“culture”, but it is culture viewed in a narrow sense.
Culture, rather than consisting of the material and behavioral phenomena
of a society, is viewed as consisting only
Cultural anthropology in America during the past decade and a
half has been strongly influenced by the distinction drawn by Goodenough
(1956a) between ethnography and ethnology and by the approach to
ethnography that has its roots in the same soil as this distinction.
This approach is represented in the work of Conklin (1964, 1967),
Goodenough (1956a, 1957, 1964b), and Frake (1961, 1962) as well
as others whom we shall discuss shortly.
The basic theoretical construct in this approac
of the cognitive organization of these phenomena
(cf. Tyler 1969: 3). Thus, the theoretical position of this approach
is that culture is a code (cf. Goodenough 1957: 168) and the models
and methodology to be used in its elucidation are those of linguistics.
For instance, Frake in attempting to define ethnography in terms
of this new approach writes:
The discipline [ethnography] is akin to linguistics; indeed,
descriptive linguistics is but a special case of ethnography since
its domain of study, speech messages, is an integral part of a
larger domain of socially interpretable acts and artifacts. It
is this total domain of “messages” (including speech)
that is the concern of the ethnographer. The ethnographer, like
the linguist, seeks to describe an infinite set of variable messages
as manifestations of a finite shared code, the code being a set
of rules for the socially appropriate construction and interpretation
of messages (1964a: 132).
This approach to anthropological inquiry has been variously called
the “new ethnography”, “ethnoscience”, “ethnosemantics”,
“structural ethnography” (cf. Hymes 1964a), and “cognitive
anthropology” (cf. Tyler 1969). However, none of these terms,
in my opinion, adequately identify the main intellectual currents
in this approach, and, consequently, I propose here to refer to
those who deal with the cognitive aspects of a culture largely,
but not necessarily exclusively, in terms of the techniques of structural
linguistics as “cognitive structuralists”.
However, our purpose here is not to review the whole literature
of cognitive structuralism, which has now become large. Instead
we will focus primarily on those writers who have attempted to explain
and justify the epistemological basis of cognitive structuralism,
and our critique of this approach will be largely but not exclusively
in terms of the logic of the linguistic models that the cognitive
structuralists use as well as in terms of the internal logic and
consistency of their theory.
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN ETHNOGRAPHY AND ETHNOLOGY
When the people of the Earth all know beauty as beauty,
There arises (the recognition of) ugliness.
When the people of the Earth all know the good as good,
There arises (the recognition of) evil.
Tao-te-ching, Book One, trans. by Lin Yutang (1948)
One of the earliest publications in the genealogy of cognitive structuralism
is Goodenough’s monograph on Trukese property and kin groupings.
He explicitly introduces the use of a linguistic model for cultural
... a culture is as susceptible of rigorous analysis and description
as is any language. The demonstration of this proposition is,
in fact, a long-range objective towards which the present study
was undertaken as an exploratory step. The writer feels that the
recent advances in methodological and conceptual rigor in descriptive
linguistics present a serious challenge to descriptive ethnography;
for patterned verbal behaviors, the basic data of linguistics,
are but one branch of patterned behaviors in general, which are
the basic data of ethnographic analysis ... (1951: 10).
Goodenough at the same time raised questions as to the value of
numerical data such as are collected for purposes of cross-cultural
comparison; and he reached a significant conclusion on which he
was to elaborate in subsequent publications. While the methodology
of comparative inquiry produces a summary at one point in time of
the results of many decisions, Goodenough argued (1951: 11), it
does not elucidate the cultural rules whose application results
in that situation.
Another early significant paper in the genealogy of cognitive structuralism
was Conklin’s discussion of Hanunoo color categories. This
paper demonstrated the need for more rigorous methods, devoid of
contamination from the socio-cultural system of the investigator,
in the analysis of specific semantic systems. Thus, Conklin states:
Color terms are a part of the vocabulary of particular languages
and only the intracultural analysis of such lexical sets and their
correlates can provide the key to their understanding and range
of applicability. The study of isolated and assumed translations
in other languages can only lead to confusion (1955: 340).
However, this distinction drawn between that which has sometimes
been called the “inside” view of culture versus the
“outside” view did not receive extensive treatment until
Goodenough’s seminal article on residence (1956a) in which
he explicitly contrasted the methodology of ethnography with ethnology.
Both Goodenough and Fischer had worked on Truk and had taken household
censuses. But Goodenough’s classification of residence patterns
differed significantly from that produced by Fischer. In attempting
to explain how this came about, Goodenough concluded that the difficulty
arose as the result of using cross-cultural concepts, entities,
and categories in investigations of particular sociocultural systems.
Concepts used for comparative purposes, moreover, must be based
on criteria which are independent of any particular culture....
It is, therefore, a procedural fallacy to use these concepts
as a basis for classifying the residence choices of individual
members of a society. They do not choose on the basis of criteria
which are outside their culture, which exist only in the heads
of the anthropologists. They choose on the basis of criteria which
are provided by their particular culture and which may be quite
different -- indeed probably are -- from those used by the anthropologist
in classifying their culture (1956a: 20).
Therefore Goodenough concludes:
... what we do as ethnographers is, and must be kept, independent
of what we do as comparative ethnologists. An ethnographer is
constructing a theory that will make intelligible what goes on
in a particular social universe. A comparativist is trying to
find principles common to many different universes.... Although
they operate at different levels of abstraction, both ethnographer
and comparativist are engaged in theory construction. Each must,
therefore, develop concepts appropriate to his own level of abstraction
. . . (1956a: 37).
This important distinction between the “ethnographic”
and the “ethnological” points of view, although phrased
in a stimulating and thought-provoking form, was not entirely new
at the time Goodenough published this article. Pike (1954), also
using a linguistic model, had distinguished “etic” investigations
with cross-cultural concerns and validity from “emic”,
i.e., system-specific investigations, that focus on the distinctions
that are structurally significant for a specific sociocultural system.
What was new, however, and significantly so, was the conclusion
drawn by Goodenough from this distinction. He did not believe the
difficulties that he found in residence classification in the Trukese
data could be solved by the normal progress of anthropological science
as it was then indicated. Instead, he viewed the discrepancy in
the two sets of data as calling for new theory and new concepts
for describing specific sociocultural systems.
However, before proceeding with our analysis, certain observations
might be usefully made here. Goodenough’s article (1956a)
has attracted wide interest and favorable comment. And it has had
a significant, if not revolutionary, impact on American anthropology.
For example, Naroll generalizes the distinction Goodenough made
in this article into what he calls “Goodenough’s Rule”
(1967). This response appears to have arisen because Goodenough,
by presenting a confrontation between two sets of apparently incompatible
data, demonstrated for the first time that this trouble spot in
anthropological science appeared insolvable by normal procedures.
And consequently to resolve this anomaly, a new approach using new
conceptual tools was called for. It is also interesting to note
that while cognitive structuralism has come under attack (see Berreman
1966; Coult ]968; and Harris 1968 for example), there has not been
any full scale attempt to explain within the terms of standard anthropological
theory the discrepancy Goodenough noted between his data and Fischer’s.
At this juncture I think it may also be illuminating to point
out with regard to the history of science that the early cognitive
structuralists stem from the same environment that is considered
by some to have produced the acme in cross-cultural research methods,
Yale University. Consequently, since the conceptual framework of
the cognitive structuralists and those engaged in cross-cultural
research developed in a similar environment, it may have been necessary
to overdraw the distinction between ethnography and ethnology to
establish the necessary contrast. Certainly Goodenough’s distinction
in his 1956a article seems to be overdrawn, particularly in light
of his later articles. However, before discussing these, we shall
examine some of the implications of the ethnography-ethnology distinction
and the approaches used by others who have incorporated this distinction
into their thinking.
The Paradox of Extreme Relativism
The distinction that Goodenough has made between what may be referred
to as system-specific models and ethnological models is an important
and far-reaching one. However, carrying this distinction to an extreme
with a disregard to the interplay between ethnological investigation
on the one hand and the data derived from ethnographical research
and its attendant concepts can result in what might be called the
paradox of extreme relativism: How can any system be described without
reference to any other system?
This issue of cultural relativism is an unresolved one in the
field of cognitive structuralism, the implications of which will
concern us in one form or another throughout the remainder of this
essay. And while there is no monolithic view on cultural relativism
among the cognitive structuralists, they, nevertheless, all tend
towards the more extreme end of the continuum, at one pole of which
are found those who maintain that an abstraction of any item from
a cultural system to compare it cross-culturally renders the data
meaningless (see Berlin and Kay n.d.: 32 for a discussion of this
extreme position) and at the other, those anthropologists who are
concerned solely with transcultural analysis and regularities. In
spite of their position on cultural relativity, one feature common
to all cognitive structuralists, as we shall point out, is the difficulty
of maintaining a consistent system-specific stance in their ethnographic
We shall return to this problem of extreme cultural relativism
later on in this essay and deal with it in depth after we have considered
various related issues in cognitive structuralism. But first to
set the stage for our inquiry into the epistemological basis of
cognitive structuralism, we shall present Hymes’ view of cultural
Hymes has raised objections to any distinction between system-specific
models and ethnological or universal models which would lead to
an extreme position on relativism. He points out:
Thus, not only is an understanding of universals impossible on
the view of a radical structural relativism that would hold consistently
that in language “there are only differences,” but
some features of individual systems in turn would be less intelligible,
less deeply investigable (1964a: 19).
Hymes maintains that Jacobson’s conception of distinctive
features is a “brilliant indication of how structural perspective
and principle can be maintained at the levels of both individual
systems and the universe of systems” (1964a: 19). Not only,
Hymes states, can features of individual systems be at once structural
and universal, but novel structural features and relations can be
discerned on the level of universals. He concludes (1964a: 20) that
it is difficult to maintain “a thoroughgoing, consistent balance
between ethnology and ethnography, the comparative and the descriptive”
and that there is constantly the danger of “slipping into
a static mold, dividing the two, and perhaps assigning priority
to one, whereas the two must develop in a sort of dialectic relation”.
The issue of radical relativism stems from the view taken by the
cognitive structuralists on a priori categories, and further facets
of this issue are revealed when the position of the cognitive structuralist
on induction and apriorism is analyzed. However, before doing this,
let us consider Goodenough’s revised position on ethnography
and ethnology and the use of the phonetic-phonemic distinction as
an analogy to explicate the contrast between ethnology and ethnography.
Goodenough’s Revised Position
In an article published in 1964 Goodenough takes the revised position
that the conceptual levels of ethnography and ethnology are not
completely disparate but are in fact interrelated. However, in this
he apparently views the goals of ethnological inquiry in different
terms than previously. He writes:
Constructing models of kinship phenomena is profitable at both
levels of cultural anthropological analysis, the ethnographic
and the ethnological. In ethnography there is need to construct
for each society’s kinship system a model that most accurately
and elegantly describes it. Ethnology, on the other hand, requires
us to construct models that pertain to all kinship systems, in
terms of which the many different ethnographic models can be compared.
What these more general models look like, insofar as they have
an empirical base, depends on the kind of models we construct
in the particular cases of ethnography (1964b: 221).
This later view of the ethnography-ethnology distinction thus
may not contradict Goodenough’s earlier statement so much
as it reflects a further refinement in his thinking. Goodenough
(1956a) originally made no distinction between comparative studies
and ethnology but used these terms interchangeably. However, by
1964 Goodenough (1964a, 1964b ) has distinguished comparative studies
from ethnology. The approach which he sometimes referred to as “ethnology”
in his original 1956a article has now been rephrased as “comparative
studies”, and he writes: “Consideration of typology
and its attendant problems made it clear that classifications appropriate
to comparative study are on a different conceptual level, serving
different purposes, from the categorical distinctions that make
the best sense of phenomena within a particular society” (1964a:
In contrast to comparative studies, ethnology in this revised
view is concerned with the construction of universal models from
the system-specific models that are produced by the new approach
to ethnography. These new models will not only provide procedures
by which specific cultural systems may be described, but also they
will provide the tools by which the cognitive structuralist will
be able to make profitable cross-cultural comparisons.
It is also important here to note that Goodenough uses the term
“comparative studies” in a very restricted sense. He
is referring to those studies that employ the concepts and taxonomies
of institutions such as family, descent, marriage, etc., that have
developed over the years of anthropological inquiry. They have failed
to be universally applicable because they carry a cultural load
from the anthropologist’s own culture in contrast to the conceptual
tools of the new ethnography, which are claimed to be culture-free
and universal. That Goodenough does not eschew the comparative method
as such is shown in his view of the “new ethnology”
(as specified above) and by his use of the Lapp kinship system to
elucidate a distinction in the American system (1964a).
In conclusion, the comparative method must thus be distinguished
from “comparative studies” used in this restricted sense.
That this is not done in the discussions of the ethnography-ethnology
distinctions frequently leads to what appears to be contradictions
and misjoined arguments. For example, certain inquiries using a
comparative methodology are rejected out of hand without first attempting
to discover whether the concepts used belong to the genre of “comparative
studies” or not.
The Phonetic-Phonemic Model
To describe the relationship between the ethnographical and ethnological
(most frequently in its comparative-studies sense but occasionally
also in its universal-model sense) a linguistic analogy has been
used in which phonetic procedures are equated with ethnology. Thus,
the distinction between ethnography and ethnology in terms of this
discourse is frequently phrased as an “etic-emic” distinction
(see Pike 1954 for its original use; also Sturtevant 1964). For
example, Goodenough in his 1964a discussion uses this linguistic
model to explicate the distinction between ethnography and comparative
studies. He maintains that the classification appropriate to comparative
studies must be applicable to all societies, while the categories
for ethnographic analysis must allow for the most economical statements
of behavioral events within some one society as a universe in itself
(1964a: 9). This distinction, he writes, has its counterparts in
There, the analyst has a phonetic classification of sound types
(international phonetic alphabet) with which he can describe the
phonology of all languages and thus render them comparable. But
the distinctions in this phonetic classification are not congruent
with the distinctions of speech sound that are significant in
any one language.... An object of descriptive analysis is to apply
rigorous procedures by which to move from the general phonetic
classification of initial observation and transcription to a new
one--a phonemic classification--which most adequately and elegantly
accounts for the meaningful acoustical distinctions in the speech
of the native speakers ( 1964a: 9-10).
However, the equation of phonetics with comparative studies and
phonemics with the new ethnography is not valid within the logic
of the discourse that Goodenough uses. While it is true that phonetics
and the categories of the comparativist share one feature, their
cross-cultural relevance, phonetics contrasts with the categories
of the comparativist in a more important feature. The cognitive
structuralists specifically state that the concepts of the comparativist
do not provide procedures for the development of the system-specific
models that are the concern of the new ethnography. But the phonetic
grid does just this in conjunction with the concept of a phonemic
system. It provides procedures which lead to the isolation and description
of the phonemics of a specific language. Consequently, since phonetics
shares two features with the universal models of the cognitive structuralists,
universal relevance and procedures leading to descriptions of system-specific
distinctions, it seems more appropriate to equate the phonetic level
with universal models rather than with the categories of the comparativist.
To summarize, the ethnology-ethnography distinction is frequently
equated with the phonetic-phonemic model, but the referent for “ethnology”
in these comparisons is commonly not made clear. Where “ethnology”
is used to refer to comparative studies and the phonetic label used
in a somewhat pejorative sense, I have argued that this linguistic
model is completely inappropriate. Instead this linguistic model
can only be appropriately applied when “ethnology” is
used to refer to the “new ethnology” which is concerned
with the building of universal models and is in a dialectical relationship
with the “new ethnography”.
This brings us to a discussion of the position taken by the cognitive
structuralists on induction and a priori categories, which, when
held in an extreme sense, leads us to what I have called “the
paradox of the cultureless ethnographer”.
THE PROBLEM OF INDUCTION AND A PRIORI CATEGORIES
One of the basic tenets of the cognitive structuralists is that
scientific discovery procedures are based on the logic of induction,
and, consequently, prior category assumption must be eschewed. For
example, Conklin writes:
In ethnography, significant categories and relations are derived
from intracultural analysis; they are not determined by the application
of a previously designed typological grid. Prior category assumption
is ruled out, and, instead, we try to base our work on such concrete
realities as a local group of people and the kinds of objects
and events the members of this group treat as culturally significant
. . . (1964: 26).
Keesing uses a similar position as a basis for criticizing Nelson’s
comments (1965) on Befu’s analysis of Japanese social structure.
I assume that when we analyze the social organization of a particular
people, our immediate goal is a description which will permit
productive statements about social interaction (Goodenough 1951,
1957). That is, it will tell us who will act in what capacity
in what situations -- defining acts, capacities (i.e., roles or
social identities), and situations as they are perceived and categorized
by the actors themselves.
Given this assumption, prescriptive definitions of “descent”,
“kindred”, etc., are completely out of place in an
ethnographic description. We should isolate the categories and
relationships which are culturally relevant and describe them
rigorously. When we have done this, what we label them assumes
an appropriately lesser importance (1966a: 475).
It is useful to discuss here in detail Keesing’s criticism
of Nelson as by so doing we can illustrate certain of the issues
raised by cognitive structuralism. First of all, within the logic
of the ethnology-ethnography distinction, a dismissal of “prescriptive
definitions” cannot be entertained until it has been ascertained
whether the definition was advanced for comparative or ethnographical
purposes. That this is seldom done in the criticism by the cognitive
structuralists of the work of other anthropologists suggests that
they hold the theoretical position of the comparative ethnologist
to be untenable, rather than being merely unproductive. In this
view, the methods of comparative ethnology are invalid because purposeful
behavior is analyzed in terms of its meaning within a theory, however
covert, of the comparativist rather than in terms of its system-specific
meaning. But in dismissing the methods of the comparativist in terms
of their being based on theory meaning rather than their being unproductive,
the cognitive structuralists have placed themselves in a position
of being against all anthropological inquiry based on theory meaning.
I shall return to the import of this problem later in my discussion.
However, what the cognitive structuralists have failed to realize
in their quarrel with the comparative ethnologist is that their
argument is not really over the distinction between behavior viewed
in terms of theory meaning or system-specific meaning; or between
native categories and a priori categories, for as I discuss below
it is impossible to engage in any inquiry without a theory or a
priori categories. Instead their disagreement fundamentally is over
the levels and types of concepts used in scientific inquiry.
This becomes more clear in analyzing the problem of “prescriptive
definitions” and “prior category assumption”.
If we equate ethnographic description with the description of a
specific language, then Keesing’s admonishments against prescriptive
definitions would be equivalent to maintaining that the concept
of the phoneme, or the morpheme, for instance, are not amenable
to discussions of definition, which in fact has been far from the
case (see Chao 1934; Swadesh 1934; and Twaddell 1935).
But this concern over “prior category assumption” and
“prescriptive definitions” stems from the position that
the cognitive structuralists take on induction: only by induction
can valid scientific inference be drawn. This is the basis of Keesing’s
criticism of Nelson. Also, Goodenough specifically writes: “Ethnographic
description, then, requires methods processing observed phenomena
such that we can inductively construct a theory of how our informants
have organized the same phenomena.... [A phonetic transcription]
is the raw data from which statements describing language may be
induced...” (1957: 167-168).
However, this approach would appear to imply a simplistic view of
induction based on enumeration. Within recent years, the inductive
method has come under strong attack by Popper (1961) and by Jarvie
(1964). The logic of scientific inquiry is phrased by them in deductive
terms with the falsibility of hypotheses as the cornerstone. Interestingly
enough, Goodenough’s description of how a linguist proceeds
in the discovery of phonemes is not inductive in character but fits
this hypothetico-deductive method (see Braithwaite 1955; Salmon
1966). Goodenough states:
A linguist arrives at a statement of them [phonemes] not by direct
observation, but by testing various hypotheses which he formulates
about them until he finds a hypothesis which fits the acoustical
phenomena as he has noted them and which also provide him with
a model for producing acoustical phenomena himself which result
in predictable responses by others (1956b: 195-196).
Thus, the position of the cognitive structuralists is that the
anthropologist should record the distinctions of a society as perceived
and categorized by the members of that society themselves, and the
investigator will distort ethnographic reality if he approaches
a society with any a priori concepts. And yet, such concepts are
just what the linguist does use. While it is true that the properties
of a specific phoneme can only be described in terms of the system
in which it is found, the concept of the phoneme cannot. It is the
concept of the linguist, not that of the system being investigated
(Twaddell 1935; Roger Brown 1956). This is not to deny that the
phoneme described is a functioning category in the language being
analyzed, and this is in fact the crucial point in terms of the
argument over concepts.
Thus, the problem is not that the only valid scientific discovery
method is based on induction, for this turns out to be a chimera;
or that we must eschew apriorism, for the position taken here is
that this is in fact impossible. Rather than avoiding apriorism
the task of the scientist is to make the nature of his apriorism
more explicit so that it can be tested for adequacy and productiveness.
Consequently, instead of throwing our lot in with the inductive
method, what we need to do at this stage in the evolution of anthropological
inquiry is to focus on developing abstract analytical concepts.
By this I mean concepts that carry no cultural burden from any sociocultural
system (beyond that of why the question was posed in the first place).
Instead they are constructed from universal aspects of behavior
and include the observational procedures by which the cultural features
of the target society can be identified and described. We shall
return to discuss the nature of such concepts further after we have
considered the problem of apriorism in greater detail and presented
those solutions to this issue that have been devised by the cognitive
The Paradox of the Cultureless Ethnographer
Leach reaches conclusions with regard to comparative ethnography
and apriorism similar to that of the cognitive structuralists. His
point of view is that we have not yet devised universal, scientific
concepts but are still relying on the premises and concepts which
are inherent in the English-language pattern of thought (1961a:
27). But his corrective to this problem is not based on a linguistic
model in which system-specific distinctions are king. He argues
that we should devise mathematical models for analyzing our data.
Leach’s position on scientific concepts warrants further discussion,
and we will return to it later.
However, even Hempel who propounds a reconstructed inductionism
admits that it is impossible to eliminate a priori concepts in scientific
discovery (1966: 112-115). But we do not have to turn to philosophers
of science to find support for this conclusion that apriorism is
impossible to eradicate. Within the discipline of anthropology there
is a theoretical position which has the same entailment but which
strangely enough lies full in the historical stream which leads
up to the cognitive structuralists. This is the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
Thus, this brings us to a further paradox in the ethnography-ethnology
distinction which is related to the paradox of extreme relativism.
This latter paradox results from maintaining that the ethnographer
should not use any a priori concepts and at the same time maintaining
that every sociocultural system has its own idiosyncratic cognitive
style which determines for its members how they segment, absorb,
and explain raw experience. Therefore, to systematically investigate
and describe any specific system in terms of the new ethnography
required by the ethnography-ethnology distinction presupposes a
Resolutions to the Problem of A Priori Concepts and the
Problem of the Cultureless Ethnographer
In the original phrasing of the distinction in which ethnography
is contrasted with comparative ethnology, there is no apparent resolution
to this paradox of the cultureless ethnographer. However, in the
rephrasing of the distinction in which ethnology is equated with
the building of universal models from system-specific ones, a partial
resolution of this paradox and the problem of a priori concepts
lies in the methods used to construct the universal models.
First, inquiry should proceed from the particularistic to the
universal level rather than vice versa as the paradox of the cultureless
ethnographer at first would seem to suggest. New universal models
can then be built which are based not on the observations of the
culture-bound ethnographer, but on the distinctions which are discovered
to reside in a number of sociocultural systems (cf. Goodenough 1964b:
Once there has been sufficient data to build new universal models,
these can in turn be used as a means of discovery. Goodenough points
out: “One purpose of model construction at the general or
universal level is to provide investigators with a kit of things
to look for when making empirical studies at the particularistic
or ethnographic level” (1964b: 236).
Universal models that consist of a “kit of things to look
for” would seem to imply that for any cultural domain the
range of world cultures contains a finite number of distinctions.
And this brings us back to the problem of how one defines a cultural
domain. The entailment of the cognitive structural position is that
the cultural domain for any society can only be defined in system-specific
terms. This is the thrust of Conklin’s perceptive argument
with regard to the domain of kinship (1964). Schneider (1965) also
makes a similar point. Now a “kit of things to look for”
would not provide the conceptual tools that are necessary to define
the boundaries of a cultural domain in any particular society since
by definition it would include items both from within as well as
beyond the system-specific cultural domain.
However, there is yet another approach to these universal models
that are to be built from the experience of many ethnographic investigations
that would seem to resolve this boundary problem. This approach
focuses on the procedures used to determine the system-specific
models rather than on the possible content of these models.
Thus Goodenough writes:
At this level [the ethnographic], different kinship systems
require different models to describe them. The common denominator
is not to be found in any particular aspect of the formal content
of the various systems, but in the operations by which we construct
a model of what a system’s content is, by which we conceptualize
it in terms most appropriate to the phenomena (1964b: 221).
The third but related approach to the resolution of the paradox
of the cultureless ethnographer and the problem of a priori concepts
has also emphasized the development of culture-free field methods
and discovery procedures rather than a universal grid. And these
are based on those utilized by the members of the target society
themselves. Thus Frake (1964a) states that the ethnographer must
discover how a person in a given society finds out from one of his
fellows what he knows and this in general involves discovering the
queries that are put and the responses that are elicited by them
from native actors. And Metzger and Williams (1966) in order to
eliminate a priori categories have focused on eliciting procedures
in the development and use of native frames of reference.
Whether these approaches to the resolution of the problem of a
priori concepts and the paradox of the cultureless ethnographer
are sufficient or not is at the present state of development hard
to assay. We shall, however, return to the problem that a priori
concepts poses for the ethnographer later on in this paper and discuss
PROBLEMS IN DEALING WITH ACTIONS SYSTEMS
We have pointed out that the distinction between ethnology and
ethnography has had an important and seminal influence on cultural
anthropology in America (see Colby 1966 particularly for a review
of this influence). And we have analyzed how this distinction entails
certain paradoxes that are not easily resolved. We have also discussed
how the cognitive structuralists do not eschew ethnology, as long
as it is based on a particular type of universal model. However,
those that adhere to this distinction are not themselves able to
maintain an “ethnographic” stance consistently in the
analysis of their data.
This is not only true for material analyzed by means of componential
analysis, which we shall discuss shortly, but it is also true for
those analyses by the cognitive structuralists that occur within
the conceptual framework of social structure or social organization.
This, of course, should not surprise us for when we deal with the
theoretical construct of social structure we focus on action systems,
and, while the cognitive structuralists have been explicit on how
to handle the cognitive features of various cultural domains, they
have not specifically dealt with the procedures necessary for a
description of the distinctive features of action systems.
These difficulties in dealing with behavior arise because the
cognitive structuralists have tended to view behavior as an epiphenomenon,
a sometimes poor and inconsequential reflection of cognitive reality.
This position apparently stems from two sources. First, the linguistic
model used provides a paradigm for this. While the phonology of
a language can be described and the grammatical rules detailed,
what a person says on any particular occasion cannot be predicted.
Secondly, Goodenough has argued that in focusing on behavior in
the analysis of kin groupings and in ignoring the cultural principles
organizing this behavior in favor of their culture-bound concepts,
anthropologists have failed to identify nonunilineal descent groupings
and have in fact forced some of the empirical evidence for these
into a unilineal mold (cf. Goodenough 1955, 1961). Thus he writes:
anthropologists have been talking about two different orders
of reality as if they were part of the same order.... One of the
phenomenal order of observed events and the regularities they
exhibit.... An observer can perceive this kind of statistical
patterning in a community without any knowledge whatever of the
ideas, beliefs, values, and principles of action of the community’s
members, the ideational order.... The phenomenal order is a property
of the community as a material system of people, their surroundings,
and their behavior. The ideational order is a property not of
the community but of its members. It is their organization of
their experience within the phenomenal order, a product of cognitive
and instrumental (habit formation) learning. The ideational order,
unlike the statistical order, is nonmaterial, being composed of
ideal forms as they exist in people’s minds, propositions
about their interrelationships, preference ratings regarding them,
and recipes for their mutual ordering, as means to desired ends....
Thus, the phenomenal order of a community, its characteristic
“way of life”, is an artifact of the ideational order
of its members (1964a: 12).
There are several unresolved dilemmas with respect to this idealistic
position. First of all, it is only through behavior (linguistic
behavior, symbolic behavior, etc.) that we map the ideational world
of the subject. But, since behavior is only an epiphenomenon, an
artifact that has played us false, how can we be sure that the ideational
world defined by such behavior is valid? Of course there are levels
of behavior involved here, but what these are, how they are interrelated,
remains to be spelled out.
Furthermore, the argument for the primacy of the ideational world
is built upon another logical fallacy. Goodenough has argued that
the concepts used in comparative studies and other anthropological
inquiry have been culturally contaminated by the ideological concerns
of the western world (cf. Goodenough 1970). But if anthropological
methodology has failed to isolate the natural units of a society
because of its ethnocentric bias, of course there should be a disjunction
between the cognitive organization of the members of a target society
and the social units exogenously determined. We should not expect
otherwise. But this does not then provide us with a charter to focus
entirely on cognitive organization as the only true ethnographic
reality. What this does mean is that we have to devise better methods
of isolating the natural social units of a society (cf. Appell n.d.),
and only then can we test the relationship between cognitive organization
and social organization productively.
However, let us look at how the cognitive structuralists have
in fact dealt with empirical materials of social action. Keesing,
for example, in his description of Kwaio kindreds (futalana) states,
in a similar vein to other cognitive structuralists, “I construe
the structure, and component units, of a culture to be unique in
the same sense that the structure of a language is unique”
(1966b: 346). But his concern is not with the Kwaio semantic field
that includes the “kindred” as an element. Instead,
Keesing is concerned with the kindred as an element of social organization
for he writes to begin his article: “Few aspects of social
organization has provoked as much recent controversy as the personal
kindred . . .” (1966b: 346). Even so, in dealing with this
Kwaio category of futalana, Keesing states that his approach is
still to be “ethnographic” in the sense defined by Goodenough,
and he writes:
The best descriptive theory of Kwaio society I have so far devised
treats these classes of kin, defined in terms of nuclear individuals,
as important analytical units.... In such a description, the best
gloss for this cultural category would seem to be “kindred”
But Keesing also states:
Kwaio society could also be described without using a “kindred”
concept. The same empirical phenomena can be successfully accounted
for, though so far with somewhat less economy and more redundance.
Such a description would simply specify rules for determining
the kinship distance between any given individual and each of
his relatives.... Futalan would then refer to the collectivity
of these kin and could perhaps best be glossed as “his relatives”
This may ultimately turn out to be the most effective way of ordering
the data. Thus on the ethnographic level, whether Kwaio society
“has kindreds” or not boils down to question of descriptive
economy, not of “fact” (1966b: 347).
The entailment of the ethnography-ethnology distinction, it seems
to me, is that on one level of analysis the functioning social isolates
of the target society certainly must be identified and their interrelationships
detailed. And while Keesing has given us two different ways of viewing
the Kwaio futalana, he has not told us how the Kwaio themselves
view this social category. For example, we do not know whether the
Kwaio view the futalana as merely a social field in which the relations
of the members of that field to a propositus are solely diadic;
or whether the futalana is a functioning element in Kwaio social
organization. By a functioning element I mean here that the members
of this category have the recognition of a shared moral order with
regard to a particular propositus. And thus, even though the members
of this category individually hold identical rights or obligations
in a particular cultural domain with respect to a common propositus,
they recognized that they share these with the result that various
members, or a significant proportion of them, come together at the
pertinent times to form social groupings in order to discharge more
adequately their individually held obligations (see Appell 1967a).
The difficulty in applying linguistic models to action systems
is also illustrated in Goodenough’s work on the Lakalai hamlet.
This interesting contribution on the social structure of the Lakalai
hamlet was published in 1962 well after Goodenough had made his
conceptual innovation on the use of linguistic models for cultural
description, and in his latest work (1970) he continues to use this
material without resolving the problems that I have previously raised
(cf. Appell 1967a). He has not, in my opinion, described the cognitive
organizing principles for this grouping as he has failed, like Keesing,
to isolate the system-specific features of the social isolate. For
it is not clear whether the kin organization described is the result
of kinship being a necessary criteria for hamlet membership or only
the unintended outcome of a small scale society.
LINGUISTIC MODELS AND ACTION SYSTEMS
The application of linguistic theory and models to culture has
produced significant and perhaps unprecedented advances in our understanding
of the cognitive organization of cultural systems. But the use of
a linguistic paradigm in dealing with social behavior raises questions
as to its appropriateness, a problem which to my knowledge has never
been satisfactorily faced by the cognitive structuralist. Certainly,
the linguistic paradigm includes the assumption of automatic behavior
at certain speech levels, that is behavior carried on without the
conscious knowledge on the part of the subject, and in addition,
the lack of organized community-wide sanctions. Furthermore, I would
question whether many aspects of social structure such as “village”,
“descent group”, and so on occur with sufficient frequency
to form a corpus of social behavior large enough for the type of
analysis that the linguist does to speech behavior. And finally,
social behavior differs from speech behavior not only in that it
is less automatic, occurs less frequently, and has organized sanctions,
but also in that the members of a target society frequently have
very clear-cut “theories” as to how their society works
and use these “theories” to guide behavior. These “theories”
are outlined most frequently and explicitly at times of jural disputes,
and therefore, the features of the system-specific isolates of a
target society can often be best determined in such an environment.
Finally, if the cognitive structuralists are to be concerned with
social action, methods will thus have to be devised to link a specific
“descriptive theory” at least to the level of behavioral
reality and even perhaps to the deeper level of psychological reality.
And specifically with regard to the level of psychological reality,
techniques will have to be employed to establish that the formal
models actually distinguish between what is in the heads of the
members of a target society and what is in fact only representative
of what is in the head of the observer. This problem of the psychological
reality of the analysis has been recognized in componential analysis
and various tactics have been devised in attempts to deal with it.
Nevertheless, it still remains one of the most difficult, unresolved
problems for the cognitive structuralist.
Issues With Respect to the “Kindred” and Other Concepts
in Social Anthropology
But there are still other problems that have to be solved before
a linguistic model can be productively used to deal with social
The cognitive structuralists have expounded against a priori categories.
However, I have taken the position here that prior category assumption
is not necessarily inappropriate but that the type of a priori category
used is. For example, the concept of the phoneme is based on the
assumption that all languages may be productively described by the
use of such an a priori category. One of the difficulties in the
position of the cognitive structuralist is that no one has systematically
investigated the formal properties of the concepts used by the comparative
ethnologist and contrasted such properties with those concepts that
the cognitive structuralists believe are more productive. Thus,
they have not spelled out in detail the distinctive features of
concepts that are acceptable in the light of their theoretical position.
For example, Keesing in his criticism of Nelson’s use of “descent”
and “kindred” states that ethnographic investigations
should focus on “roles or social identities” and “situations
as they are perceived and categorized by the actors themselves”
(1966a: 475). However, are not “roles” and “social
identities” cross-cultural concepts? But most importantly,
Keesing offers no explanation as to how these concepts differ from
the concept of a kindred.
The distinction must thus be drawn between prior categories that
are structured in terms of content and those that involve observational
procedures for eliciting the content of any specific system. One
of the characteristics of the concept of the phoneme is that it
involves operational procedures for isolating the phonemes of a
specific language, and it seems to me it is perfectly plausible
to consider the kindred at a similar conceptual level as the phoneme
(see Appell 1967a for such an attempt) rather than as an ideal type.
But the cognitive structuralists have not, nor have they made an
analysis of the concept to show why it cannot be so considered.
Thus, Goodenough (1970) seems to have fallen into the same trap
of typologizing that he has accused the comparativists of being
ensnared in. He has elaborated a typology of kindred-like units
which appear to be based on similar ethnocentric conceptions of
the social order. Even if I have misinterpreted him and this turns
out to be the basis of an etic grid for kindreds, Goodenough still
has not provided this etic grid with a systems theory, comparable
to that of the phoneme, which, along with the necessary observational
procedures will enable the anthropologist to isolate the system-specific,
natural units of any society. And therefore it can only have limited
Thus to view the kindred in an analogous manner to the phoneme,
we would first have to construct a theory of social systems at the
same level of generalization that exists for languages, and at this
level such a theory would account for all social systems, not just
a limited range of societies such as unilineal ones or cognatic
ones (also cf. Leach 1961a). In constructing such a theory a society
may be conceived of, at least in part, as being composed of social
units and the relationship between such units with regard to scarce
goods and services, as I have suggested elsewhere (Appell 1965,
1967a, 1967b, 1968, n.d.). The social units of such a model would
comprise the persons, networks, groups, etc., that are recognized
by the society in question as forming functioning social entities
in various social realms. Such system-specific social entities I
have termed “social isolates”.
However, it is not my purpose at this point to construct a theory
of social systems but to analyze further the position taken against
apriorism by the cognitive structuralist and the other entailments
of the ethnography-ethnology distinction.
The Problem of Terminology and Misjoined Arguments
It has been argued, as an entailment of the ethnography-ethnology
distinction, that once the social entities of a particular social
system have been discovered and described, the term that is applied
to such entities is relatively unimportant, for “one can put
whatever labels one wishes on the categories isolated, just as in
linguistics once a phoneme has been isolated and described the assignment
of an alphabetical symbol to it is a matter of convenience”
(Goodenough 1956a: 29; see also Keesing 1966a and 1966b for the
One might be tempted to accuse the cognitive structuralists of
cognitive naivete, if the environment in which they are attempting
to make this contrast were not known. While it is true that the
assignment of a symbol to a phoneme is arbitrary and a matter of
convenience -- and this may be extended to include types of social
isolates as well-it is only arbitrary in theory. In a practical
manner it is arbitrary and a matter of convenience only with regard
to the first set of symbols used for a description of the first
phonemic system. From then on the specific symbol used becomes an
attribute of the category in conjunction with the related sounds
which forms the category (cf. Roger Brown 1956: 278). Thus, Lévi-Strauss
writes (1963: 91), “the linguistic sign is arbitrary a priori,
but ceases to be arbitrary a posteriori”.
However, the cognitive structuralists are attempting to make the
point within a particular environment. This environment involves
the free-ranging arguments over the definition of conceptual tools
such as “descent”, “the kindred”, etc.,
and their application. The cognitive structuralists are dissatisfied
with such arguments and the apparent waste of time and energy entailed
(cf. Conklin 1964: 29), but their dissatisfaction for these sterile
arguments is for the wrong reasons. Their position is that the system-specific
distinctions are paramount and that those used by the anthropologist
distort ethnographic reality. But they tend to forget that in the
linguistic model, the phoneme, for example, is also the concept
of the investigator and has also been subject to scrutiny and redefinition.
We should, therefore, not decry arguments per se over definitions,
just ones that have been misjoined.
The arguments over the term “kindred”, for example,
have been misjoined because any definition of the term should only
be viewed as a nominal definition, not a real definition. But the
disputants in the argument have reacted as if they were confronted
with a real definition rather than focusing on its entailments and
its productiveness (cf. Bierstedt 1959).
However, the cognitive structuralists want to avoid the paradoxical
situation which arises when arguments take place as to whether the
kindred does or does not exist in a particular society. For instance,
if in a society we label a distinctive social isolate as a “kindred”,
we are faced with the possibility that someone will argue that it
is not a kindred. We are then left with the problem of a social
isolate on our hands, which is recognized in the society as an important
distinction but whose existence in the anthropological profession
is denied, since there has been no alternative procedures provided
for identifying “kindredlike” social isolates other
than it is or it is not an example of the ideal type of kindred.
Instead of these, the arguments should have focused on whether an
operationalized concept of the kindred provides a useful and productive
approach for the discovery of social isolates in any specific system.
SYSTEM-SPECIFIC MEANING AND COMPONENTIAL ANALYSIS
The problem of maintaining a consistent system-specific perspective
is not only found in dealing with behavioral systems. It is also
found in componential analysis. In building models of a society,
the cognitive structuralists are concerned with describing behavior
in terms of the meaning it has for the actor and not for the observer.
Componential analysis was originally viewed as a procedure for discovering
such system-specific meaning, and the elements isolated, it was
maintained, had relevance only for the particular system. As such,
these elements could not be compared cross-culturally just as, using
the phonetic- phonemic analogy, the phoneme /p/ in Malay cannot
be compared with the /p/ of English since they only have relevance
in terms of the particular structure of the system in which they
However, as Colby points out, the development of a componential
analysis for any specific system has leaned heavily on distinctions
found in other system (1966: 9).
This conclusion is substantiated by Goodenough’s discussion
of the relevance of his model of the Truk kinship system (1964b:221):
“The analysis showed that, in addition to the classic list
of criteria for discriminating kinsmen first noted by Kroeber (1909)
and later elaborated by Murdock (1949), there are others that also
may enter into kinship systems . . .” .
However, within the logic of the discourse of the ethnography-ethnology
contrast a distinctive feature characteristic of the cognitive structure
of a specific system cannot be taken from such a system for cross-cultural
use without unacceptable distortion. It is at the phonemic level,
not the phonetic. Nevertheless, it still could have cross-cultural
relevance, I would argue, if procedures were introduced to generalize
it to the etic level, which is founded on different operations than
the emic. This is certainly the logical entailment of using the
linguistic analogy, and such an approach would appear to be one
resolution to the dilemma of extreme cultural relativism. But the
processes by which this can be done have yet to be explored by the
cognitive structuralists. Thus, it might be argued, on the basis
of the logic of cognitive structuralism as presently phrased, that,
contrary to Goodenough’s claim, the feature he found in the
Lapp system can have no relevance for the English system since the
generalization of the Lapp feature to the “phonetic”
level has not been explicitly made (1964b).
The position of the cognitive structuralists that componential
analysis represented the cognitive world of the target society has
been attacked by Burling (1964a). He pointed out that those who
claim that componential analysis or comparative methods of semantic
analysis can provide a means for discovering how people construe
their world must first explain how to eliminate the great majority
of logical possibilities and narrow the choice to the one or few
that are “psychologically real.”
By 1965 Wallace observed: “The claim that a componential
analysis represents a native speaker’s cognitive world is
now often avoided...” (1965: 229). And he argued that componential
analysis does not yield a unique description of a native cognitive
system but instead the psychological validity of the analysis must
be established by means independent of the mechanics internal to
componential analysis itself. Thus he writes that the investigator:
needs to use additional techniques beyond those of the classic
method of componential analysis. First, there must be techniques
for identifying dimensions of classification and logical operations
which are demonstrably real to the native speaker. Second, there
must be techniques for demonstrating that a given logical operation
or dimension of classification, however derived by the anthropologist,
is not employed in the native speaker’s semantic calculus
Wallace then presents the procedures that he and John Atkins used
to identify the psychologically real dimensions of the Japanese
kinship system and the psychologically real logical operations used.
Romney and D’Andrade (1964) have also suggested means for
testing for the psychological validity of a componential analysis.
Viewed in this light, any componential model that does not include
procedures for linking it with the psychological reality of the
target society has not truly replicated the cognitive structure
of the target society and may be thus considered by some to represent
an incomplete emic analysis. (We will shortly discuss further the
import of linking formal models with empirical reality.) However,
such untested formal models should not be discarded. Wallace (1965:
245-247) points out that they may indicate logical implications
of the empirical system, points most likely to yield to cultural
innovation or change, and therefore they are useful for predictive
Goodenough’s position on the psychological validity of componential
analysis has evolved, and it would now appear that he considers
it to be a false issue in the sense that there is no one true psychological
reality for a target society. Thus, he writes:
The criteria by which one chooses one model over another, however,
remain to be determined. The very fact that it is possible to
construct more than one valid model of a semantic system has profound
implications for cultural theory, calling into question the anthropological
premise that a society’s culture is “shared”
by its members . . . (1965: 259).
Goodenough thus raises a fundamental issue in anthropological
inquiry that demands further attention. For at present our analytical
constructs, with the exception of Wallace’s mazeway, presuppose
the sharing of sociocultural material and do not generally include
procedures for eliciting data on the degree to which behavior is
actually shared by the members of the society we study.
By 1967 Goodenough had further elaborated on this position. He
writes that there is no one “true” cognitive view for
anthropological sciences to discover and describe, for people “do
not necessarily share a common view but merely have the illusion
that they do” (1967: 1207). Componential analysis instead
provides “a formal model of the procedures by which people
learn what others seem to mean by the words that they use”.
Thus, with regard to his analysis of Lapp kinship he writes:
people who use their terms in the same way may still have somewhat
different subjective views as to what the terms signify, and if
the same person may have more than one view, any componential
representation of what the term means, provided it leads us to
use them denotatively in the same way others do, is ethnographically
adequate.... it would be wrong to assume that the model of Lapp-kinship
semantics presented here represents the way individual Lapps actually
think about the signification of their kinship terms (just as
it would be wrong to assume that the formal statement of a language’s
grammar represents the way individual speakers think about that
grammar). What the model represents is a pattern of usage, something
each Lapp spends a considerable portion of his life learning to
understand. Adequate representations of this usage are bound to
help us share understanding with Lapps in the same way that Lapps
share understanding with one another--and with the same limitations
I find Goodenough’s position as represented here not entirely
clear. He appears to maintain that the model produced by componential
analysis does not represent the psychological reality of a target
society; but that it does represent the cognitive processes by which
the members of the target society learn to use its terms. These
processes would also appear to be universal processes, used by the
anthropologist as well; but the members of the target society are
not able to articulate these in such a manner as is provided by
componential analysis. But between the level of analysis which enables
the anthropologist to use the terms correctly and the deeper level
of universal psychological processes--so Goodenough’s position
seems to indicate--lies an unexplored area of multiple, system-specific
psychological realities that are not tapped by componential analyses.
Thus the issue whether or not the goal of componential analysis
can or should be to replicate psychological reality or behavioral
reality is an important one, but it incompletely defines the nature
of the problem. The position taken by Hammer (1966) and D. Kaplan
(1968) throws further light on the problem. Their view – if
I do not do them too great an injustice by so summarizing it –
is that a formal model by its very nature is a simplification of
empirical reality, whether behavioral or psychological. Therefore,
it cannot replicate empirical reality. Formal models must be first
judged as adequate in their own terms, that is by using formal criteria.
Following that, the degree of their linkage with empirical reality
must be demonstrated. Hammer (1966) takes the position that it is
immaterial whether formal models represent the “native cognitive
structure”. Instead in explicating the linkage of formal models
with empirical reality the issue really is the application, scope,
and limitations of the model. D. Kaplan (1968) also points out that
formal models cannot generate empirical conclusions, and he criticizes
some of Lounsbury’s recent conclusions on these terms.
But before we consider Lounsbury’s approach, I believe the
following observations can be made from our discussion of componential
analysis. Psychological processes are infinitely more complex than
behavioral reality, infinitely more difficult to investigate, and
thus it is interesting to note that the most successful attempts
in this regard have been done with highly literate subjects. Furthermore,
the validity of the psychological-reality issue can be challenged
on the grounds that there are in fact multiple psychological realities
for any social domain in any society as well as on the grounds that
it is a false issue, since all formal models so simplify empirical
reality that a duplication of the psychological reality in any domain
is in fact unattainable. However, componential analysis can with
certain limitations replicate the usage of native categories and,
therefore, can open the door to certain behavioral levels of system-specific
meaning, if operations to link the formal model to the behavioral
level of reality are used.
The entailment of this is that while formal analyses of published
data or of data removed from field situations may help develop more
powerful formal models, such analyses do not necessarily delineate
system-specific reality. This can only be done in the field by constantly
checking one’s model against behavioral events. Furthermore,
such second-hand data may include “cultural pseudomorphs”,
spurious cultural forms that combine ideological items from the
culture of the investigator and the culture of the target society
(Appell n.d.), particularly if the collection of the data was not
done in terms of the goals of cognitive structuralism (see footnote
THE EXTENSIONIST APPROACH OF LOUNSBURY
Up to this point we have not considered the work of Lounsbury
for two reasons. First of all, he has not, to my knowledge, made
any statements as to the relevance of his work to the ethnography-ethnology
distinction or to most of the other epistemic issues in cognitive
structuralism we have been considering. Secondly, following his
early, ground-breaking contribution to the development of componential
analysis (1956, 1964a), he has in recent analyses of kinship systems
veered away from this to develop what has been called the “extensionist”
method. And this new and powerful method has been viewed on one
hand as complementary to componential analysis and on the other
as contradictory to some aspects of the position taken by the cognitive
structuralists. Thus at this point a discussion of Lounsbury’s
recent approach will throw light on many of the issues of cognitive
structuralism we have isolated.
Lounsbury describes his approach as follows:
We may consider that a “formal account” of a collection
of empirical data has been given when there have been specified
(1) a set of primitive elements, and (2) a set of rules for operating
on these, such that by the application of the latter to the former,
the elements of a “model” are generated; which model
in turn comes satisfactorily close to being a facsimile or exact
replica of the empirical data whose interrelatedness and systemic
nature we are trying to understand. A formal account is thus an
apparatus for predicting back the data at hand, thereby making
them “understandable”, i.e., showing them to be the
lawful and expectable consequences of an underlying principle
that may be presumed to be at work at their source (1964b: 351).
The assumptions necessary for his method of formal analysis are
explicitly stated by Lounsbury (see 1964b: 381-382, 1965: 149-152).
First of all he makes the assumption that every kinship term has
a primary referent and that this primary referent is the genealogically
closest kin-type from the class of those covered by the term. Secondly,
these classificatory kinship terms have, beside their primary referents,
secondary referents consisting of more distant types of relatives.
These secondary referents may be rephrased in terms of their primary
referents by one or more genealogically-based equivalence rules.
Thus, Lounsbury states his position is both Murdockian and Malinowskian.
It is Murdockian in that he assumes the importance and near universality
of the nuclear family; and it is Malinowskian in that he assumes
that the relations of kinship and thus the basic meaning of kin
terms derive from the primary relations that arise within the nuclear
However, Lounsbury is not concerned with developing a methodology
for producing a “valid ethnography” in the terms of
cognitive structuralism. Instead his interests lie in other directions.
He hopes that his formal method “may eventually make it possible
to do ‘controlled comparison’ with sufficient rigor
so that the results can be meaningful” (1965: 181). He also
hopes this method will lead to more adequate functional explanations.
Thus, he considers his results to be relevant to problems of social
structure, and he relates his extension rules to “social facts”,
such as rules of succession (1964b: 382-383). Consequently, the
discovery and statement of the extensionist rules for any society
“constitute a necessary preparation for a proper sociological
explanation. . .” (1965: 175).
One of the issues we have been concerned with is the relation
of such formal models to the system-specific distinctions of a target
society. There is evidence that Lounsbury believes his transformation
rules do isolate system-specific distinctions for he refers to his
rules as “semantic rules” and his method as “semantic
analysis”. But whether they replicate behavioral reality or
psychological reality is not completely clear. There is some indication,
however, that they might in fact have relevance at the psychological
level for Lounsbury indicates that componential analysis is a method
for determining overt classificatory equivalences while his extensionist
analysis is a method of discovering covert equivalences (cf. 1965:
But it should be noted that Lounsbury has not become involved
as yet in the issue as to whether such formal models are sufficient
to replicate system-specific reality or whether other operations
must be included to link the transformational analysis with empirical
reality. D. Kaplan sums up the problem as follows:
Methodologically, a formal analysis is useful because it may
reveal significant relationships among the variables of a system
of which we might have been totally unaware. But the formally
possible is not the empirically probable, and if it is scientific
theory we wish to develop, the former is useful only to the extent
that it leads us to the latter. Until a formal analysis is made
substantive by being given an empirical interpretation, it can
only remain an interesting logical exercise (1968: 247).
Certainly, if we consider that identical terminological systems
are embedded in markedly different sociocultural systems, a serious
question is raised as to just what level the methods of componential
analysis and the extensionist approach do replicate in sociocultural
systems. And for those cognitive structuralists who take an extreme
position on cultural relativism, this is a crucial but as yet unanswered
Lounsbury’s Approach and the Etic-Emic Analogy
Additional light is thrown on Lounsbury’s position if we
consider how his approach fits the phonetic-phonemic analogy, and
a consideration of this will also further our inquiry into the nature
of anthropological concepts. However, first it should be made clear
that Lounsbury’s view of anthropological inquiry is hardly
isomorphic with that of the cognitive structuralists. For example,
even though the analytical techniques he has developed form an important
part of the methodology of the cognitive structuralists, he does
not take an extreme position on cultural relativism. In fact he
suggests that cultural relativism rather than being considered as
a doctrine should be in fact an empirical question for whatever
cultural domain is under investigation (cf. 1965: 182). Thus he
argues that contrary to what others have maintained, the use of
genealogical concepts in analyzing kinship data does not impose
an ethnocentric bias. For if it did, “how is it that the end
product of all this wrongheadedness turns out to be an internally
consistent, simple, and accurate account of the ethnographer’s
collection of data. . ., rather than ending in total confusion and
‘utter incomprehensibility’ as we ought to expect?”
Lounsbury’s answer to this question is:
The genealogical frame of reference was the correct one after
all; the extensionist hypothesis was right in the first place;
and the nuclear family (which is fundamental to both of these)
is probably--in a certain minimal but basic sense--just about
what Malinowski and Murdock have judged it to be. (To admit of
this universality in essential elements of the nuclear family,
however, is by no means to imply uniformity in the cultural interpretation
and legal attributes of these elementary relationships in different
societies.... In the foregoing analysis we have caught a glimpse
of some of the many variables [the different equivalences, their
context restrictions, the solidarities, their relative priorities,
etc.] that can take on different values within this elemental
frame when it is culturally interpreted and endowed with specific
social attributes.) (1965: 182).
This also might be interpreted that Lounsbury believes he has,
if phrased in terms of the phonetic-phonemic analogy, constructed
the fundamental etic grid for kinship analysis.
ETIC GRIDS AND ABSTRACT ANALYTICAL SYSTEMS
However, let us now look more closely at these concepts and distinguish
various levels. First, there are etic grids that pertain to specific
sociocultural domains. These grids incorporate the whole range of
possible distinctions found in human societies, and as such they
are essentially an inventory of ethnographic data. Etic grids, however,
differ significantly from other cultural inventories in that they
are constructed from the system-specific discriminations found in
the range of world cultures and are not composed of data derived
from the use of culture-bound tools of analysis.
It is also important to note that the distinctions or grid items
incorporated into any etic grid may be of two types: universal items
or particular items. A universal item appears in all cultures; a
particular item pertains to one or more cultural systems but it
is not a discrimination found in the full range of societies. Thus,
while the items in an etic grid are not all universal, the grid
itself is universally applicable to all societies for the purpose
of identifying system-specific discriminations.
Grid concepts are complementary to but have to be distinguished
from what I here call abstract analytical systems. Phonemic analysis
illustrates this latter type. Such analytical systems contain categories
of discriminations that are found in all societies. They are composed
of universal entities and the necessary relations between such entities,
thus forming an integrated system. These conceptual entities are,
in contrast to etic grid entities, formal in nature and thus devoid
of any substantive matter. They carry no cultural content but instead
contain observational procedures by which the content of any particular
cultural system can be discovered and described.
Lounsbury’s extensionist method consists of just such an
abstract analytical system: primary kin referents and operations
to extend and transform these to account for the whole range of
kin terms in any system. The basis, he maintains, for its universality
lies in its genealogical frame of reference. Furthermore, Buchler
(1964: 311-312) suggests that the extensionist approach is based
on universal cognitive processes of encoding “kernals”
plus appropriate transformations in order to produce meaningful
Lounsbury has also constructed an etic grid for this analytical
system, although it is probably not yet complete. Thus, certain
of his transformation rules are universal; others, he states, may
have only a wide generality, such as his “step-kin”
and “in-law” categories. And as such they do contribute
to the etic grid.
THE RELEVANCE OF COMPONENTIAL AND EXTENSIONAL ANALYSES
TO SPECIFIC CULTURAL DOMAINS
In contrasting his extensionist method with componential analysis,
Lounsbury has written that the former is “the method of total
class definitions; the other is a method of basic member definitions
and supplementary rules of extension” (1964a: 1088). In the
former method “differences of degree within the class of denotata
of a term are of course recognized, but these are treated as ‘nondistinctive’
“ (1964a: 1088). And in general, the cognitive structuralists
have considered these two methods to be complementary (cf. Goodenough
1967: 1208; Romney 1965).
However, there is some evidence that these two methods may not
be complementary with respect to any particular cultural domain
but that their relevance has to be established in each case. And
this brings us back again to the necessity of establishing the linkage
of a formal model with its empirical referents before it can be
maintained it replicates in any fashion “behavioral reality”
or “psychological reality”.
Bright and Bright (1965) found among certain California Indian
tribes that a “center-oriented” type of classification
more appropriately reflected the nature of the empirical data. They
We see, then, that a hierarchical model, which shows only the
relationship of domination..., cannot account adequately for the
Indian taxonomies. In a hierarchy, an item either is or is not
a member of the class named by the next higher node. But there
is no way of indicating, in a hierarchical tree, the situation
where a specific term like Yurok tepo “fir, tree”
... can also be used as a generic term, thus including other trees
which resemble the fir by being coniferous. In addition, there
is no way of indicating when an item is classified in a certain
way because it is “like” another item which is more
central to the focus of the domain in question. Therefore, although
our European hierarchic taxonomies can be represented for the
most part by a branching tree..., the aboriginal taxonomies of
northwestern California can be represented more faithfully by
a kind of “sphere of influence” model (1965: 253).
Dentan (1970) also raises similar questions in dealing with taxonomies
among the Semai of Malaya. He finds that labelled categories sometimes
fade away at their boundaries so that instead of being defined by
the presence or absence of a particular characteristic they are
defined by the degree to which a characteristic is present. Dentan
concludes that there are two major processes of learning, discrimination
and stimulus generalization; and he suggests that componential analysis
is an appropriate tool for dealing with those areas in which the
learning has been by discrimination. For domains involving polysemic
categories for which there appears to be an ideal type, Dentan suggests
that the processes by which they are learned may be based on stimulus
generalization; therefore in the analysis of such categories an
extensionist model might be more appropriate.
The work of Berlin and Kay (n.d.) on color taxonomies also suggests
that the concept of focal or ideal types with extensions out to
blurred boundary zones may be more appropriate for the analysis
of some domains while others may be more profitably studied in terms
of boundary-identifying methods and hierarchical taxonomies.
Berlin and Kay’s (n.d.) work also indicates that the extreme
position on cultural relativity needs to be reconsidered by the
cognitive structuralist. And Keesing, after considering the results
of Lounsbury’s approach and those of Berlin and Kay, concludes,
in a departure from his previous position, that if we look for focal
types “we might find that the semantic categories of different
cultures are much more similar than comparison of their boundaries
has yet revealed. Recurring categories in different cultures with
common focal types may prove to be much more frequent than we have
suspected, even though variant principles for extensions make the
categories of different cultures non-isomorphic” (1968: 66).
We will discuss in more detail later the nature of cultural relativism
implied in the ethnography-ethnology distinction. However, let us
here, as the result of our review of the extensionist method, again
draw attention to the following points. The methods that were used
early in the development of cognitive structuralism and which were
proclaimed to be culture-free and uncontaminated in that they represented
the system-specific distinctions of the target society now do not
appear to be so culture-free or as system relevant as they once
did, without the introduction of supplementary procedures to anchor
them to the empirical reality of the target society (also cf. Bright
and Bright 1965: 258).
SYSTEM-SPECIFIC MEANING AND THEORY MEANING
Many problems remain to be resolved in the methodology of the
cognitive structuralists. They have not yet dealt with the problem
of social and cultural change. Instead all attempts to date at componential
and extensional analysis have involved the implicit assumption of
system stability and integration. Yet there is evidence that in
situations of sociocultural change the terminological behavior of
kinship systems may remain relatively stable while other types of
behaviors associated with the terminological system may change relatively
rapidly (cf. Lundsgaarde 1967).
Furthermore, the cognitive structuralists have not yet devised
methods for handling functional ambiguity, as Harris (1968) has
pointed out. Certainly not all domains have either neat internal
boundaries or logically consistent rules for the transformation
of core or type terms.
One of the more important unresolved methodological problems as
we have pointed out has to deal with the level of empirical inquiry.
Can the methodology of the new ethnography replicate behavioral
or psychological reality? Is it enough to devise a formal model
of system-specific discriminations so that correct behavioral predictions
(Burling’s position) or anticipations can be made; or should
the new ethnography strive to determine the system-specific psychological
However, the issue of psychological reality may in fact be wrongly
phrased. Before the demand for psychological relevance had arisen,
Wallace (1961c) raised the question of the degree to which cognitive
sharing occurs in any society. He concluded logically there need
not be sharing of “cognitive maps” of behavior, a position
that Goodenough also appears to subscribe to (cf. Goodenough 1967).
Thus, before the problem of the psychological reality of formal
models can be adequately dealt with, the degree to which cognitive
sharing occurs has first to be resolved. Inasmuch as the nature
of psychological reality has yet to be established and the methodology
for ascertaining it devised, in this essay I shall restrict the
term “system-specific meaning” from this point on to
refer only to the behavioral level of reality.
There is yet another important epistemological problem that remains
to be discussed. This is the relation between system-specific and
theory-meaning explanations of behavior, and various aspects of
this problem will concern us for the remainder of this discussion
of cognitive structuralism. The term “theory meaning”
is here used to refer to descriptions and interpretations of behavior
in terms of its meaning or significance to the observer (A. Kaplan
1964) in contrast with its meaning or significance to the actor--system-specific
To establish the necessary contrast between the new ethnography
and the old ethnography based on comparative concepts, the cognitive
structuralists have focused on system-specific meaning and have
not adequately explored the distinction between system-specific
meaning and theory meaning or the relevance of the latter for ethnographic
For instance, Frake writes:
First, it is not, I think, the ethnographer’s task to predict
behavior per se, but rather to state rules of culturally appropriate
behavior.... In this respect the ethnographer is again akin to
the linguist who does not attempt to predict what people will
say but to state rules for constructing utterances which native
speakers will judge as grammatically appropriate (1964a: 133).
Frake’s dissatisfaction with prediction is elucidated in
a further article. He writes:
This conception of a cultural description implies that an ethnography
should be a theory of cultural behavior in a particular society,
the adequacy of which is to be evaluated by the ability of a stranger
to the culture (who may be the ethnographer) to use the ethnography’s
statements as instructions for appropriately anticipating the
scenes of the society. I say “appropriately anticipate”
rather than “predict” because a failure of an ethnographic
statement to predict correctly does not necessarily imply descriptive
inadequacy as long as the members of the described society are
as surprised by the failure as is the ethnographer (1964b: 112).
Frake has made an important point in drawing attention to the
significance of predictive failure on the part of the members of
a target society. But he has left in limbo, at least for the moment,
any theory meaning interpretations of behavior which would permit
the observer to predict events on the basis of the pansophic conceptual
tools and knowledge he possesses but which the members of the target
society do not possess.
We have thus introduced the distinction here between behavior
viewed in its system-specific meaning and behavior viewed in terms
of its meaning in a theory of the investigator, because it is obvious
that a full understanding of any particular sociocultural system
cannot be achieved through its own cognitive distinctions or through
a universal model built from the distinctions found in any number
of sociocultural systems (unless the cognitive distinctions found
in the society of anthropologists are also included). For instance,
the approach of the cognitive structuralists to ethnography does
not lead to an understanding of the unintended and unrecognized
entailments of a specific system, which is one of the major contributions
of structural-functional theory (see Robert Brown 1963 and Jarvie
1964). Nor does this approach lead to an understanding of the process
of adaptation of a specific sociocultural system to its ecosystem
and the unintended entailments or limitations of its particular
adaptation. The approach of system-specific meaning, for example,
might not tell us how subincision may function to limit population
growth in a specific environment, how divorce in a particular society
may be related to brideprice, and how sorcery and witchcraft may
serve in the management of conflict and tension.
Cognitive Structuralism and Social Anthropology
But these criticisms of the limitations in the approach of the
cognitive structuralists, not unique to me, ignore the problem that
the cognitive structuralist and the social anthropologist (in the
British sense) are concerned with constructs that are on different
conceptual levels. We have adumbrated this previously when we discussed
the difficulty of the cognitive structuralists in dealing with action
systems. Now that we have analyzed some of the analytical procedures
of the cognitive structuralists and the entailments of these, it
will be worthwhile to contrast the methodologies of the cognitive
structuralists and the social structuralists further.
The cognitive structuralist, largely as a result of his concern
with sociocultural phenomena in terms of their system-specific meaning
rather than in terms of any theory meaning, deals with ideational
systems, and these are viewed as being the property not of a community
but of its individual members (Goodenough 1964a:11-12). The social
anthropologist generally starts at the other end of the behavioral
event and is concerned with those types of action systems that have
relevance for the theoretical construct of a social system. As such,
the construct of a social system tends to focus on observed behavior,
but not entirely so, for it also implies the existence of jural
rules and other constraints on behavior that form part of the shared
ideational system of a community. And to the degree these rules
and constraints are made explicit, the more valid the model is for
any particular society.
Because the cognitive and social structuralists start from opposing
points, the social structuralists tend to criticize the cognitive
maps drawn by the cognitive structuralists as not being rooted in
social reality. That is, the cognitive structuralists have not demonstrated
the social distribution of the maps drawn and the degree to which
they are actually shared by the members of a social system.
On the other hand, the cognitive structuralists tend to criticize
the models of social systems constructed by the social anthropologists
in that it is not clear in many cases to what degree they actually
recognize and include the cognitive maps of their members.
This criticism is particularly appropriate in one sense, since
there is a tendency in describing social systems to force the observed
data into ideal types of social units such as unilineal descent
groups, etc., which are used as if they had cross-cultural validity.
The result of this is that the system-specific social isolates are
either ignored or distorted. For example, Firth (1963) defines the
kindred, cognatic stock, and other concepts so that it is not clear
whether the social units he is concerned with are the hypostatization
of the anthropologist or the members of the society being described.
Radcliffe-Brown’s approach to corporate descent groups is
similarly confused (1950: 41).
This distinction between the conceptual levels of the cognitive
structuralist and the social structuralist throws further light
on current arguments over the concept of descent. One position is
exemplified by Goody (1961). He confines the term descent to eligibility
for membership in kin groupings. The other position is that taken
by Barnes (1962) and as a development out of the work of Davenport
(1959) and Peranio (1961), that taken by Scheffler (1966). Barnes
makes the distinction “between filiation as a mechanism of
recruitment to social groups and to ascribed relationships and descent
as a sanctioned and morally evaluated principle of belief”
(1962: 6). Scheffler also views descent in any society as an ideational
construct of that society which forms the basis of rules regulating
the transmission of social status. The entailment of these views,
if we accept the approach of the cognitive structuralists as to
the relativity of cognitive systems, is this: elements in the cognitive
structure of any society that are found in the domain of what we
may for convenience refer to as “descent constructs”
(Scheffler 1966) have relevance only for that specific system in
a like manner that its phonemes have relevance only for the phonemic
system of that society. As such, any element in the system of descent
constructs can only be adequately defined in terms of its relation,
its contrasts, to other elements in such a system. Consequently,
the cross-cultural classification of social groupings derived from
the isolation of a particular cognitive element in one such system,
as for instance patriliny, can only distort ethnographic reality.
This is well illustrated by the problems that have arisen in dealing
with descent in New Guinea on the basis of African models (see Barnes
Thus, the conclusion can be drawn that, at the present stage of
our study of sociocultural phenomena, such a cross-cultural typologizing
of social groupings on the basis of cognitive elements has limited
productivity in contrast to an approach involving analytical operations
of universal relevance that are devoid of cultural loading but which
instead provide the procedure for the delineation of system-specific
However, the social structuralists cannot be considered to be
wholly wrong for they recognize the importance of social groupings
for the organization of society, a universal element, and in particular
corporate social groupings. Corporate social groupings appear to
be almost universal phenomena and are found even in cognatic societies
in which descent constructs are not used as a basis for establishing
membership in social groupings (see Appell 1965 and 1968). But,
as we have seen, the social structuralists made the mistake of dealing
with such social groupings in terms of ideational constructs which
primarily have relevance only for the specific system from which
they are derived. If, instead, the ordering of phenomena pertaining
to social groupings had focused more on universal processes such
as the ownership of scarce goods rather than on descent, the social
structuralists would not have been in such a vulnerable position
when their models were applied to other societies. They also would
not have been open to criticism for overemphasizing kinship to the
disregard of other phenomena (see Leach 1961b).
System-specific and Pansophic Explanations for Behavior
One of the important fallouts from the position taken by the cognitive
structuralist is not that system-specific meaning is king and theory
meaning of doubtful value. Instead it is that each has its place
in ethnographic inquiry. Furthermore, investigations at the system-specific
meaning level must be kept separate but coordinate with those at
the theory-meaning level, and both approaches are necessary for
a full and productive ethnographic description. When explanations
in terms of theory meaning are not distinguished from those in terms
of system-specific meaning, or where the two levels are indiscriminately
intermingled, confusion can only result.
It is therefore obvious, but it still needs explicit statement,
that certain anthropological problems are more appropriately investigated
at one level than at another. Those problems that depend on a rational
model of human behavior for their explanation can, of course, only
be dealt with in terms of situational logic (Jarvie 1964), the logic
of the specific system under consideration. This is specifically
the case in attempts at explaining any behavioral event that involves
choice. Other types of explanation that are not concerned with or
do not accept a rational model of human behavior, such as those
which postulate a universal structure to the unconscious (see Freeman
1968), appropriately need not maintain a consistent system-specific
stance. But even in those inquiries involving choice, system-specific
explanations for a behavioral event certainly does not exhaust its
ethnographic interest. Other levels of explanation for the event
that depend on the investigator’s accumulated knowledge and
total range of conceptual tools – pansophic explanations –
need also to be considered.
This brings us to the observation that the cognitive structuralists
have yet to come to grips with such psychological processes as rationalization
and unconscious motivation. Thus, analyses of stated explanations
for behavior do not necessarily identify real motives. This is not
to say that such analyses do not deal with important cultural aspects,
but their relevance for the cultural system may not be ascertained
until real motives are determined by field techniques other than
dealing with verbal behavior. Let me give a very simple example
that may elucidate certain aspects of this problem. Among the Rungus
of Borneo in response to the question as to why place of residence
was changed, the reply will usually be to gain access to better
swidden areas. However, quite frequently the real motive is to move
out of the grasp of malevolent spirits that are causing illness
within the family. To mention the real motive would alert these
malevolent spirits and might draw them to the new domicile of the
Unconscious motivation may also produce culturally important but
undiscriminated behavior. That is, unconscious motivation might
not produce functioning or recognized categories of behavior within
the society itself. While it might be argued, on the other hand,
by those who use a linguistic model for cultural analysis that such
a model does in fact isolate system-specific discriminations below
the conscious level of awareness, these are nevertheless functioning
categories. They are discriminations that evoke response even though
they are below the conscious level of awareness; but I am concerned
here with significant behavior that has yet to be discriminated
at any level by the members of the cultural system. It is these
types of psychological processes that can produce patterns of covert
behavior. However, Frake’s concept of a “valid ethnography”
does not encompass such behavior (1964b: 112). And Conklin’s
statement that “we try to base our work on such concrete realities
as a local group of people and the kinds of objects and events the
members of this group treat as culturally significant . . .”
(1964: 26) also seems to exclude covert behavior patterns.
The behavior of the eldest female in a sibling set among the Rungus
of Borneo provides one example of the types of covert behavior to
which I refer (see Appell 1965 and 1969a). The eldest female after
her wedding accepts the sexual advances of her husband without initial
protest significantly more frequently than do her sisters, and she
resides in a village away from her mother also significantly more
frequently than do her sisters. This behavioral pattern was discovered
by a statistical analysis of Rungus behavioral events as there is
no recognition in Rungus society that the behavior of the eldest
female in the environment of relations with males differs or contrasts
in any way from that of noneldest females.
Cultural Relativity and Scientific Procedures
As we have pointed out previously, there is a strong current of
extreme cultural relativism in the work of the cognitive structuralists
with but few exceptions. One aspect of this is expressed in the
use of the phonemic model as a paradigm for their research. Consequently,
it is worthwhile at this point to return again to this paradigm
and analyze more closely its nature. We will thus attempt to summarize
our views on the doctrine of cultural relativism.
In essence the phonemic model uses difference in meaning as a
discovery procedure to isolate the elements of any specific system,
and, it has a structure that depends on contrast between these elements.
As such, any element in the system, it is maintained, cannot be
torn from the system for comparison with equivalent elements in
other systems. But not all analytical systems, not all theoretical
constructs, dealing with sociocultural phenomena are structured
in these terms. Thus, there appears to be no cogent reason why elements
in such systems not based on difference in meaning or structured
by contrast cannot be fruitfully compared cross-culturally.
Furthermore, the phonemic model has been oversimplified in its
use as a paradigm for the study of cognitive systems and as a justification
for the alleged noncomparability of such systems as well as other
sociocultural phenomena. Not only have whole phonemic systems been
compared but also elements from such systems. For instance, Wallace
(1961a) examines the number of phonemes in various languages of
the world in his study of universal cognitive processes. And historical
linguistics also makes extensive use of the comparison of individual
phonemes between related languages (also cf. Casagrande 1963).
But the relativity of cognitive systems is not only thrown into
question by historical linguistics. The ethnographic evidence from
highland Burma (Leach 1954) also casts doubts on an extreme position
for cultural relativity. In highland Burma it appears that the cognitive
systems of ethnic units can only be properly understood in terms
of their contrasts with those of neighboring ethnic units.
Thus, because of the position taken by the cognitive structuralists
on the noncomparability of sociocultural phenomena, the new ethnography
in some respects can also be called the new relativism. And where
this does apply, the criticisms of the old cultural relativism still
hold (cf. Kluckhohn 1953: 520). For instance Wallace writes: “Indeed,
a radical linguistic relativism would probably be, by its own axioms,
not only incapable of proof but incapable of being described”
However, the problem of relativism lies not so much in its ultimate
truth but in the approach taken by anthropologists towards this
problem. There are instances where it appears to be considered as
an article of faith, rather than a part of the conceptual frame
(A. Kaplan 1964: 159-161) or “text” (Robert Brown 1963:
147-148) to system-specific experiments.
Thus, when I say that the cognitive structuralist has not made
explicit the conceptual frame or text of his “experiments”,
i.e., his system-specific investigations, I mean that he has not
given an accurate statement of the conditions or qualifications
under which his hypotheses are supposed to hold. He has not given
an accurate statement of what variables are being considered as
constants for the purpose of the investigation and the limits within
which his hypotheses may be considered valid. Certainly cultural
systems are not formed in a complete social and historical vacuum.
And if they were, “If individual men or whole peoples dwelled
alone in incommensurate worlds constituted only by their unique
experiences or by those shared within the bounds of isolated communities,
communication among men or among peoples would be impossible”
(Casagrande 1963: 294).
On the other hand, if we accept Wallace’s statement on mazeways
(see for example 1961b and 1961c), then we have to conclude that
each individual has to a certain extent a unique cognitive system
and that cultural relativity is best represented as a continuum
from one individual to all human beings with certain breaking points
at the areas of low densities of mazeway overlap along the boundaries
of social systems.
Thus, the position of the cognitive uniqueness of each society
is in fact an idealized position. On the one hand it ignores the
uniqueness of the cognitive system of the individual and substitutes
for this a model of the shared cognitive features in a social system.
On the other hand, it ignores the commonalities and equivalences
of the cognitive structure of a society with those of neighboring
societies or historically related ones.
The criticism that I make here of the position of the cognitive
structuralists is, in sum, that there is a world of difference between
stating ex cathedra that cognitive systems are unique and not comparable
and stating that for a specific type of investigation sociocultural
phenomena must be treated as if they were not comparable cross-culturally.
For other types of inquiries it may be just as profitable to hold
constant the “uniqueness” of a cognitive system and
investigate its commonalities with neighboring systems or historically
Certainly what Casagrande has stated in this regard for linguistic
relativity also holds for cognitive relativity:
If the linguistic relativity hypothesis is to be put in proper
perspective, it becomes crucially important to specify wherein
languages are alike as well as wherein they differ. Logically,
the very notion of variation assumes knowledge of the base from
which phenomena vary. Indeed, it has been said that the ultimate
task of science is precisely to account for variation (1963: 293).
ON THE NATURE OF CONCEPTS FOR ANTHROPOLOGICAL INQUIRY
The cognitive structuralist has accepted only system-specific
meaning and not theory-meaning inquiry as legitimate for ethnographic
description. However, their methodology is derived from the extrinsic
theories of linguistics and how a language may be productively described.
One wonders just how applicable this approach is to other sociocultural
domains which do not share the same characteristics of language
in terms of precise boundary definition, repetitive learning processes
to the degree that automatic responses are developed, and the lack
of explicit, jurally reinforced sanctions. And we have thus pointed
out some of the difficulties that this approach has in describing
The comparativist, on the other hand, tends to intermingle the
theory-meaning level with the system-specific level without explicitly
distinguishing the data derived from these two levels of analysis.
Also to explain his data the comparativist uses in a cross-cultural
context a rational model of human action that is based on value
premise extrinsic to the value system where the behavior occurs.
However, it is not just the failure to distinguish theory-meaning
from system-specific meaning; or the use of a rational model for
human action based on extrinsic value premises that makes the comparativist’s
concepts less productive at the present stage of anthropological
inquiry. The problem lies at a more fundamental level in the nature
of the concepts themselves. Leach (1961a) as well as the cognitive
structuralists have realized this, but they have not delineated
fully the basic nature of more productive ones.
The concepts of the comparativist are largely what A. Kaplan (1964:
93-94) has referred to as descriptive generalizations, or genetic
propositions, and are to be contrasted with what he refers to as
theoretical or empirical laws. Kaplan characterizes such descriptive
generalizations as being concerned with existential reference and
ascribing traits to discriminated kinds. They do not have an abstract
form specifying the characters or operations which can be relied
upon in making the discriminations. Kaplan makes the point that
descriptive generalizations stem from fairly direct observation
and so are on a comparatively low level of abstraction. “They
deal with the phenotype rather than with the underlying constitution
responsible for appearances. . .” (A. Kaplan 1964: 114).
A. Kaplan also points out the general unproductiveness of such
descriptive generalizations. “Not having any reason”,
he states, “for generalization beyond its instances already
observed, we do not know whether it is indeed a law or only an accidental,
and so a merely apparent, consistency” (1964: 114).
The inadequacy of descriptive generalizations to deal with sociocultural
phenomena is further compounded by the fact that they tend to mirror
the ideological content and concerns of the investigator’s
cultural systems and thus lead to typologies based on culture-bound
content. And this we have seen is inappropriate for inquiry that
depends on system-specific meaning in any aspect.
These criticisms are also applicable to social anthropological inquiry
but to a much lesser degree than to comparative studies, as the
social anthropologist typically focuses on the description and analysis
of behavior in terms of a system, a specific social system. Nevertheless,
the development of social anthropological concepts have been unduly
influenced by sociocultural phenomena appearing in those areas of
the world where for the moment anthropological inquiry is focused
(cf. Appell 1967b). Theory building in social anthropology was first
influenced by early experiences in Oceania, as has been pointed
out by Richards (1935: 20), and then after World War II by the shift
in focus of research to Africa (e.g. Fortes 1953; cf. Elkin 1963;
also cf. Leach 1961a: 1-27).
Thus, in my view the present weakness of social anthropological
concepts stems largely from devising particularistic or limited
concepts to describe and explain sociocultural phenomena rather
than casting them in a universalistic light. For example, to return
to the problem of descent groupings, this concept has no relevance
or utility for describing and analyzing many of the cognatic societies
of Borneo (cf. Appell 1967b, 1968, 1969b), while the approach that
views all social systems as being composed of social units having
rights over scarce goods and services not only has crucial relevance
for understanding how these Bornean systems work but is also applicable
to all types of societies.
The entailment of the position I take here is that the new concepts
of social anthropology should be similar to those in structural
linguistics, at least in terms of being devoid of system-specific
meaning or ideological content and cast in a systems model. But
this position, nevertheless, differs from that of the cognitive
structuralists. It differs in that I disagree with much of the logic
used to justify their approach, as I have tried to detail here;
I question many of the claims made for the system-specific reality
of their results; I am not convinced that the linguistic techniques
now available are applicable to the analysis of most cultural domains
other than their linguistic aspects; and I question the applicability
of the present linguistic techniques for the analysis of social
action. In short, I am not yet convinced of the productivity of
looking at action systems in terms of a code.
My position, however, is in one important respect similar to that
taken by Leach (1961a: 1-27). We both share the view that social
anthropological concepts have been contaminated by cultural materials
from our own folk culture and from certain sociocultural systems
whose study has provided the stimulus for theory development in
social anthropology. Thus, these concepts lack universality; or,
as Leach has put it, they have not been generalized (1961a: 1-27).
Leach has also drawn attention to the importance of viewing sociocultural
phenomena in terms of a systems model, a “neighborhood system”,
as he has referred to it (1961a: 26). I shall enlarge upon this
important contribution of social anthropology shortly, and perhaps
here we differ in that I would put more emphasis on the contributions
that this methodology of a systems model has made in the past to
social anthropological inquiry.
We also differ in other aspects as well. I take the position,
as I shall discuss shortly, that in addition to cultural contamination
the conceptual weakness in social anthropology stems from the failure
to operationalize concepts. But I believe we differ in a more fundamental
sense. As far as I can ascertain, Leach has not explicitly indicated
the importance of isolating system-specific discriminations for
his method. Thus, I am not entirely convinced that Leach’s
concepts of alliance and incorporation, as presently phrased, are
universal concepts and that this method of analysis would work for
every society. For example, I would like to see how his approach
could be profitably applied to English society. Thus, I believe
his approach may not be all that free of cultural contamination.
This problem also appears, I believe, in his statement (1961a: 27)
that “the social relation between brothers must of necessity
be in some sense opposite of the social relation between brothers-in-law”,
for it would seem without further elaboration to have only limited
In any event, the thrust of Leach’s article and the position
I take here is that the epistemological basis of our theoretical
constructs needs to be systematically explored in order to avoid
falling into the Whorfian trap and being deceived by the system-specific
cognitive structures of our own folk culture. As an example of this,
I have attempted to show how the concept of descent not only is
not a universal concept but, as presently phrased, has an ideological
component. And if the new cultural relativism of the cognitive structuralists
can be accepted even in a less rigid form, it is clear that such
concepts with ideological components are applicable only to single
or at most to closely related social systems and cannot be transported
without difficulty to new societies.
To return to the problem of a systems model that I raised above,
the most important difference between the concepts of the comparativists
and those of the cognitive structuralists is that the latter are
based on a systems model while the former are not. Whether or not
the cognitive structuralists have explicitly recognized this is
not clear in their writings. Nevertheless, the paradigm that they
use, the phonemic, is based on the concept of a system (cf. Troubetzkoy
1933 as quoted in Lévi-Strauss 1963: 33; and Lévi-Strauss
1963: 31-54). Thus the approach of the cognitive structuralists
shows greater promise for productivity than that of the comparativists,
not because their concepts avoid any a priori judgements, for they
do not, but because they approach their subject matter as if it
constituted a system. This raises the question as to the place of
It has been maintained that in order to adequately describe any
society in terms of the new ethnography, new etic grids for all
cultural domains must be constructed out of the sum total of system-specific
discriminations from a range of cultural systems in similar fashion
to the phonetic alphabet. However, the usefulness of such grids
will be directly dependent on whether or not the cultural domain
in question has been formulated in terms of an abstract, analytical
system, comparable to that for phonemic systems. The implication
of this is that more explicit attention must be focused on developing
just such abstract, analytical systems for all cultural domains
while the collection of items for etic grids goes on.
In any event, it is interesting to note that the social anthropologists
of the British tradition have also approached their subject matter
with a systems model (for example, see Radcliffe-Brown 1950). However,
instead of the phonemic paradigm, they have used a model originally
based on the organism (for a discussion of the use of this systems
model, see Gouldner 1959). And the approach of the British social
anthropologists is at its most productive when they apply such a
systems model to the description of a single social system.
Thus, the method of ordering anthropological data by means of
an abstract, analytical systems model contrasts markedly with descriptive
generalization. In its nonadaptive form, that is without feedback,
the abstract, analytical systems model is composed of elements and
the interrelationship between such elements. It does not contain
content, but it provides the procedures that can be relied upon
for identifying and describing system-specific discriminations.
As such it focuses on structure rather than on content, on the interrelationship
between elements even more than on the elements themselves.
However, in developing abstract, analytical concepts care must
be taken that the observational procedures by which these concepts
can be linked with observables, with empirical reality, are fully
delineated. The present theoretical concepts in social anthropology
are seldom thus operationalized. They are instead used very frequently
as literary devices to serve in the descriptive integration of field
data. Since the procedures by which they can be linked with empirical
reality are seldom detailed, we now do not generally agree on how
to use such concepts in any specific inquiry, and sterile arguments
as to their applicability multiply. I refer here to such concepts,
for example, as social solidarity, complementary filiation, the
kindred, horizontal versus vertical arrangement, submerged right,
descent, and so on.
In conclusion, it is worthwhile to note that while cognitive structuralism
has yet to live up to the claims that were originally made for it,
a major and perhaps unprecedented advance has been made, nevertheless,
by the cognitive structuralists in our understanding of sociocultural
systems. cognitive structuralism, however, still has to come to
terms with the problem of behavior, particularly where a radical
idealistic position has been taken. While Goodenough in his recent
work (1970) appears to have modified his position on this, nevertheless
an idealistic position, if taken as representing the only ethnographic
reality for anthropological inquiry rather than as a method for
elucidating certain problems, hides important anthropological problems
that still have to be solved. These involve the interrelationship
of cognitive structure to behavioral form. For we all know of instances
where behavior does not square with the ideology purported to justify
it. And we need to know more about the conditions under which behavioral
change precedes changes in cognitive structure and cognitive change
precedes behavioral change. Furthermore, Dentan’s work (1970)
raises important questions as to the conditions under which social
behavior alone identifies unlabeled, cognitive categories.
Finally, a greater awareness of the use of a systems model based
on abstract, analytical concepts should forward development of theoretical
constructs in the study of cognitive structure; and an awareness
of the distinction between system-specific meaning and theory meaning
and the utility of abstract, analytical concepts that have been
operationalized should contribute to a greater precision in the
use of theoretical constructs in the study of social systems. If
the lessons of the history of science are of any value, it would
be clearly presumptuous at this point to claim any priority for
either of these approaches to the elucidation of the nature of sociocultural
1 I am deeply indebted to Robert Dentan, Charles Frake, Robert
Harrison, Paul Kay, Roger Keesing, James Peacock, D. J. Prentice,
Eugene Ogan and Clifford Sather, who read an earlier version of
this paper and offered many helpful comments and criticisms. I am
particularly appreciative of the patience of those cognitive structuralists
who on reading the earlier version of this paper enlightened me
on many matters in cognitive structuralism and pointed out where
my criticisms of their work had gone astray. Various versions of
this paper were prepared while my research was under the support
of the N.S.F. (Grant GS-923) and of the ACLS-SSRC, and I would like
to acknowledge my gratitude here for this support. I am of course
alone responsible for the contents and arguments of this paper.
2 A theoretical construct is a “concept referring to something
that is postulated in order to explain the observed but that is
not directly observable...” (Pap 1962: 426).
3 By the phrase system-specific I refer to structurally significant
distinctions in a target society and investigations of models that
elucidate the nature of these (see Appell 1967a, 1968).
4 I am indebted to Kuhn (1962) for the more general point on the
importance of anomalies in generating changes in normal science.
5 See Kaplan and Manners (1972) for a critical but very balanced
6 However, I have suggested (Appell 1966) that the problem arose
because residence constructs focus on spatial relationships rather
than on social relationships, the more proper concern of social
anthropology, and that they therefore suffer from the fallacy of
7 Kuhn (1962) contains many interesting observations on the conditions
that produce a scientific revolution. Many of these might be summed
up under the more general concept of “pattern saturation”
(Kroeber 1944) in the normal paradigms of research. certainly, one
might argue that this was one aspect of the environment at Yale
University in which cognitive structuralism developed.
8 This should not be so construed to conclude that I am implying
all cognitive structuralists in fact do carry cultural relativism
to such an extreme. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that
the tendency does exist, and the problem of what constitutes proper
universals has yet to be investigated in any depth. However, both
Kay and Keesing (personal communications) believe my position is
too strong here and that the work of certain cognitive structuralists
are illustrative of the concern with cultural universals. For example,
see Berlin and Kay (n.d.), and the work of Lounsbury also has universal
implications. However, Keesing writes: “Lounsbury has convincingly
shown that they [kinship systems] are less variable in basic structure
than many of us would have anticipated; and given the recent prevalence
of notions of cultural uniqueness, what is remarkable is not that
Lounsbury’s distinctions do not work perfectly ethnographically,
but rather that they work as well as they do” (1968: 55) [italics
9 In legal anthropology a similar controversy to the ethnology-ethnography
one has arisen. See Bohannan (1969) and Gluckman (1969).
10 Goodenough in his most recent work (1970) uses the etic-emic
distinction in the more proper sense within the logic of his model.
Keesing has also (personal communication) stated that the term “etic”
is more properly used by cognitive structuralists to refer to a
“culture-free metalanguage”. Unfortunately, however,
the term “etic” is still frequently used in a pejorative
sense to imply that a piece of research did not isolate the system-specific
discriminations of a target population.
11 Keesing has written me (personal communication) that I have
misread his position on prescriptive definitions in his criticism
of Nelson. If I understand him correctly, he would equate prescriptive
definition of concepts with those that contain substantive material
rather than being based on analytical operations by which the entity
might be isolated in any sociocultural system. Thus, the kindred
in its traditional usage is defined substantively. Keesing writes:
“To assert that all people have norms, roles..., or values--assuming
you define the operations by which these are isolated--is a far
different business from asserting that they have clans, kindred,
or brideprice.... ‘group’ would be of the same epistemological
order as ‘phoneme’, but ‘kindred’ would
12 For a critical discussion of this simplistic view of induction,
which Hempel refers to as “the narrow inductivist view of
scientific inquiry”, see Hempel (1966) and Salmon (1966) .
13 Kuhn (1962) documents both these conclusions at considerable
length. See also A. Kaplan (1964: 86), Myrdal (1969: 9), and Medawar
(1967) for similar views.
14 The entailment of this, it would appear, is that systems investigated
during the process of building a universal tool kit will have to
be reinvestigated after the kit has been perfected to determine
if any distinctions might have been overlooked.
15 The recent work of Berlin and Kay on color categories (n.d.)
and that of Lounsbury on core kin terms suggests that the concept
of cultural relativity in the work of the cognitive structuralists
needs modification. We shall review this work later, but the impact
of their research is that there are universal core concepts in some
cultural domains, and only the boundaries of these domains vary
with the culture. Their conclusions, if proved valid, nevertheless
do not invalidate my remarks on problems with the “kit of
things to look for” as the boundary problem still exists.
16 The emphasis on procedures rather than on content in the universal
models need not to be so construed that this represents a contradiction
with previous statements. If we use the phonetic-phonemic model
as a paradigm, the phonetic grid was built up from discovering the
distinctions in many languages, and therefore represents the range
of content found in the world languages. However, the phonetic-phonemic
model also involves procedures on how to apply this grid in any
specific case to determine the system-specific distinctions. The
boundary of this linguistic domain for each society is solved, however
very neatly and also a priori by limiting acceptable evidence to
the meaningful accoustical responses produced by the mouth. There
is no such simple solution for many cultural domains.
17 Also see Conklin’s (1964) valuable contribution for the
domain of kinship.
18 Schneider (1965) in his excellent analysis of American kinship
also discusses an example of this.
19 However, see Burling’s position (1969).
20 The most successful attempt in my opinion to apply the approach
of the cognitive structuralists to action systems is by Frake (1964b)
in his analysis of Subanun “religious behavior”. In
this very interesting and important paper Frake develops the potentially
very productive concept of “scenes” or social events
as the major analytical tool for isolating the system-specific discriminations
in the flow of behavioral events. Keesing has perhaps been the most
active in attempting to apply the approach of cognitive structuralism
to action systems (1966b, 1967). However, in his interesting 1967
paper I find it difficult to determine what discovery procedures
were used to ensure that the principles Keesing presents for decision
making have in fact system-specific significance.
21 Kay (1966) does make the very important distinction between
formal categories and substantive ones. However, I am not entirely
certain that his point is identical with the one I am attempting
22 This is in fact the thrust of Conklin’s enjoinder against
“etymological involvement” (1964: 29).
23 Componential analysis has its origins in the work of Goodenough
(1951, 1956b, 1957) and Lounsbury (1956). See Goodenough (1967)
for a review of the field.
24 Burling writes: “Though it sounds banal, let me assert
my belief that the best analysis is the one that most successfully
predicts (corresponds to, describes explains) behavior, and by behavior
I include not only the use of terms. . . , but also non-verbal behavior,
and even the way people talk about their own terminology”
(1964b: 120). His position is that no adequate techniques have yet
been devised to verify whether one’s analysis actually represents
the psychologically real cognitive structure of one’s subjects
or not, and he questions whether in fact any such techniques will
ever be developed.
25 See also Wallace (1961c, 1962), who first drew attention to
26 It should be noted that Lounsbury does not begin his process
of analysis with the collection of observable events by the proported
culture-free methods of cognitive structuralism, as some cognitive
structuralists maintain is necessary, but starts with already collected
“empirical data”. This observation may also be applied
to some of the analyses of the cognitive structuralists. For example
see Goodenough’s analysis of Lapp kinship.
27 Dentan ( 1970) also found covert categories defined ritually
rather than by lexicons and raises the problem of the verbally unlabeled
categories for componential analysis. The entailment of this, it
seems to me, and which we have pointed out previously, is that it
is impossible to maintain that componential analysis applied to
materials collected for other purposes replicates the cognitive
structure of the target society either at the behavioral level or
the psychological level. Conklin writes: “The improvement
and constant adjustment of field recording is, in fact, dependent
upon simultaneous analysis and evaluation” ( 1964: 26).
28 The term “meaning” is complex semantically, and,
therefore, the phrase “system-specific meaning” might
cause some confusion to the reader as it is used in certain environments.
In this essay the phrase “system-specific significance”
may be usefully substituted in such environments.
29 Sturtevant in his review of the field of ethnoscience raises
the question as to whether in fact it ever will be possible to describe
a system entirely in terms of the system-specific meaning of acts,
and he has pointed out that the description of a specific social
system will continue for a long time in terms of theory meaning
and not in terms of culture viewed as a code (1964: 123).
30 Keesing has drawn to my attention (personal communication) that
not all cognitive structuralists, and this includes himself and
Paul Kay, accept a narrow position on the goals of ethnographic
description that would involve only system-specific meaning.
31 This criticism, however, ignores the fact that while the cognitive
structuralist by definition deals with one ideational system, the
concept of the social system may include peoples who are culturally
heterogeneous as, for instance, in certain political systems, and
therefore at certain levels more than one ideational system may
be involved (cf. Leach 1954).
32 Paul Kay disagrees with me and my position here. He writes (personal
communication) that the cognitive structuralists “are simply
not interested in [these] phenomena. Your choice of words implies
that the body of phenomena carved out by the cognitive structuralists
is not a legitimate natural system in that it arbitrarily excludes
these other things. But I see no arguments that the exclusion is
33 Kluckhohn and Morgan (1962: 351) made this same point with regard
to the old cultural relativism:
The trouble has been -- because of a series of accidents of intellectual
and political history -- that the anthropologist for two generations
has been obsessed with the differences among people, neglecting
the equally real similarities upon which the “universal cultural
pattern” as well as the psychological uniformities are clearly
34 This is not to imply that the cognitive structuralists are any
more deficient in this aspect than the comparativists or social
35 The difficulty with attempting to make useful generalizations
is that they nevertheless do oversimplify. Thus, for example, Frake
(1964b) has written an extremely interesting and productive paper
delineating Subanun “religious behavior”.
36 Also contributing to the weakness of social anthropological
concepts, in my view, is that they have seldom been operationalized.
Had they been operationalized in the beginning, perhaps their cultural
contamination might not have occurred to the same degree. But I
shall enlarge upon this shortly.
37 Casagrande (1963: 294-295) points out that the approach of British
social anthropology approximates the methods of structural linguistics
even though there never has been a close tie between linguistics
and British social anthropology. I would maintain that the similarities
in approach are the result of both being based on a systems model
38 I have attempted to develop observational procedures for kindreds
and corporate groupings and to develop an abstract, analytical systems
model for the property domain of social organization, which involves
the interrelationship between social isolates with regard to scarce
goods and services (cf. Appell 1965, 1967a, 1968). In a monograph
in preparation (Appell n.d.) I hope to be able to spell this out
in greater detail.
39 “Great Discriminations are not spoken...”, Chuang
Tzu, Chapter 2, trans. by B. Watson (1968).
AA – American Anthropologist
CA – Current Anthropology
SWJA – Southwestern Journal of Anthropology
Appell, G. N.
1965 The Nature of Social Groupings Among the Rungus Dusun of Sabah,
Malaysia. Ph.D. dissertation, Australian National University.
1966 Residence and Ties of Kinship in a Cognatic Society: The Rungus
Dusun of Sabah, Malaysia. SWJA 22: 280-301.
1967a Observational Procedures for Identifying Kindreds: Social
Isolates Among the Rungus of Borneo. SWJA 23: 192-207.
1967b Introduction: Symposium on the Structure of Cognatic Societies.
Paper delivered at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological
1968 Social Groupings Among the Rungus, a Cognatic Society of Sabah,
Malaysia. Journal of the Malaysian Branch, Royal Asiatic Society
1969a Social Anthropological Census for Cognatic Societies and
Its Application to the Rungus of Northern Borneo. Bijdragen tot
de Taal-, Land-en Volkenkunde 125: 80-93.
1969b Social Anthropological Research in Borneo. Anthropologica
n.d. The Jural Nature of Social Groupings and Property Relationships:
Observational Procedures and Structural Models as Exemplified in
Three Cognatic Societies of Borneo (tentative title).
Barnes, J. A.
1962 African Models in the New Guinea Highlands. Man 62: 5-9.
Berlin, Brent and Paul Kay
n.d. Universally and Evolution of Basic Color Terms. Laboratory
for Language-Behavior Research Working Paper 1. Berkeley, University
Berreman, Gerald D.
1966 Anemic and Emetic Analyses in Social Anthropology. AA 68: 346-354.
1959 Nominal and Real Definitions in Sociological Theory. In: Llewellyn
Gross (ed.), Symposium on Sociological Theory. Evanston, Illinois,
1969 Ethnography and Comparison in Legal Anthropology. In: Laura
Nader (ed.), Law in Culture and Society. Chicago, Aldine.
Braithwaite, R. B.
1955 Scientific Explanation: A Study of the Function of Theory,
Probability and Law in Science. Cambridge, University Press.
Bright, Jane O. and William Bright
1965 Semantic Structures in Northwestern California and the Sapir-Whorf
Hypothesis. In: E. A. Hammel (ed.).
1963 Explanation in Social Science. London, Routledge and Kegan
Brown, Roger W.
1956 Language and Categories. In: Jerome S. Bruner, Jacqueline J.
Goodnow and George A. Austin, A Study of Thinking. New York, John
Wiley & Sons.
Buchler, I. R.
1964 A Formal Account of the Hawaiian- and Eskimo-type Kinship Terminologies.
SWJA 20: 286-318.
1964a Cognition and Componential Analysis: God’s Truth or
Hocus-pocus? AA 66: 20-28.
1964b Burling’s Rejoinder. AA 66: 120-122.
1969 Linguistics and Ethnographic Description. AA 71: 817-827.
Casagrande, Joseph B.
1963 Language Universals in Anthropological Perspective. In: Joseph
H. Greenberg (ed.), Universals of Language. Cambridge, M.I.T. Press.
1934 The Non-uniqueness of Phonemic Solutions of Phonetic Systems.
Bull. Inst. Hist. Phil. 4: 363-397.
Colby, B. N.
1966 Ethnographic Semantics: A Preliminary Survey. CA 7: 3-32.
Conklin, Harold C.
1955 Hanunóo Color Categories. SWJA 11: 339-344.
1962 Comment (On The Ethnographic Study of Cognitive Systems, by
C. O. Frake). In: Thomas Gladwin and William C. Sturtevant (eds.).
1964 Ethnogenealogical Method. In: Ward C. Goodenough (ed.).
1967 Lexicographical Treatment of Folk Taxonomies. In: Fred W.
Householder and Sol Saporta (eds.), Problems in Lexicography. Bloomington,
1968 Review of Ethnographic Atlas by George Peter Murdock. AA 70:
1959 Nonunilinear Descent and Descent Groups. AA 61: 557-572.
Dentan, Robert K.
1970 Labels and Rituals in Semai Classification. Ethnology 9: 16-25.
Elkin, A. P.
1963 Rethinking Anthropology: A Review. Oceania 34: 81-107.
1963 Bilateral Descent Groups: An Operational Viewpoint. In: I.
Schapera (ed.), Studies in Kinship and Marriage. London, Royal Anthropological
1953 The Structure of Unilineal Descent Groups. AA 55: 17-41.
Frake, Charles O.
1961 The Diagnosis of Disease Among the Subanun of Mindanao. AA
1962 The Ethnographic Study of Cognitive Systems. In: Thomas Gladwin
and William C. Sturtevant (eds.).
1964a Notes on Queries in Ethnography. In: A. Kimball Romney and
Roy Goodwin D’Andrade (eds.).
1964b A Structural Description of Subanun “Religious Behavior”.
In: Ward H. Goodenough (ed.).
1964c Further Discussion of Burling. AA 66: 119.
1968 Thunder, Blood and the Nicknaming of God’s Creatures.
Psychoanalytic Quarterly 37: 353-399.
Gladwin, Thomas and William C. Sturtevant (eds.)
1962 Anthropology and Human Behavior. Washington, The Anthropological
Society of Washington.
1969 Concepts in the Comparative Study of Tribal Law. In: Laura
Nader (ed.), Law in Culture and Society. Chicago, Aldine.
Goodenough, Ward H.
1951 Property, Kin and Community on Truk. Yale University Publications
in Anthropology 46. New Haven, Yale University Press.
1955 A Problem in Malayo-Polynesian Social Organization. AA 57:
1956a Resident Rules. SWJA 12: 22-37.
1956b Componential Analysis and the Study of Meaning. Language
1957 Cultural Anthropology and Linguistics. In: Paul L. Garvin
(ed.), Report of the Seventh Annual Round Table Meeting on Linguistics
and Language Study. Monograph Series in Language and Linguistics
9. Washington, Georgetown University Press.
1961 Review of G. P. Murdock (ed.), Social Structure in Southeast
Asia. AA 63: 1341-1347.
1962 Kindred and Hamlet in Lakalai, New Britain. Ethnology 1: 5-12.
1964a Introduction. In: Ward H. Goodenough (ed.).
1964b Componential Analysis of Könkämä Lapp Kinship
Terminology. In: Ward H. Goodenough (ed.).
1965 Yankee Kinship Terminology: A Problem in Componential Analysis.
In: E. A. Hammel (ed.).
1967 Componential Analysis. Science 156: 1203-1209.
1970 Description and Comparison in Cultural Anthropology. Chicago,
Goodenough, Ward H. (ed.)
1964 Explorations in Cultural Anthropology. New York, McGraw-Hill.
1961 The Classification of Double Descent Systems. CA 2: 3-25.
Gouldner, Alvin W.
1959 Reciprocity and Autonomy in Functional Theory. In: Llewellyn
Gross (ed.), Symposium on Sociological Theory. Evanston, Illinois,
Row, Peterson .
Hammel, E. A. ( ed.)
1965 Formal Semantic Analysis. AA Special Publication Vol. 67. Menasha,
American Anthropological Association.
1966 Some Comments on Formal Analysis of Grammatical and Semantic
Systems. AA 68: 362-373.
1968 The Rise of Anthropological Theory. New York, Thomas Y. Crowell.
Hempel, Carl G.
1966 Recent Problems of Induction. In: Robert G. Colodny (ed.),
Mind and Cosmos: Essays in Contemporary Science and Philosophy.
Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press.
Hymes, Dell H.
1962 The Ethnography of Speaking. In: Thomas Gladwin and William
C. Sturtevant (eds.).
1964a Directions in (Ethno-) Linguistic Theory. In: A. Kimball
Romney and Roy Goodwin D’Andrade (eds.).
1964b Discussion of Burling’s Paper (“Cognition and
Componential Analysis: God’s Truth or Hocuspocus?” AA
Vol. 66, No. 17). AA 66: 116-119.
Jarvie, I. C.
1964 The Revolution in Anthropology. London, Routledge and Kegan
1965 Limits of Functionalism and Alternatives to it in Anthropology.
In: Don Martindale (ed.), Functionalism in the Social Sciences:
The Strength and Limits of Functionalism in Anthropology, Economics,
Political Science, and Sociology. American Academy of Political
and Social Science Monograph 5. Philadelphia, American Academy of
Political and Social Science.
1964 The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science.
San Francisco, Chandler.
1968 The Formal-substantive Controversy in Economic Anthropology:
Reflections on Its Wider Implications. SWJA 24: 228-251.
Kaplan, David and Robert A. Manners
1972 Culture Theory. Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall.
1966 Ethnography and Theory of Culture. Bucknell Review 14: 106-113.
Keesing, Roger M.
1966a Descriptive Categories in the Analysis of Social Organization:
A Rejoinder to Nelson. AA 68: 474-476.
1966b Kwaio Kindreds. SWJA 22: 346-353.
1967 Statistical Models and Decision Models of Social Structure:
A Kwaio Case. Ethnology 6: 1-16.
1968 Step Kin, In-laws, and Ethnoscience. Ethnology 7: 59-70.
1953 Universal Categories of Culture. In: A. L. Kroeber (ed.), Anthropology
Today. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
Kluckhohn, Clyde and William Morgan
1962 Some Notes on Navaho Dreams. In: Richard Kluckhohn (ed.), Culture
and Behavior. New York, Free Press of Glencoe.
Kroeber, A. L.
1909 Classificatory Systems of Relationship. Journal of the Royal
Anthropological Institute 39: 77-84.
1944 Configurations of Culture Growth. Berkeley, University of
Kuhn, Thomas S.
1962 The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, University
of Chicago Press.
Leach, E. R.
1954 Political Systems of Highland Burma. Cambridge, Harvard University
1961a Rethinking Anthropology. London School of Economics Monographs
in Social Anthropology 22. London, The Athlone Press.
1961b Pul Eliya: A Village in Ceylon. Cambridge, University Press.
1963 Structural Anthropology. New York, Basic Books.
1948 The Wisdom of Laotse. New York, Random House.
Lounsbury, Floyd G.
1956 A Semantic Analysis of the Pawnee Kinship Usage. Language 32:
1964a The Structural Analysis of Kinship Semantics. In: Horace
G. Lunt (ed.), Proceedings of the Ninth International Congress of
Linguistics. The Hague, Mouton.
1964b The Formal Analysis of Crow- and Omaha-type Kinship Terminologies.
In: Ward H. Goodenough (ed.).
1965 Another View of the Trobriand Kinship Categories. In: E. A.
Lundsgaarde, Henry P.
1967 A Structural Analysis of Nez Perce Kinship. Research Studies
Medawar, P. B.
1967 The Art of the Soluble. London, Methuen.
Metzger, Duane G. and Gerald E. Williams
1966 Some Procedures and Results in the Study of Native Categories:
Tzeltal “firewood”. AA 68: 389-407.
Murdock, George P.
1949 Social Structure. New York, Macmillan.
1969 Objectivity in Social Research. New York, Pantheon Books.
1967 Letters to the Editor: Native Concepts in Cross-cultural Surveys.
AA 69: 511-512.
1965 Descent Systems, Affines, and Kindreds: A Rejoinder to Befu.
AA 67: 91 -95.
1962 An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. New York, The
Free Press of Glencoe.
Peranio, Roger D.
1961 Descent, Descent Line, and Descent Group in Cognatic Social
Systems. In: Viola E. Garfield (ed.), Proceedings of the 1961 Annual
Spring Meeting of the American Ethnological Society Symposium: Patterns
of Land Utilization and Other Papers. Seattle, University of Washington
Pike, Kenneth L.
1954 Emic and Etic Standpoints for the Description of Behavior.
In: Kenneth L. Pike, Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of
the Structure of Human Behavior, Part I (preliminary edition). Glendale,
Summer Institute of Linguistics.
Popper, Karl R.
1961 The Logic of Scientific Discovery. New York, Science Editions.
Radcliffe-Brown, A. R.
1950 Introduction. In: A. R. Radcliffe-Brown and Daryll Forde (eds.),
African Systems of Kinship and Marriage. London, Oxford University
Richards, A. I.
1935 The Village Census in the Study of Culture Contact. Africa
Romney, A. Kimball
1965 Kalmuk Mongol and the Classification of Lineal Kinship Terminologies.
In: E. A. Hammel (ed.).
Romney, A. Kimball and Roy Goodwin D’Andrade
1964 Cognitive Aspects of English Kin Terms. In: A. Kimbal Romney
and Roy Goodwin D’Andrade (eds.).
Romney, A. Kimball and Roy Goodwin D’Andrade (eds.)
1964 Transcultural Studies in Cognition. AA Special Publication
Vol. 66. Menasha, American Anthropological Association.
Salmon, Wesley C.
1966 The Foundations of Scientific Inference. In: Robert G. Colodny
(ed.), Mind and Cosmos: Essays in Contemporary Science and Philosophy.
Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press.
Scheffler, H. W.
1966 Ancestor Worship in Anthropology, Or, Observations on Descent
and Descent-Groups. CA 7: 541-551.
Schneider, D. M.
1965 American Kin Terms and Terms for Kinsmen: A Critique of Goodenough’s
Componential Analysis of Yankee Kinship Terminology. In: E. A. Hammel
Sturtevant, William C.
1964 Studies in Ethnoscience. In: A. Kimball Romney and Roy Goodwin
1934 The Phonemic Principle. Language 10: 117-129.
1933 La Phonologie Actuelle. In: Psychologie du Langage. Paris.
Twaddell, W. Freeman
1935 On Defining the Phoneme. Language Monograph 16.
Tyler, Stephen A.
1969 Cognitive Anthropology. New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Wallace, Anthony F.
1961a On Being Just Complicated Enough. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Science 47:458-464.
1961b The Psychic Unity of Human Groups. In: Bert Kaplan (ed.),
Studying Personality Cross-culturally. Evanston, Illinois, Row,
1961c Culture and Personality. New York, Random House.
1962 Culture and Cognition. Science 135: 351-357.
1965 The Problem of the Psychological Validity of Componential
Analyses. In: E. A. Hammel (ed.).
1968 The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York, Columbia University