American Anthropologist 1961

Ascher, Robert. Experimental Archeology. American Anthropologist, 1961. Vol.63(4):793-813.

In his article, Robert Ascher is attempting to explain the value of experimental archaeology at a time when the use of this technique is at a low point. The piece begins with a broad explanation of what experimental archaeology is, its different forms (including the imitative experiment which is the focus of the writing), and the types of data it can be used with. The next section deals with the four step inferential process created by Thompson (1958) and its lack of an experimentation technique. Here, Ascher makes the point that imitative experimentation can be used to strengthen the inferential process. Using an example, he convincingly shows how without the use of experimentation in the inferential process, incorrect inferences can be drawn. With the use of experimentation however, the experimenter can make necessary modifications to, or find alternatives for the original hypothesis if it does not pass the test.

The author then tells the stories of five cases in which imitative experimentation was used. The first case study involves South African cave paintings and the archaeologist who used imitative experimentation to infer the way in which the paintings might have been created. The second case study is a report on the manufacture of objects commonly referred to as “charm stones”. Using imitative experimentation, archaeologists were able to infer the methods, tools, and time required to make these objects. The third case study related the story of notched scapula and ribs that until being found most effective as plant fiber scrapers for basket making through imitative experimentation were incorrectly assumed to be used as hide scrappers. The fourth case study was about an archaeologist who doubted the common explanation that a certain group of artifacts were used as arrow shaft straighteners. The use of imitative experimentation however, proved their effectiveness. The fifth case study explains how the hypothesis that cooper smelting was discovered by accident when a piece of ore fell into an open pit fire is incorrect. Using imitative experimentation archaeologists discovered that an open pit fire does not produce enough heat, while a pottery kiln can melt down the ore.

The last part of the article covers the concerns that people might have over the uncertainties that are inherent in the inferential process and imitative experiments. He touches upon the logic involved in imitative experiments, and also some of the details that one must consider when analyzing the data from an imitative experiment.

CLARITY: 5
PATRICK DAUGHERTY Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)

De Vos, George and Hiroshi Wagtsuma. Values and Attitudes toward Role Behavior of Women in Two Japanese Villages. American Anthropologist December, 1961 Vol.93(3):1204-1229

In modern Japan, there are different attitudes toward women depending on primary occupations. To analyze such differences standardized tests have been constructed. This article sets out to prove the value of these tests by viewing the historical contexts for the attitudes present in the two villages and compareing them to the test observations.

Historical background was first given showing the nature of attitudes toward women in early Japanese culture and tracing the change throughout the rise of the samurai class. Additionally, historical background was given on the two different villages observed, tracing their origins and their connection with this influential samurai class. One village, Niike, was a farming village which was heavily influenced by the samurai and Confucian code of conduct. The other village, Sakunoshima, was predominately centered on fishing, which was influenced far less by the samurai.

Four areas of differences in the attitudes toward women in these two villages were revealed: attitudes toward love marriage and arranged marriage, attitudes toward sexual relations, attitudes toward the concept of self-assertion/violence with women, and in the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. In these areas, the fishing village showed far less restrictions and inequality regarding women than did the farming village. The farming village viewed love marriages as tenuous- usually ending badly. Additionally, they valued submission and a lack of violence of any sort in women. In the fishing village, men and women shared a more equal role. While love marriages were not wholly supported, there was a softer attitude toward them. Also violence in females was permissible particularly as it showed in the woman a social conscientiousness. As for the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship, while there was little mention of it in the fishing village, it was a very big issue in the farming community. The restrictive attitude toward women in a family put both the mother and the new bride in a position of conflict. Overall, the patterns shown in the test matches well with past ideals and origins of the two villages. It seems that this test is reliable.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
JULIE SMITH Indiana University (Anya Royce)

Fallers, Lloyd. Uganda Nationalism. American Anthropologist August, 1961 Vol. 63 No4.

In this thorough article, Lloyd Fallers identifies the ideological and cultural evolution of Ugandan society in relation to the national pursuit of unity. To support his argument, Fallers defines nationalism, relates the acculturation of Buganda in relation to the pursuit of state unity, and identifies the ideological and cultural evolution of Uganda.

Fallers defines nationalism as an ideological commitment to the pursuit of independence, and the common interests of a people who compose a given community. According to Fallers, the dilemma for emerging African nations, such as Uganda, is under what governing entity nationalism should be pursued. The colonial territories offer unity in the form of political organization and stability while the tribal groups offer a community identity in the form of tradition and culture. The African leaders in support of nationalism seek both political unity and a cultural community. As a result the leaders of the nationalistic movement have been giving the daunting position of cultural managers, attempting to harmonize the traditions of tribal culture with the modern values of the colonial communities.

Uganda is a British protectorate in Africa whose core is formed by the kingdom of Buganda. According to Fallers, Buganda has served as the capital and commercial head of the protectorate and has subsequently become the new political and economic center of the modern state. Due to its central position in the country, Buganda has had a dramatic socio-cultural influence across Uganda. Fallers expresses that Buganda manifests a cultural paradox with its receptivity to innovation and its profound commitment to certain traditional institutions. Even though the Bugandan people have enthusiastically embraced Western institutions such an organized education system, Christianity, and technological advances, their deep sense of cultural identity has served to delay the development of country wide unity.

Fallers asserts that this paradox of profound change and traditional conservatism is the dominant impediment to Ugandan nationalism. Even though Buganda, and to a lesser extent Uganda as a whole, has undergone significant political, religious, educational, and economic change, the protectorate has retained traditional names, customs, and rituals to honor their culture.

Fallers believes that Kigandian society, the traditional cultural community of Uganda, has acculturated from top down and has spread due to this universal appeal of nationalism. Fallers reveals that for the Kigandan people, the Western ideological values of Christianity, politics, and economics have become absorbed into their culture, and they have in a sense naturalized these foreign elements into their traditional culture. However, Fallers insists, ideologies only develop and become dominant when the groups within a society are willing to promote them. Even though it has been Buganda’s pursuit of modernity that has driven the county towards nationalism, as a colonial community they have remained isolationists reluctant to commit themselves to the quest for unification. It is this reluctance that has led many Ugandan tribes to resent the Bugandan bureaucracy and subsequently resist Bugandan leadership in the pursuit of national unity.

CLARITY: 5
AMY MICHELLE DiIULLO Indiana University (Anya Royce)

Fischer, J. L. Art Styles as Cultural Cognitive Maps. American Anthropologist, 1961. Vol. 63: 79-93.

In this article, J. L. Fischer employs data from Herbert Barry III’s study of artistic styles and G. P. Murdock’s social research published in his World Ethnographic Sample in a search for connections between various elements of artwork and the society from which they emerged. His assumption is that artists unconsciously express the core beliefs or practices of their society through their craft.

The first half of Fischer’s argument is based on four hypotheses. He suggests that egalitarian societies will favor simpler designs with repetitive forms while hierarchical societies will favor a complex design with a number of different elements representing the stratification of individuals in society. Further, he hypothesizes that egalitarian art will contain higher levels of empty space because such societies are generally wary of strangers and choose to isolate themselves from the outside world whereas hierarchical societies see empty space as a threat and are more secure when they can assimilate other groups. Third, egalitarian societies will produce art with a tendency toward symmetry while hierarchical societies should prefer asymmetrical designs that emphasize individual characteristics and differences. Finally, Fischer theorizes that art in hierarchical societies will more frequently have some sort of border or enclosure protecting them from those of other levels while the art of egalitarian societies will have no such boundaries.

The second half of Fischer’s argument concerns the relationship of sexes in a society, particularly the choice of residence and the form of marriage. In this study, he once again considers the complexity of design, but also incorporates the use of line—straight lines representing the male and curved lines representing the female. When his initial conjecture that straight lines will represent a high level of male influence in choice of residence proved false, Fischer reevaluated his work. He came to the conclusion that it would be natural for male dominated societies to have an inclination toward curved lines as this would reflect a security of identity and interest in members of the opposite sex while men who are not secure in their position (non-patrilocal) would be more concerned with their feelings of inadequacy and search for same-sex role models. As an extension of this theory, Fischer explores the possibility that polygynous societies display more curved lines in their art while monogamous societies employ more straight lines.

Fischer concludes that artwork is “a sort of map of the society” that created it.

CLARITY: 4.5
M. KELLY DAVIES Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)

Gastril, Raymond D. The Determinants of Human Behavior. American Anthropologist Dec, 1961 Vol. 63 (2) : 1281-1291

In Raymond D. Gastil’s article on Human Behavior the focus is on the employed idea of social and cultural. These words get intertwined together; therefore lack of clarity is a result in the world of social sciences. It is often accepted that these words are close synonyms, which could be replaced simply by sociocultural (1281). Vagueness is a result of this way of delivering these words. Accuracy may help the illuminating power and the objective independence of the categories. This leads to the four variables that help to determine human behavior. The author attempts to construct the groups of primary and secondary subdivisions that can be used or not used in social science, therefore showing the connected meanings as well as the ability to change.

The four variables, which may determine a behavior, include: biological factors, biosocial factors, cultural tendencies and situational factors. These four classes of factors may be conceived of as both four different classes of variables involved in the causation of any human action and four different levels of the analysis of action (1286). In other words, these groups can be considered what makes up ones actions but also the study of one’s actions. Each point can be resultant to the one previous to it. Biological factors start human behaviors. They might include drives and forces of a person. Needs are due to age, gender, and sex. Biosocial include the environment in which one is interrelating with others in a particular setting. An example is language. This changes as a person does. The traditions that humans are taught and the conditioning of particular learning styles make up the cultural part of the four variables. Lastly, the situational factors imply the wider concepts of time and space that the mind is aware of.

In conclusion, Gastil attempted to view the tendencies found in projecting and discovering the fundamental conceptual distinctions involved in the theory of culture, an attempt to give social and cultural clearer meaning by establishing four categories. With this in mind, conceptual distinctions may be unsuitable, however distinctions stay useful.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
KELLEE S. KNOTT Indiana University (Royce)

Lane, B. Lane. A reconsideration of Malayo-Polynesian Social Organization. American Anthropologist: August 1961 Vol. 63(5): 711

Robert B. Lane suggests in this article that Malayo-Polynesian societies have a variety of kinship systems that are based on a generational lineage system and states that these kinship systems that are present were derived from this common base. He suggests that the kinship systems found in Malayo-Polynesian social organization in 1961 are related to and are a result of breakdowns of a previous generational linage systems that where predominant throughout Micronesia and Melanesia in the past.

Lane discusses in depth several different theories that have come from previous studies. He spends time talking about fellow researchers in other parts of Polynesia and tries to make a correlation between his hypothesis and theirs.

He states that the shift to a bilateral lineage system from a generational one was not a result of European influences. He thinks that this shift happened as a natural response to extensive depopulation. The causes of this rapid depopulation could be many things, yet how and why were not so important to Lane as opposed to cause and effect to traditional kinship systems.

Sudden depopulation could have had immediate effects on a generational matrilineal clan system. Large groups that had a dramatic loss in membership would face instability and demographic shifts that could cause instability within the clan. Naturally a more flexible bilateral system makes the social structure of a group a bit more malleable. For example, in this more flexible system of kinship, a child would never become orphaned because a social order of responsibility for that child would already be in place. A child may have numerous members within a clan who are already responsible for that child.

So his basic propositions were that these “bilateral kinship systems found in Polynesia represent breakdowns of lineage systems” and that “authority structure and leadership systems may be intimately related to these kinship systems.”

CLARITY RATING: 2
TIMOTHY BORNTRAGER Indiana University (Anya Royce)

Matson, G. Albin and Jane Swanson. Distribution of Hereditary Blood Antigens among American Indians in Middle America: Lacandon and Other Maya. American Anthropologist. December, 1961 Vol. 63(6):1292-1320.

Matson and Swanson have researched the various hereditary blood antigens in American Indians from South and Middle American. The Indian groups studied were all from Mayan descent. Previously antigens ABO, M-N, P and Rh-Hr systems have been studied, so Matson and Swanson focused on more recently discovered hereditary blood factors. Matson and Swanson deliver a very strong scientific research paper.

To complete this primary study (results from a larger study were to be published at a later date) blood specimens were taken from 1089 Mayan Indians and 94 specimens were from the Lacandon Indians who reside in the Chiapas rain forest. The importance of the Lacandon Indians is they are thought to be the most direct and least changed descendants of the great Mayans. Through this study the results showed that there were important and significantly different distributions of blood factors in the Lacandon compared to the other Mayan Indians studied. As noted, in the article, this data may be skewed because of the criteria relied on to determine the ancestry was not scientific evidence. Accuracy of ancestry was relied on the word of the Indian and whether they had knowledge or participated in the customs of tribal dress.

This article is a strong scientific research paper, which can make it difficult to read if you are not familiar with the terminology used. Each specific antigen studied has the data found explained and broken down according to the various groups with specific details. The data is explained very thoroughly, but what each antigen specifically does in the body is not explained. This makes the paper very dry and hard to read because it is caught up in statistics. The groups studied are very broad and a thoroughly representative of the groups studied, so the research is very comprehensive in the study of blood antigens in these related groups.

Matson and Swanson conclude that the differences found in the blood antigens between the Lacandon and the other Mayan descendants can be explained by the Lacandon’s small gene pool. The Lacandon live in very small communities far from people outside of their race. This concludes that they have very few new genetic traits introduced to their communities.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
DEVON DANIEL Indiana University (Anya Royce)

Mead, Margaret. Anthropology Among the Sciences. American Anthropologist June 1961 Vol. 63(3): 475-482.

This article was originally given as the Presidential address by Margaret Mead at the 1960 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Minneapolis. In this speech, she argues that the sciences do not allow for crossing over into other fields because people believe that they are not qualified.

Mead begins her speech by talking about how the field of anthropology will be more useful in the country because anthropologists are better apt to contribute to the growth of knowledge. She strongly believes that there are not enough anthropologists out there to do all the work that needs to be done. Although the number of anthropologists in the world had tripled by 1960, the methods that were being used were growing at a higher rate.

Mead believes that anthropology should be treated as a field science. She feels this way because anthropologists actually do go out into the field and listen to people and excavate sites. She argues that sociologists and psychologists deal with contrived information while anthropologists go out and listen and write things down and accept the way things are because of history, not because of what people have found out in a laboratory.

While talking about how the sciences do not want crossing over, she gives the example of anthropology, sociology, and psychology. All three of these sciences share much of the same material but the people involved consider them to be parallel and not able to be related. She then gives five areas where cross-disciplinary relationships have failed: models, content, instrumentation, the make of other systems without the fullest exploration of what the system is, and interest in the field of evolution.

She ends her speech by stating that there is a responsibility that anthropology cannot avoid. Anthropologists’ ethical responsibilities are widening and they must understand the direction in which human race and human sciences are moving in order to contribute. As long as man survives, it is an anthropologists’ job to tell their story.

CLARITY RANKING: 3
EMILY SCHRAMM Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)

Sahlins, Marshall D. The Segmentary Lineage: An Organization of Predatory Expansion. American Anthropologist April, 1961 Vol.63(2):322-344.

Marshall D. Sahlins’ article attempts to distinguish segmentary lineage from other “segmentary” societies using an evolutionary perspective as opposed to a structural analysis. The author defines a true segmentary lineage as a social means of competition and intrusion into an area that is already occupied by other peoples. According to Sahlins, segmentary lineage only occurs in tribes, which are distinguished from smaller bands and larger chiefdoms. A tribe is a loose association of multifamily kin groups. The smallest multifamily group that resides together for all or most of the year and which collectively uses a certain area’s resources is called a primary tribal segment. These primary segments are the basis for the segmentary lineage and are characterized as being politically and economically autonomous with a tendency toward disunity. The primary segments do not depend on each other at all but they do come together to face external competition.

The author uses the Tiv and Nuer tribes of Africa as models of tribes that are segmentary lineages. The Tiv and Nuer tribes, according to Sahlins, each exhibit all of the six salient elements of segmentary lineages. These six elements are lineality (between segments), segmentation, local-genealogical segmentation, segmentary sociability, complementary opposition, and structural relativity. Both the Tiv and the Nuer are also described by the author as having neolithic economies, being small-scale shifting agriculturalists or mixed farmers with autonomous primary segments. Both societies are also patrilineal and are expanding into territory that has already been occupied.

Sahlins introduces predatory expansion as a possible mechanism for the formation of a segmentary lineage organization. By predatory expansion, the author means that one tribe is encroaching upon land already occupied by another tribe. This form of expansion is what makes segmentary lineages necessary and possible. Using the Tiv and the Nuer as examples, the author attempts to prove this by saying that the first tribe to expand into an area is unlikely to have segmentary lineage organization because it has no competition for resources and therefore complementary opposition is not selected for. The second tribe to expand over an area has to deal with the people who are already there and so it is helpful for the segments to unite against them. In this case, complementary opposition is selected for and this second tribe is likely to be a segmentary lineage. The Tiv and Nuer are both tribes who came second to the land and found complementary opposition, the uniting of the primary segments, to be an important mechanism for pushing back their enemies.

The author concludes by restating the fact that segmentary lineages are only found at the tribal level, but that it is not found in all tribes. Segmentary lineage organization is usually prevalent in tribes that are expanding into occupied lands. When primary segments are opposing some external enemy, they unite to defeat them but then quickly break back down into primary segments once the conflict is over.

CLARITY: 3
DeSHAWN JONES Indiana University (Anya Royce)

Smith, Robert J. The Japanese Rural Community: Norms, Sanctions, and Ostracism. American Anthropologist June 1961 Vol. 63:522-533

Smith draws his conclusions based on case studies. He discusses how the hamlet (baraku), a sub-unit of the Japanese village or town shows the persistence of their community and stability. The idea of stability and community is especially interesting considering Smith is studying post-WWII Japan. The rural Japanese preserve their sense of community in a variety of ways, utilizing norms, sanctions, and ostracism.

Members of the baraku are expected to cooperate. This is essential for the community and also to avoid any act “which would cause the hamlet to ‘lose face’” (523). Presenting a positive image to the outside world is deemed very important. Though most members are happy to live in harmony with the community, the baraku must ensure this, which is does by using sanctions and ostracism.

The most powerful and common sanction is gossip. Because most baraku are small communities, word travels quickly. For example, “If the daughter of a household is thought too free with her affections, word will get back to her family very quickly” (524) and she will be punished.

The ultimate sanction is ostracism, mura-hachibu. The two most common causes of ostracism are “exposing the community to a public loss of face and disturbing the peace and harmony of the hamlet” (527). As opposed to past generations, ostracism now does not mean the people involved are forced to leave the community. However, they are completely cut off from the community. The offending household will receive no agricultural aid, no one will communicate with them, and marriage becomes incredibly difficult. A mura-hachibu is often readmitted to the community but this is only after a considerable amount of time and after they have written an admission of wrong-doing and an apology and a request for readmission into the community. The community usually wishes to readmit the mura-hachibu, because it is an embarrassment to have people who do not follow the norms of the community.

Keeping a sense of community is difficult in an ever-changing world. The members of baraku across Japan seem to have found ways to ensure that community is preserved.

CLARITY RANKING: 4
LYNN SHAULL Indiana University (Anya Peterson Royce)