On Social Structure Author(s): A. R.

Radcliffe-Brown Source: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 70, No. 1 (1940), pp. 1-12 Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2844197 . Accessed: 17/08/2011 20:51
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.

http://www.jstor.org

wouldseemto me to convey definite meaning. He has explained invented Professor by how. All that a teachercan to to pernicious do is to assistthe student learning understand use the scientific in method.and I regard social anthroas pology a branchof naturalscience. Each scientist startsfrom workof his predecessors. RADCLIFFE-BROWN. Such co-operation results the on in does not result the formation schools. It is not his to and to make disciples. M. or one of its leaders. I have consistently emphasisedthe importance the study of social structure. Thereis no place fororthodoxies heterodoxies science. to a largeextentout ofmy ownsenseof in and by irresponsibility. It has been suggested me by some of myfriends to that I shoulduse this occasionto offer some remarks about my own pointof view in social anthropology." equallythestatement or no that I am not. by observation reasoning and finds problems endeavours to make some contribution a growing to body of theory.ON SOCIAL STRUCTURE PresidentialAddress By A. a way on myself." Professor Malinowski's irresponsibility had unfortunate has results. the sensein whichthereare schoolsofphilosophy of in or ofpainting.and since in my teaching.since it has spread over anthropology dense fog of discussionabout " functionalism. suggestion of the madeto me was thatI shouldsay something thatsubject. Nothing more in and is in sciencethan attempts establishadherence doctrines. I do not thiink that thereis any special sense. it is a myth Malinowski. R.exponentof functionalism the in nineteenth century was Professor Franz Boas. beginning Cambridge at and at the London School of Economicsthirty yearsago. otherthan the purelychronological one. The statementthat I am a " functionalist. I have been described morethan one occasionas belonging something on to called the " FunctionalSchool " of Social Anthropology and even as beingits leader. on I hope you will pardon me if I begin with a note of personalexplanation.A. This Functional Schooldoes not reallyexist."Professor a Lowie has announced that the leading. Thereis no place in naturalsciencefor" schools" in thissense." the magnificent of the FunctionalSchool of Anthropology title has been bestowed myself. in whichI can be said to be eitherthe follower of Professor Boas or the predecessorof ProfessorMalinowski. the and whichhe believesto be significant. business A .to quote his own words. Co-operation amongstscientists from factthattheyare working the same or relatedproblems.thoughnot the only.

For them. I do regard as being is thatthe studyofsocialstructure the whole sensethe mostfundamental partofthe science. apply to socialphenomenathe theoreticalmethodsof natural that does not. In anthropology. and the materialproductsof past actions. to or at least not profitable. But directobservation " of by a complexnetwork social relations. I define what we we are onlyconcerned of are beings. or who As you know. of their of the including." any one so wishes.ofcourse. R. is concerned. component . It is the subjectitself. as it.2 Address A.exist. the workers and of association animalsin a herd. Thereare certain the classorkindofstructures. do not mean it but ofsocial anthropology. if sociology. withhumanbeings.that is important. remarks have no meaning. Thereis the thereare the relationsof associationof the queen. Thereis. course. at leastnotthe I meaning intendthemto have. course. does revealto us that these humanbeingsare connected abstraction. chemistry of withthe structures and colloids.thereare some ethnologists anthropologists hold that it is not possible. I use the term " social structure to denotethis to it relations.and anatomyand physiology of withthe structure crystals fora branchof naturalsciencewhichwill have I suggest. For thesepersons or will my and neverwill. as I conceiveof social anthropology the theoreticalnatural science of lhuman similarto those used in by of that is. We do not observea " culture. find certain acts ofspeech. therefore. I have defined is something science. It is thisthat I regard as mybusiness studyif I am of network actuallyexisting I but or not working. crystallography colloidalchemistry of atoms. of I do not supposethat any one will call themculturalphenomena. as social anthropology. clear it of For a preliminary definition social phenomena seems sufficiently that what we individualorganisms.thereare some of perhapsbe thought it thatthisdifference definiwhodefine as the studyofculture. RADCLIFFE-BRowN-Presidential society."since that word and as it is commonly used a vague denotes.of a mother-cat herkittens. Actuallyit leads to two different of in it is hardly possibleto obtainagreement the formulation problems. as a social anthropologist. I am quite willingto call the subject " comparative and not the name. While I have defined as social anthropology the study of humansociety. as an ethnologist psychologist.between tion is of minor importance. So atomic physicsdeals withthe structure and of with the structure molecules. a number individual we Australia.not any concretereality. humaxn have to investigate the forms associationto be foundamongst observable factswithwhichthe social anthropologist Let us consider whatare the concrete. of of of forits task the discovery the generalcharacteristics thosesocial structures whichthe unitsare humanbeings. the aboriginalinhabitantsof a part of of humanbeingsin a certain naturalenvironment. These are social phenomena. of of the characteristics all structures that kind. If we set out to study. it. place organisms. the investigation social phenomena methodsessentially the physicaland biologicalsciences. in a veryimportant of of investigation the structure the My view of naturalscienceis that it is the systematic our to as important separatebranches universe it is revealed us through senses.and in social anthropology. We can observe acts ofbehaviour theseindividuals. In a hive of bees of have to deal withare relations associationbetween and the drones. aim beingto discover deals witha certain each of which ofscience.for example. It might which kinds of study.but an abstraction.

Social structures fluids in is a collection livingcells and interstitial of arranged a certain structure. Theyare all. and it is thisnetwork " I am aware. This is unfortunately of many othertermscommonly is used by anthropologists.tribesand clans. thingas sayingthatwe studysocialrelations. one ofthecharacteristics a scienceas soonas it has passed thefirst termswhichare used in the same precisemeaning all the of periodis the existence technical by to of revealsitselfas not students that science. or a mother'sbrotherand his sister's son.but are not the immediate any humansociety are tlie resultof the social structure whichtheyare united. and a living of a cell is similarly structural and arrangement complexmolecules. in one way Social phenomena constitute distinct or another.definitions yet a formed for whichseemto be the mostconvenient thepurposesofscientific analysis. socialrole. By this test. established connections. Dr. than this. connected withthe existence social structures. certainterms. A complexorganism from them. all of In the first place.such as nations. The differential bytheir are of as and employees. In an as of is Australiantribethe wholesocial structure based on a network such relationsof person to person. whichI regardas the object of ourinvestigations. I regret say. So also the social phenomena in resultof the natureofindividualhumanbeings. just as muchdeterminants social relations belonging of employers to nations. his in as individualgroups. who to Thereare some anthropologists use the termsocial structure refer onlyto persistent theiridentity social groups. betweena fatherand son.The choice of termsand theirdefinitions a matterof scientific of but formative convenience. by social structures not exactlythe same It shouldbe noted that to say we are studying is which howsomesociologists is define their subject. of course. different clans or different A2 . I regardas a part of the social structure social relations personto of For example. chiefs commoners. whichretaintheircontinuity.On Social Structure 3 a class ofnaturalphenomena. prefers of social groupsis an exceedingly the Certainly existence such persistent important aspect of to a it But I find moreuseful includeunderthe termsocial structure good deal more structure. includeundersocial structure differentiation individualsand of classes of and of socialpositions menand women. two persons(unlesstheybe Adam and Eve in the Gardenof between A particular social relation of Eden) exists only as part of a wide network social relations. through genealogical of the I Secondly. The physiological psychoare logical phenomena that we observein the lives of organisms not simplythe resultof the or molecules atomsofwhich organism builtup.some of them veryvague.the kinshipstructure any societyconsistsof a number such dyadic of person.in spite of changesin theirmemberlship. social anthropology to for science. but are the result is the natureoftheconstituent whichwe observein of the structure whichtheyare united. involving manyotherpersons. to use the term social structure this sense. relations. in recentadmirablebook on the Nuer. One has therefore select for oneself. of either beingimpliedin or resultinig are just as real as are individualorganisms.that the term" social structure is used in a numberof different true senses. Evans-Pritchard.

do commonly ofsocieties if theyweredistinguishable.I shallfind I visit a relatively have been born. is its the of structure a livingbody.it is in order whostandin therelation mother's ofpersons be able to record as preciselyas possiblethe generalor normalformof this relationship.It is rarely moment of no outsidecontact. But whatwe needforscientific of towardsone another tribeI observein a number instancesthe behaviour if in an Australian and that I may brother sister's of son. R. But it is not thisthat we attempt is fromhistoryor biography) not to describein its particularity. The structural formmay change.others out ofit by deathor by New members or and divorces. But even in the most as with relativesuddenness.withoutany absolute history. I which do not thinkthatsociosolutionof continuity anywhere. a givenmomentof time. Throughout lifeof an organism structure beingconstantly renewsthe social structure.For example. form ten observed yearsbefore. in revolutions is of some continuity structure maintained. is it merely fragment the RepublicofChina? ? ofsocieties Is a Chinese village . At the present that isolated. This important as may be made describes. changes revolutionary thatwe find I mustsay a fewwordsaboutthe spatialaspectofsocialstructure.with kinds. unique. the structural and militaryconquests.but only with the general. abstractedfrom the variations of particular instances. Yet now ten yearsolderand theirrelations one another from those that I can observeare verylittle different I may findthat the kinds of relations has changedlittle. or is whenwe are told that a society an organism. on the otherhand. But. though taking account of those variations. The actual relations Tom. Dick and Harryor the behaviourof Jack and Jill for and may provideillustrations a generaldescription. betweenstructure an actuallyexistingconcrete distinction.a continuity of through clearer by perhaps a consideration thecontinuity socialstructure but a dynamiccontinuity. concrete certainhuman at of actuallyexistingrelations.Thereare marriages in changes thisway. a collection of a or a society.thedifficulty defining discreteentities. yearto year.the general makepeace and becomefriends. Friendsmay becomeenemies. RADCLIFFE-BROwN-Presidential is withwhichwe are concerned the set reality the In the studyofsocial structure. forexample. may go down in our fieldnote-books is of purposes an accountoftheform thestructure.sometimes sometimes gradually. But whilethe actual structure overa longeror shorter constant periodoftime. Science (as distinguished the withthe particular. Thus the actual the renewed. form. Thus if form structural may remainrelatively an it of and that stablecommunity revisit after interval tenyears. the members others have died and who stillsurviveare manyofits members to may have changedin manyways. as talk as. what the field-worker be directlyobserved. that of the organic like whichis not static like that of a building. enemiesmay emigration.having a community is absolutely of the network social relationsspreads over the whole world.This givesrise to a difficulty whatis meantby the term" a society.and structural of time. to as reality." They of logistshave reallyfaced.4 Address A.with events concerned of whichrecur.whichlink together beings. Is the BritishEmpirea society. It is on thisthat we can make directobservations.or even from of relations personsand groupsof personschangefrom go comeintoa community birthor immigration. and similarly social lifeconstantly day to day.

God is threepersons. it is a sourceof in in confusion science. Note that each of thesedescriptions refers a social relationship. complex formed by all his social relations withothers. But a few social do not attemptto give us any systematic ..member his tradeunion.the subjectmatter whatI regard an extremely as branchof social anthropology.a a a of husbandand a father. ofthestructural the systemsobservablein particularcommunities) systematiccomparison many societies of of (or structural is systems different types). I may refer two recentstudiesfromthe University Chicago.there occur physiologicaland psychologicalactions and reactions. demonstrated results. exceptin terms the persons If you tell me that an individualand a personare afterall reallythe same thing. are The humanbeingas a personis a complexof social relationships. Our first is task. This requiresfieldresearch. of of compare systems social structure as manylocalitiesas we wish.. or of structural of systems. voter a of in a certain of constituency. by Dr.e.as long as it in persists.Note also that a social personality something thatchangesduring courseofthe is the lifeof the person. can we studysocial nor of structure who are the unitsofwhichit is composed. As a person. to learnas muchas we can about the varieties.fromthat region. collection of a vast numberof moleculesorganised a complexstructure. hope. Horace Miner. Denis. it is worsethanthat.by Dr. We cannotstudypersonsexceptin termsof social structure.and so or on. Suye Mura. diversities.an adherent the Labour Party. oughtto be able of we withwhichwe are concerned. As an individual. withinwhich. The use of comparison indispensable.he is a biologicalorganism. Every humanbeinglivingin societyis two things: he a is an individualand also a person. Many writers ethnographical descriptions account of the social structure.On Social Structure 5 If we say that our subjectis the studyand comparison humansocieties. is Closely connectedwith this conceptionof social structure the conceptionof " social " the personality as theposition occupiedby a humanbeingin a socialstructure. Yet the failure distinguish of for to a individualand personis not merely heresy religion. describe.one of a Japanese village. to say that He is threeindividuals but is to be guilty a heresy whichmenhave been put to death.I would remind oftheChristian you creed.e.processes and and changes.of course. I have nowsufficiently I of defined. To illustrate the what I of to mean. the network relationsconnecting inhabitants and and amongstthemselves withthe people of otherregions.He is a citizenof England.The methodto be adoptedfollows important immediately from It withtheintensive thisdefinition. Human beingsas individuals objectsofstudyforphysiologists psychologists. member a particular Methodist a congregation. we can studythe structural system of the it appears in and. The study of a singlesocietymay providematerials comparative for occasionfor study.i. We can thus observe. brick-layer.the humanbeingis the object of studyforthe social anthropologist. JohnEmbree. it cannot give to hypotheses. St. to a place in a social to structure.or it may afford which then need to be tested by reference other societies. mustcombine studyofsinglesocieties(i. to say whatare the unitentities If we take any convenient as localityof a suitablesize. and the other of a French Canadian community.

Ireland.consisting the definition. Moreover. are concerned onlywithsocialstructure.. not subjectwouldcertainly be an anthropological did formed and that sciencesuntil We shouldremember chemistry biology not becomefully of classification the thingstheywere had been made withthe systematic considerable progress in dealingwith. betweenpersonsand groupsof persons.we studythesethings. in and comparison classification study. and in America. in relations existence.e.substances the one instanceand plantsand animalsin the other. whichwas so popular to I mayseem to be returning the analogybetweensocietyand organism misusedby nineteenth was century sociologists. even to a greatextentits vocabulary-there no betweenthese and the special of connection eitherone-sidedor mutual determination direct withinwhichthe languageis spoken.however. but with everykind of social phenomenon. That is a complexand buildingup some sortof classification typesof structural for difficult task.law. religion. in abstraction isolation. social relations a of illustrations whatthismeans.Thereis. growing is providing witha steadily us " in but extendto communities to are no longerconfined what are called " primitive societies. cannotdo moreherethan offer fewbrief I the set consider studyoflanguage. of diversestructural systems. relationsto social structure. or affect. we not In whatI am thuscallingsocialphysiology. of of characteristics the social structure the community that two societiesmighthave verysimilarforms social structure of and can easilyconceive We of form social kinds of language. and government.or vice versa. mechanism whicha socialstructure existsand persists.Japan. A languageis a connected ofspeechusages Let us first The of and observedwithina defined speech-community. morphology. of we morphology societies. etiquette. Such work. Nevertheless. are important properly and is completely rejected manymodern by and thereis a real and significant analogybetweenorganicstructure thinking aids to scientific and social structure. best-seller. believesomeprogress in interested it at thepresent thosewhoare actively does not producespectacularresultsand a book on the is beingmade. But if we considerthe special characteristics a particular social structure its and is language-its phonology. must aim at If we are to have a real comparative of systems.to whichI have myselfdevoted attention thirtyyears. Morals. therefore. as suchregions Sicily. Besidesthismorphological The problemhere is: how do is a physiological there study. are all partsofthe complex by education not or If we take up the structural pointofview. R.Canada and the UnitedStates. 'existence speech-communities their a relation of between sizesarefeatures social structure. It is the kind of of and I thinkI can number myfingers of on taskthatneedsthe co-operation a number students I time. recognise importance such data and theirwork their researches for bodyofmaterial ourstudy. the whichtheydependupon. with reference the way in to but in theirdirectand indirect i. which maintaina networkof social ? structural systemspersist What are the mechanisms work? In usingthe terms and how do they and morphology physiology. certainverygeneral of and language. The coincidence a particular of verydifferent and a particularlanguagein a given community always the resultof historical is structure . used. takenoverand often writers.6 Address A. with mediaeval philosophers. But analogies. RADCLIFFE-BROWN-Presidential the of -do here anthropologists.however.

Thusin any society to there not only of but of an apportionment activities. As structural connected phenomenamay be instancedthe processby whichLatin. relatively simpleor.when an Australianblackfellow for gratifications otherpersons. is. If we take the social lifeof a local community over a period." I propose Now activitiesare carriedout because theyprovidesome sort of as feature social lifeis that activitiesofcertain of to call it. remote interactions between socialstructure and language. phenomena social structure. forhis wifeand children it is relatives whom is his dutyto givemeatwhenhe has it.we can observea certain carriedout by thepersons who of one persondoing composeit.not onlyforhimself. theirflow personto person. of anotherdoing others. region region) and institutions extenare the way in whichtheyare disposedof. and the characteristic persons provide a simple instance. which will be specifically linguistics. of the laws Qf characters. But.and manyCeltic languages. thereare differences speechusage in different classes. Theyconcern from or to duced. becamethe languageof a considerable part of Europe. abstract.whichultimately of Thus the spread of language. We can also observea certainapportionment theseactivities. In goes but and also forother he hunting. Thus what are called economic fromthe rest of the social system.the unification a numberof separate communities into a and single speech-community. otherbranches social anthropology theirrelation of certain and Let us consider verybriefly to the studyof social structure. which by systemworks.thatconstitutes specialsubject-matter withwhatkindsand quantities goods are prothemselves of by the economists.ofcourse. the studied withoutreference social structure. So also are thoseinstancesin which.There is a to logy whichcan be most profitably a a reason forthis. certain be indirect. on the otherhand. displacingthe otherItalic languages.equivalent to what certain things. The set of speechusages whichconstitute languagedoes form system and in theircommon or systemsof this kind can be compared orderto discover general.in societies of havinga class structure. of feature the social structure. local forms speech.. branch socialanthropoof languagefirst.is an important " gratification. the reverseprocess of subdivisioninto different speech-comare of munities.thereare certain features linguistic of history whichare specifically with social structure. highly complex.Etruscan.sometimes.howtheyare distributed (i.but thesewouldseemto be ofminor importance. certain aspectsofit. providesmeat. This apportionment activities. I have considered becauselinguistics I think.e. determination which can give us laws. sumtotal ofactivities let us say a year. the and some sortofsocialmachinery. Thus the general comparative carriedout as a relatively studyof languagescan be profitably independent branchof science. in whichthe languageis considered abstraction in from social structure the community the of in whichit is spoken.On Social Structure 7 accident. is sometimes called the social divisionoflabour. and the subsequent reverse processby whichLatin splitup intoa number diverse of of becamethe variousRomancelanguagesofto-day. also an apportionment thegratifications resulting therefrom. Theremay. from beingthelanguageof the small regionof Latium. or the stuidied It is thismachinery. This in moreor less completeabstraction sivelystudied .

is to the social structure.I suppose.the study of law.The exchangeof goods and services dependent of a a and at the same time is a means of maintaining certainstructure. utilised. But for in method lawyers their for investigaanyscientific mostconvenient professional mustdeal are events The tionofthe natureoflaw it is insufficient. methoddoes undoubtedly becomeapparentas soon as we attemptto applyit to the exchangeof societies. by privileges. that they institutions humansocietiesrequires of of Any fullunderstanding the economic two angles. moralsand oflaw. in theirdescriptive verballyaccept and yet ignorein theoretical but that whatwe need to knowfora scientific point is not that rules exist in every society. Fromthe otherthe economic ofgoods or by. But it is one of thosetruisms or analyses.in our own society. network relations and politiciansof Canada the of between personsand collections persons.onlyexistin theirrecogniwhentheyare stated as of tion by the members thesociety. Fromthe latterpointof view.or in theirobservance behaviour. field-worker as in rules. data withwhicha scientist can occurand can be observed. R. theyare the mechanism processby which are . ofcourse. eitherin theirverbalrecognition. a certain ofsocialrelations maintained existence. the eventswhichthe social scientist which thattake place in courtsofjustice. this in is will.is the resultof. example. Its weaknesses societies. and in particular workin general is understanding just howthesethings on for Let us consider. In the fieldof law. goodsin whatare called primitive of machinery a societyappearsin quite a newlightifit is studiedin relation The economic upon. reference the reciprocal to are by Social relations onlyobserved. The discussions. instances. Thesetwomodesofrecognition. These patternsare partiallyformulated rules which. knows. Rules. For the anthropologist was the machinery maintaining social therefore of an was combined arrangement rankdefined withwhich clansand moieties. For the economists and wasteful foolishness it was of potlatchof the Indians ofthe north-west Americawas simply a for it forbidden. has to behaviourof the personsrelated. not the are moralsand law are partofthemechanism the If I say that in any society rulesof etiquette.the studyofthe economic of societiestakes its place as part of the generalstudyof social structure. and can onlybe described. statement set by which on whichmanywriters humansociety be greetedas a truism. If you examinethe literature jurisare willfind thatlegalinstitutions studiedforthemostpartinmoreorlesscomplete you prudence from restof the social systemof whichtheyare a part. every same thingand bothhave to be takenintoaccount. RADCLIFFE-BRowN-Presidential Address in particularly the studyof complexmodem provideusefulresults. This is doubtlessthe the abstraction studies. From one of these the economicsystemis viewed as the should be studiedfrom transported are by mechanism whichgoodsofvariouskindsand in variousquantities produced.a A.we disof as tinguish rulesofetiquette. is maintained thisexchange circulation persons life and services. These observeand thustake as his data are the proceedings or and forthe social anthropologist the reality. of structure lineages. between is system a set ofrelations and and transferred. and and groupswhichmaintains. The formof a social structure therefore be described in and groupsconform theirdealingswithone to of by thepatterns behaviour whichindividuals in another.

" " purpose" and " meaning. speak ofthe use or uses as to It seemsto be moreconvenient . Evans-Pritchard's literature.i. by limitation conflicts by of or of that might " arise from divergence interests. The a studyofsocial values in thissenseis therefore partofthe studyofsocialstructure.or on one or morecommon of form social solidarity where of interests. a systematic studyofthe legal institutions. A social relation does not resultfrom of similarity interests. I use the term" interest herein the widestpossiblesense. The system is of laws of a particular societycan onlybe fullyunderstood it is studiedin relationto the social if and . in words" use. forms tionsin manydifferent the As a last examplelet me mention studyof magicand witchcraft.that objectcan be said to have a social valueforthe personsthus associated. of of in termsof the part theyplay to Fromthe pointof viewthat I have attempted in social institutions. wellas morescholarly. To speak of an interest impliesa subject and an object and a relationbetweenthem.and thatis a subjectforlengthy we investigaofsociety. constitute machinery whicha social structure. inversely understanding thesocial structure the of requires. or Law is a partofthemachinery whicha certain by social structure maintained.I hesitateto use the of a network social relations. the senseofstandardised by maintainsits existenceand its continuity. I have not so faroffered a precisedefinition. the values expressed ritesand myths. convergence interest. whichin recentyearshas been so muchused and misusedin a multitude term" function. manyof themveryvague. Interest and value are correlative terms. Instead of beingused.But fora'scientific understanding need to knowjust how it does this.practically the members a society all of of in have-aninterest the observance the laws.e. then. Wheneverwe say that a subject has a certain interest an objectwe can state thesame thing sayingthatthe objecthas a certain in by value for the subject. whichrefer the two sides of an asymto metricalrelation.It is perhaps is to whichholdssociety again a truism say thatreligion thecement together.we can say that the law has a social value. in an earlyworkI approachedthe studyof what can It was from this point of view that in be conveniently called ritualvalues. of to refer all behaviour to that we regardas purposive. on a combination both of these. but you A socialrelation twoormoreindividualorganisms whenthere someadjustment existsbetween is of theirrespective interests. I extensive workon the Zande anthropological are as an illuminating exampleofwhatcan be donewhenthesethings systematically investigated in the social relations the members a community. I have talkedabout social relations. amongst otherthings." of termsoughtto be. whichthereis an on wouldpointto Dr. as scientific it assist in makingdistinctions. the briefly describe. is now used to confusethingsthat oughtto be distinguished.On Social Structure 9 certaindefinable social-relations between persons groups restored. to leads immediately the studyof interests values as Thus the studyof social structure or thedeterminants socialrelations. The simplest or is in about a certainresultand co-operate that end. of of but restseitheron the mutualinterest personsin one another." For it is often employed place ofthemoreordinary and sensible. and are maintained modified.. modesofbehaviour. to meanings. two personsare both interested bringing to in Whentwo or morepersons have a common interest an object. If.structure.

is to be produced.or of the funeral of or mentofcrime. in what is happening a British or Let us suppose that we wish to studyand understand was inhabited the at time. European or Western of reification abstracculture.it amongstthe personsinvolved.following to as or mode of activity. physiological the juices. mode ofthought. ofsociety. theygenerally is of characteristic this kind an important part in the new economicstructure. government and play structure one in whichtheEuropeanshave a largemeasureofcontrol. Ofthisimportant of change. A fewyearsago. to the lack ofadjustment divergent the In orderto understand social changesthat are takingplace in a societyofthiskind. As I have been accusan means of expressing important convenient of the I and others.or thesecretion gastric of organism. traders. it of or structure theexistence continuity which makesitscontributo is itsrelation theorganic to of as in tion.and different of values and ideas. Formerly region in Frenchcolonyor dependency Africa. European cultureis an abstraction fantasticto imaginethese two abstractions cominginto contactand by an act of generation . by of the thereis a third.ofhow newforms structures social structures the from fieldofcolonialsociology. are supposedto regardwhat is happeningin Africa called culturecomesinto contactwithan entity as a processin whichan entitycalled African whichis or is and a thirdnew entity produced.Analogously. we but not pologyas thestudy.different elements.Nowa newand morecomplexsocial structure byAfricans of been broughtinto existence. Lowie mean by functional which I have called social Besides these two divisionsof the study of social structure. ofan axe or digging for ratherthan to use the wordfunction these variousthings. as a result continued. comeintoexistence. It is in thissensethat I am interested such things the social function the punishritesof Australiantribes. purposeofan act oflegislation. branchofstudyI have timeforonlyone illustration. As such it has a certain of extreme exampleof a societycompounded heterogeneous interests. think. wereaskedtoabandonthiskindofinvestigacontact.settlers. a living of function thebeatingoftheheart.the meaning a wordor symbol. " Function" has been a very and termin physiology by analogywithits use in thatscienceit wouldbe a very useful technical conceptin social science. ofculture.10 A. culture. The outstanding different constitute classes. would define social function a Durkheim tomedto use the word. RADCLIFFE-BROWN-Presidential Address the of stick. The new political missionaries officials. its relation the social structure sociallystandardised in of to the existence and continuity whichit makessome contribution. thepresent has having their ownsocialstructure. R. But thisis not what either anthropology. the socialfunction the totemic or Malinowski Professor Professor ritesof the AndamanIslanders. This seemsto me essentialto studythe wholeset of relations yearsago and is stillbeing kindof studywas undertaken some ofus in SouthAfrica twenty by social anthroI perhapsofre-defining profitably. in some instances." In place ofthestudyofthe tionin favourofwhatis now calledthestudyof " culture we of formation new composite societies. The populationnow includesa certainnumber Europeansand. investigation the processes which and morphology social physiology. of due instability. I findit tions. It is an languages.To methisseemsa fantastic African as to be described Westernized and so is the cultureof an African tribe. with different of social structure that Europeans and Africans is sets customsand modesof life.

Organicevolutionhas two important have given rise to a verymuch largernumberof kinds. Therehas been a processby which. think and study. withit.from smallnumber forms socialstructure. thereis verylittledifferentiation of withthisthe systems social strucof social rolebetween personsor classes. or as defined the processby whichwide-range systemsof social structure . of specifically a processof emergence new to the Evolution.however. logist" is almosta termof abuse.but it is between a arrangement. namely. extentofthe fieldof betweencomplexity another systemwitha narrowtotal social field. We can contrast ture that we observeto-day in England or the United States. It is applied.But thereis evidenceof a fairly plexityis a problemrequiring of and feature structural the systems. a structural African. think. and crudestoneimplements sexual promismaterialand moralimprovement mankindfrom of of N. as " by It is convenient.or replaced. The way in whichwe are now able to of results progress. Like organicevolution. therehas beena process manydifferent this of have differentiation. in progress. that is. Thus the process of human applied mightbe historyto which I thinkthe term social evolutionmay be appropriately have grownout of.On Social Structure 11 Europeanand humanbeings.Y. as I understand term. Apartfrom differentiation sex and age. use theterm" progress fortheprocess whichhumanbeings to I of and through increase knowledge the attain to greatercontrolover the physicalenvironment by and improvement technique inventions discoveries. as but whichhe conceived the steady in relation society not to believed. developedout of. In systemsof this type we may findthat the linguistic from to 500. of forms have arisenin the courseof history. producing thirdabstraction.whilethepolitical is 250 who speak one language-numbers community even persons extendonlyovera very and economicrelationsby the exchangeof goods and services smaller.WhileI am unableto attachany definite I whichthe social thatsocialevolution a reality is of cultureor the evolutionoflanguage. I believe. small numberof kinds of organisms out of have come into existenceby development of (2) morecomplexforms organicstructure as meaning suchphrases theevolution to simpler forms.simpler or withreference theirgreater less comto systems to be classified are Justhow structural close correlation investigation. But even such antiand monogamous marriage Rochester. of of the destroy considerable portions citiesfrom air is one ofthelateststriking but it is. can be definedby two it shouldrecognise anthropologist of a of features. In a structural social relationswith only a small numberof other personis broughtinto directand indirect community-thebody of persons.an average or typical social relations.refers of features: (1) in the courseof it a forms structure. Thereis contact. the narrow by range. it takesplace within definite and anthropocirclesthe term " evolutionary You are aware that in certainanthropological Thus without muchdiscrimination. evolution and he of although rejectedthe theory organic Lewis Morganis called an evolutionist. Secondly. throughout processmorecomplexforms socialstructures forms. in evolution. cuityto the steam engines evolutionists Boas believein progress.verycloselyconnected Progressis not the same thingas social evolution.

. I have as endeavoured only to give you a verygeneralidea of the kind of studyto whichI have found of proportion mytime it scientifically and profitable devotea considerable steadilyincreasing to and energy. I have made no attemptto deal with social anthropology a whole and with all its various branches and divisions. The onlyrewardthat I have soughtI thinkI have in somemeasurefound-somethingof the kind of insightinto the natureof the worldof whichwe are part that only the patientpursuitof the methodof naturalsciencecan afford. R. is to Thereis no timeon this occasionto discussthe relationof the studyof social structure I attemptto bringthe two kinds of studytogether the study of culture.I suggest replaced.narrow-range systems. Gregory Bateson's book Naven. For an interesting would refer you to Mr. RADCLIFFE-BRoWN-Presidential that the conthisview is acceptableor not.12 Address: On Social Structure A.Whether in to cept of social evolution one whichrequires be defined termsof social structure.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful