The Family Among the Australian Aborigines

Malinowski, Bronisław Kasper 1913. The Family Among the Australian Aborigines: A Sociological Study. London: University of London Press.

On the other hand, I have tried to show that in dealing with purely sociological problems it is necessary, in order to do justice to the complexity and fulness of social phenomena, to draw into the field of inquiry a series of facts often hithero partially or completely neglected. The facts of daily life, the emotional side of family relations, the magico-religious ideas of the aborigines about kinship and sexual relations, customary as well as legal norms - all these factors must be taken impartially into careful consideration in order to give the full picture of an institution as it embraces living man in a living society. In other words each social institution must be studied in all its complex social functions as well as in its reflexion in the collective psychology. (Malinowski 1913: v-vi)

This complexity involves social factors (and social functions), of course. The emotional side of family relations is what symphaticity is about (e.g. affective mediation). Phatic communion is just one social function (that of language), and its reflexion in the collective psychology is pretty much what I'm currently researching (how the concept of phaticity has come to be as popular as it is).

Working out thoroughly some conceptions suggested already by Prof. Frazer in his Golden Bough, the author has shown the importance of the ideas about human relations and in particular about sexual relations as held by primitive man. (Malinowski 1913: viii)

I read somewhere that Golden Bough was Malinowski's first contact with anthropology and the reason for his getting into it. The social importance about the ideas about human relations, in phraseology itself, points to Malinowski's interest in this subject matter early on. If my aim is to expand the notion of phatic communion, or to give justification for others having done so, I'll definitely need to read more from Malinowski himself.

I had, while working on the present book, the privilege of personal intercourse with Prof. Westermarck, a privilege I value more than I can express. (Malinowski 1913: x)

A quick lexical note: personal intercourse is opposed to social intercourse. I have a feeling that Malinowski's own writings will do much to illuminate the phraseology in the phatic communion passage.

When Howitt says: "The social unit is not the individual, but the group; the former merely takes the relationships of his group, which are of group to group," this obviously means that there is no individual relationship, consequently no individual family in Australia. It is important to note that the passage just quoted is placed in the chapter on Relationship in Howitt's chief work on Australia, and that consequently it refers to all the tribes described by the author, i.e. to the majority of the known Australian tribes. (Malinowski 1913: 1-2)

I'm probably reading it wrong, but to me it reads as if the individual takes on the social relationships of its groups, which would go well with the notion that some things are not felt as "received" but as something over which one has natural ownership (this is the case with language in Estonia, for example); or, in Malinowski's own words in the preface, English is "an acquired language", while native language is equally "acquired" in the general sense but not felt as such.

To affirm that in a given society motherhood is individual and not communal (group motherhood), a strict analysis of a whole series of circumstances is necessary. (Malinowski 1913: 6-7)

This is where the distinction between personal and social intercourse comes to the fore: phatic communion is communal speech; whereas the phaticity of intimate relationships is personal. Hence, the latter is emphatically symphatic rather than phatic pure and simple (the sym- clearly, hopefully clearly enough, signifies the prior existence of sympathies that make up the intimate relationship).

The first point to which attention must be paid, is to ascertain the exact meaning of a given statement. As many of our informants do not use exact terminology but write in a colloquial language, often spoilt by literary pretensions, we occasionally run the risk of being misled by a word or by a turn of expression. In other words, it never seems advisable to cling blindly to the verbal meaning of a statement before having put it to the test. (Malinowski 1913: 18-19)

Ironically, Malinowski's own passage on phatic communion appears either "essayistic" or else archaic in its use of language (bonds of union, ties of fellowship?), so that his own acquired English has fallen out of use and now appears colloquial and harboring literary pretensions.

The sense in which a word is used may be, in the majority of cases, easily settled from the context, examples given by the author, and other instances where he uses the same word. When a phrase is hopelessly ambiguous, it is wrong to make any use of it. (Malinowski 1913: 19)

More irony, as my first impulse was to call Malinowski's language not archaic but "ambiguous". I've found context for it in Spencer and Durkheim and now am in search for examples of other uses for the same phrases I'm already so familiar with.

In accordance with what has been said above, let us accept at the outset a general definition, along the lines of which our investigations will be carried out. My choice for this purpose is the well-known definition of Dr. Westermarck: "Marriage is a more or less durable connection between male and female, lasting beyond the mere act of propagation till after the birth of the offspring." (Malinowski 1913: 34)

The wording here is neat: till after the birth of the offspring. It goes well with the insight from evolutionary biology that the human pair bond should last approximately until the child is able to walk by itself.

Turning now to the other, the violent form of obtaining wives, we may distinguish the elopement, when both sides are consenting, and capture where the woman is secured by a mere act of brutal force. (Malinowski 1913: 53)

Concerning the "mere" in phrases like "mere manual work" (PC 1.2), "mere sociabilities" (PC 3.1), "the mere presence of others" (PC 3.3), "a mere exchange of words" (PC 6.1) and "the mere need of companionship" (PC 9.1). In this lighty, there are two sides, and the mereness signifies non-mutuality, the lack on one side. The most easily analyzable is "a mere exchange of words", in which the other side is "communicating ideas".

We see therefore that two social factors were involved in the legal side of the marriage: the family, which was responsible for the carrying out of marriage and often for its maintenance, and the community, which gives its content and often controls the right performance of expiatory ordeals. IT may also be remarked that the mere moral sanction, which stamps one act as right and another as wrong, gives a strong support to the offended party and paralysed the help that the friends would perhaps like to give to the offender. (Malinowski 1913: 57)

A further reason for phaticity being "communal": "Always the same emphasis on affirmation and consent" (PC 5.3). That is, the community gives consent and, as Herbert Spencer put it, enacts checks upon impulsiveness.

The two main facts of collective psychology, expressed by marriage by purchase, are (1) that there is a certain value attached to the woman and expressed by the conventional price; (2) that there is the idea of right of property or at least of the individual personal right of the husband over his wife, acquired by him through the fact of purchase. These two facts are very important. [...] The following point ma yalso be adduced here, viz. that generally the old men and other men of influence and power secured the young females of the tribes. It was easier for influential and important men to maintain their right over their wives before as well as after actual possesion. (Malinowski 1913: 59)

Relevant for elaborating the "collective psychology" aspect of phatic communion: that there is the idea of phatic communion or something to this effect (e.g. small talk, chit-chat), and that some value is attached to this idea (e.g. it is believed that phatic communion contributes to community coherence or something like that).

Now I would like to point out that whenever it happens that a certain legal or social fact is transformed into sacrament, i.e. is supposed to be accomplished by the performance of some formality endowed with a supernatural sanction, we have every reason to suppose that this legal or social fact is very deeply rooted in the collective mind, that it corresponds to very inveterate ideas. (Malinowski 1913: 61)

Phatic communion is, once again, a kind of secular sacrament (a formality performed for sake of some communal goal, such as putting members of the community at ease with each other).

As the act that brought about marriage was usually one of importance and subject to many conditions, so also an attempt to dissolve it was grave in itself and in its consequences. (Malinowski 1913: 66)

And conversely, since phatic communion is so unimportant and subject to no remarkable conditions, what of its consequences?

Bonney asserts that "quarrels between husband and wife are rare, and they show much affection for each other in their own way." Apparent coolness in their relations is required by custom. He gives an example of a couple who "loved each other," and did not even greet after a long absence. According to the statement the treatment of women was fairly good, and there was also no want of mutual affection. (Malinowski 1913: 70)

Intercultural (interethnic?) differences in politeness behaviour in connection with intimate relationships. Complex stuff.

This statement sounds not very trustworthy. We never hear of open battles, in which fugitives would leave the camp unprotected. Besides, even if affection would not bind them to the "fugitives," would fear of the stranger and enemy not act in this direction? Little weight must be, therefore, attached to this evidence. (Malinowski 1913: 70)

Analogous to "The stranger who cannot speak the language is to all savage tribesmen a natural enemy." (PC 4.2) - It would appear that this is an assumption Malinowski held even before he observed and participated in primitive life himself.

Therefore we are led, in the third place, to ask the psychological question concerning mutual feelings between husband and wife. Affection is, of course, the most important, fundamental characteristic of any intimate personal relationship between two people. But it is, at the same time, rather difficult to give any more detailed answer on that point, when it is a question of savages whom no one has intimately studied from this point of view, and of whose psychology we have only a very slight idea. (Malinowski 1913: 76-77)

Score for symphatics: bonds of personal union in which sentiments may or may not be exchanged are very different from intimate relationships characterized by affection.

In the second place, it must be remembered that there are no reasons why the blacks should be completely alien to the feelings of attachment. Husband and wife lived more or less completely separated from the community, forming a more or less isolated unit (see below, on the mode of living). They had many interests in common, and, this being the strongest bond, they have common children to whom they were usually much attached. (Malinowski 1913: 84)

Approaching Ruesch's communization, though in an odd context, since Ruesch applies it on acquaintances and friends but not in a familial setting.

It will be sufficient to point out that such an occasional sexual licence lasting several hours during an initiation gathering could not create any bonds of family, such as may result from community of daily life and community of interests, common inhabiting of the same dwelling, common eating, especially common rearing of children - all factors which, as will be shown below, act only in the individual family and tend to make out of the individual family a well-established and well-defined unit. (Malinowski 1913: 114-115)

Oh boy. Lots of communities. No communions.

Now, that these instincts of jealousy do not assume the delicate and refined form they possess in our society, results merely from the difference in the corresponding collective ideas which influence and mould the elementary instinct. (Malinowski 1913: 126)

Instincts can be "moulded" by collective ideas? It would appear that I know all too little about instincts.

On the other hand, it is possible - although there are no examples of it - that the very magical aspect of the sexual act would make it especially subject to jealous watchfulness and exclusiveness. Apart from any speculations, it appears certain that all these different ideas and conceptions are in intimate interdependence, and that we can only safely speak about jealousy (or strong>any other such compound psychical complex) in a given society, when we know all such connections. (Malinowski 1913: 130)

Likewise, we can safely speak of the psychological comfort ("ease", "pleasurable atmosphere") of phatic communion only when we have considered the other psychological factors involved therein. This is why intercultural pragmatics is apt to point out inconsistencies of Western politeness behaviour when applied on Japanese forms of interaction, for example.

To understand the more definite forms which these instincts assume, it is necessary to note the presence or absence of motives which would influence, check, or develop these instincts. (Malinowski 1913: 130)

Like the case presented by Spencer: the question whether sociality is a check upon impulsive emotions.

And if there are, besides, any group relations, they must radically and absolutely differ from the individual one; for the latter, and it only, is constituted by the most powerfully binding element - continuous daily contact. (Malinowski 1913: 133)

Something very phatic in the Jakobsonian sense: continuous daily contact is the most powerfully binding element of individual relations.

"At these huts sleep the father of the family, his wives, the female children who have not yet joined their husbands, very young boys and occasionally female relatives; but no males over ten years of age may sleep in family huts. They have got their own separate encampment." If any strangers are present with their wives, they sleep in their own huts, placed amongst the married people. If they are unmarried or without wives "they sleep at the fire of the young men." "Under no circumstances is a strange native allowed to approach the fire of a married man." Their huts being so scattered over a rather large area, their conversation is held by means of a loud chant. It must be remembered that Grey asserts in several places the great and vigilant jealousy of the natives. (Malinowski 1913: 164)

It would seem that "When a number of people sit together at a village fire" (PC 1.2) there is actually a whole lot going on in terms of social stratification.

[...] the general features of native camp arrangements were orderliness, fixed rules, isolation of families, settled and restricted social contact, and by no means social communism and unregulated social promiscuity. (Malinowski 1913: 165)

In this light it is even somewhat ironic that Malinowski's concept of phatic communion would go on to serve as support for unrestricted social contact, social communism and unregulated social promiscuity.

In the ase of even friendly strangers a certain amount of mistrust - of evil magic as well as of actual bad intentions - may have operated. (Malinowski 1913: 165)

Some much-needed context for the statements "The stranger who cannot speak the language is to all savage tribesmen a natural enemy." (PC 4.2) and "To the primitive mind, whether among savages or our own uneducated classes, taciturnity means not only unfriendliness but directly a bad character." (PC 4.3).

By the word kinship, roughtly speaking, is denoted a series of family relationships (those of parents to children, brothers to sisters, etc.), all of which consist of a set of extremely complex phenomena. They are made up of the most heterogeneous elements: physiological (birth, procreation, suckling, etc.), social (community of living, of interests, social norms, etc.), and psychological (different ways in which these relations are conceived, different moral ideas, and different typel of feelings). (Malinowski 1913: 170)

Finally something approaching a typology or classification. For phatic communion, the physiological elements are nearly completely irrelevant, the social elements have been investigated pretty thoroughtly, but the psychological aspects appear the least well elaborated in phatic literature. Actually, phatic communion requires the addition of another set, due to its context in The Meaning of Meaning, namely "semiotic elements".

The variable elements in parental kinship must be also looked for in the different elements of the collective mind, connected with the parental relationship; in other words, in the different collective ideas and feelings which have parental kinship for their centre. (Malinowski 1913: 175)

How well does this jive with "Durkheim the early social constructionist"?

To sum up, it may be said that parental kinship is the personal tie obtaining between members of the parental group or individual family, and like all other personalities it must be further determined in each society by the characteristic collective feelings and collective ideas which in the given society give it its specific meaning. (Malinowski 1913: 176)

This may be one alternative to the talk of (moral?) sentiments.

Of course the mere physiological fact does not establish kinship in its full extent, with all its personal, emotional, social and legal aspects. It is only when the physiological facts of procreation or birth are sanctioned by society, in other words when they are consummated in legal marriage, that the children are full kinsmen of both their parents. Society takes all facts which are of vital importance for itself under its own supervision; and consequently the important facts of propagation are subject to the control of society, which regulates them by a series of religious, legal, customary and conventional norms, all of which are also necessary conditions and essential features of full parental kinship. (Malinowski 1913: 177)

All but "legal" applies to phatic comunion. For consummation, a point of comparison: "The breaking of silence, the communion of words is the first act to establish links of fellowship, which is consummated only be the breaking of bread and the communion of food." (PC 4.5) - and the types of norms are highlighted because it would be neat to systematize the social elements, and norms are one.

It was pointed out above that in Australia we have data allowing us to speak of the legal aspect of social institutions and relations; it appears improbable, though, that there could be found any purely legal relation. (Malinowski 1913: 190)

This pureness is as relevant as mereness, as in "pure sociabilities and gossip" (PC 9.1), where the pureness seems to signify the dominant function of sociability ("the mere need of companionship") rather than "any purpose of communicating ideas".

Nobody ever doubts, as far as I can see, the fact that all personal ties between two individuals consist not only of ideas, but also of feelings, and that they are influenced no less by the feelings the two individuals mutually inspire than by the ideas they form of each other. To ascertain, e.g., if there be friendship between two people, one seeks to know their feelings towards each other, as well as what they think about each other. The relation between a parent and a child is in our society chiefly determined by their mutual feelings. And in a case where these feelings are absent, this relationship - in spite of all legal, moral, and other factors which tend to maintain its form - is deeply affected. It may be taken for granted that the sentimental side most essentially determines in a given society any kind of personal relationship. And in the same society the character of a given personal relation - be it parental kinship or anything else - varies with the intensity of the feeling and is essentially defined by the latter. It may be accepted also, that in different societies the types of feelings corresponding to given personal relations may vary according to the society, and may define in each one this given relation in its most essential character. In other words, the concept of collective feelings can be applied as well as the concept of collective ideas. By this is to be understood certain types of feeling, which being dependent on corresponding collective ideas possess the same essential character as the latter: they exist in a certain society, and are transmitted from generation to generation; they impose themselves on the individual mind, and possess the character of necessity; they are deeply connected with certain social institutions; in fact they stand to them in the relation of functional dependence (in the mathematical sense). So, for instance, it is clear that in the hypothetical primitive promiscuous society, in which ex hypothesi there would be no individual relationship, the feelings of affection for the individual offspring could not exist. We could only speak of the collectivie feeling" of group affection. So it seems to me that the relation of parents to children cannot be treated with any approach to completeness without seriously taking into account its emotional character. (Malinowski 1913: 191-192)

Wow. There's a lot here to dissect "the specific feelings which form convivial gregariousness" (PC 7.6). "Their feelings towards each other" captures the point of sympathy - and consequently the minus-sym hypothesis: that in phatic communion, there are no mutual feelings but exactly this collective feeling of group affection (will we finally get to Durkheim's collective effervescence?).

Now, are not feelings of the most indeterminate character, the most misleading, and the most difficult to ascertain? (Malinowski 1913: 192)

Not according to philosophers of emotion who hold that each emotion has an object and that emotions can serve as rational reasons. I don't know how, but so they claim (cf. Mary Carman 2017. "How emotions do not provide reasons to act").

In fact, the theory of feelings and emotions seems to be the least developed in individual as well as in social psychology. Especially it might be suggested that to pursue the investigation on double lines is useless; feelings always find adequate expression in ideas, in fact crystallizes in them. (Malinowski 1913: 192-193)

This sounds like the Peircean view of things: fuzzy feelings proceed to concreteness and generality.

There are, for example, in the Arunta country certain stones which are supposed to be charged with spirit children, who can, by magic, be made to enter the bodies of women, or will do so on their own accord." (Malinowski 1913: 209)

I came to this idea too late into the book but next time around I should create a separate section - "literary inspirations" - for these kinds of passages, among the phraseological and lexical findings.

The only objection is that any attempt to give "strict" or "exact" sense to aboriginal ideas is completely misplaced. The aborigenes are not able to think exactly, and their beliefs do not possess any "exact meaning." And if an attempt be made to interpret them in this way, we shall always fail to understand them and to trace their social bearing. (Malinowski 1913: 213)

More on how the primitives are not the best metaphysicians. Now it is claimed that they are unable to think exactly.

From this it is obvious that one would look in vain for such a belief amongst the Australian savages, who do not know anything of logic, and can neither affirm identity nor perceive contradictions. Instead of identifying two things, they feel only a strong but mystical bond of union between them. In this sense the new-born child is obviously a reincarnation of a given ancestor. (Malinowski 1913: 214)

This "bond of union" is beginning to annoy me because it appears to lack an identity in itself. The laxness with which it is used in various context makes expressions like "the bonds of antipathy" (PC 5.3), "the bonds created between hearer and speaker" (PC 5.5) and "bonds of personal union" (PC 9.1) even more ambiguous.

There, according to a native expression, "the child comes from the man, the woman only takes care of it." And when once an old man wished to emphasize his right and authority over his son he said: "Listen to me! I am here, and there you stand with my body." (Malinowski 1913: 231)

Another neat literary inspiration.

Howitt says that to secure the good-will of the parents the most direct way is to admire their children; a fact which is characteristic of paternal infatuation in our own society. (Malinowski 1913: 250)

This is affirmed by the insight of Dell Hymes as to the phatic function and Patricia Prioto-Blanco with regard to family pictures in the entrance to a Spanish domicile.

The man makes his weapons and hunts, and this is a natural and pleasant sport for him. There are no elements of excitement or variety in the women's work; it is just this element of system and of regularity which makes work repulsive and hard to man, and especially to primitive man. (Malinowski 1913: 283)

Once again we see men craving variety and women safety, though in very different spheres than where this difference usually manifests itself.

I read the book of Mr. Crawley (Mystic Rose) unfortunately after the foregoing pages were in type; my study would have been more complete had I known it before. Mr. Crawley analyzes the psychology underlying human relations (those of sex in particular) from their religious side. Primitive man is full of apprehension of the mutual danger inherent in social and especially in sexual contact. Hence the different systems of taboo; the sexual taboo being one of the most important. To establish harmless relations between people of different sexes requires a system of breaking the taboo. (Malinowski 1913: 305)

Something along the lines of "The stranger who cannot speak the language is to all savage tribesmen a natural enemy." (PC 4.2) - Should include Mystic Rose among prospective readings, just like Frazer's Golden Bough.

Phraseological findings

The importance of the subject treated in this study as well as the prominent part played by the Australian evidence in the problem of kinship, will, it is believed, amply justify a detailed inquiry into the institution of the family in Australia. It is, however, always desirable for a monograph like the present one, besides being a mere collection and description of facts, to have a sufficiently wide theoretical scope. It ought to demonstrate some general principle upon the particular example treated, and to approach the problem from a new standpoint. [...] As a matter of fact, by a certain tendency to fanciful construction, natural in all early speculations about a new domain of facts, many problems in the study of primitive kinship have been artificially simplified, others unduly complicated and obscured. Thus, for instance, when in the discussion of primitive forms of marriage the whole problem of the position of the children and of the emotional attitude of the parents towards them has been neglected; [...] Whenever concrete institutions have been theoretically treated, they were approached with preconceived ideas, as, for instance, in the well-known monograph of Fison and Howitt, [...] But many of their observations are highly valuable if properly interpreted; and moreover it was necessary to bring their statements into line with the newer evidence for the sake of critical comparison, as much of what they say has been uncritically accepted and given without reference by some secondhand compilers (for instance, Waitz-Gerland, vol. vi.; Cunow) and hence found its way into the newer sociological literature. [...] We can only say a unit which is analogous to our individual family, and even then we would be more metaphorical than exact. [...] The mere affirmation that the actual relationship exists and is recognizeb by the natives is not enough. [...] It will be necessary to describe minutely all the relationships generally embraced by the term Family, and to describe them in terms taken from the native social life. [...] It is essential that the elements of this definition should be taken from the conditions of social life in the given society. [...] And yet marriage there is not deprived of its legal validity and of its social sanction. [...] Besides all that has bee nsaid above against a general offhand affirmation, that the individual family exists in Austraila, it may be added here that such an assertion is practically quite useless. No further conclusions or inferences can be drawn from such a vague statement. [...] Occasionally a group of people organize an armed party on their own account, but with the consent of the community; and so on. [...] In the first place, there is a great variety of modes in which the different legal norms are preserved, impressed upon the social mind, and taught to different members of the society. [...] In the second place a careful investigation of the different forms of social sanction, based partly on belief, partly on collective ideas and feelings, partly on actual institutions and direct enforcement, might be carried out. [...] This evidence is, on the other hand, given in the majority of cases in a very crude state, without reference to any theoretical point of view. The facts are often given in a purely casual and colloquial way. [...] Ultimately each man will have his professional bias: the missionary will be influenced by his creeds and his moral ideas, the ethnologist by his theories, and the squatter or police trooper will sometimes, where there is room for it, allow play to his feelings, which usually are not ones of pure sympathy for the natives. [...] Of course a careful and complete study of the whole work of an author enables one to judge much better how far his profession and personality may have affected his statements. [...] Another example is afforded by the interesting passage of Howitt quoted below in extenso (pp. 113 and 114), which relates how the author thinks that our ideas on group marriage should be modified by what we know about the aboriginal mode of living and about the natural character of men. [...] This statement contains the feature of publicity of marriage. [...] It appears more probable that as all those reports date from the early days of the settlement, and were written nearly at the same time, their opinions cannot be considered as independent, and they are probably repetitions of the same erroneous view which may be assumed to have been held by the general public in the settlement. [...] Marriage contract in nearly all societies is accompanied by some ceremonies, which possess in themselves some binding force, generally of a magical and religious character. [...] nevertheless, there was usually a mutual fondness and kindness. [...] We only ask here, therefore, the quite general question whether, as implied in some statements, there was an absolute absence of any kind of personal feeling in all Australian families. [...] The widow may be in some cases really glad that her husband has died, as well in Australia as in any of our modern societies. What is shown at any rate is, that society supposes and requires such feelings, and that they are duties according to the social moral code; in fact, that sorrow and grief for the deceased are required by the collective ideas and feelings. [...] and as he knew from personal acquaintance or from reliable informants the whole area, we may consider this geographical difference as thoroughly established. [...] Accordingly we find but little indication of any misconduct in the case of unmarried females, and the few instances we meet with are so little detailed that they do not throw much light upon this question; it is especially uncertain whether they are exceptional innovations, or whether they have any more serious social raison d'être. [...] In fact, in some of the facts related about the Pirraurus, there are hints pointing to the existence of economic bonds and of community in daily life between Pirraurus. [...] Obviously, these social factors act here to modify and moderate the feeling of sexual jealousy. [...] To return to the question of jealousy, we have, after having stated the general problems, discussed the influence exercised on it by social pressure or custom and other psychical factors. [...] Roughly speaking, in Australia, the tribe as a social unit is characterized by name, common speech, custom and territory. [...] First, because for mutual protection the tribesmen must have often associated. [...] The second part of our problem must now be faced: whenever there is a certain number of families aggregated (permanently or temporarily), what are the features of their social contact in daily life? [...] As they arrived they formed their camps, each family having a fire of its own some half-dozen yards from its neighbour's. [...] At any rate this regulated camp order shows how important this question was in the native social life and how strong the idea must have been that each family had its own place apart from the others, and the more remotely related people were, the less intimate ccontact would be. [...] These rules show clearly that each hut, each fire-place, was reserved for one family, and that this status had its customary form and sanction. [...] Here the consanguineous relation between mother and child is considerably reduced in social importance, and consanguitiy as it appears to the social mind is purely paternal. [...] And it must be borne in mind that these ideas express not only the purely theoretical views of the social mind on the facts of procreation; they also involve different emotional elements, and especially the social importance given to these facts by society. Consanguinity (as a sociological concept) is therefore not the physiological bond of common blood; it is the social acknowledgment and interpretation of it. [...] This definition is both negative and ambiguous, excluding elements of consanguinity from potestas and assigning to the latter "various historical roots." [...] We must now emphasize the fact that just as we may say that the different ideas determining kinship converge towards one central concept, or rather flow out of one common central idea of kinship, so there is also an intimate connection between the ideas determining kinship and the feelings bound up with it. [...] The emotional character of the parental kinship relation is of the highest importance in determining the social feature of this relation, and for the comprehension of its social working. [...] A feeling of solidarity runs through the entire kin, so that it may be said without hyperbole that the kin is regarded as one entire life, one body whereof each unit is more than metaphorically a member, a limb. [...] It may mean physical fatherhood and nothing more, and physical fatherhood may be a fact of the veriest insignificance. [...] In this belief there are, undoubtedly, contained ideas of a strong tie of sympathy, affinity or kinship between the father and his future child. [...] The child is supposed to be its father's spirit's heir. It shares in his most personal and individual element. Is this spiritual communion not something quite as strong and deep as any community of blood? [...] But in order to prove that such ideas are sociologically relevant ideas of kinship, it must yet be shown that they possess some social functions; that is to say, that they play an essential part in the collective formulation of the various norms regulating individual parental kinship. [...] Between a bigger child and its mother this constant dependece upon each other must necessarily create a strong bond of union. [...] One forty-one statements agree fairly well on many points, but especially on the principal question, namely on the existence of very close personal and individual bonds of union between parents and children. As so much stress has been laid on the emotional element in these bonds, it may be shown now how far the evidence confirms the views expressed above. [...] These observations seem at first sight very difficult to be made correctly, for they are of a rather subtle character, referring to impalpable psychological facts. [...] But even if unwilling to trust to the emphasis of our informants' general affirmations and to the agreement between them, we find many concrete details and examples, mentioned by the authors, which convince us that the conclusions they have drawn from observation were correct. [...] But it is still less possible to admit that a man and a woman would on the first occasion, or even without any reason, part and form new unions if they were both attached so strongly to the same person - an attachment which, as in so many examples, sometimes amounted to a real passion. [...] We are more justified in applying them to the Australian natives, if we use them as an expression of the mere fact that the father could do anything he liked with his children, that he had an absolute power over them. [...] In general - allowing for a natural variety of feelings - the preponderance of feelings of attachment appears to be the rule.

Lexical findings

McLennan assigns a prominent place in his investiations to factors which had hardly ever played a very important part in primitive society, as, for instance, marriage by capture, female infanticide and levirate. [...] In this place I wish to express my deep gratitude to Mr. J. Martin White, whose munificence has made the publication of this book possible. [...] I shall, as a rule, quote each statement in extenso, and give, if necessary, an interpretation or correction. [...] Of the courtship in some fo the New South Wales tribes we have an account by J. Turnbull: "When a young man sees a female to his fancy, he informs her she must accompany him home; the lady refuses; he not only enforces compliance with threats, but blows: thus the gallant, according to the custom, never fails to gain the victory, and bears off the willing though struggling pugilist." [...] But then it was not a simple pacific dissolution of marriage, only an act of violence, always pursued with varying vehemence, as shown above. [...] To supply here the experimentum crucis, let us quote some contradictory instances. [...] There are, nevertheless, happy and mutually regardful couples. [...] All this appears quite plausible if we bear in mind that the old men keep the greatest number of females for themselves - at least all the most comely ones. [...] We read that in cases where a man begrudges his wife to a Pirrauru he is regarded as churlish. [...] They carry them thus for then or twelve months, sleeping upon the mass of mortal remains, which serves them for a pillow, apparently unmindful of the horrid fœtor which emanates from such a putrefying substance. [...] His inoffensive exterior, however, hid a truly demoniac character; he was quite egotistical, "he had never had any strong liking for anything else," but hda only one peculiar passion: "his special craving was for murder." [...] "Among the Geawe Gal "girls were affianced to men much older than themselves." [...] In his new home, though no violence was used, its inmates being all his relatives, the child gradually became to some extent the fag" of all older and stronger. [...] After her marriage her husband is entitled "to the chief part of her services. While she has to supply him with unlimited quantities of yams and other roots, he does very little towards providing for her wants, merely giving her the offal of game." [...]


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