM University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Fallers, L.A., and Levy M. J. Jr. The Family: Some Comparative Considerations. American Anthropologist. 1959 Vol. 61:647-651.

Fallers and Levy argue that the study of “family deserves the same conceptual care as is usually applied to the study of other aspects of society” such as political systems (647). They contend that the term “family” should be used to refer to any “small kinship- structured unit which carries out aspects of the relevant functions” (650) as opposed to the concept of “family” in the traditional sense (i.e. family as single social units inherent in all societies). They prefer to use the term to denote a series of family units in most societies.

They feel that the traditional concept of family is not suitable for comparative analysis. Traditionally, it has been assumed that in every society a concrete single social unit exists which is characterized by certain inherent functions. The authors use political systems as an example of problematic subjects of comparative analysis. The comparison reveals that universal definitions cannot be expected to be applicable to every society (political system in the “West” holds a very different meaning than political systems in “other” places).

Fallers and Levy challenge arguments made by Murdock and Parsons and Bales. Murdock presupposes that the nuclear family exists as a distinct and strongly functional group in every society. Fallers and Levy refute this argument by using kinship systems of societies that are familiar to them, such as the Basoga, Chinese, and Hopi family structures. These particular groups do not have the traditional familial structure that Murdock presupposes.

One of the main arguments proposed by Parsons and Bales is the concept of family as a single social unit which facilitates the “socialization function” and which exists in every society. Again, Fallers and Levy challenge this argument by looking at specific groups. In this particular case they use the example of Chinese socialization processes to refute this oversimplification of the function of the family. Chinese children are socialized by different members of the group according to gender and the various stages of their lives.


ALEKSANDRA STANIMIROVIC York University (Naomi Adelson)

Fenton, William N. The Obituary of John Reed Swanton. American Anthropologist August 1959 Vol. 61 (4): 663-667

William Fenton’s obituary of renowned American anthropologist, John Reed Swanton, presents a biographical sketch drawing together the various professional and personal aspects of Swanton’s character. This is a biography that encapsulates for the lay reader important accomplishments and contributions of Swanton’s to anthropology and its departments.

Considered by Fenton to be ethnohistory’s “greatest exemplar”, he proceeds to detail Swanton’s large influences upon ethnography, method, linguistics, ethnological history, and folklore: Swanton created vast taxonomies of many ethnicities that has been absorbed as fundamental tools to ethnographic research; refining archeological and ethnographic methodologies; compiled lexicons for five Native American tribes while contributing to research of their kinship systems; various cultural theoretical contributions such as his publication The Social Organization of American Tribes; and collected large compilations of folk tales (664).

Of particular note of Swanton’s achievements are his publications Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Adjacent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico (1911), Source Material on the History and Ethnology of the Caddo Indians (1942), “Evolution of Nations” (1942) and “Are Wars Inevitable?” (1943). The two latter publications were undertaken for the Smithsonian War Committee during WW II, detailing the evolution of human society from its primitive hunter-gatherer state to the modern nation-state and presenting his findings that war is not an original human invention but has been merely one way to settle disputes characteristic of even primitive societies.

Fenton rounds out his portrait of Swanton by including personal aspects such as Swanton’s devotion to his wife, children and grandchildren, his modest persona in light of his overwhelming achievements, and his gentle and patient demeanor when dealing with students and colleagues. Frequently ill throughout his life, Swanton continued to work in his profession either as an ethnographer or a teacher, eloquently extolling the young science of ethnography at the time to his Harvard Class of 1896 as a “backward extension of history…[that] has a leading part to play in international and interclass rapprochements which are pressing fast upon us” (666). Swanton was a leading advocate for creating what would become the American Bureau of Ethnology. Swanton died on May 2, 1958 at the age of 85.


PETER SCHWARZ University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Friedl, Ernestine. The Role of Kinship n the Transmission of National Culture to Frural Villages in Mainland Greece. American Anthropologist February, 1959 Vol.61(3):30-38

In this paper Friedl aims to show that in Greece the role of kinship ties as a mechanism for maintaining urban-rural connections is extensive and permeating. He also points out the unique situation that exists in Greece whereby individuals can ascend to a higher social status without a resulting rupture of kinship ties and obligations to those kin members who may not attain this higher level of social status. The result of this type of social interaction results in member of the same kin group belonging to both the elite and lower social classes. Friedl is interested in the interaction that exists between the rural and urban members of kin groups who fall into this situation of varying social status. A key aspect of this interaction is the attitude of the elite kin members which is conducive to continued relations with the socially lower ranking kin members.

Visiting of rural kin members by the urban relatives is a common practice in Greek culture. Fridel points out that a significant cultural exchange results from these visits. This is seen by rural kin members adopting and incorporating aspects of life that have been transmitted to them from urban kin members. The rural kins motives behind this culture incorporation is voiced as a means of showing social sophistication to neighbors in the rural area. Friedl sees this situation surviving in Greek culture as a direct result of the strong kinship ties that are held despite social ranking.


SCOTT MORRELLI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Frisch, John E. Research on Primate Behavior in Japan. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61(4): 584-596.

John Frisch’s Article examines the behavioral patterns of monkeys throughout various parts of Japan. The purpose of the article is to explain that the Macaca fuscata monkeys studied do in fact exhibit specific and often intricate social patterns. He elaborates on this by noting that there were distinct differences observed when comparing the social behavior of one group of monkeys to that of another.

Frisch, by noting several examples, sets out to put to rest the notion of culture being unique to man. He elaborates on some of the studies conducted by the Japan Monkey Center, which was founded in 1956. His article goes into the greatest detail when discussing the work of Junichero Itani’s study of a group of monkey’s located near the Takasakiyama mountain on the island of Kyushu. Itani first studied the group of monkeys for a period of time in the natural habitat, recording any notable behavioral patterns. Itani’s team then established a central feeding ground where they would scatter food for the monkeys. This process, which is known as provisioning, was done so that the monkeys could be observed more closely by Itani and his team.

The monkeys were identified individually so that more in depth study of the group dynamics and social structure would be possible. Itani observed that each monkey could be categorized as a dominant male, subdominant male, juvenile male, adult female, juvenile female, or child. Where a particular monkey fell in this social structure dictated that monkey’s behavior in any number of social circumstances from feeding, to mating, to child care. He also noted the process of acculturation, that is, how a new behavior is passed from one member of the group to another.

Frisch also notes that several other groups of the same species of monkey were studied by the Japan Monkey Center. He points out that the social behavior varied greatly from group to group and that the practices of a particular group are likely passed down from one generation to the next.

Frisch notes throughout the article that the amount of time spent on the study of monkeys in Japan was not yet long enough to justify drawing any absolute conclusions. However he made the point that though the evidence gathered thus far was somewhat limited, there were significant findings through the studies of the Japan Monkey Center to at least warrant a re-evaluation of the definition of culture. The examples illustrated by Frisch make a strong argument for the existence of culture in primates other than man.


JEFF MASCI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg).

Geertz, Clifford. Form and Variance in Balinese Village Structure. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61: 991-1012.

This article focuses on the research of Clifford Geertz in Balinese villages in 1957. He uses this article to record many of his findings from his time immersed in the Balinese culture, as well as a variety of his conclusions drawn from his experiences. Geertz is an able author, and in this article he uses his literary ability to the fullest extent possible, perhaps to ensure that the reader is aware of the larger issues at play. At its heart, this discussion of form and variance is about the differences between the Balinese culture and Western conventions of thinking.

Geertz breaks down the Balinese village into a number of categories. One of the most notable categories is planes of social organization. He discusses how important the social organization is to the Balinese people, and how their own organization differs greatly from village to village and person to person. He breaks this idea of social organization into 8 sub-categories, each of which deals with a particular aspect of the society being studied. Later in the article, Geertz uses examples from three separate villages he studied while in Bala, to assist in understanding of the issues of social organization that he raised earlier in his article. Finally, Geertz provides his audience with some theoretical implications for his research and what his conclusions seem to be after his extensive time in the field.

Perhaps the greatest significance of this article is the manner in which it forces any anthropologist to realize that there can be and often are significantly large differences between peoples in the same cultures and countries. By discussing this phenomenon of anthropological research, Geertz proves an invaluable resource for up and coming anthropologists.


JAMES STREET York University (Naomi Adelson)

Geertz, Clifford. Form and Variation in Balinese Village Structure. American Anthropologist, 1959 Vol.61:991-1012

In this article, the author intends to prove that Balinese villages, although not containing a uniformity of structure between the many villages, all contain a set of common components from which the villages are constructed. Each village is a composite of similar discrete structural forms combined in distinct and different ways. First Geertz defines the seven primary organizational planes of significance, and then describes three villages and how these planes of significance interact. The seven planes are as follows: (1) shared obligation to worship at a given temple, (2) common residence, (3) ownership of rice land lying within a single water shed, (4) commonality of ascribed social status or caste, (5) consanguineal and affinal kinship ties, (6) common membership in one or another “voluntary” organizations, and (7) common legal subordination to a single government administrative official. He gives details of each of these commonalities and some examples of each. At the end of the article Geertz discusses the theoretical implications of his findings in these communities. Finally, he discusses what may be learnt from each of the communities he analyzes.

Geertz writes quite well and clearly. His research is thorough and he excels in this article in the thick description he is known for. For a novice reader, however, his analyses grow somewhat intricate and complex near the end of the article. A reader can begin to understand the intricacies of village social structure vis-à-vis this article. All in all, this article stands in the group of significant analyses of the culture of the Balinese people.


ZOHAR SHAMASH Barnard College (Paige West)

Gluckman, Max. The Technical Vocabulary of Barotse Jurisprudence. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61 (5): 743-759

Max Gluckman’s article focuses on the issue of whether a simple legal vocabulary necessarily correlates with a primitive legal system. Through his analysis of the technical vocabulary of the Barotse society in Northern Rhodesia, Gluckman argues that the two are essentially unrelated. Independent ownership of property does not exist in this tribal community. It relies on the interdependence of its members and the communal sharing of resources for its survival. As a result, while the legal terminology might seem rather primitive, the legal system itself proves to be rather complex. Gluckman proposes that the lack of correlation in the Barotse vocabulary system and those of its legal system is caused by the degree of stratification within the society.

Gluckman begins by delineating the structure of Barotse land-tenure. The term “mung’a” signifies “ownership.” While property is independently owned in many Western societies, it is actually grounded in a complex, inter-woven network of hierarchical social relationships in Barotse. Each social status has accompanying rights, duties, and privileges, and it is the job of the legal system to ensure that the obligations associated with each individual’s social role are fulfilled. A king is the supreme “mung’a,” with control over his property, as well as those who live on it. Headmen follow, and they oversee the individual villagers. Disputes over land are decided by social status. While “mung’a” acts as a blanket term for all “owners,” the complexity of the Barotse social system yields a variety of owner-“leaser” relationships.

In furthering his argument that law is based on distinctions in social statuses, Gluckman adds that the law also determines a property’s material value. The duties of each participant in the owner-lessee relationship are linked to two types of property distinctions: “tribute” and “kingly things,” which essentially deal with how much goods are worth in relation to each other. As an example, Gluckman discusses the use of cattle as a “bride-payment.”

The most important part of Gluckman’s essay comes next, as he ties the interdependent nature of social relationships to the structure of the legal system. Kings might own the land as mung’as, but cannot produce food without the work of the villagers. On the other hand, villagers could not own land without the mung’a’s approval. The court system recognizes this interdependence ensures that the obligations associated with the rights and duties of each social group are upheld. Gluckman concludes by restating his thesis–that the coupling of a generalized legal vocabulary (mung’a symbolizes all owners) with a highly intricate legal system is essentially grounded in the complexity of the social structure and the interdependence of each level of society.

This article will have relevance for individuals with an interest in how social structures relate to a society’s legal jargon and court policies. Gluckman’s erudite style makes the article difficult to absorb quickly, but his reasoning is well-organized, and his analysis is solid and meaningful.


EVAN SHORE University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Griffin. History of Anthropology. American Anthropologist, 1959 Vol.61: 379-389.

The author focuses on the development and history of Anthropology through the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. He draws on the different archaeological studies in America in correlation with the prehistory of man throughout the years, and what roles they played throughout the years, showing how archaeology shifted to archaeology-anthropology. Griffin highlights people like Cyrus Thomas, W. H. Holmes, Powell, Arthur C. Parker, Shetrone, and how they affected the advancement of archaeological advances. Lastly, he gives a brief synopsis of where American Anthropology was before, and is at the time of 1959.

According to Griffin, in 1880 the chief purpose of American archaeology was described by Major Powell as “the origin and development of [the] arts and industries” of the ancestors of the Indian. Griffin highlighted Cyrus Thomas’ summary of American archaeology of 1898. Thomas felt the best approach to American prehistory was through the typological studies of monuments, next, relics and remains, and finally by the inscriptions and picture writings. Griffin felt the syntheses made by W.H. Holmes from 1914 to 1919 were more accepted than earlier ones because they brought a broader range of data, and because he had a greater methodological sophistication. Griffin highlights Arthur C. Parker’s “Archaeological History of New York” which appeared in 1920 because it summarized the results of about two generations of fairly systematic collecting and some controlled excavation. Parker hoped that archaeology would grow into a statistical science. Griffin also points out Shetrone’s summary entitled “The Culture Problem in Ohio Archaeology” because in a brief discussion of time relations he recognized the temporal sequence as an important task for future study.

Many of the leading personalities in archaeology of the pre-World War I era, had little or no formal training in archaeology. Many had training in other disciplines and shifted to archaeology-anthropology after exposure to archaeology. After 1920, there was a rapid growth of anthropology as an academic subject in higher education institutions. Because archaeology dealt with the prehistory of the Indian, American archaeology inevitably became associated with ethnological studies where contemporary Indians were found practicing some of the same behavioral patterns found recorded in the ground by archaeologist. There have been some implications with the relation between the archaeology and the ethnographical studies because there have been many false alignments of archaeological material to tribal and linguistic groups have been made and many archaeological reports have been interpreted in terms of ethnographic data of uncertain applicability.

The major advancement in the last 30 years has been the development of regional chronologies in all the major areas in North America and the recognition of culture change through time as influenced by a changing environment, diffusion, migration, invention, and stylistic variation. Earlier reconstructions of American culture history were based on ethnographic data, they are now done (1959) from archaeological information. They rely more on the biological and physical sciences to interpret and research data. Archaeologists are devoting a lot of time to the definition and clarification of their conceptual tools. They are involved in the definition and recognition from archaeological contexts of a variety of social acculturation processes.


ADIA REVELL Barnard College (Paige West)

Griffin, James. The Pursuit of Archaeology in the United States. American Anthropologist June, 1959 Vol. 61 (3): 379-389.

James Griffin’s article delineates the history and development of the field of archaeology in the United States. His account is both a historical and regional overview of the dissemination and revolution of the discipline of archaeology in the United States.

Griffin begins his investigative journey in the eastern United States; here he focuses on the study of the Mound Builders. Caleb Atwater and his work provide a window into the world of the Mound Builders, as well as into the early phases of the methodology of archaeology. For example, early techniques include the use of tree rings for dating and even Atwater’s use of the Bible as a template for the Mound Builders’ society. Griffin moves on to Cyrus Thomas’ work in 1898, in which Thomas proclaimed that the best approach to prehistory was to study (in order) the monuments left behind by the culture, then the relics and remains, and finally the inscriptions and picture writings. Thomas also provided early methods for classification and fieldwork.

Griffin’s overview continues with his mention of Putnam, Wilson, and Holmes.
Putnam concerned himself with the unity/diversity of prehistoric man in America; Wilson likewise studied the presence of Paleolithic man in America; and Holmes focused on the importance of the development of a sound chronological system in order to effectively study prehistoric man in America. Griffin then jumps to New York, where he reviews the work of Parker, who is known for his desire that archaeology become a statistical science. Next, Griffin travels to Ohio and the work of Shetrone, who recognized the significance of the temporal sequence in future studies.

According to Griffin, the development of the Midwestern Taxonomic System marked a revolution in archaeology. It was a distinct advance over previous systems; it focused on the previously neglected reality that in most areas there exist a number of different industries and assemblages that implied that the cultures were not contemporary. Yet another significant advance was the alliance of field and laboratory work under the Federal relief program.

All in all, Griffin’s article provides a comprehensive overview of the history of archaeological study. According to Griffin, this field is one that is always evolving with the aim to discover and implement newer and better methods.


RICHARD LIUZZI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Harper, Edward B. Two Systems of Economic Exchange in Village India. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61 (5): 760-778

Edward Harper’s article analyzes two systems of economic exchange in India: the Jajmani system and the Malnad system. Each serves to regulate economic relationships among members of their respective societies. By contrasting the two systems, Harper argues that the quality of economic relationships among members of various occupational groups is grounded in the availability of resources in a geographic area; a village dependent on subsistence crops (the Jajmani), Harper points out, will be inherently more stable than one dependent on cash crops for survival (the Malnad).

Harper begins his discussion with a concise description of the Jajmani system, specifically in relation to the distinction between occupational and religious caste hierarchies. He states briefly, however, that his discussion will focus only on occupational groups, for religious castes are only loosely related to economic matters.

In the next section, Harper explores the various privileges, roles, and duties associated with each occupational class in Totagadde, a village in Malnad, South India. Through his discussion of the privileged horticulturalists and working his way down to the lower-class artisans and Untouchables, Harper highlights major differences between the Malnad and Jajmani systems. Economic stability underlies the stated points of disparity. Because societies incorporating the Jajmani pattern are self-sufficient, they need not convert their crops into cash. Transactions are facilitated through bartering or by merely conferring proper respect on members of higher occupational groups, the latter of which relies on the acknowledgment of one’s prescribed occupational role. Villages incorporating the Jajmani system are thus economically stable, for economic ties are permanent and predetermined by occupational group so as to bind individuals to their jobs. As a result, bargaining is practiced only rarely, and wages and prices for goods and services remain relatively fixed, for there is limited competition in the economy. In contrast, the Malnad system is characterized by unstable economic agreements between members of various occupational groups. Because the economy is not self-sufficient, it must translate crops into cash in order to purchase goods and services from abroad for survival. Because the value of a currency fluctuates in the exchange market, wages and prices may fluctuate considerably. The reasons are twofold. First, as compared to self-contained Jajmani system, the Malnad community need not require specialized labor; as a result, occupational lines are blurred as workers are hired as “unskilled labor.” Second, the dependence of the Malnad economy on the outside world leaves a window of opportunity for workers to enlist their services in other villages; the subsequent competition fosters further wage and price fluctuation, and thus leads to an unstable economy. Harper concludes by reworking his thesis; it is thus the degree of economic dependence or self-sufficiency that defines the differences between the two systems.

This article will have relevance for individuals with at least a cursory knowledge of the caste system in India, but whose primary interest lies in understanding the differences among Indian economic systems in disparate geographic locations. Harper’s article clearly portrays such distinctions by contrasting the Jajmani and Malnad economic systems.


EVAN SHORE University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Harris, Marvin. The Economy Has No Surplus? American Anthropologist April, 1959 Vol. 61 (2): 185-199.

The purpose of Harris’ article is to examine the prevailing economic surplus theory regarding the origin of social stratification with respect to a more recently suggested theory by Harry Pearson. Harris claims that because certain aspects of Pearson’s theory are irrefutable, his new theory is of concern to anthropologists and should inspire new investigations into this topic.

Harris first attempts to explain that because the surplus theory is so widely accepted among anthropologists, it is regarded as an unquestioned truism. Among the many who have presented work on the surplus theory are Boas and Childe. However, Harris then presents Pearson’s argument which concludes that the surplus theory is an unsupported assumption because “man does not live on bread alone.” Harris points to this argument as the one irrefutable grain of truth, which is that individuals in a society do not simply stay alive, they partake in numerous other activities like dancing, singing, fighting wars, and using small resources in a variety of non-utilitarian ways. These activities constitute the “universal pattern.”

Harris goes on to carefully dissect further specific arguments from both the classic economic school, and from Pearson. In Pearson’s work, Harris notes that there are some points which do not logically nor empirically hold. For example, Pearson argues that one difficulty with the surplus theory is that it is very difficult to establish a subsistence minimum for one person, and therefore impossible to determine for an entire society. Harris points out that under laboratory conditions, fairly precise data could be established for individuals and groups.

Though certain aspects of Pearson’s argument do not hold, Harris points to another issue which may have contributed to a faulty surplus theory; that anthropologists have never made explicit what constituted a surplus – and there are many interpretations. But rather than throw out altogether the surplus theory, as Pearson proposed, Harris believes that it need only be modified, taking into account new assumptions.

As things stand, the basic assumption of the surplus theory is that an increase in productivity provides the grounds for universal social evolution sequences. Harris concludes that there is no reason for the assumption of a one-to-one correlation between the degree of surplus and the degree of social stratification. He calls for more consideration and further research into the area of the productive process in order for a new and better theory come about.


JENNY HOGE University of Pennsylvania (Dr. Melvyn Hammarberg)

Marvin Harris. The Economy Has No Surplus? American Anthropology 1959. New Series, Vol. 61, No. 2. (Apr., 1959), pp. 185-199.

In this article, Marvin Harris responded to a publication edited by Polanyi, Arensberg and Pearson, of a chapter titled “The Economy Has No Surplus: Critique of a Theory of Development.” According to Harris, the author of the chapter who is an economist tried to destroy the surplus theory of social stratification. He did this by “showing that the concept of the surplus theory upon which it rests has neither logical nor empirical validity.” The author of the chapter argued that the origin of social stratification can still occur without an economic surplus because why would food producers want to produce more than they need, and how would they know when they have produced enough to give to others.

Dividing this article in three parts, Harris began by saying that among anthropologists the surplus theory makes sense and explains the origin of social stratification perfectly. Harris reasoned that social stratification can’t occur without surplus and cites different anthropologists who accepted the surplus theory. One such anthropologist is Wax, who cited that surplus food caused an increase in population, leisure time, and occupations that are not needed for every day life. Another anthropologist, Bunzel wrote that surplus is significant in societies. In part two, Harris respond to the argument of why food-producers would produce more than they needed or know when they have produced enough. His argument is that there is no way of knowing since qualitative or quantitative work can’t be done on these people. We should modify the surplus theory not discard it. At last, Harris concluded that we can not disprove the theory current evidence. He also went to length to conclude that change in surplus will tend to lead to changes in economy, religion, and specialization, all associated with social stratification.

This article was very hard to follow. One reason is because the article was unclear about how the second part ties with the first and how the third to the second.


MAI XIONG University of Minnesota Duluth ( Jennifer Jones)

Henry, Jules. Culture, Personality and Evolution. American Anthropologist April, 1959 Vol. 61 (2): 221-226.

The purpose of Jules Henry’s article is to demonstrate a relationship between environmental stress, physiological change, and human evolution. He first examines two well-established results on the differences between lower animals and Homo sapiens. First, in humans there is a large reduction of genetically determined innate response mechanisms. And second, humans have a large capacity to release impulses over various substitute “pathways.”

With these two factors, Henry points to the great variability that he claims is necessary for humans to create varying social structures depending on varying life conditions. Likewise, humans must constantly revise their social structures in order to adapt to change. Thus it logically follows that humans continually are placed in the position of making choices that create stressful situations. Henry investigates the idea that social tensions resulting in serious stress affect reproduction, which would make the psychosomatic problem an evolutionary one.

Although Henry alludes to some studies which evidence the association of amenorrhea, spontaneous abortion, and infertility with personality disorder originating in sociocultural stress, he does not present any hard evidence to support his argument. He simply states that the reader must “accept the assumption current in psychosomatic medicine.”

Using sociosymbolic stress as a key factor, Henry organizes his argument by constructing a model to formulate the evolutionary problem in a general respect. The model states that the probability that the evolution of humans is related to sociosymbolic stress as it interacts with genetically determined individual variability in reaction to stress as affected by life experience, and with individual variability in capacity to displace activity as affected by life experience. Because these three factors are in constant interplay with one another since the moment of birth (or before), the problem of separating genetic contributions from environmental factors is difficult to solve.

Here, Henry sees an important union evolving between cultural and physical anthropology. Cultural anthropology will study sociosymbolic stress and subsequent consequences for personality function and physical anthropology will study the consequences of stress in terms of genetic and physiological change.

Henry’s article presents an interesting view on the study of human response to social stress in terms of physiological as well as social terms. However, the arguments are sometimes ambiguous and hard to follow, as they do not adhere to specific data. Henry cites several studies, but admits that much is still being hypothesized and researched. Much of his evidence comes from a study in animal psychology. Nonetheless, Henry proposes that the “genetic-life-stress problem” will be solved eventually through a common enterprise of study taking into account physical and cultural factors.


JENNY HOGE University of Pennsylvania (Dr. Melvyn Hammarberg)

Herskovits, Melville J. Past Developments and Present Currents in Ethnology. American Anthropologist, 1959 Vol.61: 389-398.

In this article, Herskovits investigates the history of the science of anthropological thought, and discusses where anthropology stood in contemporary 1959. He describes the origin of anthropology, from classical evolutionism, and the general movements that led to the contemporary state of anthropological science.

Herskovits argues that anthropology has developed into a discipline that has an increasingly broader area of use and interest to other sciences. As the science of anthropology has changed and developed through the introduction of new terms and concepts and the discarding of old anthropological methodologies, through debate and discussion, it is an ever-changing discipline that as been able to adapt itself to contemporary times. Perhaps it is for this reason that other social sciences have looked to anthropologists to provide greater insight into bodies of data not previously encountered. In contemporary times, there is a greater need to find cross-cultural understandings of patterns of motivation and values, which anthropology has helped to uncover.

Herskovits argues that although different schools of anthropology exist there is essentially a fundamental unity to the field. Due to its origins from classical evolutionism, anthropology was cast as a discipline within a scientific framework. It has a theoretical and scientific foundation from which it has been able to advance. The development of anthropology, due to increasing numbers of anthropologists, has led to a diversity of interest in all modes of approach. However, after all, anthropology is the study of man and the increased diversity has extended the range of comprehension and modes of analysis.

In the contemporary field of anthropology, it is necessary that anthropologists continue to maintain and extend the scientific character of the discipline. Especially as it has become increasingly clear that anthropologists are gaining a broader view of the contribution they can make in the study of human life, and as many from outside the discipline are looking towards the field of anthropology for aid in understanding aspects of their own fields.


MISHA ROBYN Columbia College (Paige West)

Hoijer, Harry. Obituary of Paul Radin. American Anthropologist October 1959 Vol. 61(5): 839-843.

The life of Paul Radin, succinctly described by Hoijer in this article, was one richly lived in anthropology. Radin took on various roles, sometimes not extensive, as a professor, department head, anthropologist, ethnographer and ethnologist. The article touches on much of Radin’s work and provides commentaries by many reviewers. The author mainly discusses his unique approach to fieldwork, which was both praised and criticized.

Most of Radin’s work was in ethnology, and more specifically in religion and mythology. Primarily, his work was done on the Winnebago culture and includes ten monographs and many articles. The anthropologist had a strictly empirical approach to his fieldwork. He treated the factual material of culture with much respect and relied greatly on documents preserved by his native subjects. His monographs on the Winnebago tribal society contained these texts and his commentaries.

The author goes on to comment on Radin’s attempts to write general ethnologies, which were affected by his ability or inability, according to Goldenwieser, to separate himself from his subjects. According to Radin, a successful ethnology is based on the author’s ability to separate discussion from the record itself, which should be critically edited data obtained from the tribe. Goldenweiser comments that Radin failed to be objective (to stop being a Winnebago himself).

Despite this, Radin’s ethnological work greatly contributed to the field of anthropology. He studied religion and mythology of primitive peoples. His concrete discussions contributed to the understanding of primitive peoples, in which he argued that primitive people had philosophy. He also played the role of ethnohistorian for which he evaluated the records preserved by the Nahua people of their historical legends. Radin changed hats again when he did work in linguistics with the Winnebago texts: describing patterns and the changing of patterns by individuals who violated, transmuted, and altered the language.

The author concludes the obituary by listing the teaching positions he held at various institutes, many of them being brief. Radin, according to the author, liked to teach but disliked the “institutionalized role of the professor”. He appreciated the “student culture” rather than that of the professor as he enjoyed sharing his vast knowledge of anthropology. Goldenweiser states that Radin never quite succeeded in ceasing to be a student.

This article will mostly appeal to anthropologists and anthropology students. Radin’s inability to stop being a student is difficult in the world of anthropology, especially cultural anthropology. Changing times and environments force us, culturally, to be students rather than teachers as we are constantly learning.


ALLISON JEFFREY University of Pennsylvania (Dr. Melvyn Hammarberg)

Hori, Ichiro. Japanese Folk-Beliefs. American Anthropologist 1959. Vol. 61: 405-424.

Ichiro Hori looks at the relationship between social structure and religious organization in historical terms. He believes that Japanese folk-beliefs is an amalgamation of “little traditions” (blood or close community ties), and “great traditions” (outside influences, such as, Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism).

The first section is called Dozoku-system and its belief-system. Hori describes Dozoku as “a family grouping of the main family (hon-ke) and branch families (bun-ke) which are linked by patrilineal kinship.” He goes on to describe this type of family in greater detail and had diagrams to illustrate the lineage. In this section there is also mention of the different festivals and customs that all dozoku groups practice (although it is not unique to them). It is then mentioned that certain dead ancestors of the dozoku group become deified after 33 years, and become village gods. And as one dozoku-group gained dominance so did the beliefs they had; in this way, and with missionaries and invasion, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism became part of the Japanese folk-belief.

Hori did his research in 1947 on Hime-shima, an island near Kyushu. On this island the religious beliefs were reflective of the family that had economic and political control.

The next section is entitled actual circumstances of Folk-Beliefs in Japanese rural society. In this section he looks at Satoyamabe-mura, in Nagano Prefecture, where he also did some field research. In this community there mini shines in larger shines and there are “at least four religious elements…found in this shine: belief in an ancestral god of another politically powerful and religious family…; belief in goryo-shin (supercommunity [sic], but belonging to a little tradition); belief in Zenko-ji Temple…; and belief in Prince Shotoku…” and in this village there are many religious associations which Hori describes in detail.

The third section in this article is entitled ” Ancestral spirit worship, dead spirit worship, and the conception of the ‘other world’.” There are dual locations for one shrine, the example Hori gives is a temple at the foot of a mountain were people can go to for festivals and on at the top of the mountain where not as many people go. He then goes on to talk about the different shrines in Japan. And on New Years, in rural farming villages, there are festivities were they make a “bon-road, bon-fire” and pick “bon-flowers” so that the spirits can come to visit easily. There is also a belief that there is a mountain that is the “other world” where the dead live.

The last section is called “’Hito-gami’ (man-gods) and the religious beliefs and traditions of itinerant missionaries” in this section Hori mentions spirits, spiritual life and “magic”, and what was done to avoid evil spirits and magic.


CHRISTINA SAUNDERS York University (Naomi Adelson)

Hori, Ichiro. Japanese Folk-Beliefs. American Anthropologist 1957 Vol. 61 (3): 405-423.

The purpose of Ichiro Hori’s article, Japanese Folk-Beliefs, was to discuss rural Japanese folk-beliefs and then explain how history shaped the beliefs in the present. Hori believes that these folk-beliefs were formed through the interaction of different beliefs systems. This formation occurred through exposure to many different religions and traditions either learned directly from missionaries or passed down from the people’s ancestors. In this article he attempts to show that Japanese folk-beliefs consist of many different elements that come from both native traditions and highly developed religions.

Hori starts his argument by discussing peoples that follow a Dôzoku-system. Dôzoku is the smallest family unit in rural Japan. It is a grouping that consists of many branch families under a main family, all of which are link by patrilineal kinship. All families in the system are united religiously. Each Dôzoku-group has its own shrine and own cemetery. Every member is expected to participate in festivals and memorial services for ancestors under the leadership of the head of the main family. The main family supervises the daily lives of all the branch families and in return the branch families serve the main family spiritually and materially. This is a good example of folk-beliefs shaping the way a culture forms into kinship groupings.

To point to further evidence for his argument he goes on to describe actual folk-beliefs in rural Japanese society. He uses an average rural community that has been studied through field research. He point out that the daily lives of the peoples living in the community are greatly affected by their folk-beliefs. Living in the village are 682 families all divided into 13 large subvillage units and 33 subvillage sections. Within the village there are a very large number of shrines. The peculiar thing about them is they all seem to be in honor of a number of different gods and in the name of a number of different religions and mythical traditions. There is a Shinto shrine in the middle of the village and all members have the duty and right to serve. In addition to this shrine are many other shrines, including many Buddhist shrines and shrines to honor ancestors. This all shows the intermingling of two major religions, Shinto and Buddhism, with the traditions of honoring ancestors of the main family. All of these three among other influences are what bring about all of the folk-beliefs of these rural peoples.

Hori goes on to discuss the connection between the little traditions of the rural people and the more developed religions and how they have combined to form rural folk-beliefs. This is Hori’s main point in this article. He wants to show this connection and show how it has led to many surviving folk-beliefs in Japan today. The Japanese don’t define themselves as one religion or another like western peoples, but they allow many religions and traditions to mesh together to form what they believe in.


GREG JONES University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Hsu, Francis L. K. Structure, Function, Content, and Process. American Anthropologist October, 1959 Vol. 61(5): 790-805.

Francis Hsu’s article examines the Radcliffe-Brown structural approach in social anthropology. This structural concept has grown into one of the major influences in anthropological study and Hsu notes that some followers become so attached to the theory that they confine their thoughts too narrowly. In his paper, Hsu’s main goal attempts to expose the use and abuse of the structure concept and thereby exterminate some anthropologists’ narrow perspectives on the human social structure.

Hsu begins by stating that some studies overemphasize structure to such a large degree that even when a part of society has no structure, authors still insist on its presence. This approach then leads to the obscuring of facts and results in poor anthropological theories. Hsu attempts to support his argument by citing studies by Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown, which Hsu claims both make weak arguments due to their overemphasis on structure.

Rather than an overuse of structure, Hsu proposes an introduction of two new concepts in the anthropological study of social organizations. In order to learn more about different societies and their unique ways of life, Hsu thinks that anthropology needs the concepts of content and process. These two concepts, according the Hsu, would cover areas of interest that neither structure nor function could address. Content would describe the characteristics that determine the interactions among people related through social organization. And process would describe the way a social organization functions for self-maintenance and for changes induced by external or internal influences.

Hsu utilizes his new concepts in order to try and explain differences in four types of people (New England Yankees, Eskimo, Chinese, and Tallensi). He insists that neither structure nor function can describe accurately the differences between the four societies, but that when they combine with content and process, one is able to effectively explain the differences among the types of people.

This article will appeal to those interested in the structural approach in social anthropology. Yet at the same time, Hsu raises some important points for anthropology in general. He suggests that an old, habitual way of thinking may not always be the correct approach and in this article, he tries to evolve the old custom of structure by extending it to two new concepts—content and process.


RYAN WONG University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Hsu, Francis, L. K. Structure, Function, Content, and Process. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61: 790-805.

This article is written by an anthropologist in the hopes of explaining the concepts of structure, function, content, and process in a different manner than famous Radclife-Brown and his approach. Francis uses the works of such famous and esteemed anthropological figures as E. E. Evans-Pritchard and Fortes, and Radclife-Brown, and Bronislav Malinowski to examine and critique each of the above-mentioned concepts.

Within this article, the author attempts to analyze each concept and gain an understanding of its value to anthropology as a whole and to the individual researcher in particular. He is very successful in this endeavor in spite of the difficulty of isolating and establishing the ‘true’ identity of each concept. For it is very true that each of these anthropological concepts has taken on a life of its own, and as Francis points out, in some cases this is a bad thing for the entire discipline of anthropology. However, for the most part structure, function, content and process continue to be of some effective use in the discipline of anthropology.

In order to conduct his study of each of these concepts, Francis uses a variety of examples drawn from the very works he seeks to critique and better understand. He uses the author’s own words to prove that in most cases they were aware of what they were doing but did so regardless of the consequences. Also, by using the more modern example of kinship similarities between Eskimo people and Yankees from New England, Francis serves to illustrate the dichotomy between such antiquated research techniques and his own more updated methods.


JAMES STREET York University (Naomi Adelson)

Hunt, Edward E. Anthropometry, Genetics and Racial History. American Anthropologist. February, 1959, Vol.61(7): 64-87.

Hunter presents a look into the science of using anthropometric methods to produce a worldwide picture of the genetic diversity of mankind. He uses known genetic conditions along with anthropometric measurements to aid in his study of historical reconstruction. He initially offers a description of common methods for obtaining anthropometric measurements. Using this data the anthropologist hopes to link genetic kinship ties and uncover ancient racial migrations. He marks noted difficulty because most early humans and primates are too heterozygous to be able to identify a pure race. The Hybridization of unlike human groups has thus hindered efforts towards building historical reconstructions of human evolution.

Hunt then proceeds to present a case study of almost 10,000 Irishmen. Using anthropometric measurements and phenotype traits the study raised doubt weather typological information actually adds to what we can learn from the history of a given group. The last issue that he addresses is the presence or absence of morphological traits from one individual to another in a graded sequence. This approach shows the gradual evolutionary changes, which develop from generation to generation.

In conclusion Hunt emphasizes how relations between early human groups has caused randomized genetic evidence. Mutation, hybridization and random drift also are noted for adding to the confusion of producing a historical evolutionary account. In later research Hunt feels that genetic, social, and anthropometric data will all be employed to obtain a more complete pool of results.


SCOTT MORRELLI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Kroeber, A. L. The History of the Personality of Anthropology. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61 (3): 398-404.

The purpose of A. L. Kroeber’s article, The History of the Personality of Anthropology, was to show what separates anthropology from other social sciences. Kroeber believes that sociology and anthropology both share the same basic theory, but do not work in the same areas, do not use the same methods for study, and they are motivated by different reasons.

Despite similar goals, anthropology and sociology are both very separate in their study. Sociology completely neglects many fields that are basic to anthropology. Some of these fields are biological anthropology, archeology, prehistory, linguistics, general, descriptive, historical, cultural history, primitive ethnology, and folk ethnography. Sociologists often use findings of these fields to support their own findings, but they rarely make a contribution to any of them. All anthropologists, however, study in one or more of these fields.

Anthropologists seem to want to cover a very wide selection of fields, some of which are already covered by other professions. The anthropologist profession is not very large but they seem to take on a large job. They insist on working in the field and want to have face-to-face contact with the subjects they are studying. They are not just interest in the here and now but in the past and how it will affect the future. They wish to understand foreign and remote peoples of the world, while sociologists attempt to understand local peoples in present time.

Behind anthropology and sociology is an attempt to discover why we do what we do as humans. Sociologists tend to think of culture as imbedded in social phenomena, but an anthropologist would attribute this social phenomenon to culture. These differences in opinion are what largely separate the two fields.


GREG JONES University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Kroeber, A. L. Philip Haxall Bagby. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol.61:1075.

In this article, Kroeber honored Philip Haxxall Bagby, who passed away at the age of forty on September 21, 1958. Bagby, born in Richmond, earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, where he finished cum laude in 1939. In 1940, Bagby passed the Foreign Service examinations with the highest grade ever given up to that date. After spending nine years with the Department of State in Africa, India, and England, Bagby went to study anthropology at Oxford, where he got his doctorate in 1956 with Hawkes. Bagby’s revised thesis, published in London in 1958 as Culture and History: Prolegomena in the Comparative Study of Civilizations, received both favorable and unfavorable reviews.

Kroeber finished by noting Bagby’s accomplishment of writing a book that clarifies and advances the difficult study of comparative civilizations.


TALI SWANN-STERNBERG Barnard College (Paige West)

LeVine, Robert A. Gusii Sex Offenses: A Study in Social Control. American Anthropologist, 1959. Vol. 61 (6): 965-990.

The comparatively high frequency of rape among the Gusii of southwestern Kenya has been an ongoing social problem and source of concern to both British administrators and Gusii chiefs. In his article, LeVine attempts to explain this phenomenon by analyzing data in terms of sex antagonism, traditional and contemporary limitations on premarital sexuality, the differing motivations of rapists, and the role of bridewealth rates in delaying marriage.

LeVine first discusses sex antagonism in Gusii society. Because wives were traditionally imported from rival clans during blood feuds, a Gusii marriage constitutes a relationship between hostile groups. The enyangi ceremonial in marriage is an expression of these underlying interclan tensions, which cannot be vented at any other time.

Most Gusii girls are ambivalent toward marriage, as revealed by the fact that coitus is essentially an act in which the man overcomes the woman’s resistance and causes her pain. LeVine concludes that legitimate heterosexual encounters among Gusii involve aggressive, forceful, and pain-inflicting behavior.

LeVine next describes circumstances in which the performance of such behavior is not legitimate. He explains that there are three types of sanctions enforcing the rules of marital fidelity within a clan. The first is called amasangia, in which the presence of an adulterous wife in the same room as her ill husband may cause the latter’s death. The second sanction states that when two men of the same clan have intercourse with the same married woman, then a visit by one to the sickbed of the other will result in the sick one’s death. The third sanction is the discovery and disapproval of the elders.

There are four other possible sexual outlets for unmarried Gusii males: masturbation, homosexuality, bestiality, and the annual occurrence of ogochabera. However, these practices (and thus the sexual activity of young males, in general) are severely limited.

Because of all these restrictions, unmarried Gusii males turn to females of other clans. With respect to premarital sexual activity, LeVine distinguishes among three types of Gusii girls. The first type of girl is the omokayayu, or slut. The second type is one who is truly ambivalent about premarital sex. The third type is one whose hostility toward men and sex outweighs her heterosexual desires.

Despite these differences, universal among Gusii girls is inhibition and anxiety about sexual intercourse. This common anxiety stems from the contrasting childhood experiences of girls and boys: Essentially, the father-daughter relationship in the Gusii family trains the girl to avoid and fear men, whereas the mother-son relationship encourages in males a positive attraction toward women.

Female antagonism presents many obstacles to premarital sex. When it does occur, it will not be considered rape by Gusii standards unless the female refuses to acquiesce. In such a case, the typical rape is committed by an unmarried young man on an unmarried female of a different clan.

LeVine distinguishes among three types of Gusii rape that may occur. The first is rape resulting from seduction. In this situation, a girl’s anxiety about discovery and her reputation, or her display of provocative behavior despite a lack of sexual motivation, might both turn a would-be seducer into a rapist. The second type of rape is premeditated sexual assault, in which one or more Gusii boys attack a single young girl before forcing her into coitus. The third type of rape is abduction, in which a man desperate for a mate enlists the help of his clansmen to abduct a girl from a different clan. This situation resembles a traditional marriage, except that it lacks the legitimizing bridewealth and the consent of the bride and her parents.

LeVine next discusses bridewealth as a barrier to marriage in contemporary Gusii society. A legitimate Gusii marriage requires the transfer of cattle and goats from the father of the groom to the father of the bride. The bridewealth rate has a tendency to rise; this inflation, as well as a reduced availability of cattle, forces young men from cattle-poor families to postpone their marriages. A man in such a position may resort to abductive rape.

In conclusion, LeVine identifies four factors that contribute to the high frequency of rape in Gusiiland. One factor is an absence of physical separation between the sexes. A second involves the severe restrictions on the nonmarital sexual relations of females. A third refers to the sexual inhibitions of females. And finally, a fourth factor points to the excessive bridewealth demands that prolong the bachelorhood of some men into their late twenties.

LeVine also states that two variables ultimately play a role in the control of sexual behavior in human societies: structural barriers (physical or social arrangements which prevent the attainment of a desired sexual object) and socialized inhibitions (learned tendencies to avoid sexual acts under certain conditions).


NATALIE SEARS Barnard College (Paige West).

Levy Jr., M.J. and Fallers, L.A. The Family: Some Comparative Considerations. American Anthropologist August 1959 Vol. 61 (4) 647-651

Levy and Fallers challenge the prevailing idea that the concept of “family” is a kinship structure that can be equally applied to every society in comparative analysis. The authors do not agree that this conjugal, nuclear family kinship structure that is dominant in the West has equal counterparts in other cultures, an argument that as the authors construct it states that to believe there exists this cross-cultural fundamental family unit actually compromises the validity of comparative analysis. The authors believe that closer scrutiny must be paid in the roles that certain kinship structures not equally translatable into the Western model of kinship structures assume.

The authors select the process of socialization as their main focal point for arguing the cross-cultural differences in kinship structures that undermine previous beliefs that the Western nuclear family exists in every society. While agreeing that every kinship structure can participate in socialization, reproductive and sex-regulating functions, in general and without differentiating between what specific aspects of a particular kinship structure performs which of the aforementioned roles, the authors depart to compare actual differences of socialization practices that exist, are documented, among various non-Western societies. Their rationale is that socialization processes are more relevant to revealing the basic kinship structure in various societies, that previous processes such as economic functions can be performed by other members of a kinship structure outside of the conjugal pair (thus existing on another level as the authors state), and even that some societies combine the functions of church, state and firm whereas in Western societies there are divisions correlating to those three entities and their functions.

Citing the traditional Chinese extended family, the authors clearly show that socialization in this environment follows the patrilineal family unit, which does not include the conjugal pair. In the same culture, the sexes are also traditionally and nearly exclusively socialized by mothers and grandmothers within that patrilineal extended family subunit until they reach a certain age, when the sexes divide. The East African Basoga household also includes individuals of extended family units, but because of this particular kinship structure the nuclear family unit’s loyalties frequently divide towards the patrilineal, and divorce can result which in turn results in single-parenting socialization. These basic examples indicate that socialization processes in non-Western societies may be undertaken by various family subunits.

The authors point out within the limited space of their article inconsistencies in observed and recorded research of some non-Western societies for whom the Western concept of the nuclear family does not fit. While the authors are precluded from fully expounding on their argument, they conscientiously speak out against an ill-suited practice of research that should not be taken for established knowledge when other research clearly indicates errors in comparative analysis; also, by shedding light on alternate kinship structures, the authors legitimate Third World societal structures. Levy and Fallers demonstrate that comparative analysis will be flawed until the reality of non-Western kinship structures, which can lack the Western nuclear family model, is acknowledged and incorporated into analytical practice.


PETER SCHWARZ University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Lomax, Alan. Folk Song Style. American Anthropologist December, 1959 Vol. 61(6):927-953

Alan Lomax addresses the correlation between musical styles and the social context from which such styles emerge. He argues that by linking music with its social and psychological context, we can not only better understand the music itself but also the culture from which it came. Lomax begins his article by commenting on the contemporary technology in reproducing music and how it has effected the quantity and quality of his data. He reasons that we cannot dissect music through the Occidental notation system. Instead, he suggests that we examine “musical style”, which consists of vocal technique, physical and emotional tensions, group participation, and social background. He points out that music depends much more on conformity to tradition that to character and variety, and as a result, is deeply rooted and does not change much with time.

Lomax proposes a classification system for music style, admitting that it is rough and subject to change. He divides the music of the world into ten different categories as follows: I. American Indian, II. Pygmoid, III. African, IV. Australian, V.Melanesian, VI. Polynesian, VII. Malayan, VIII.Eurasian, IX.Old European, X.Modern European. He describes each style of music, some more at length than others, and admittedly his data is incomplete. Immediately following, he sets forth the criteria he used to make such classification.

The article then shifts from his more general discussion of music to the particular musical styles in Spain, where he did his fieldwork. Here he found that Spain could be divided into three regions of musical style: the North, Central Spain, and the South. He describes each of the pervading styles, and then makes social commentary on each of the regions. Lomax presents a hypothesis that musical style is correlated to the following social factors: the position of women in the society, the degree of sexuality permitted, and the treatment of children. He tested this hypothesis in Italy where he found similar regions of musical style divided into North, Central, and South. His study in Italy was consistent with his hypothesis and his findings in Spain. He presents an interesting theory to explain the mechanism by which this correlation occurs, proposing that it is through the lullabies that the mothers sing to the children, and elaborates on this theory for some pages. He ends his article with a section of Summary and Conclusions tying everything he has examined together in a very clear and concise fashion.


FRANCESCA SACASA Columbia College (Paige West)

Matthews, G.H.. Proto-Siouan Kinship Terminology American Anthropologist April 1959 Vol. 61:252-278

Matthews’ article is a systemic deduction, using the contemporary kinship terms of a couple of dozen Siouan tribes, “to reconstruct, according to theories of linguistic change, both the kinship terms and their uses for a proto-language postulated as the source of two or more known languages.” (page 252)

The majority of the text appears to be gibberish to one unschooled in linguistics: lines of code and charts of symbols. I doubt that this article has any relevance to anyone outside of the field.

Matthews makes a chart for each of the following kinships: 1) father, 2) mother, 3) son and daughter, 4) grandfather and grandmother, 5) brother and sister, 6) husband, wife, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law, 7) grandchild, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law, 8) nephew and niece, 9) mother’s brother, 10) father’s sister. The charts are explained with long lines of texts, which as far as I can gather, seem to follow the etymology backward from all of the contemporary terminology towards the suggested common proto-terminology.

In his summary, Matthews makes some more references to other methods of discovering extinct languages and some commentary on phonetics.

Although the assignment did not request commentary, I can not help but quote the entirety of the first footnote, attached to the title of the article:

“1. This work was supported in part by the US Army (Signal Corps), the US Air Force (Office of Scientific Research, Air Research and Development Command), and the US Navy (Office of Naval Research); and in part by the National Science Foundation.”

I would imagine that this research stemmed from military uses of esoteric languages, for example, the Navajo code-talkers of the Pacific campaign in WW2.

CLARITY: 0 (Inappropriate for anyone unfamiliar with Linguistics)

ERIC J. POSNER School of General Studies, Columbia University (Dr. Paige West)

Matthews, G. H. Proto-Siouan Kinship Terminology. American Anthropologist April, 1959 Vol. 61 (2): 252-278.

G. H. Matthews’ article examines the intricacies of Proto-Siouan kinship terminology. Matthews’ research is substantially comprehensive; likewise, the presentation of it in this article is extremely complex. He has created numerous charts delineating the various kinship terms and their meanings, as well as providing extensive etymologies throughout the article. However, while his research is impressive in its volume and detail, Matthews fails to present his material in a manner that is comprehensible to the common reader.

Matthews begins by noting the basic facts concerning his research. According to Matthews, the kinship systems of the Siouan tribes are known for their diversity. There are four basic groups within the Siouan family: Missouri Siouan, Mississippi Siouan, Ohio Siouan, and Mandan. In order to reconstruct the kinship system of an extinct society, Matthews has used a method that presumes a proto-language which acts as the source for a number of known languages; this proto-language is developed by reconstructing the kinship terms and their uses. Matthews presents these terms in a multitude of charts and lengthy paragraphs used to determine their relationships to one another. At the conclusion of the article, Matthews introduces and explains the method of internal construction by which a pre-language can be reconstructed. This method is vital to Matthews’s research, as the understanding of the development of a pre-language is necessary in order to reconstruct the intricacies of the proto-language, which evolved from its pre-language ancestor.

While this article provides the reader with an abundance of information concerning Siouan kinship terms and systems, if one is not familiar with the vernacular of such linguistic studies, this is a difficult article to comprehend. Only those readers interested in an extremely sophisticated and detailed linguistic analysis of Proto-Siouan kinship terminology should consult this article.


RICHARD LIUZZI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Morris, H. S. The Indian Family in Uganda. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol.61: 779-789.

This article is a study of the Indian population in Uganda. Morris is especially interested in the institution of joint family. He starts of with a general overview of the traditional Indian hierarchy and social/political systems. What he found in his study is that joint family, as a practical living solution, does not exist in Uganda. Most of the Indian families have a sentiment for it, but joint family is not supported under the Ugandan law, economic activities, rituals, or household arrangements. Further, education is geared towards the western school of thought and the younger generations do not recognize the fundamental Hindu concepts. Religious practices are forbidden outside of the mosque. The economic laws of Uganda require all family members to have shares in the enterprise; this also undermines the traditional Indian beliefs.

In traditional Hindu families, patrilineage ensures the preservation of land in the family. In Uganda however, Indian merchants cannot own land and cannot transfer it to the next generation.

Life in an industrial city requires constant movement between jobs and homes, which makes it hard or pointless to maintain a property that is far away from the job site. Indians migrated to East Africa in small groups; this makes it hard to conserve the patrilinear ties with the family. When times of need arise, Indian man must rely of friends and relatives rather then family. Traditional views are set aside when there’s an urgent need for capital and employment. As a result the organization of Indian society in Uganda consists mostly of independent groups that are not combined in a common “Indian Community”. Only joint families found by Morris were that way because of the scarcity of housing accommodations.

In summary, the institution of joint family is only sentimental, but offers no practical gains in the new situation that the Hindus find themselves in.


LUKASZ DZIEDZINSKI York University (Naorni Adelson)

Morris, H. S. The Indian Family in Uganda. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61 (5): 779-789.

H. S. Morris’s article discusses the dissolution of the Indian joint family system in the wake of the Indian migration to Uganda after the country became a British protectorate in 1893. Traveling originally to foster trade relations, the Indian immigrants could not foresee the consequences the resettlement would have on their culture. By contrasting the patrilineal joint family system in India with the non-lineal independent family system in Uganda, Morris explores the major factors which he feels may have prevented the establishment of traditional Indian cultural practices in Uganda.

Morris begins by contrasting traditional life in India with the new, more homogeneous Indian culture in Uganda. Since representatives from both Muslim and Hindu sects immigrated to Uganda, distinctions of caste became blurred; each geographic area in India had its own individual hierarchy, so when groups confronted each other in Uganda, no one could agree upon an order of precedence. The homogenization into an Indian “community” and the blurring of caste lines loosened the stigma attached in India to inter-caste marriages. In addition, the traditional Indian concept of a joint family providing mutual support while sharing places of residency, worship, and estate could not translate into practice in Uganda because Indian immigrant traveled to Uganda individually.

Through further examples of differences between traditional Indian life and that in Uganda, Morris elucidates the causes he feels led to the dissolution of the joint family system. Minor causes include a change in housing conditions and a lack of proper religious training for the young. The rest of the article focuses on two major distinctions. First, Ugandan law contradicted traditional Muslim and Hindu practices that were grounded in the joint family system. Most Indians were traders and thus could not translate their earnings into property. Whereas in India businesses and estates were owned by an entire family, Ugandan law forced individuals to own definite shares. Second, the traditional support network offered by the joint family system dissolved in Uganda. Relying on one’s patrilineal relatives becomes difficult when they reside in another country. Economically, no one could afford to rely on a limited support network because of the individualistic nature of the Ugandan economic system; as a result, kinship support systems became unnecessary as businessmen began to rely on anyone in their community who could help them.

Morris concludes his essay by answering his thesis question. While there might be some minor factors that led to the dissolution of the joint family system, the major causes are twofold; Ugandan law and the individualization inherent in the Ugandan economy rendered the joint family network of support functionally obsolete.

Morris’s article would be relevant for those interested in culture change through historical contact, specifically in relation to the migration of certain individuals from India to Uganda. His article is exceptionally clear and concise.


EVAN SHORE University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Murphy, Robert and Leonard Kasdan. The Structure of Parallel Cousin Marriage. American Anthropologist February, 1959 Vol.61(2):17-29.

Murphy and Kasdan aim their efforts in this paper not at attempting to explain the origin of the custom of parallel cousin marriage in the society Arab Bedouin; rather they take this as a given and proceed to analyze the function this practice has on the society. The authors use very specific terminology related to types of marriage situations and kin systems which at times can be fairly confusing although their thesis is rather clear.

Their study shows that cross-cousin marriage in the Bedouin society works to create multiple bonds between a limited group of relatives and maintains these from generation to generation. Such relationships tend to strengthen local groups but also causes limited isolation from neighbors. They also mark a function of this patrilineal marriage system of parallel cousin marriage as maintaining and pooling family assets within the nuclear family. This has also been noted to create fissions of agnatic lines in the Arab society but is also seen as a necessary means to the persistence of Arab society on the fringes of agrarian states. The authors point out that this ability of the Bedouin society to fractionate into smaller groups while maintaining the social structure of the society gives them a quality of adaptability and resilience in times of adversity. This has allowed for the Bedouin society to persist and in times of crisis when larger linage based coalitions will come together in an effective means of self-protection. This has been distinguished as a reason why the society has endured for centuries despite environmental and social hurdles.

The Bedouin society intrigues the authors because it exemplifies the belief that social cohesion and integration do not have to be directly related as is commonly expected in western ideology. With their arguments presented they suggest a reevaluation of notions of solidarity and integration going hand in hand with a structural equilibrium in society. Rather, they suggest a more in depth look at societies corporate lineages before making assumptions about social structure and its stability.


SCOTT MORRELLI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Oosterwal, G. The Position of the Bachelor in the Upper Tor Territory. American Anthropologist October 1959 Vol. 61 (5): 829-838.

Oosterwal’s article examines the Upper Tor Territory in Sarmi, Dutch New Guinea and specifically scrutinizes the distinct bachelor cultures that exist in the tribes belonging to the area. The author gives a detailed description of the lives of the bachelors: their survival mechanisms, day-to-day existence, and most importantly, their changing roles in the community (economic, social, political and cultural).

The tribes of this area are culturally different as far as clothing, ornaments, material culture, relationship terms and structure, songs, dances and more. Their means of obtaining food varies and this is sometimes a difficult process due to the harsh natural conditions and minimum technology. They mainly survive on sago and the acquisition of this staple often determines the movement of the people (nomadic in varying degrees). One common feature of the Tor tribes is the recent shortage of women (due to decreased birth rate of females) and the bachelor society that resulted.

As young boys, starting at the age of 14, they are housed together in the House of Fatrau (located in the forest) for two months with little food, no heat and isolated from the rest of their community. After this initiation they sleep in the bachelor’s house and socialize together until they become men at the great meal of sago and mengan. They form a kin group within which they are all descendants from the same ancestor.

Oosterwal goes on to describe the dynamics the bachelor society. The most important role of the traditional bachelor society is to organize ceremonies and festivities. However, recently the bachelor society has become integrated in a changing society and as a result their functions have altered. Barter and exchange with other tribes has become exclusively a bachelor’s role. They can travel through the whole territory and only they can pass tribal boundaries. They control exchanges between tribes such as economic, family and cultural relations. Their contact with Europeans has resulted in opportunities to earn money and to acquire artifacts and a greater knowledge of the world outside their tribal area. This has resulted in greater power, prestige and authority for the bachelors. Bachelors even have a new influence on public opinion. With their improved role in their communities and their ability to travel, they are able to spread their culture to neighboring tribes as well as adopt other cultural phenomena. Bachelors can have premarital sexual intercourse with certain stipulations regarding where it occurs. Due to the changing demographics of this area, intercourse between a bachelor and a married woman no longer meets public disapproval.

Oosterwal’s article clearly illustrates how changing circumstances (e.g. natural disasters, demographic shifts) affect a society and how the culture of the society, in turn, adapts to these changes. The bachelors of this territory have transmitted, integrated and changed their culture. The greater scope of this article illustrates how our cultural “tool kit” provides us with the ability to be flexible in a changing world. This article will appeal to anyone concerned with culture change or who is interested in acquiring knowledge of the various cultures of the world.


ALLISON JEFFREY University of Pennsylvania (Dr. Melvyn Hammarberg)

Opler, Morris E. Component, Assemblage, and Theme in Cultural Integration and Differentiation. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61: 955-964.

As is indicated by the title, the main goal of this article is to identify “patterned behavior” within culture as a means by which to locate both cultural specificity and differentiation. Opler defines and explores a multitude of terms, most important of which are component, assemblage, theme, and nexus. By looking at the death practices and attitudes of the Jicarilla and Lipan Apachean-speaking tribes simultaneously, Opler aims to not only identify cultural themes as the motivating force behind culturally patterned behavior, but also to reveal the possibility for and benefit of cross-cultural analysis. Opler’s basic argument is that cultural themes and/or salient elements of cultural identity are the determining factors in the creation and maintenance of consistent patterns of behavior. Through a simultaneous deconstruction of death practices and attitudes within the Jicarilla and Lipan tribes, Opler claims to reveal an instance of cross cultural value-sharing as a means for promoting “sensitive cultural integration” in the future.

Opler spends the majority of the article looking specifically at the differences and similarities between Jicarilla and Lipan death practices and attitudes. Beginning with similarities, it is obvious that Opler is setting the stage for his ultimate claim that cross-cultural comparison is both meaningful and valid. Even in his section on differences between the Jicarilla and Lipan, Opler informs the reader of the basic superficiality of the differences. Opler concludes that death in both cultures is greatly feared and therefore has a set of practices and rituals (components) that combine to formulate assemblages that are both repetitive and similar. He argues that this sort of ritualizing is not repeated in aspects of either culture that are not socially or foundationally salient (for example marriage). By highlighting death as thematically and consistently powerful in both Jicarilla and Lipan life, Opler posits that cross-cultural comparison and analysis is essential in identifying themes that link culture to cultural practices.

Opler concludes his article by stating that the location of assemblages is not only fundamental to understanding what it means to be a member of a culture, but also to locating cross-cultural similarities that are worthy of comparison and exploration. His final sentences acknowledge the article’s incomplete analysis of the value of death attitudes and practices in the Jicarilla and Lipan tribes. He rather restates his intention of flushing out the concepts of component, assemblage, theme, and nexus as a means to a future end of dealing more “sensitively with cultural integration and dynamics.” While this article is clear in its intent, Opler does leave the reader with a sense that he considers patterned cultural practices to be revealing of the existence of an essential cultural identity among the Jicarilla and Lipan tribes. This too may be an assumption worthy of deconstruction and redress in future analysis.


CAROLINE SAMPONARO Columbia College (Paige West)

Opler, Morris E. Component, Assemblage, and Theme in Cultural Integration and Differentiation. American Anthropologist, 1959 Vol. 61 (1): (955-964).

Opler analyzes both the similarities and differences between the Jicarilla and the Lipan, two Apache tribes who share a common ancestry. Opler focuses on the strong resemblances their death and mourning rituals share. In addition to the close similarities, he differentiates between their customs, so as not to gloss over each tribe’s personal individuality. Opler poses the question of where such differences in custom may have originated from. As a means of tying to obtain a sufficient answer, he involves his own processes and terms to better categorize the many examples he gives while analyzing the variations both tribes have for similar rituals.

Opler’s main focus throughout the article are the areas where he pin-points specific similarities the Jicarilla and the Lipan share. Within each tribe’s culture, death is an event that triggers a cultural pattern and “elicits a body of ideas, symbols, artifacts and behavior” (Opler 962). This aspect of both cultures help to define Opler’s cultural terms and tribal examples of mourning within Apachean-speaking tribes. Opler bases the article on these terms. He argues that though both tribes share a common ancestry, they have aspects of their rituality that, according to Opler’s definitive terms, differentiate them from each other, such as: selective emphasis, extension, intensification, combination, placement, component, assemblage and theme.

The article’s structure is logically sequenced so that the reader is given historical background on both tribes first, so as to set up for the many examples that account for their common ancestry and similarities in regards to ritual. His arguments are supported by detailed descriptions of the Jicarilla and the Lipan’s beliefs, such as the taboo of relatives preparing the corpse, and the association of owls and coyotes to ghosts and evil. Opler links his own terms to both cultures. Each paragraph introduces another Opler term, explaining further the ways in which each tribe has drifted from the original and universal customs both the Jicarilla and the Lipan once shared.

Opler makes it clear that his reasoning for focusing on only the death aspect of both cultures is that it is the one event in which customs and rituals are made public. Unlike other cultures, such as villages in India also mentioned, where marriage is the most publicized event, both Apachean-speaking tribes discussed, take little notice to this aspect of their culture. Opler applies analysis to what he believes is the event in the culture that relates to “the life cycle”, of both Apache tribes.


KIMBERLY WEST Barnard College (Paige West)

Read, K.E. Leadership and Consensus in a New Guinea Society. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61 (3): 425-436.

The purpose of K.E. Read’s article, Leadership and Consensus in a New Guinea Society, is express his view that within the tribes of New Guinea an autonomous people are the most likely to gain and maintain a high position of influence.

Societies in New Guinea are usually very small and there is no formal government within any particular tribe. Power within a tribe is achieved by individuals of that tribe. The people who are successful in gaining power seem to posses certain qualities. These qualities are not qualities that we necessarily value in more traditional social systems, but qualities that are believed to be important to the people of these tribes.

The two major qualities that are valued when choosing leaders in these tribes are strength and equivalence. Strength does not necessarily represent the traditional sense of strength as a physical quality. It refers to the personality of a person shown through certain skills possessed and certain activities they participate in. A “strong man” is very masculine. He is an aggressive warrior. He is a good orator and can express his views powerfully. Included in this definition of strength is wealth. A true “strong man” will have much wealth, usually in the form of pigs. Many activities including dancing and gift giving are also part of what makes and man strong. A man possessing all these qualities of strength has a good chance of achieving power within the tribe.

Along with strength is equivalence. Equivalence refers to all of the moral values members of the tribe are supposed to have. A good strong leader much not be stubborn in his ways and be able to listen to and take into consideration other views. He must never hurt another member of his clan and be able to apologize when he has wronged someone. He must treat other equally. If he does possess power he must use it for the betterment of the tribe and not for personal gain. Equivalence also applies to relations with other tribes. When a football game is being played between tribes the game is played until there is a tie, so that neither tribe will feel superior to any other. They will always be equal. This quality of equivalence is very important for a tribal leader to possess.

In conclusion, Read express his view that New Guinea’s tribal leaders are chosen due to certain personal traits. The too major traits that are needed to be a successful tribal leader are strength and equivalence. With out these two a person will never rise to power in this society.


GREG JONES University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Reina, Ruben. Two Patterns of Friendship in a Guatemalan Community. American Anthropologist February, 1959 Vol.61:44-50

In this article Reina gives us an inside look at friendship patterns practiced by two diverse groups, Indians and Ladinos, from the Guatemalan municipio of Chinantla. The Indians distinguished as the natural descendents of earlier inhabitants of Chinantla. The Ladinos identity is expressed as those who are newcomers to the area and they hold different culture views then those considered as local custom.

Reina describes the Ladino practice of friendship, know locally as cuello, as being strongly related to social interests. In the cuello system Ladino people will become friends with a number of people who have influence and power in many realms of society. Therefore, the most desirable friends for Ladinos are those individuals who have a superior status then themselves. Reina offered a short case study that represented the Ladinos willingness to end cuello relationships with others who no longer fulfilled the obligatory actions expected in this relationship. To help a friend in need is a primary value held by the Ladinos and to neglect this would have devastating effects on a Ladinos perception and acceptance by community members.

Reina contrasts the Ladino’s cuello friendship with that of the Indian’s camarada system of friendship. A case study is offered by Reina that describes the camarada relationship between two Indian boys of Chinantla. The camarada, in strong contrast to the cuello, fulfills emotional needs. It exists between members of the same sex and has been paralleled to some of the characteristics of homosexual relationships in the western worldview. Yet these relationships do not result in sexual encounters. Reina did point out strong attachments and often jealousy and mistrust enters into this tight interaction. In fact, he even points out instances where suppressed sexual tensions lead to a breakdown of camaradas.

Rein concludes by stating that irreconcilable ideological views held by the Ladinos and the Indians has created a situation preventing cross-ethnic friendships. The Ladino’s utilitarian based system is just as foreign to the Indians as the emotion fulfilling system of friendship is to the Ladino culture.


SCOTT MORRELLI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Reining, Conrad C. The Role of Money in the Zande Economy. American Anthropologist February, 1959 Vol.61(4):39-43.

Reining’s article aims to examine the role that money plays in the Zande subsistence economy. The Zande are tribal people living in areas of Africa including Congo, Sudan and French Equatorial Africa. Before 1900, the pre-European times, the Zande people were dependent upon each individual household to produce enough goods to sustain life for themselves. Few specialty goods are produced in this society and wealth is measured in the amount of agricultural goods one has attained. When European influence began around 1900 money was first introduced to the Zande society. Reining is interested to point out the different role that money plays in their society.

To spend money on goods used as means of subsistence is thought to be a waste of money by the Zande. Their society still has the means to produce plenty of the subsistence goods necessary to live. What they do use money for is to meet social obligations. Since Money is easy to store and hoard Zande members often save money until they need to arrange a marriage, funeral or other large social event. But sometimes money is used in situations in place of traditional items of trade which have more symbolically cultural meaning. This is in effect causing a gradual deterioration of some of the Zande’s cultural identity.

While Reining suggests that the subsistence economy of the Zande still is in use and that money is primarily used to meet social obligations he does worry about an increased reliance upon money in internal Zande trade. Reining expressed his concern that future increased use of money for intra-cultural trade may result in a weakening of the Zande’s subsistence economy and possibly even a transformation of it.


SCOTT MORRELLI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Roberts, John M., Arth, Malcolm J., Bush, Robert R. Games in Culture. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61(4): 597-605.

The authors are attempting, in this paper, to lay the groundwork for a theory regarding games as they relate to certain aspects of culture in tribal societies. Specifically the authors break down games into categories of games of strategy, games of chance, and games of physical skill. They attempt to show illustrate how each type of game is related to a particular cultural phenomenon. They also begin by defining a “game” based on five criteria: 1) organized play, 2) competition, 3) two or more sides, 4) criteria for determining the winner, and 5) agreed-upon rules.

Studies were conducted using Cross-Cultural Survey files on approximately 100 tribes. It was determined from these files that there was sufficient documentation of games from 50 of the tribes. The authors attempt to prove several hypotheses regarding each type of game. They hope to show that there is a correlation between games of strategy and complexity of social organization. The hypothesis regarding games of chance is that they are related to religious activities or belief in the supernatural. The hypothesis regarding games of physical skill is by the authors’ own admission, not a strong argument. They try however, to illustrate a relationship between games of physical skill and the environment in which the tribe lives.

Through their studies the authors were able to conclude that, for the most part, their hypothesis regarding games of strategy was fairly accurate. The results of their studies show that more often than not, games of strategy are usually associated with societies who have complex social structures. The authors also were able to prove their hypotheses correct in most cases involving games of chance as they related to religious and supernatural beliefs. However, the authors concede that they were only able to gather minimal evidence regarding their theory on games of physical skill as they relate to environment.

The article sets in motion the potential for a theory involving games as they relate to other aspects of culture. However much of the data is not in depth enough for any such theory to be stated at this point. A more thorough study of games is needed before an anthropological theory of games could be developed.


JEFF MASCI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg).

Tugby, Donald J. The Social Function of Mahr in Upper Mandailing, Sumatra, American Anthropologist, 1959, pg.631

Tugby seeks to discover the effects of Islamization as a process of social change in certain societies. He focuses on Mandailing, Sumatra, a city full of villages that became almost entirely Muslim around 1810, following the Muslim Paderis invasion. The society had its own distinct customs and lifestyle before the Paderis invasion, but as the population converted to Islam, they decided to alter certain local customs to make them more fitting to Islam.

Tugby focuses on the Mahr, which is a dowry paid from a man to a woman on the condition that they marry. The Mahr, although Islamic in tradition is quite similar to a custom the Mandailing population had in its pre-Islamic days, known as the adat system. The adat system involved two prizes given from the husband to the wife or her father/family. One was known as the “great gold,” which was in essence a debt that would never be repaid, and would therefore always leave a husband in debt to his wife and her family. The second payment is the “little gold,” which was an affordable amount paid by the husband to his wife’s father, who would usually spend the money on his daughter for the wedding.

The author focuses on methods in which to reconcile these customs, the Mahr and the adat. He details three possibilities: One is that the great gold will be designated as the Mahr, while the little gold will still be paid in cash. The second is that the little gold will be designated as the Mahr and the great gold will remain as a debt. The third is that the mahr will be specified separately, neither along with the great or the little gold.

Tugby concludes that the fact these alternatives exist is indicative of a much grater social change as well in Mandailing. For example, the villages in Mandailing had previously been dominated by clans rather than families, and with the onset of Islamism, the clan lifestyle is being eradicated and replaced by the nuclear family lifestyle, more Islamic than classic Mandailing. In addition, with the addition or adaptation or integration of the Muslim Mahr, the social roles of women in Mandailing are becoming more important and respected.



Shapiro, Harry L. Symposium on the History of Anthropology: The History and Development of Physical Anthropology. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61:371-379.

In this article, Shapiro explores the use and meaning of physical anthropology by explaining its history and showing how it has slowly grown out of other scientific fields. To show the importance and validity of physical anthropology, Shapiro uses evidence of how the field has been used over time. According to Shapiro, physical anthropology began as a field of study when humans began classifying animals and plants. At the same time explorers were just beginning to discover the New World, and as they encountered new races and cultures, they felt the need to classify them. This lead to the discussion of evolution, and the field of physical anthropology began exploring the problem of racial differentiation.

With this background in mind, Shapiro explains that physical anthropology has its basis in anatomy, zoology, and medicine, with its link to anthropology coming later. Shapiro infers that the relationship between ethnology and physical anthropology began with the discovery of new types of people through exploration. In support of this argument, Shapiro cites Forster as an example of an explorer who studied the people he discovered, emphasizing cultural, linguistic, and racial considerations. Ethnologists like Forster soon took over the study of racial variation and thus began delving into the field of physical anthropology. Soon after, physical anthropology established itself as a recognized and respected discipline. It continued to explore the issues of race and evolution and also began investigating the relationship between humans and primates.
Shapiro argues that even as physical anthropology has grown and evolved, people continue to view the field as it was in its earliest days of scientists measuring heads with calipers. Since that time, physical anthropology has developed both in Europe, and more recently, the United States, where it was initially used in the study of slaves and Native Americans.

In the years just before this article were written, physical anthropology gained a lot of ground in becoming an innovative and established field, especially in the United States. Hrdlicka created the American Journal of Physical Anthropology as well as the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Also during this time, Boas wrote several influential books and papers that opened up the field of physical anthropology. Furthermore, a center for training physical anthropologists opened in the United States.
Ultimately Shapiro concludes that in its short history, physical anthropology has developed into a “fruitful” and influential field.


KELSEY RENNEBOHM Barnard College (Paige West)

Solien, Nancie L. The Nonunilineal Descent Group in the Caribbean and Central America. American Anthropologist August, 1959 Vol. 61 (4): 578-583.

Nancie Solien discusses non-unilineal kinship groupings in her article. She recognizes that very little attention has been given to this type of kinship system. Solien sees the relevance in studying this other type of grouping and she emphasizes this by giving a description of non-unilineal descent groups in the Caribbean and Central America.

Solien begins her discussion by quoting and referring to Goodenough’s study on non-unilineal descent groupings. Goodenough based his study on a certain Polynesian group and suggested a number of ways that restricting membership to groups in Polynesia was made possible. Solien takes into account his study as she did her own research on the Black Caribs of Central America. She analyzes how the fact that the Caribs follow non-unilineal descent grouping affects the culture or group’s understanding and view of marriage, inheritance, rituals and sorts like that. She then goes on to refer to Edith Clarke’s research on the Jamaican society as another piece of evidence that non-unilineal descent grouping exists in at least quite a few societies.

Solien argues that very little attention has been paid to this type of kinship system because of unfamiliarity of the people about the concept. She then suggests that Americans look carefully at societies that follow the bilateral system. Non-unilinear systems are not as uncommon as the public thinks, it is simply because it is an unfamiliar concept that researchers often overlook it. Solien expresses the need for such carelessness to be avoided and for researchers to recognize the characteristics of the kinship system.


DEBORAH LIM University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Srinivas, M.N. The Dominate Caste in Rampura. American Anthropologist February, 1959 Vol.61(1):1-16.

M.N. Srinivas presents a study of locally dominant castes in a rural Indian society. He centers his study on the peasant caste in Rampura, who enjoy a decisively dominant role over other castes in the area. Within the Rampura setting Srinivas looks into issues of Numerical strength, economic and political power, ritual status and western education and occupation to explain the situation of dominance that is held by the Peasant caste of Rampura.

Srinivas goes on to explain how the dominant caste reaps the benefits of social and political control over their village. Members of the non-dominant cast are subjected to numerous hardships at the hands of the dominant caste. These include physical beatings, underpayment for work, and even forced sexual relations upon the women of a non-dominant caste.

The dominant cast is also crucial in the process of settling disputes in the community. The dominant cast holds jurisdiction over all other castes in the village and often times settles disputes between and within other casts as well as their own. Since the pre-British days in Indian there has been a grouping of villages called hobli. The council of the dominant caste is positioned in the hobli capital where they settle disputes occurring within and outside of the capital while also dealing with appeals from other councils in the hobli. The structure and authority of these councils have much to offer in the understanding of a dominant caste.


SCOTT MORRELLI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Tax, Sol. Obituary of James Sydney Slotkin. American Anthropologist October 1959. Vol. 61(5): 844-847.

James Slotkin, as told by Tax, was a man with a rich, liberal and scientific, academic background, who studied and taught in various institutions, and was an actionist and author. His life was very busy up until his suicidal death at the age of 45, in 1958. He studied physics, classics, art, philosophy, and logic in 1930 at the University of Wisconsin; and then anthropology, in 1932, at the University of Chicago. Slotkin studied various branches of anthropology such as social, physical and linguistics. His studies also included sociology, social research, history, social psychology, and social theory.

Slotkin went on to teach at Washington University, the University of Wisconsin, Howard University and the University of Chicago as an Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences. He was a great teacher who was stern, did not compromise, and held a high standard for his students. As an ethnographer, he conducted fieldwork on the Menominee Indian people of the Zoar community and endeavored to transcribe and translate the material texts of these people. As an actionist of the Peyote religion, he became the secretary of the Native American Church of North America, during which he testified in court cases and started a news bulletin.

He thought of himself as a social scientist even though he was quite prolific in the field of anthropology. Slotkin envisioned the development of social science to be similar to that of the development of the natural sciences. As a social scientist, Slotkin was a systematic theorist, which is evident in the three books he authored: Social Anthropology (I Statics; II Dynamics) and Personality Development. These books received good reviews by sociologists and psychologists around the world but were ignored by American anthropologists.

The author views Slotkin as “completely intellectual”, approaching issues by only dealing with what was relevant. His contributions to the world of science may prove even more worthy as we may one day come to more greatly appreciate his systematic theory. This article will appeal to anthropologists and social scientists.


ALLISON JEFFREY University of Pennsylvania (Dr. Melvyn Hammarberg)

Vayda, Andrew Peter. Polynesian Cultural Distributions in New Perspective. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol.61: 817-828

In this article Peter Vayda offers his modifications and suggestions to the arguments placed forward in a study released by Andrew Sharp. In that study, Sharp deals with the distribution of the Polynesian culture among the islands of the Polynesia. Vayda recognizes the importance of that study; not in terms of the data it provides, but in the way it broke the orthodox views on the subject.

It was commonly believed that pre-European Polynesians were able to maintain regular links between the islands, which were very far apart from each other. The view was that people set out on exploration voyages, and when a suitable island was found, they returned to their home and took more people with them. Sharp challenged that view saying that the islands were populated by an accidental landfall of fisherman, outcasts or war parties. He argues his thesis by examining the cultural traits and transportation methods of the Polynesian People. He notices that none of the observable traits are complex enough to require a large population to carry them over to other islands, therefore a small group of lost fisherman would be able to keep those traits alive. Going further, he argues that there was no way for large exploration parties to keep together during the long voyages, this could have been a necessity if we believed that the migration was happening as a mass phenomenon.

Vayda outlines Sharp’s arguments, but in some cases he does not agree completely with them. The similarities in traits that Sharp noticed could have been attributed to late visitors to the islands, same thing can be said about inventions. Therefore it can’ be assumed that there was no communication between the islands. Vayda does, however, acknowledge the great work done by Sharp in terms of opening up new horizons and possibilities.


LUKASZ DZIEDZINSKI York University (Naorni Adelson)

Vayda, Andrew Peter. Polynesian Cultural Distributions in New Perspective. American Anthropologist October, 1959 Vol. 61(5): 817-828.

Andrew Peter Vayda’s article deals with the cultural anthropology of Polynesia. He analyzes Andrew Sharp’s thesis, which suggest that the peopling of Polynesia stemmed from either entirely or mostly from voyages of exploration and discovery followed by return trips to the home islands and then by planned large-scale migrations to new territories. Vayda offers small modifications to Sharp’s thesis, but nonetheless supports the main points of the argument.

Throughout much of the article, Vayda discusses the notion of eastern and western Polynesian culture and their origins on various islands. Vayda notes the difficulty in labeling a trait eastern or western, but offers some theories on the culture discrepancies among the Polynesian islands. He suggests that random voyages to the various islands initially populated and cultured the various islands. Small culture deviations then occurred by internal innovations or outside influences. But culture changes due to external factors were never large because external influences were probably never physically and literally big enough to induce change in an entire, established society. However, large and drastic culture changes could occur in atolls, where societies were small and susceptible to more significant dangers. Unlike people from the high-island areas, atoll societies could be wiped out by tidal waves, droughts, or cyclones. Thus, their small numbers, along with their high probability of being eliminated, resulted in high vulnerability to external culture influences. Random voyages to atoll lands thus contained sufficient amounts of people and resources to cause drastic societal changes, which would not be the case in a high-island area where populations were bigger and less influenced by small bands of travelers.

For the most part, Vayda’s article displays good, interesting work. He gives arguments in a clear, detailed manner and he supports his opinions well. Despite this good scholarship, Vayda is sometimes confusing. In his introduction and conclusion, he mentions points that seem absent in the body of the paper. He spends most of the paper talking about the origins and causes of culture change in Polynesia, but in the introduction and conclusion, he includes some other notions. This lack of organization constitutes the only fault with Vayda’s paper. Nonetheless, the paper as a whole should prove useful and interesting to everyone in cultural anthropology as it addresses some key points to the origins of culture change.


RYAN WONG University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

White, Leslie A. The Concept of Culture. American Anthropologist April, 1959 Vol. 61 (2): 227-249.

Leslie White’s article debates the concept of culture. More specifically, White wishes to determine what new conceptualizations of culture have been introduced into the field of study in recent years as compared to the commonly held conception of culture that dominated the anthropological discipline for many years.

White begins his analysis with a review of the uniform conception of culture (most notably provided by E.B. Tyler) that pervaded the study of cultural anthropology for much of the history of the field. White then uses this introduction to the culture concept as a segway into the conceptions of culture that have arisen more recently. According to White, conceptions of culture have varied and multiplied in recent years. The focus now is upon the distinction between culture and human behavior. Ultimately, White’s aim in this article is to distinguish between the discipline of psychology and the discipline of what he calls culturology.

White introduces to the reader a class of phenomena which science has yet to name. He calls this “symboling.” All things in the world are dependent upon symboling; it is how we identify, label, and understand the world surrounding us. White claims that symboling comes in two forms – when things and events dependent upon symboling are interpreted in terms of their relationship to human beings (in a somatic context), they are called human behavior (and thus the science of psychology); if such things and events are interpreted in terms of their relationship to one another (in an extrasomatic context), they are called culture (and hence the study of culturology). White continues by providing an interesting and helpful comparison for the reader. He compares the dichotomy between the fields of psychology and culturology as the same dichotomy as between language (la langue) and speech (Ie parole).

This article will interest individuals who wish to familiarize themselves with modern conceptions of culture. White is straightforward and clear in his arguments, which are both well-formed and well-supported. This article provides the reader with a concise upgrade of the study of the concept of culture.


RICHARD LIUZZI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Leslie A. White. The Concept of Culture. American Anthropology 1959. New Series, Vol. 61, No. 2. (Apr., 1959), pp. 227-251.

In this article, White addresses the issue of what is cultural and what should be considered culture. He also distinguishes between culture and cultural behavior and gives the reader a definition of culture that he believes is satisfactory for both biological and nonbiological anthropology. Before describing the concept of culture he gives a detailed history of the culture concept in anthropology from the late ninetieth through the early twentieth centuries.

Starting in the ninetieth century, many anthropologists have had their own concept of culture. One that had a great influence was E.B. Tylor, who defined culture as “a complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” From the twentieth century, Kroeber and Kluckhohn defined culture as “an abstraction from concrete human behavior, but it is not itself behavior” but that since in the field of psychologists and psychologizing sociologists, behavior is the “first-hand and outright material of the science of psychology” then culture is behavior. White argued that culture can’t be defined as behavior because it leaves nonbiological anthropology with no subject matter. Thus culture and culture behavior are two different things. White’s solution to this problem is his diagram of “Things and Events Dependent upon Symboling (Symbolated)” where he categorized human behavior in Somatic context and culture traits in Extrasomatic. According to White, Symbolated is when emotion, action and events become symbolic. Somatic are emotions, actions, and events (things and event) that has to do with individuality and Extrasomatic are things and events that have to do with social groups. In this case, culture is things and events that happen within social context and culture behavior is things and events that happen individually. In this way, both the science of psychology and science of culture have a subject matter.

The article was a little hard to read. At some points it gets confusing and long when he write at length on about the different kind of concept anthropologists through time have about the meaning of culture. The symbolated was also hard to understand but other than that the article was readable.


MAI XIONG University of Minnesota Duluth (Jennifer Jones)

Willson, Lawrence. Thoreau: Student of Anthropology. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol.61(3):279-289

This article amounts to being essentially a tribute to Thoreau. He is characterized as a versatile man, and a scholar with an interest in anthropology. Over a period of time, Thoreau had amassed a great deal of facts and opinions about the Native Americans. It appears that he was trying to find out where the Native Americans have come from, and what continent they originated on. He looked into works by other scholars, works by the first European explorers and conquerors who came to the New World, and some other sources. He seems to have done next to no fieldwork, but the article does allude to his interviews of at least two Native American individuals.

Willson writes that Thoreau was interested in history and believed that many inventions and tools are not original, but had different incarnations in all societies. He talked about how the farmers of America and the farmers of ancient Rome did the same kinds of tasks with the same kinds of tools, and compared Egyptian, Native American, and ancient European civilizations in terms of the similarity of their artifacts. He seems to have realized that people in all cultures are faced with similar problems and solve them in similar ways.

He was apparently trying to find the roots of the Native Americans by studying their languages, and it seems that he made attempts at looking at Native American dictionaries and trying to compare the grammar across tribes and across human languages as a whole, in order to place the languages into some biological group. He made no conclusions in his research because he died before he could organize his notes, but he examined all viewpoints and looked into many different sources. Mostly however, he quoted other white people who all had their own opinion on the origin of Native Americans. He quotes people who say that the Native Americans are descended form the ancient Hebrews, the Chinese, the Tartars, and the Europeans. His own opinions remain unknown.

It is hard to tell what Thoreau really thought on the matter, because we see only the portion of his work which Willson chooses to emphasize in his tribute, and we do not know if Thoreau had any other quotes in his notebooks which Willson could have overlooked. Overall, this article seems a rather opinionated piece.


LIZZA PROTAS Barnard College (Paige West)

Willson, Lawrence. Thoreau: Student of Anthropology. American Anthropologist April, 1959 Vol. 61 (2): 279-288.

Lawrence Willson’s article deliberates the degree to which nineteenth century philosopher Henry David Thoreau should be considered a scientist, especially in the field of anthropology. In re-creating for the reader a fairly detailed account of Thoreau’s research methods (specifically concerning his research of Native Americans), Willson highlights the contradictions in Thoreau’s research. According to Willson, Thoreau’s status as a scientist (and more specifically as an anthropologist) does not exceed that of an “intelligent dabbler,” let alone that of an “expert.”

Willson presents his argument in defiance of the opinion of a number of other authors who claim, among other things, that Thoreau is “a true scientist in the modem sense of the word” (279). Willson disagrees with this sentiment, as he believes that while Thoreau may be competent when it comes to science and the literature of science, he is far from being an authority on anything scientific. To illustrate his point, Willson presents Thoreau’s research of the origins of the North American Indians as evidence that as an anthropologist Thoreau has a long way to go. Willson includes the varying aspects of Thoreau’s Native American research ranging from his interest in their cultural customs to the origins of their languages. The author is careful to point out that while Thoreau’s research was exceedingly extensive, it was often contradictory, a fault around which the basis of Willson’s argument is constructed.

Willson’s article is not an unjustified attack on the persona of Henry David Thoreau; this characterization is far from the truth. Willson displays his respect for Thoreau in his acknowledgement of Thoreau’s tantamount conceptualization of history as “the foundation of the living present of which he was a part” (281). Nonetheless, it is the designation of Thoreau as an expert anthropologist that Willson objects to – in his own words, Thoreau “was not a trained anthropologist” (287).


RICHARD LIUZZI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)

Wolfe, Alvin W. Man’s Relation to Man in Africa. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61(4): 606-614.

Alvin W. Wolfe’s article deals with the issue of man’s relation to man in Africa. His focus is primarily on the value system of the Ngombe, a Bantu people of the Equatorial Province of the Belgian Congo. Wolfe’s paper attempts to present the value system of the Ngombe using the conceptual model of Florence Kluckhohn. It then examines man’s relation to man in more detail, by comparing the model of Florence Kluckhohn to one developed by Clyde Kluckhohn in an attempt to find the more objective method.

Wolfe organizes the Ngombe value system in terms of Florence Kluckhohn’s five “common human problems”. These are:

What are the innate predispositions of man?
What is the relation of man to nature?
What is the significant time dimension?
What is the valued personality type?
What is the dominant modality of the relationship of man to other men?

Florence Kluckhohn’s model suggests there are three possible answers to each of the five questions. The predispositions of man are good, evil, or neither. Man can be subjugated to nature, part of nature, or over nature. The significance of the time dimension means a culture can emphasize the past, the present, or the future. A culture may value a personality type based on being, being-in-becoming, or doing. There are three relationship principles: lineal, collateral, or individualistic.

Wolfe touches briefly on the first four questions in Kluckhohn’s model but focuses on the primary idea of his article, the relationship principle of man to other men. He asserts that through Florence Kluckhohn’s model, the Ngombe have exhibited largely lineal principles but with an emphasis on self. Wolfe gives three main reasons why these two principles can exist without contradicting one another. One reason is that such an emphasis is placed on lineage in Ngombe society, that self-goals and group-goals are often one in the same. Secondly, the adult Ngombe sees himself as the focal point of a lineage consisting of others helpful to him. Finally, the lineal groupings allow the individual Ngombe the opportunity to perform acts of giving to others which acts as a way of highly valued self-gratification.

Wolfe then brings into discussion a more detailed system of examining man’s relation to man. This is the system utilized by Clyde Kluckhohn and it consists of three independent variables: individual-group, self-other, and autonomy-dependence. According to this model, the Ngombe emphasize the individual over the group, because the group is merely a means to achieve individual goals. The self is emphasized over the other because the needs of the self are placed above the needs of others as individuals. Finally, because of the heavy reliance on ancestry and family in Ngombe society, dependence is said to be emphasized over autonomy.

Wolfe concludes by stating that he believes Clyde Kluckhohn’s model, because it is more detailed, gives the more accurate assessment of man’s relation to other men in Ngombe society. He mentions that the findings were contrary to his notions of complete lineal principles in Ngombe culture. Finally, Wolfe states that standard criteria must be used objectively in order to determine the premises of social relations in other African cultures.


JEFF MASCI University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg).

Zegwaard, Rev. Gerard A. Headhunting Practices of the Asmat of Netherlands New Guinea. American Anthropologist 1959 Vol. 61: 1020-1041.

In this article, Zegwaard examines the headhunting practices of the Asmat people. His study focuses on the people of the village Sjuru who live near the Utumbuwe river around the Flamingo Bay. The headhunting of the Asmat people will probably decrease or vanish so it is important to study the ideologies surrounding it. He mentions that cannibalism may occur but is only a subsidiary of the headhunting practice.

He divides his article into three parts: first, he gives the original myth and describes the ritual; second, he describes the number of rituals and customs attached to headhunting and third, he attempts an explanation of the headhunting practice.

The first part describes the myth of how headhunting started. It begins with two brothers called Desoipitsj and Biwiripisj. The latter brother, who is the younger of the two, goes hunting and kills a pig. He then cuts the pig’s head and puts it on a dagger. The elder brother suggests that a human head would be better and offers to give up his head. Desoipitsj then proceeds to tell his younger brother the rituals involved with headhunting. There are ceremonies involving the butchering practice, an initiation into manhood and rituals of death and rebirth.

The second part he discusses the customs and rituals connected with headhunting. Almost every large ceremony revolves around headhunting. The three main festivals are the building of a new bachelor house, the carving of an ancestor pole and the weaving of masks. The rituals are surrounded with dead spirits and play a dominant part. Most of the rituals involve satisfying and driving away spirits.

The third part he explains the reasoning for the headhunting practices. The rituals are regulated by customs and have become traditions to the Asmat. The four important factors that he gives are the cosmology of the Asmat, the economic demand, the fear of spirits and the need of prestige for the males. Headhunting is also used for revenge when a relative is murdered. In the Asmat society, prestige and authority are derived from achievements in war and bravery. This will give a person status on earth and the after life.

In conclusion, Zegwaard describes the headhunting practices with great detail and his analysis brings the complexities of the Asmat people to light. He concludes saying the objective is rites of passage but the intentions revolve around revenge, prestige and perfect manliness.


JOHN PARENTE York University (Naomi Adelson)

Zelditch, Morris. Statistical Marriage Preferences of the Ramah Navaho. American Anthropologist September, 1959 Vol. 61(3):471-491.

The primary concern of Statistical Marriage Preferences of the Ramah Navaho by Morris Zelditch, Jr. is the unsettled matter of Navaho marriage preferences. Specifically, the essay refutes the previous claims of Reichard’s Social Life of the Navaho Indians(1928), who asserts that the “relationship existing between the numerous wives chosen by one man or the relationship between the individuals of intermarrying pairs” is the outstanding feature of Navaho marriage. Reichard also states certain family and clan preferences for marriage of an individual within the Navaho culture. An example of a family preference is ego preferring to marry a group of sisters, or a woman and her daughter of a previous marriage. There are three clan preferences according to Reichard are marriage into Father’s clan, marriage into FaFa’s clan, and marriage into MoFa’s clan.

Zelditch sees Reichard’s observations of clan preferences as false and contradictory. For one, the statistics indicate that marriage into father’s clan is statistically rare. Zelditch seeks his own system of Navaho marriage preferences. His system is based in large part on the fairly obvious notion that marriage operates as a form of alliance between groups. The Navaho, through marriage, form essential ties to the other’s descent group. Although the Navaho residence system is matrilocal, the husband will still retain important ties to his own family group. The Father’s clan will also have an interest in the union of the children, and thus other members of the husband’s group will enter the equation. Another aspect of the alliance system of marriage that should be noted is that numerous marriages between two clans will, in general, limit the extent of integration within the society. Based upon these two premises and extensive research, Zelditch has formulated a number of conclusions concerning the preferences inherent in the Navaho marriage system. The first decision to marry out of a clan is random. However, the marriage decisions of the first marrier’s siblings are dictated by his/her decision; the other siblings are encouraged to marry into the same clan as their oldest brother or sister. The pressure to follow one’s oldest sibling in his marriage decision even stronger if the two share the same mother. Second, if the present generation of clan A marries significantly into the same generation of clan B, then future generations of clan A will tend to avoid marrying significantly into clan B in future generations. Under this system, the clans of the Navaho Indians at the same time solidify and diversify relationships within the society.


KEVIN LANIK University of Pennsylvania (Melvyn Hammarberg)