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More Comprehensive Field Methods Margaret Mead American Anthropologist New Series Vol 35 No 1 Jan Mar 1933 1 15 Stable URL httplinksjstororgsicisici00027294281933012F032923A353A13C13AMCFM3E20CO3B2O American Anthropologist is currently published by American Anthropological Association Your use of the J STOR archive indicates your acceptance of J STOR s Terms and Conditions of Use available at httpwwwjstororgabouttermshtml J STOR s Terms and Conditions of Use provides in part that unless you have obtained prior permission you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles and you may use content in the J STOR archive only for your personal noncommercial use Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work Publisher contact information may be obtained at httpwwwj stororgjournalsanthrohtm1 Each copy of any part of a J STOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission J STOR is an independent notforprofit organization dedicated to creating and preserving a digital archive of scholarly journals For more information regarding J STOR please contact support j stororg httpwwwj stororg Thu Dec 2 161656 2004 American Anthropologist NEW SERIES Vol 35 JANUARYMARCH 1933 No 1 MORE COMPREHENSIVE FIELD METHODS1 By MARGARET MEAD HE history of ethnographic eld work has been also the history of widening de nition of which departments of human life are to be re garded as culture which are to be classi ed and which ignored under the heading of psychology or private life In the traditional monograph it is still regarded as adequate to dismiss family relations iwith a para graph and child training with a page Accidents of early choice have also determined which questions all good ethnographers ask for example a monograph would be condemned which betrayed the fact that the ethnog rapher has failed to nd out whether there was circumcision or what dis position was made of the umbilical cord But a complete ignorance of the way in which a child is weaned or the position in which a child is held while being suckled although just as culturally standardized and possibly far more signi cant in the life of the child may be omitted with a clear ethno graphic conscience Emphases such as these are purely accidental having no essential relevance to the line drawn between those elds which are essentially the province of the ethnographer and those which are not It is however advisable to scrutinize critically such fashions in eld work and point out how inconsistent and disjointed present standards of inquiry are One turns however from these merely fortuitous omissions which any traditional ethnographer will admit as nevertheless appropriate for study to a more elaborate problem the problem of how unformalized aspects of culture are to be studied Traditionally puberty has been studied from the standpoint of ceremonial If there are periods of segregation mutilations instructions taboos rituals surrounding puberty the ethnologist sets them down with conscientious regard for detail If however the particular cul 1 This paper is based upon the combined eld experience of Mr Fortune and myself on Mr Fortune s experience in Dobu and Basima my experience in Samoa our joint experi ence in Manus of the Admiralties and among a North American Indian tribe 1 2 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST N s 35 1933 ture under consideration makes no formal point of puberty stresses it by no ceremonial no taboo the ethnologist has in the past simply ignored the subject counting his duty well done if he sets down These people have no puberty ceremonials Yet a serious consideration of the problem will show that though the absence of a type of behavior inquired about because characteristic of other primitive societies is of historical interest the mere recording of its absence is hardly an adequate statement about the society in question The young people of Dobu and Samoa have to grow up just as certainly as do the young people of Manus or of the Orokaiva Their own attitudes towards the increasing responsibilities of maturity their behavior towards each other towards their parents towards members of the opposite sex is just as much a fact of culture as if it were rendered explicit and con spicuous by ceremonial and taboo What can be said of puberty can be said with equal justice ofchildbirth which is dismissed with a sentence if there are no religious or social rites or immediately observable and striking customs of marriage to which pages are given only if the particular culture has happened to seize upon marriage for obvious elaboration The eld ethnographer in the past has too often been prone to describe culture only in terms of the conspicuous the conventional and the bizarre It is at his door that many of the most characteristic errors of the armchair theorizer must be laid there is small wonder that L vyBruhl sees the native as pre logical or Crawley as ob sessed by ideas of sex when only the cultural elaborations of the unusual are presented for their consideration In addition to this tendency to neglect whole aspects of culture there has also been a failure very often to distinguish methodologically between the forms under which various aspects of culture appear in di erent soci eties The religion of a people like the Zuni With their xed calendrical ceremonial lends itself to a different type of analysis than does the religion of the Western Plains In one case the groundplan of the culture is laid down and individuals pass through it their experience is subsidiary at least for a general understanding of the culture to the plan itself In the other there is no such groundplan only from the records of individual vi sions from a running record of the lives of individuals can an adequate picture of the structure of religion be gained This contrast can be drawn equally well between any other calendrical and non calendrical people in Hawaii the chief religious festivals occurred at stated seasons each year the gods marched through the districts and each district presented tribute among the Maori on the contrary it was an occasion like the building of a great house or of a war canoe which called for important religious cere MEAD FIELD METHODS 3 monies without the occasion there was no ceremony The observer of one year among the Maori might come away without having seen most of the ceremonies this would have been impossible among the ancient Hawaiians where the groundplan laid down in time instead of the running current of events was the cultural theme Again if the comparison is made between those people who depend upon formulas and those who depend upon extemporaneous speech or invocation the eld worker is confronted with the same problem The Dobuan who recites a spell makes every e ort to recite it unchanged unless the student is primarily interested in those slight variations which occur in the transfer of an oral tradition it will not make much difference whether he learns the charm from father or from son and one text will give him the form of the spell as perfectly as would ve renderings of the same spell by di erent people if so be it the spell was shared by that number of individuals It is otherwise however with the speeches which a Manus man makes to his guardian ghost whenever he gives a feast These are extemporaneous fol low no such set verbal scheme one man will complain of his recent bad luck with his crab baskets another remark upon the recent illness and recovery of a child a third comment gratefully upon rescue from a shipwreck a fourth may wax facetious and almost discourteous to his supernatural One of these speeches will not do as well as another only by carefully recording a series of them may the cultural pattern as rm although more varyingly embodied in words be derived In studies of leadership and political life a great deal will depend upon whether the individual takes a xed place in a hierarchical society in which the person is only a temporary pawn as in Samoa or among the Iroquois or whether the headman owes his position not to an inherited or ac quired place in a permanent scheme but to his own exploits which stand as his only claim to position The contrast between the position of peace chiefs and war leaders among the Iroquois or in the Southern Plains is an example of this difference A count of Iroquois sachems of how they were chosen of their various de ned functions and duties gives a formally complete picture of that aspect of Iroquois political life The war leader with an unstylized position based upon his personality the number of personal adherents he could muster accidents of success or failure on a war party could not be studied in any such cursory fashion in fact in most American Indian tribes was not studied at all Where the pattern was ex plicit it was recorded where any comparable statement would have en tailed observations of the personality of war leader after war leader and the fortunes of war party after war party itwas ignored And yet would any 4 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST N s35 1933 one seriously argue that the sachem was of more actual importance in Iro quois life than the leader of the war party which nally vanquished the Susquehannocks The study of kinship shows particularly sharply the effect upon in vestigators of formulated and unformulated kinship ideas Rivers insistenCe that wherever there was a special kinship term there the investigator should look for kinship function could be paralleled by a statement that wherever there is no special kinship term the average investigator does not think of looking for a special function Yet the facts of patrilocal or matri local residence may make either a maternal or a paternal grandmother stand out more sharply in the life of a child without any difference in ter minology Theremay be one term for parentsinlaw used by husband or wife indifferently yet residence arrangements may make a great difference as to which inlaw relationship parents to son s wife or parents to daugh ter s husband is the more signi cant in the life of the people In Samoa there is one word for younger sibling tez39 A formal account of the kinship would merely state that this is younger sibling either sex regardless of sex of speaker Actual observation of conditions reveals the fact that this is a term which is very seldom used by males and used particularly seldom by grown men Its real usage aside from its formal origins which it shares with other Polynesian kinship systems is intimately connected with the fostering relationship between a girlchild and her younger siblings Upon these very real differences in cultural explicitness there rest sev eral points of method In the rst place only the formal points can be ob tained from informants in a dead culture Students of American Indian cultures today with the exception of the Southwest will have to content themselves in most part with recording those aspects of a people s lives which the culture had elaborated and formalized either in myth kinship terminology or ceremonial But it should be realized at the outset that such material is merely data upon cultural emphases a series of partially complete skeletons which must often if not always give a most distorted view of any given culture The facts of birth child training family life marriage widowhood old age death are of as great importance in the life of every individual in the culture whether that culture has seized upon them for externalization in ceremonial or not It is impossible adequately to discuss the form of a culture which is only known at various obtrusive and often accidentally chosen points with whole areas of the human lives lived within it unknown This point of view may be submitted to a test by selecting a culture where the explicit aspects of the culture have been perfectly recorded with MEAD FIELD METHODS 5 a ne feeling for form and structure but where there has been no record givenof all the unformulated cultural attitudes which give that form mean ing The Banaro2 is a case in point Thurnwald presents the reader with a description of a situation which would seem to provide for an endless amount of con ict a woman has to stand aside while her husband initiates a young girl a man while his wife initiates a young man Here the tradi tional setting for jealousy which comes with age and failing powers is explicit but we are given no material on the attitudes which make the situation bearable or possibly desirable to the Banaro Similarly the young husband has to forego not only his bride s rst favors but all her favors until she has born a goblin child to her goblin father What is the attitude of the husband to this goblin child as compared with his attitude towards the children which he believes are his Is this a point which is made or ignored or di erently phrased What is the effect upon marital happiness when both men and women are formally initiated by experienced elders Into what category does the bride t the goblin father into that of husband or of father substitute Thurnwald has given us only one clue he remarks that the Banaro boys are so absorbed in their system that it is dif cult to nd work boys among them This is evidence that the system works for willingness to sign on as indentured labor is a good index of the degree to which the young men s lives are integrated at home at least this is so in other parts of Melanesia I In contrast take the kinship structure of Dobu Set down in formal ethnographic terms it could be phrased as bi local residence the married couples spending alternate years in their respective villages the villages being coterminous with the subclan group The wife has a house in her village and the husband has a house in his Such a statement would give no clue to the fact that in Dobu as Mr Fortune has demonstrated with careful documentation3 the bilocal residence is a festering point in the so cial life a device by which a woman may betray her husband with her clan brothers and he in turn the following year betray her a continual re minder of the fear of sorcery because all a inal relatives are witches and sorcerers a form of social organization so rife with difficult situations that individuals in order to stabilize their marriages frequently attempt a usually unsuccessful suicide Again in the matter of name taboos and their role in the group life Williams states of the Orokaiva4 2 Thurnwald R Banaro Society Social Organization and Kinship System of a Tribe in the Interior of New Guinea AAAM III no 4 3 Sorcerers of Dobu London George Routledge and Sons 1931 4 Williams F E Orokaiva Society Oxford University Press 1930 6 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST N s 35 1933 When he takes a wife she is economically absorbed into his clan and her life in all important respects belongs to that clan and he by certain elaborate precautions of which name taboos are an instance takes good care to remain on good terms with his relatives by marriage But what does this mean In Manus where a man also observes name ta boos towards his a inal relatives they are a most e ective way of keeping af nal relatives apart for and this is inexplicit hence would escape con ventional study a woman may not discuss her husband with her relatives nor discuss her relatives with her husband If she does so even obliquely she is violating the spirit of the taboo although only the name taboo is explicit When relatives draw together the a inal relatives must be com pletely excluded from the circle of attention or reference This may act to prevent intimacy in marriage as in Manus it may as Williams lightly sug gests cement marriage but it is impossible to tell which from a mere state ment of form This might seem to be a mere reiteration of the functional point of view but it adds to the contention that the form of institutions must be illumi nated by study of their function the contention that there are wide areas of human life which inexplicit in a given culture nevertheless have both form and function in the society Attitudes towards a child attitudes to wards the aged standards of friendship habits of direct or indirect state ment of desired ends conceptions of motivation all of these are t and appropriate subjects for the detailed study of the ethnographer Studying the Trobriands on this basis after a careful investigation of the form and function of mothers brother right it would be necessary to study in more detail because it is less explicit that aspect of the culture which Professor Malinowski has called fatherlove It would be necessary to know how many fathers are real fathers how many stepfathers how father love operates in absentz39a how often the ties which bind a child to its father are strong enough to survive the father s divorce from its mother how father s preference and mother s brother s preference may be made to dovetail and supplement each other within a family of several children Similarly Pro fessor Malinowski s statement that delayed weaning makes weaning of less psychical moment to the child would have to be supported with case his tories of children actual details of weaning the child scomments the mother attitude the results of aberrant methods or times of weaning etc Moreover this question of inexplicit aspects of culture has most im portant bearings upon two other problems of eld method the time neces sary to make a study and the way in which the study is to be made Again we may disregard for a moment those aspects of life which have been tra MEAD FIELD METHODS 7 ditionally ignored by ethnologists whenever they were inexplicit in the cul ture For the study of a calendrical religion as compared with an episodic religion very di erent methods must be used A calendrical religion once fol lowed through its prescribed round with a competent informant at one s side may be formally known Similarly the Kula studied once or at most twice to allow for return gifts would present few surprises It is formalized occurs at regular intervals and in a prescribed way This is to leave aside the question of the degree to which the variation in the functioning of a for mal institution may be studied in a society But a special study of trade in the Admiralty islands would have to be attacked very di erently Without a set time and place and manner of trading without de nite trading part ners without a de ned route by which certain products move always from one island to another trade in the Admiralties is a bewildering conglomer ate of trade relationships between tribal groups and the exigencies of a inal exchange within tribal groups which have then their reverberation in the casual day by day market between land and sea people Such an unformal ized mass of activities must be studied many times no informant can generalize upon it as an intelligent Dobuan can generalize upon a section of the Kula the eld worker can only understand the pattern after follow ing the trading activities of many individuals in many di erent places Furthermore for the study of an unformalized part of culture a knowledge of the language a much more extended entr e into the lives of the people a much more complete participation in their lives is essential When the question is not a matter of unformulated adult behavior but of the behavior of children the matter becomes immediately more compli cated The process of education in primitive society is primarily a matter of assimilation to type More and more of the life of the individual becomes explicit in the culture casual tussles are replaced by games with recog nized form and nally feud and warfare have their de ned rules The atti tudes of a little child towards relatives become codi ed in a set of formal terms of address and in rules of respect avoidance jesting or casual be havior If any of these are to be studied in children before the form of the culture has been conspicuously stamped upon them a very different method must be employed from that of conventional eld work The relationship between a chief and his talking chief in Samoa is culturally standardized and any intelligent Samoan can report upon it but nowhere can one receive explicit information upon the friendships of children except from actual observation of a large number of individual children through a long period of time So it may be said that di erent aspects of social life will di er from cul 8 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST N s 35 1933 ture to culture as to the degree of external and explicit form which they have been given and secondly that within any culture there is likely to be found a varying degree of explicitness between the behavior and atti tudes of children and the behavior and attitudes of adults To what degree the formulations of child life will correspond with the adult culture is very probably a matter of emphasis whether adults are interested in children or not and whether moments in the child s life have been chosen as points about which the formal life of the culture is organized At present there seems no justi cation for assuming any necessary relationship between those aspects of culture which are explicit in adult life and those which are explicit in child life although one will often be a re ection of the other As an example of lack of correlation in the life of the Samoan female child the locality is of great importance her friends are chosen from the immedi ately adjacent households Upon growing towards maturity this emphasis upon locality gives place to the more important ties of kinship and rank a girl will seek out her cousins a chief s wife the wife of her husband s talk ing chief The behavior of children could not be retrospectively derived from an analysis of the companionships of adolescent girls or grown women nor could the alliances of the latter be set down to childhood friendship pat terns Similarly there are two types of relationship between boys in Samoa both of which are called by the same term soa One type of soa is a com panion at circumcision a prepubertal alliance between small boys who are close comrades the other is an alliance between young men one of whom acts as gobetween for the other in love affairs The similarity of terminol ogy alone not to mention the fact of explicit friendship in both cases would lead the investigator to think that the same pairing off existed throughout boyhood and yet a careful investigation revealed that the rst soa rela tionship resulted from the friendships bred in the neighborhood grOup the second which did not correspond in personnel to the rst was a re ection of the rank and kinship patterns which were so much more important in adult life Nevertheless this neighborhood group which would seem to have been overridden in many ways in maturity very probably played a dynamic role in the political life for where large villages split into two political sub groups the split followed neighborhood lines and occurred rst not among the leaders of the village political life the titled men but in the formal young men s group the Aumaga The strong habits of childhood of close solidarity with neighbors and hostility to those who lived at a distance even though they were kin reasserted itself when the Aumaga became too large So a study of children s allegiances5 themselves inexplicit but as 5 See the author s Coming of Age in Samoa New York William Morrow 1928 and Growing up in New Guinea New York William Morrow 1930 MEAD FIELD METHODS 9 de nitely patterned as a ne textile also served to throw light upon the political processes in the culture It has been my fortunate experience to have twice held fellowships which not only permitted but required that I concentrate upon the study of inexplicit unformulated aspects of culture the behavior of the adolescent in Samoa and of young children in Manus The conditions of my eld grants have therefore acted not as a deterrent as they so often must when students are sent out with a de nite ethnographic commission to ful ll but as a stimulus to the development of methods for dealing with various forms of cultural inexplicitness The discussion of particular methods in ethnology often seems to be a barren occupation because the same method will vary so much in tWo investigators hands and because each39 culture presents unique problems for the solution of which special methods must be devised Nevertheless because I feel that for an adequate understanding of human culture it is absolutely essential to study carefully all parts of a culture and not merely those which present the super cial appearance of having greatest form it may be worth while to go into some detail as to methods which I have found useful Reviews of my two studies have revealed very clearly two facts rst that many anthropologists are far from clearly realizing that child behavior or sex attitudes39 are as much a part of culture are as distinctly and as elaborately patterned as are religious observances and second that they have no very de nite conception of how such inexplicit aspects of culture are to be studied For example Professor Kroeber writes of data upon chil dren s behavior as clues and objects because I con ned my comparison of methods of education to Manus and Samoa without even Trobriand This criticism implies rst that children s behavior is not a cultural fact which can be studied like any other cultural fact and from the study of which a careful observer is as justi ed in drawing conclusions as is eg the student of social organization and second the mention of the Trobriands shows that Professor Kroeber does not realize the difference between study ing an inexplicit aspect of culture and merely commenting upon it If I were to have written up Samoan canoebuilding and Manus canoebuilding in formal technological style without comparing either to the Trobriand tech nology I should have met with no such criticism for Professor Malinowski has not yet published on thetechnology of the Trobriands But because Professor Malinowski s work contains many astute and vivid passing com ments upon children the student of child behavior in another culture in Melanesia is censured for being unhistoricallyminded for not comparing the results of fourteen months continuous study of a particular subject with the comments of an observer who was in no sense specializing on 10 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST N s 35 1933 children and who makes no claim to have studied them individually It would seem therefore necessary to state in some detail the methods I have used In the rst place for a study of children it is necessary to re main in one community because the task of establishing rapport with every member of the group chosen for study does not permit of interruptions and absences The community must be mastered in detail residence inter relationships names clan affiliations economic status and past existent and projected marriages must be got by heart The rudimentary materials with which such an investigation operates are an understanding of the form of the culture a speaking knowledge of the language a detailed knowl edge of the chosen community and a special knowledge of every individual within the particular group being studied From these preliminary require ments various practical counsels ow naturally the student who has a short time at his disposal or who prefers to concentrate upon a particular problem without spending much time upon the details of other aspects of ethnogra phy than the one under investigation or the student who works in a bad climate where prolonged residence is not advisable should work in a known culture or work in collaboration with another investigator who is making a study of the explicit aspects of the culture It is advisable to choose a language which can be learned quickly and to settle in a community which is not too large or too scattered Unknown names or unknown faces put the investigator at an immediate disadvantage Where problems and Ian guages and time available are to be adjusted to each other the student of children will be less handicapped by a dif cult language than will the student of some abstruse point of adult life for the vocabulary and sentence structure of children is so simple that an investigator will be understanding all that a child says long before a complex discussion with an adult can be satisfactorily carried on The method I have followed so far has been to choose a group of chil dren of a de nite age range and in Samoa of only one sex and to study this group intensively I have been dealing throughout with aspects of culture which were for the most part unformulate d An adult in Samoa can tell the investigator that boys do not play with girls that brothers and sisters should avoid each other that children are afraid of ghosts he cannot tell one Whether children play with elder siblings of the same sex or with friends along what lines children form friendships what children s attitudes are towards the adults of the household in what relationship a girl stands to a headman who is her father as compared with a headman who is not her father on what grounds children are left39free to choose to reside in one household instead of another Similarly in Manus adults can tell one that MEAD FIELD METHODS 1 1 little girls don t learn to shoot sh but not on what terms children of both sexes play together nor how the children s group is organized in respect to age whether there are xed allegiances between pairs of children or whether and under what conditions an older boy plays with a younger one All of these facts and they are facts of culture just as surely as are the ways in which a canoe is made or a clan organized have to be derived from a long series of observations far longer than for canoe or for clan It will be immediately obvious that the less explicit a cultural fact is the larger the number of observations and the more complicated the method of study will become This is true not only of children but also of adults In Manus Mr Fortune made a careful study of the religion to do so it was necessary to attend and record a great number of s ances describe all the issues the social and economic relations which lay back of the s ances the ruses and devices of diviner and medium to compare the diagnosis of cause of illness given immediately with the diagnosis later adopted generally It was necessary to record in nitely more instances in order to present an adequate study of Manus religion than to make an equally adequate and formal statement of Dobuan magic one system had explicit form which the other lacked Similarly in Manus and on the island of Pak the same formal kinship system obtains in which the grandson of a woman theoretically marries the granddaughter of that woman s brother with one typical exception which I shall not note here But on Pak this marriage actually does take place genealogical records reveal the painstaking care with which the proper marriage is made whenever possible In Manus on the other hand this explicit theory serves to mask a most inexplicit and unformulated prac tice in which this traditional child of crosscousin marriage is only a formal way in which men of means succeed in marrying economic wards to one another To understand the Manus system which is unformulated re quires the painstaking collection of a great number of marriage records before a generalizatiOn can be made Behind every general statement about the behavior of children in Manus and Samoa lies a long line of observations which are not made at random and recorded casually but are made systematically about a selected group of children on points which preliminary investigation has shown to be most signi cant To take an instance in Manus I studied the effect of personality of fathers upon the personality of the sons whom they have reared From the early observation of the group I saw what any good observer would see that fathers paid a great deal of attention to their chil dren that fathers seldom disciplined their children and that between two 12 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST N s 35 1933 or three pairs of fathers and sons there was a close resemblance in external character traits From the analysis of households and from genealogies I knew that adoption was frequent Now this is the point at which the speci c student of children and the good ethnographer interested in some other point will diverge The disinterested ethnographer will report Fathers take a great interest in their children permit them to go everywhere with them and seldom chastise them It is amusing to see how closely the behavior of some children corresponds to that of their fathers This is the most that one could reasonably expect from a busy obServer of other aspects of the culture and it is as a matter of fact about a hundred per cent more than one usually gets from the average eld worker on any unformulated point of culture which he is not actively investigating But as a student of children particularly I now proceeded to attack this particular problemin detail I studied the behavior of fathers towards sons who were still babies the behavior of older children towards their fathers the behavior of children whose fathers had died while they were very small later or at puberty Adoptions and blood relationships were tabulated and the true parentage of adopted sons was worked out The be havior of fosterchildren and fosterfathers was compared and set beside a comparison of the behavior of these same children and their real fathers of whom they had seen very little Recently adopted children were studied in relation to past home and present home As Mr Fortune s and my joint studies of the social organization revealed that assurance and dominance of manner were de nitely related as interdependent cause and effect with economic status which in turn was partly correlated with age partly with temperament the children of men born at different stages of their eco nomic career were studied and compared to one another Siblings who had been reared by different adults were studied as were also the children of widows and children reared in homes where the wife was dominant Every attempt was made to nd out by observations of normal conditions by a study of deviant conditions like widowhood and orphanhood and no adop tion by a study of deviant children like the one small boy who claimed to have seen his dead father what was the pattern of childson relation ships at what points it was crucial what was its role in determining the character of the child what were the interrelations between economic suc cess and character as derived from type of father or fosterfather All the details of such an investigation as this cannot be published any more than can the details which lie back of the nal conclusions of any ethnologist upon any aspect of culture But before the problem can even MEAD FIELD METHODS 13 be grasped before the importance of any aspect of education or family rela tions can be evaluated in terms of its relationship to the culture and to the personality of the individual a great number of minute and consecutive observations must be made Similar analysis and controlled observations long records of average behavior utilization of the deviant situation and the deviant individual lie back of statements about age groups types of leadership kinds of quarrels types of friendships etc And a detailed study of child behavior or of parental attitude towards children shows that these aspects of culture are as formal as patterned as individual to the cultures in which they are found as are kinship systems or religious forms They are also as important to the individual who is moulded by and in his turn moulds his cultural forms Nor are they without de nite historical interest also The fatherchild situation in broad outline one of close and fairly uncritical affection has been reported for Manus Dobu Trobriands and the Orokaiva It is thus a Melanesian feature which may be found to be characteristic of a much wider culture area just as it has already been found to transcend the borders of patriliny or matriliny But a comparative study of fatherson relationships as a basic form of personal relations in Melanesia can only be made upon the basis of detailed studies such as I have described It would seem unpro table to labor further a discussion of my own particular methods devised to meet de nite situations many of them suita ble for only one culture In Samoa where moral attitudes were inexplicit I had resort to the device of getting every girl to name a series of individ uals the best man the wisest woman the worst boy the best girl etc in the village Only by collecting a large number of such judgments could the implicit moral standards of the children be discovered In Manus the moralistic nature of the society rendered all such attitudes explicit and this device was not necessary The relationship of the individual to his society is an aspect of culture which is given varying explicitness in different societies Where the culture has conventionalized individual religious experiences Western Plains or aesthetic gifts Maori tattooing or formally makes one person the butt of jesting as among the Okanagan the aspect of individuality or tempera ment so selected will be relatively open to investigation Where all recog nition of individual contribution is smothered beneath heavy trappings of traditional behavior as in the Pueblos the study of individual contributions will have to be approached as deviously as the study of unformulated child behavior This does not mean however that the role permitted the indi vidual innovator the degree of recognition of the peculiar gifts or limita 14 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST N s 35 1933 tions of one personality over against the personalities in different societies the mechanisms by which individual differences are emphasized or mini mized or arti cially discounted are not aspects of culture But they are aspects of culture which must be studied through detailed analysis of the problem and controlled observation of series of individuals against a known cultural background Similarly the problem of social control what are the mechanisms by which the individual is made to conform to the standard of the group would have to be investigated by a study of a series of individuals of differ ent ages sex and social status A study of the genesis of social control in children of different ages would have to be made combined with a study of the relative strength or weakness of habits of social conformity in the behavior of marked and undistinguished personalities and the behavior of individuals away from the home the village the tribe if such a study were possible For instance Manus natives abroad preserve their strong respect for property inculcated in39early childhood but their sex standards which are enforced by fear of the resident ancestral spirits disappear in a foreign community Only with time can we develop criteria by which the validity of this type of observation can be judged As a preliminary basis of evaluation I suggest 1 the degree to which the investigation of anyinexplicit aspect of culture shows it to have de nite form so that the type behavior de scribed for one culture differs or is formally similar to the type behavior of another culture 2 the degree to which deviations when intensively studied tend to support the formal generalization which has been made 3 in special cases the application of the test of the presence or absence of the normal curve of distribution If an investigator nds size of families in primitive society following a normal distribution he may assume the difference in size of families is the result of biological factors but if he should nd no family exceeding two children he would be justi ed in looking at once for a cultural cause In a study of animism among the children of a particular culture if children were found to vary according to the normal curve the presence of animism might be suspected to be a fact of psychology rather than of cul ture When however animism is found in no child in a society the investi gator may regard its absence in that society and probably therefore its presence in children of other societies as a cultural fact With an increasing knowledge of cultural processes we may be able to add some test of internal consistency of results on explicit and inexplicit aspects of culture or of