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About forty double-columned quarto pages of fine type and containing 288 text
figures are devoted to a discussion of the characteristics of African bows, arrows, and
quivers and to their distribution. These pages are followed by 26 folded sheets of
distribution maps. The maps all display drainage, which makes more intelligible the
trait distributions. The cartography is excellent and will long remain an example
worth following. Indeed, the whole monograph establishes a standard not likely to
E. W. GIFFORD
Systematic Sociology. LEOPOLD VON WIESE. Adapted and amplified by HOWARD
BECKER. (xxi, 772 pp. New York: J ohn Wiley & Sons, 1932.)
This work, a selective and amplified translation of the Beziehungslehre (1924)
and the Gebildelehre (1929) of Leopold von Wiese presents the latter’s conception of
sociology as a special social science dealing with interhuman relations. The author
follows a trend in sociology which is dominant in Germany and only slightly less so
in the United States, but the system he elaborates seems to the reviewer to eclipse,
in completeness and logical consistency, those of his forerunners and contempo-
raries. The work acquires importance, however, less for this reason directly than
because it thereby succeeds in reducing to an absurdity the whole approach to
sociology which it typifies and expounds.
Despite protestations to the contrary, it remains purely speculative and de-
ductive. Conceived and couched in conceptual abstractions, it never comes to grips
with reality. The object-matter itself is a terminological abstraction-“the total
positive and negative process of sociation” (p. 14). “Sociation” is conceptually
analyzed into: (1) processes of “association” and “dissociation”; (2) dynamic and
static relations, i.e., processes and relationships or “action patterns” and “action
patterns”; and (3) “common-human” and “circumscribed” relations, i.e., those con-
ceived to be, respectively, relatively uninfluenced and directly affected by the exist-
ence of social groupings. The methodological starting-point of the system is an
admittedly (p. 94) philosophical concept of the “self.” Mentally stripping the single
human being of all his non-social traits, the author arrives at the concept of the
“socius,” who “is simply the spatial locus of sociation” (p. 23) or “a condensation
or nexus of countless processes of sociation” (p. 84). Denying the validity of the
terms “individual” and “society,” he prefers to conceive of relationships of socii
to one another as coalescing into “plurality patterns,” which
are only condensations, by-products of social processes or action patterns, and exist only as
neuropsychic patterns within human beings (p. 78).
The bulk of the work is divided into two parts: the systematics of action pat-
terns and the systematics of plurality patterns. In the former it analyzes at length
some twenty conceptual “processes”: the “common-human” processes of association
and dissociation; the “circumscribed” processes of differentiation, integration,
destruction, and construction; and their respective subsidiary processes. The second
704 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [N. s., 34, 1932
part similarly classifies and analyzes plurality patterns: crowds, groups (e.g., dyads,
triads, etc.), and “abstract collectivities” such as the church and state.
Though susceptible to adverse comment on minor points, such as its preten-
tiousness and its incredible tediousness, the book exposes itself and the school it so
perfectly typifies to criticism on at least two major points. I n the first place, it
confines itself entirely to modern European-American culture, and even condemns
the recourse to ethnological data by such writers as Spencer, Vierkandt, Thurn-
wald, and LCvy-Bruhl as a “dangerous procedure” (p. 677). It should be self-
evident that no genuine science of sociology can be constructed on data from a
single culture area, any more than a science of biology could have been formulated
from the study of homo sapiens alone. The Arunta and the Tlingit and the Hindu
are as important to sociology as are the experimental rat and the fruit-fly to genetics.
No universal generalization from a sociologist who neglects the rich and varied field
of ethnography deserves the slightest consideration, and it is scarcely surprising
to find our author, on his sole venture into the field of ethnology, uttering the follow-
. . . the preliterate is not even emotionally aware of any antagonism between individual and
social. He lives nalvely in and with his kinship group, and usually feels himself so bound up
with his group, so ‘organically’ a part of it, that a feeling of independent personality has little
or no opportunity to develop (p. 497).
An even more serious indictment of the book, as of others of its tribe, is its re-
jection of, and patronizing attitude toward, the inductive method. It reveals no
slightest trace of anything except unverified armchair speculation, to which, of
course, it gives the politer names of “functional analysis” (p. 252) and “envisage-
ment of essentials” (p. 471). Indeed, it practically closes the door to scientific in-
vestigation with the statement:
Social phenomena.. . usually cannot beverified directly by our senses (p. 677).
I n every science with which the reviewer is cognizant the worker builds upon the
verified inductions of others, adding to them his own tested observations of the
facts. Our author, however, with not more than five exceptions in 730 pages of text,
cites no demographic studies, no historical sources, no facts at all unless weinclude
superficial references to matters of common knowledge such as: “e.g., the Germanic
migrations” (p. 322). He begs off with such statements as:
although the inductive observations substantiating the statement cannot beintroduced be-
cause of space limitations, there is little doubt that. . . (p. 277).
In lieu of facts, he guesses; he cites other speculative writers; he reasons by analogy,
e.g., comparing human beings to molecules (p. 26), to infusoria (p. 49), to onions
(p. lOO), to musical instruments (p. 521), to switchboards (p. 522); or he constructs
hypothetical cases, e.g.:
A group of presentday men and women are shipwrecked on a previously uninhabited island.
Let us suppose that . . . (p. 565).
BOOK REVIEWS 705
I n conclusion we can do no better than quote from p. 13:
Unhappily enough, mere “thinking” about social affairs without any attempt at verification
has held sway; genuine knowledge has thereby been hindered rather than helped.
GEORGE PETER MURDOCK
Psycho-analysis of Primitive Cultural Types. G ~ Z A R~HEI M. (The International
J ournal of Psycho-analysis. pp. 1-224, Vol. XIII, J anuary-April 1932).
Investigations of human adults show that their behavior consists of patterns
derived from processes of conditioning in early childhood. Furthermore, some of
these patterns are of such a nature that they may be called character traits. The
most important factors conditioning an infant’s behavior have been found to be the
father and the mother. Thus there is interaction between the innate impulses of
the child and the conscious and unconscious energies of the parents. I n this way, the
child is deprived of a series of satisfactions but the impulses remain and may, in
later life, manifest themselves in ways which are by no means obvious. The human
organism’s responses to a life-long conditioning process can be arranged in cate-
gories and in open equilibrium equations. These responses can be demonstrated not
only in conscious acts and attitudes, but also in dreams, and the rites and institu-
tions of group life. The most comprehensive set of concepts dealing with these re-
sponses and innate impulses has been named psycho-analysis. These concepts need
not concern those who are primarily interested in the essential work of recording
what can be seen and heard, but they do concern those who are interested in the
meanings and derivations of individual and group behavior, myths, tales, and in-
stitutions. Those who have investigated meanings unequipped with a knowledge of
psycho-analysis have repeatedly become confused and have only extricated them-
selves by the use of relatively superficial assumptions. Psycho-analysis is a j ai l
accompli, although like other fields it is undergoing continuous modification.
Dr. Roheim, in 1928-9, visited the Somali in Aden and Dzibouti; remnants of
Luritja and “Aranda” tribes in Central Australia; the Melanesians of Normandy
Island, and the North American Yuma Indians.
This review covers a series of fragmentary sketches, the first of which outlines
certain advantages and difficulties which attend the application of his method in the
The next sketch is of unusual interest and contains his observations of a small
group of Central Australian children at play with toys (a snake, monkey, goat,
mirror, rubber water pistol, paper trumpet) which were new to them. With these
toys the children re-enacted earlier experiences, elaborating them to fulfil their own
wishes and demonstrating thereby their attitudes toward their parents. These chil-
dren were relatively free from parental discipline and weaned themselves, when so
inclined. Dr. Roheim found the children and adults did not possess certain types of
anxiety, guilt, and need for punishment, which in white adults can be traced back to
discipline patterns of weaning and sphincter deprivations. He found the children
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