Book Reviews


Six Cultures: Studies of Child Rearilzg. BEATRICE WHITING New York: John B. (ed.) Wiley and Sons, 1963, vi, 1017 pp., illustrations. $12.50. Reviewed by MARGARET MEAD,The American Museum o j Natural History
This massive study can be viewed in two ways: as a resource for teaching, which enables students to confront successively six contrasting cultures in the pages of a single heavy volume, or as the first published volume of a major research enterprise. The research design called for concentration by six research teams, each consisting of a man and a woman worker, on obtaining comparative data on child rearing practices, in cultures about which much was already known, in a cultural context relevant to the inquiry. This design climaxes many years of work by John Whiting and his associates in reducing intractable and incomparable field materials to units that can be compared by relatively simple statistical techniques. I n the face of much criticism by critics who have dealt with the approach as a whole (e.g., Edward Norbeck, Donald E. Walker, and Mimi Cohen, “The Interpretation of Data: Puberty Rites,” American Anthropologist, 64 (19621,463-85) and also by field workers who have felt that their own field work was distorted by a Procrustean framework, John Whiting and his collaborators have continued to insist that the correlation of a series of isolated elements of child rearing with elements of the whole culture, selected for theoretical relevance, will produce results of scientific importance. This project, majorly financed by the Ford Foundation, gave the investigators an opportunity to design the research well in advance and to make certain that each team, using like methods, would collect comparable samples of parent-child behavior. At the same time each field team was accorded generous leeway in stressing those aspects of the particular culture in which they themselves were most interested. The general conceptual scheme of the project is presented in a chart (p, 5 ) :
E -


Maintenance Systems
Econorn *is\ sjlructun


Adult Behavior
Leisure time activity, elc.

Child Rearing Practices

Cultural Products
Religious beliefs Theories of disease Folk tales

Child Behavior

Cultural Products
Fantasy Sayings Recreation Concepb of world

The principal emphasis on comparability was in the selection of the six samples. Each field team worked in a community of between 50 and 100 families and with a sample of 24 mothers, each of whom had at least one child aged 3 to 10 years. The mothers were interviewed on a standard schedule and the children were systematically ob-


LeVine).Book Reviews 659 served and interviewed. However. presents generalized statements and statistics. (John L. the present volume is quite insufficient. Dr. but are only briefly referred to in the introduction. Mexico (Kimball Romney and Romaine Romney).the Mixtecans of Juxtlahuaca. which contains a discussion of the nine relevant behavioral “systems” to be studied in the field and the hypotheses to be tested by this comparative work. using the cultural material already presented. provides an inadequate frame of reference for the reader who does not yet have the rich additional information which the research group is still in the process of analyzing. But just because the different pairs of field workers were left free to develop their own styles and (within the limits of the formal outline) methods of presentation. Tarong: an Ilocos barrio in the Philippines (William F. Field Guidefor a Study of Socialization i n Five Societies. The perfunctory nature of the material on Orchard Town (studied by the Fischers) provides new grounds for discussing this uncritical approach to the problem that is involved. Taira: an Okinawan village (Thomas W. LeVine and Barbara B. for example. Hitchcock).. on the number of mothers who said they would let their babies wait for food. U S A . The introduction closes with an expression of hope that readers with different theoretical interests will be able to use the materials for purposes of comparison and also that relevant data for a fuller testing of some of the hypotheses may be obtained through further studies. which are not integrated with the material on the culture as a whole. The theory underlying the choice of behavioral systems and the full hypotheses to be tested are not presented in this volume. The arrangement is more or less uniform throughout. The six cultures studied are Nyansongo: a Gusii community in Kenya (Robert A. and also an analysis based on “individual differences in the behavior of children and the methods of child rearing reported by individual mothers” (p. Fischer and Ann Fischer). and the student who is unfamiliar with anthropological monographs should get from this presentation some sense of the comparabilities and incomparabilities which the ethnographic method provides. India (Leigh Minturn and John T. Each of the cultural studies is presented flatly in two sections. this indeterminancy about the way in which the materials will fit into the final ambitious research plan in no way detracts from some of the richness of the materials in the individual studies. The six field teams were provided with a guide (John Whiting et al. a peasant community in a complex class or caste society. It is time that we had a full dress study of the comparability of communities of different types and of the circumstances in which it is useful to treat a part-society as a whole unit. and the New Englanders of Orchard Town. Further volumes will present a preliminary testing of the basic hypotheses. These standard results are combined here with more general observations in the sections on child rearing. the Rajputs of Khalapur. Part I presents the ethnographic background arranged in categories particular to each field team’s research interests. Whiting states in her introduction that this volume presents the cultural material. Maretzki and Hatsumi Maretzki) . 1954). For purposes of really testing the value of carefully organized research specifically carried out for cross-cultural comparison. a small town in a modern nation-is treated as a unit that is comparable with a tribal group like the Gusii (studied by the LeVines). no integrating statement about the six cultures that are described. Part 1 .on child 1 training. the materials are not subject to . A series of flat statements or small statistics about child rearing. No attempt is made in this volume to deal with one very serious theoretical issue that has been raised in the past in discussions of comparative work in which a section of a larger society-a ward in a great city. 6). The present volume contains no conclusion. Nydegger and Corinne Nydegger).

in the analysis of charm structure. Inasmuch as all the models have an identical point of departure.and PIERRE MARANDA. the authors cannot avoid being somewhat tentative and superficial. Reviewed by ALANDUNDES. $1. Successful Mediation: Permutation of the Initial Impact. for example. in attempting to provide models for essentially all the genres of folklore and in seeking to define both structure and folklore in two brief opening paragraphs. italics supplied). the final situation is not iust equal to. but it is unsuccessful. the investigators’ assumption that “if these hypotheses are correct. Structural Models in Folklore. There is no way. myths. that is. namely. It attempts to bring the techniques of model construction and structural analysis to bear upon the traditionally theory-poor discipline of folklore. 133-192. no at1 tempt is made to alter the initial state of disequilibrium. we would expect consequent differences [following on different childhood situations] in the social control systems’’ (p. in this presentation. However. and riddles. the Marandas apply a modified version of the LBvi-Strauss brand of structural analysis to a variety of traditional forms including charms.00. grand design is worked out. a situation requiring mediation. pp. one would wish to see the models tested f against folklore materials from such areas as Africa and Oceania. vol. Starting with the unproved assumption that folkloristic genres are binarily based. appears to have been delivered somewhat prematurely. Texts analyzed by the authors include Cheremis sonnets. the critical differentia of the four models are the outcome alternatives. but in fact greater or better than the initial one. model construction should first be culturally relative before attempting the construction of cross-cultural models. I they are so applicable. In Model 1 . For example. This statement is. The university teacher may well find this book a suitable source for intensive study by students who are beginning to grasp the comparative method. a hypothesis about the direction of change. (Midwest Folklore. 19641 further analysis as they stand. the question must be raised as to the universality of the models. I n Model I. The rest of us must put this first publication on the shelf until later volumes appear and the full. in which to test. Zero Mediation. It is not altogether clear whether or not the authors consider that their models are applicable to worldwide folklore. 11. 12. Finnish legends. in fact.) Bloomington: Indiana University. 1962. brilliant in conception. The authors themselves comment upon the fact that the mediator in this instance appears “outside the text. The book is pleasantly illustrated. Ideally.” but they fail to realize that their stated definition of folklore as “unrecorded mentifacts” could hardly include the utterer of a . A more serious question concerns the possible confusion of the structure of text with the structure of context. Successful Mediation: Nullification of the Initial Impact. Berkeley f This monographic article. the mediator is able to remedy the initial situation. Assuming that these model distinctions are valid (and it is unfortunate that only one illustration of Model I1 is provided). ELLI-KAIJA KBNGKs. 3. In Model IV. the person uttering the charm. and American Indian creation myths. notes. Urtiversiiy o Califomia. In Model 111. no. but apparently no modern methods of instrumental recording (such as photography) were systematically used to increase the comparability of the materials obtained in the field. it is claimed that one of the constituent structural elements is the healer himself. Four models are presented (in both written and graphic form).660 American Anthropologist [66. and it can be tested only by material on change in the adult social control system and in child rearing practices. an attempt is made by a mediator.Failing Mediation.

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