Seminar on Culture Personality, Columbia University, April 17-May 15, 1941 (Folder 4 of 5)


Material Information

Seminar on Culture Personality, Columbia University, April 17-May 15, 1941 (Folder 4 of 5)
Series Title:
Tapirape Project Files
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Wagley, Charles
Charles Wagley ( donor )
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Box: 7
Folder: Seminar on Culture Personality, Columbia University, April 17-May 15, 1941 (Folder 4 of 5)


Subjects / Keywords:
Anthropology--United States--History
Galvao, Eduardo Eneas
Gurupa (Para, Brazil)--Photographs
Indians of South America--Brazil
Tapirape Indians
Tapirape Indians--Photographs


General Note:

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:

Full Text

MAY 8. 1941

Dr. Wagley & Dr. Kardinwr

As I understand I xii2 am to take up part of this session

and Dr. Kardiner will have the second part, so.I =m will go rather

fast. The purpose this time is two-fold. I want both questions from

people who have some doubts in their mind and would like to ask ques-

tions, with the hope that you will bring in questions that will make

me come back with some of the answers--that is, if I can'answer the

questions with my material. Secondly I wanted to describe some person-.

alities. This study was not- done with colleotidn of biographical mater-

ial. Thus I will try to substitute some description of people as people.

The field situation was not right for biographical studies and one o uld

not get autobiographies at all, as it could be done in peasant communities.
First, are there any questions--if you remember the material

as presented in the life cycle I would like to have 'questions.

Question: I don't recall if you have mentioned it but is there
any homosexual play at any time?

I went over that rather rapidly. As a matter of fact in the

Tapirape there has been homosexual behavior. First during the time I

stayed there--I will describe it to you as it came to me as a field worker.

First, for a long period of time I got many myths in which homosexual

behavior was a described, One in particular is the cultural hero who

destroys one of the spirits by S Then I was willing to bet, as

a field worker will predict that the Tapirape did have homosexual behavior.

It came out finally that five years before my arrival one man who was

a passive homosexual had died. Then in describing him--I asked all the

questions about him the people would answer--they described him as a

man of low prestige second, x they did nottdescribe my feminine behavior

for him. He carried a man's role in the society and had been married and

continued to be married though his wife did not want to have anything to


do with him. He was used mostly on trips away from the village.

How going back finally, I got the description actually of a

person and his name--the person had been seen by' one individual in the

village --whose behavior was exactly that of a plains Indian Berdache.

He had completely shifted his role in society and was passive for 'osogamy,

but he had actually married a man. He did not take on women's clothes

because they don't wear anything. But he had taken a woman's role in the

economic part of the society, tying hammocks, cooking, weaving--he sang

with the women in the ceremonies and he sang in a falsetto. The old

man who described him said he sang in a high voice. He stood in a voman'a

position (they showed me where he had stood in the ceremonies), but he

was considered a good wife because in moving down to the plains country

he would carry a tremendous burden of manioo--the man is supposed to carry

it but women did carry it, but he was extra good because he combined the

two, ? . If I can have faith in what they said about jealousy--

they constantly said in great gaiety that his husband was jealous.

iut there is no proof it-took place in the society today.

case I was going to describe of whom I might have some suspicions . .
like two othermen ho lost prestige by being passive in the homosexual

relationship. In descriptions 4 asking about children, they completely

denied straight through that it ever took place between boys or between

older men and a boy, which was what I was looking for.
Questions Was there anything about masturbation in the culture
among boys in the period when there is free sexual play or does it develop
in the period of forced continence?
That they deny.

Dr. K.s There's no need for it

They had a period of continence between ten and fourteen but

there's no proof they carry through that nontinenoe; it's a theoretical

concept. If the set of scratches on the boys arm would give definite



proof of his disregardihg that concept . There definitely is

stimulation. I mean boys go around--I have some pictures, it is very

common to note--boysgoing around stimulating themselves with the zz hand.

Dr. K.i That's masturbation.

Dr. W.s It's a technical point . the definition*

Dr. K. i The definition of masturbation shouldn't be stressed

by the end result but by the intention. Anything with the intention

of producing pleasure.
Dr. W.' I don't worry about words, but then I will say that

the Tapirape denied any masturbation with orgasm, ejaculation.

Dr. Ke. You didn't mention, Dr. Wagley, the stringency of

taboos against women. Which women are taboo in this society, if any?

You say the little boy is permitted sexual play with the girls; are

there any inaccessible to him?
I thought I brought that in at one point. The little boy in

sexual play with little girls must be taught the incest taboo--anybody

who carries the tena sinter, or the term real or close I can

point that out in connection with our kinship system. First, second or

third cousins, real aunts once removed and of course grandmother--and

that's a reality because in one or two oases a young man married an ex-
tremely old woman. Also there were two or three oases here bdys/caught

in sexual play and slapped over the back of the neck hard for breaking

the incest taboo. About which the Tapirape xx& had learned to be obviously

They denied adulterous affairs, because they s aid *a they

would not sleep with that girl because she's my si ster. On the other

hand they fail to make the distinction between sister extended and sister

real. If she is real sister there definitely should be no sexual contact*.

On the other hand there is said not to be sexual contact during menstruation/

of the woman* It'sup to the woman to stop her husband from having


sexual contact. As I understand tho s.. nation, does that answer your
Dr. K. Yes.

Question, Is euioide known?

Questions About what is their intellectual level?
That's a good question. I mean I would say in general it's

about as good as mine or the average, or any fifty people taken at
random in hew York, or rather any 144 people. In some aspects I should
say better. And I can prove It. Not with Sanford-Binet but with
general impressions. Are there any more questions? Well, if not I am
going to go ahead and describe one or two people and some of the things
will come out*
One is-I won't give their names-one is 0. I am not going to
do oribe every 1apirape in order. Bo happens to be the first I laid
eyes on. He was out on the Araguaya river and had been among the
msseax missionaries and spoke a little bit of Portugoese so I could
carry on a oonersation with' him at first. Le was a boy approximately
nineteen years old* He struck me at first as one of the funniest creatures
I had ever laid eyes on. He was very alive. And I had the feeling that

if ell the people of the Tapirape were like this this was going to be
the funniest field trip any anthropologist had ever taken. He had been
18 months,this time/ 6 months, out of the Tapirape country before. He had
gone every morning to the Dominican mission and watched until he oould re-
peat with intonati,:ns perfectly the complete mass, including the Latin
masses and could ohant the rest in Portugese, which he could not under-
stand at all. Also he would minick exactly ,hat the wviest said he
would mimliok Awhat the little girls said and then he would get back and

take 'the part of the priests tone* Be did this every evening and he
woul4 praotioe singing hymns. Several Tapirapel sang hymns and one of


them was "What the Role is Called Up Yonder I'll be There." He would

also take off anybody as s-on as they had left the room and would do a

perfect mimick of them, including an unfortunate mimiek of the. local

captain of a Brazilian ranch who had a crippled wife. He mimicked

her to both of our discomforts; we almost got kicked off the ranch.
His father had been a shamen, a powerful man and had died in

a far village. He had come down to the one village after his father
had died and tied up temporarily with an extended brother of his father's.

he had no one to back him--he was a boy of about 13 years old. He was

more or loss adopted by a man of 75 % prestige, not a .shamen, never a

favorite child and not a household leader. But the boy had the back-

ground of a very important name from his father. So he had a position
in society, yet he was adopted and not treated perfectly so that he

went off the first time an expedition of the priests came. He. was

ouite anxious to leave. He left the first time under the reaction

of one of these "I want to run away" feelings the Tapirape have so much.

He went donm to theAraguaya. He oame back always with a large number

of beads which temporarily raised his prestige, and after the third

tri p, when he returned with me, he had an amazing amount of temporary

wealth. He finally adjusted by placing himself with relatives, with a

sister, but not too close. The first thing his brother- in-law did

was to ask for his dirt. He sold his beads for a few chickens to ingra-

tiate himself with his sister. Within three days he was down to a bush

knife and a large hoe. And he was mxx in a bad place in society. He

then had to marry an old lady who was past the menopause, rather than

marry a child bride to get somebody to cook for him. This boy through the
white contact was definitely xixdta ix He had spent e. great deal of time

outside. He was very soft, in a sense, because outside an Indian travelling

outside doesn't do any work. He eats and sleeps and people give him presents.

There is fear of the Indian in Brazil and you try to treat him beautifully


so that he won't attack your ranch. So that Indians are either

treated very nicely or shot, one or the othor. The women said he could

not walk very far; therefore he couldn't get a wife. Now he decided

that he was going to got a wife and be a Tapirape. The men accused him
of not having any more courage. He didn't attack wild pork. Then he

planted a whole large plantation of only bananas so that when white men

came he could give them presents of bananas.
bow another man--I will have to go fast--was this K. that I

described. He was a man who had been a fm favorite child; he grow up as

a favorite child and became a minor age grade leader, progressing in

prestige and became a minor shamen. He did not acquire the shamenistio
power to make him one of the three or four highest shamens in the village.

Now vAth this he also grouped around him this large household I described
and was probably the key man of the village. Now also when the white men

am oame they asked, as they always do, where is your chief and the people

yx trotted forth this men. Therefore he became known as the white man's

chief. He was the man whom the white men were supposed to,. . .
(stexog missed Dr.W's phrase)
He was traditionally/pro-white and fought with another household loader
who was 'contrary to letting any vhite people in. Once or twice ho aotma ally

arched his back, which is rather rare txm for a Tapirapo to do, you remember

Once the anti-white leader wanted to kill the missionary and K. stood up

and ordered them all to go home and they would have to kill him if they

came by the door. The missionary, recovering so:owhat from his fear,

departed next morning.
At other times, with his relationships with me were very definite.

For instame, he would come every day at meal time to the house I was

living in, beoausehe know he would be offered food, Onoe he was not

offerr-d food and for a month or so he never came back for fear of not

being offered food and of people seeing him not being offered food and

that his prestige would go down. He would also come and at the slightest
slight he would pick up and leave. If you gave people presents and didn't


double the number of presents you gave him he would go home in a huff,

Our relations were constantly on a balance this way because he was

probably the best informant in the village but many times he was not

available because he was mad at me. He would send his wife to say that

anona the Tapirape I had been talking against him. He was insecure

about our relations all the time, yet I constantly showered a very valuable

informant with gifts*
Then there was the wife of a man who was an age grade leader,

called a chief. Let's call her U. And she definitely--was the s second

wife of this leader and she had been married--she had been married

when she was very young, but at puberty she was the wife of the same

man. 6he did not have children. She had a great penchant for pets.

She kept two pets usually and one time when her husband in anger clubbed

her pet ring-tailed coon she cried the rest of the afternoon. Geneologioall)

she was called my sister. She would bring the coon to the house and ask

me how I liked my sister's child," which I was supposed to be closely

related to. She was a very affectionate person, not only with her husband,

as most Tapirape women are, but with people she liked. She was con-

stantly reaching over their shoulder, hanging on to them; her whole aspect

was what we would consider femininity and delicacy. Yet she was strong

enough to carry a heavy pack across jungle paths.

In describing who was the best wife of the village they would

say there aren't any, but then they would come back to this woman. The

r worst wife was the wife of K., who was not liberal while M. was extremely

liberal and gave food away and would go out and work and make food for

otherpeople. Yet the wife of K. who was in the bestposition for a woman,

was considered very stingy. They would constantly s94 she was .not a

chief. Because women who are born in this are supposed to give away to

be people of prestige and if they gave away enough they will also be

called captains, which is the way they 2vm1 mean to say people of prestige


I see I haven't -!ot much time. The two people in the village,

the one man I mentioned that I had suspected him of homosexual behavior

if anybody showed it. In the whole aro of the village he would fall

ikkm into this class if anybody would, was the man I called Antonio.

His name was difficult and I gave him a name. He was extremely, patholog-

ically lazy. You could not get him to go hunting. He would ask you how

far you were going to go x hunting. Never at one time did he finish up

a complete hunting trip with the men. He was strong and quite capable.

He shot a bow and arrow quite well. lie would go with them to the plains

country but then he would hang his hanbiook and go to sleep. He was a

man of prestige by birth. His father had been a shamen and had boon a

favorite child. he had been attached as an orphan t people--one to K.

and another to K the most powerful shamen. When I was there he was

attached to the mostpowerful shamen for whom he was a sort of errand boy.

Dr. K.: Did you say this man was a homosexual?

No, I did not. I had no proof u of it. But after hearing

the description of passive homosexuality anong the Tapirape I immediately

thought of him aL corresponding to that type of behavior. He never had

a garden and was very unhappy. He would come at night and sit; he would

come at tree o'clock in the morning and tell you he had no wife, no

near relatives, he didn't have a garden, he really wanted to go a long,

long way off and that no one liked him here. This happened several times--

I didn't record this at three o'clock in the morning. Once or twice he

came and we cried about it. It's quite cricket for Tapirape men to cry

if you feel like it.
Now the only--I think I have described here the only woman who

didn't have a husband...theonly woman above puberty. The one who fell

out of the hammock and was also an epileptic and because of the l ELr


former she was considered ugly. Also she was lazy they said, so sha

there was an economic reason she couldn't got a husband. So that shewas

the one most often used in the mass rape. Every time she fell in an

epileptic fit.

Then the most powerful shamen was the tallest man in the culture

and he was also a seemingly very quiet sort of person. He was not over-

aggressive in any of his actions that I ever saw. He had not been a

favorite child but through showing potentiality for dreams he became

gradually the most powerful shamon in the village. He was always azkix g

asked though; they came back to him for advice. He was the nearest to

really controlling tho situation. And the situation there was thistThe

tall man against another man of about equal power producing the friction

i described in the village.
The other best informant I worked with was a man by the name of

0. !lisoutstarndin characteristic was that he could walk farther than

anybody else in the village--i.e., he was very strong. He was excellent

on the hunt and one of the bost.singers in the culture and a handy man

with the women. he was the one I described as chalking off all the ;mon

in the village according to the affairs he had had with them. Hoe knew

many songs, the long epic one that took all night. He was a mana bout 23.

He was the type of person who would not sit down to learn basketry or make

arrows and he would never on going or. the hunt, on which he was sw valuable

to the men, he would alwayspiok up arrows badly pointed and badly put

together and with that he would do better than anybody else in the village.

He was the gay blade. quite often he az would just ax7 simply steal a

couple of arrows from somebody else. He was criticized; it was said, "e

will be a chief but he plays." He did not have the poise that a chief

should have. A xan chief who did not have this poise himself bukiwao

said that if a man did not act like this he wouldd not be a chief; and

yet the man vho was describing C. as not acting like a chief, the first

horseplay that osme along 3 he got into it too. But C. was liked by


most people. He was the man, who then. he got angry was going off into

the bush to live alone for ever, an' -io out down the dance house posts

because they said he brought colds to the village. Are there any other

qu stions?

Did you sny the lady viho was your sister was considered tho
best wife because she didn't have any children?

No, it was based completely on behavior. I think it is inter-

esting that she was considered a good wife though she didn't have any

children. They would point out what she did versus what somebody olso

did. Although she was frankly sad because she didn't have any children;

she blamed the shaken that' she thought had caused one still birth. She

wanted children.

Queston: Has the group any mechanism for making lazy people
work? They don't ridicule than?

They lose prestige, but there's nothing to make a man work

because the fundamental thing about Tapirape is that subsistence economy

is easy. Soneti!aes this man would have to go off and cook fEx his own

food which made him lose his prestige, but I don't think--he was quite


Question: I don't understand what happens to lMalthus's law

in these places where subsistence economy is so easy.

Among the Tapirapo it's infanticide. I mean thoy are--it is

1althus's law without Malthus' ikra tough subsistence. They don't worry

about the subsistonoo. They simply allow only three children.


Dr. Kardiners

I would like to begin by asking you a few questions. -hat do

you say is the general character of this culture? Is it a strong cul-

ture or a weak culture; a culture that's capable of survival under diffi-

cult conditions or likely to disappear Kn the slightest catastrophe?

What is your impression? And what are the factors that suggest either

point of view?

I think it wouldd be able to break up pretty fast. They seem
to give up pretty easily and no one seems to take a lot of initiative.

In other words, you subscribe to tho idea that it is a zeak


Going on with that, whenever there is difficulty the idea is to
go mvay and give up.
Any other ideas about it?

I got the idea that the family is not very well oriented since

you shift at any notice. And no one, would assume authority.

*hat's not true (about assuming authority). Anything else?

Lack of anxiety over the decrease in the population.

Well, as a matter of fact, I don't think that's true. Dr.

Wa ley told us there was a great deal of concern about it but they just

don't see to know what to do. But there is a great deal of concern about

the falling population. Now among.the actual factors that are responsi-

ble for the set-back in this society you have to regard a society with

regard to how much resiliency they have against shocks. There is one against

which they have no withstanding at all,

Yes. They have nothing in the growth of the,population to
overcome that, so that whereas the pauciry of reproduction x in

itself would not completely do away with the society this system is not

conducive to a very strong resistance against accidents.


Dr. Wagloy: Is this in terms of the diminishing population?
Because I would like to ask whether or not the basic factor is id= why
they are infected.' That's probably a biological thing.

Yes, that's a biological thing. You find phenomena like that.

You know our society is practically completely immune to measles. But

bringing that to a society like that which has no chrnco to develop any

iru:nity to it means diminishing population. Our society, for instance,

has already developed an amazing immunity to syphilis. This looks like

a dying society.
Dr. Bunzel: This is not the only society. That's true of many
cultures in the early stage of contact and then they seem to reintegrate.
.Dr. K., I wouldn't give that prognosis for this soointy.

(I mentioned that ianmnity to disease only as an incidental shook. There

are other factors-- Dr. Wagley) Oh, yes, there are other factors that

render this society extremely likely to extinction,
Now the second point I would like to asmxysxakizcxix just

for the purpose of general orientation. WAhere is the greatest source

of conflict in this society? . We have heard it repeated so often

the things it is not--it is not the subsistence economy. Where is it?

Dr. Lintons It is very largely located within the shamons.

Practically exclusively with the males. It is a society that

is terribly lopsided in the distribution of hardships and oonfl. iots.

Dr. L.i I was thinking of intra-individual conflicts here.

Yes, but it is localized almost exclusively within the individual
male. There's one other point about which the conflicts (I think we can

use that as a kind of ?watchword), there is a certain type of conflict

that is very common in this society. What is that? It may be axk

about prestige, but that doesn't nuite qualify. You mentioned it so many

timos in the customs that they have. It is all about giving and taking.

The whole t ditk thing is about how much to give and how much to take.


Vow let's omit any cons ideration for the time being about

subsistence economy or prestige economy and let's go immediately to the

life cycle, because I think the character of the individual you get there

and particularly the contrast betvrean a ma and female is so striking,

that the whole thing comes out there. And please watch these individual

itoms with regard to the source and their consequences* You note that

in the life cycle that before the child is born that somebody has already

had a voice in its creation besides its parents and he s the shaken.

Isn't that trust, Dr. Wagley?

Dr. T.: It's generally true; not always*

In order to be able to ans 'or this question as to why this is

true -- we will come to that later, wihy the shamen has all this power
There is
and vi-iat his functions are. .Vj a tataa tremendous over inflation

of all masculine attributes that are possible. He has to do with concep-

tion. There is a compensatory feature in that the child is supposed to

be able to choose his parents. I don't quite get the significance of

that. I don't think the particular rituals of announcing pregnancy have

any importance, unless they are devices on the part of the male to indi-

cate that the woman is already pregnant,but that is not particularly

discouraging because many children are supposed to have two or three or

more fathers.

So that as the first we encounter in connection with pregnancy

is the attitude the parent islikely to have toward'the child and -.hv.

'That changes does it mi~b immediately initiate in the life of the woman

and man. And it does in both. Life does not go -on in an uninterrupted

*.y. frBkzasarSte It interferes with both parents but perhaps most

strikinglyrwith the mrale. The taboos. I don't quite!get the point

about the headaches; are they supposed to have them?

Yes, vhother they do or not,(lir. 7ragley)& M1 don't know.

It is an institutionalized symptom?

Well, a.t's sa start here headaches, she ;diatoly gives

up heavy work.
Dr. W. i I think she gives up heavy work but not immediately.

Who suffers as a result of that? The man. She gives up sex

activity; vho suffers as a result of that? And what is the main thing

that conduces so much to the)stability of the marital relationshipS The

instability of the male. There is a very interesting xxix rationalization

that occurs here which obviously phyx places the whole nutritive function
on the male. The oiM is supposed to graowv with repeated sexual intercourse.

The discontinuation of the intercourse is based on the rationalization

that if he were to continue he would make the child too large and thorofore

the child would not be able to come out. At what point is sexual

activity given up?

Dr. VW.: Apparently in the third month. But the multiple
fathers concept is based upon the fact that during the pregnancy she
has intercourse with several men.
Not in an obl igatory way.

Dr. W.gleys No, but she quite frequently does have. Becauco
of the great number of births who find there are too many fathers. The
child must be buried so that the indication is for many and that she does
not give up sexual activity u'til the very late part of her pregnancy

You mentioned in your notes that that's as soon as the child

begins to grow in her abdomen. (Yes, but in actual practice it's much

later than that.* Dr. Wagley). The danger of death so far as the woman

is cono rned israther high. Butperhaps ith not any higher than in any

other primitive society. Now what about the man. Most of the interest

in the story is in vhat happens to him. He becomes institutionally sad;

just as the's supposed to get headaches, the father is supposed to got sad.

She stops cooking for him, although not immediately

Dr. W.s She stops cooking only in the last days--she will cook

almost up to the end, up to birth pains. That's not heavy work. She
stops carrying water; that's rather heavy work.

She does' stop the heavy work? By the way, how frequent are

abortions here? You didn't note any?



Artificially induced?

They say so, but the method was by eating a particular ant
hill, vhat's called an ant hill. They say it produces abortion, and also
the bark of a tree.


It's not quinine. The one thing I could have told thomn would
produce abortion they didn't use.

The couvade appears here, but not in a very accentuated form.

The father only goes to bed for a short tine.
Dr. W. *
/I got the impression from the comparison of the region, this
is only an interpretation of course, that the Tapirape have probably the
most attenuated form in the region. The Cqraja, neighboring, have the
couvade in a more rigid form.

What are the principles which govern the couvade? What are the

injunctions, even if they are not stringently followed. The father doesn't

take fluids during the couvade. Or if he does the rationalization is

it will cause the woman to bleed.

Dr. Lintons This couvade (of course I wasn't here lnst time)

does that extend only to the woman's husband or to all the men who are

fathers of the child.

Dr. We: That's the conflict that comes up because theoretically
the ms= men who are also the fathers of the child should follow out the
same conditions. Therefore more than two fathers increases the possibility
of one of them breaking the food taboos during his childhood or birth.
So that if there are.too many fathers to break taboos the child may just
as well be killed anyway. But practically only the husband is apt to go
through the couvade.

Note the number of dangers that face the child even allowed to

be alive. Now those taboos on the husband are privations to be sure,

but I doubt whether they are very serious. That is, he can't take

fluids freely until the wife stops discharging There are a couple of

others that do really hurt the father/--the fact that he has to give

aw-ay practically all his property in the form of giftti, practical



would stress
Dr. \:,s I a!sf t6iab vzhat follows as probably the point

the fathers suffer most* The year of enforced diet taboos so that the

child could grow up--that's the period of which I have the impression

of hearing more complaints about.
Dr. K.
Look at the systen--all going out and nothing coming in.

Can you expect the father to have a fxi friendly attitude toward the

child. The pleasr es in this society are limited and there is no

chance for substituting one 7,d= gratification for another. And those

privations must be quite severe. Look at the ambivalence engendrod by betwei

the child and its father by virtue of the fact if the Lo4d does not

follow these taboos the child is apt to undergo harm. The father suffers

privations, impoverishment, at the birth of the child. If the father

has intercourse the child will become thin. The mother will get blocd

in the breast and the child will get it .

Then there are a bunch of food taboos: no venison, Dr. ~7ngley

listed about 18 different foods. In other words it introduces an elh'mnt

of nuisance and the father is set apart from the joys of the other mon

who don't happen to be fathers. However, you mentionoa another thing.

The food taboos are observed more frequently in the .

(stenog. didn't get next passage clearly) They have been for same time.

I think this is not a matter of cultural change. I think it is part of

the culture and always has been. I think the couvade in thisform = has

always been the . which sometimes is very strong.
Dr. Bunzl*s
Oxatkans EHow about their feelings of gi guilt about breaking
the taboos?
D,. W.
That I described at one time--
Dr. Bunqel: Oh, I'm sorry.

Dr. W*. No, that's a good xBi~a= point, of the man who ,

what was the expression we used last time, who feels that he can break

the taboos because he isnot pnrtioularly susceptible; he is i.nune.


The taboos for that don't affect the child. "Other people break the
taboos and it causes the child'd death, but I am immune."
Dr. K.: It's another way of saying the father doesn't

care to observe the taboos.

Dr. Wagley: I maybe going ahead, but there is one question.
In view of this--I think I described arnd I remanber quite well--fathers
carrying children around and a great deal of affectti6n of children of
tvo years old, let's say.
I don't quite get the idea of0t --- oh, when I mention

hostility you think it should be right there? . There's not very

likely to be some overt sign. I have never been a father but those of

you who have know that they have a way of winning you over quite soon.

But even in our society, without the oouvade, I have yet to see the father

who does not have the most violent protest against the birth of the child.
These are universal patterns. They all complain that the child is

ugly as hell; they don't like it. It takes them about three months before

they actually develop affection. I have heard the reasons: "I oan't

manage on this income." The principle is exactly the same. Neither do

you see the overt hostility in our society.

Dr. W.s Yet institutionally we give out cigars.

We go even farther than thet; we give feasts. Or maybe that's

gone out of sttle somewhat. But we expect presents in our society.

The father doesn't give presents but gets them, which is much more in

keeping with the privations he is likely to endure! I think in most of

the societies that we have studied so far the father is the recipient

of gifts.
Dr. L., In a good many of them.

In the Marquesans that's true.

Questions How about the offsetting possibility of prestige
from children. Here me have that.

I doubt whether it runs in that direction. lou see the favorite

child here--by the way you made very little mention of how many favorite

children there can be at any one time.


Dr. W.s Theoretically there should be two special males for
dances in a village, hire may be ,t a time one or two female favorite
child and f they go over the necessary number. The females
chlr* gene rallY -

do not have any ceremonial institutional place, yet there must be at any
time two males for the dances.

Dr,* X.: In other words there can be many a family without a
favorite child* The'favorite child is the exception?
Dr. W.: Yes, definitely!

Now the only point of this preliminary discussion is this:

The child comes into the world with a certain amount of hostility already
lined up against him. Now whetherr this has reflections in the subsequent

institutions we have to keep our eyes open and see. ow how about

maternal care? Is it good, irndifforent; conducive to a strong 0oo

foCnation or what? fearing in mind always that the function of maternal

care isto give the child fullest opportunities for further development
and to be synchronized with his further capa city for growth.

Yes, the maternal care in this society is decidedly good. The

child is carried around with the mother; is nursed frequently, and

although it is not alloaod to be nursed by other women except a near

sororal relative, noverheless if it is left alone it is left in the

company of females, so it is not likely that the child suffers from any

maternal neglect. What a contract to Alorese, where the exact opposite

to this occurs! Nowv this is an extremely important thing to note. Good

maternal care means that the child will develop its capacities fully and

completely in accordance with its ago. The child is exposed to some

dangers, which are not verysorious. taxeanxiatiy Occasionally a

child will fall into the fire, which is pretty bad busing ss, but acci-

dents of that kind are not really signal for the culture. Weaning seems

to be timed about right--;hen thechild begins to be able to crawl about.
Another thing in connection with the weaning process is that when the

child is weaned from the mother she has the substitutes of masturbation

to keep it quiet or feeding to keep it quiet. And I can't avoid the

impression that maternal care goes beyond the necessary amount.l This


brings up a point you mentioned, sx namsly that a child for whom life I-s

md made too easy in these early years will develop tantrums lator when

obligations are placed on him. You can never evaluate a cultural trait

by the symptom that it creates. For example tantrums in children are

not necessarily characteristic of one particular society. Here are the

type of tantrums we saw in Alorese, in Tanala--an extremely important

part of the child's behavior, but due to extreme frustration on the part

of the child. Or here, on the other hand, you have a child who is cared

for with great tenderness and then if certain situations are forced on

him in Which he is unwilling to learn, you can get tantrums from a

frustrated child and from a spoiled child too. In each case they are a

reaction against a frustration it cannot meet.
Dr. W.: I have many stories of that. The other thing that
stands out in the notos is not being given something,
Well, you see, not being given something in this child is

already a break in vhat it has hitherto boon accustomed to. What other

deduction can we nake from this very strong, good maternal care and its

tondeiny toward strong ego formation? I think this is a very important

thing because it is one of the things that play an enormous role in the

rivalry situation betwvoon males and tends toward a very strong fixation

upon the mother. The tendency to identify m all good thingsin life vwith


Question: Hoow about the fact that the child before the age of
five calls both parents mother? Is that just a term of affection for both
Dr. g.: I don't ca think so. Do you have any reason for that?

Dr. W.: I think the picture that you have drawn ins that
up completely because it simply means they have spent most of the time with
the mother, whidh is true anyplace.
Dr. K.: This is generally a human trait sid is one of the

cultural features necessitated by the very nature of the human being, that

he is born praaturely and needs smebody to protect him.


Dr. W.s I think it is striking that they have not learned "father" by
the age of 5 6.

Question: Doas the father have any differentiated parental
role imposed? In so many cases .hBs as far as the man's life is
g regarded they have no rE role which differentiates them from the

Dr. K.: No, apparently there is no suao thing because the

father apparently never gets a chamre to get sufficiently intorestod

in the child. That would account for the idea that there's nobody elso,

that anybodyta that's around is a mother. INo.r note here in this very

beginning of the life cycle how the culture is centered about the wonavn.

The woman is the stable element in the society. That is true of the

mrni culture as a wholo. The mn marries into the woman's household--

Dr. fts Which is headed by a man. Of course that's true
only traditionally.

But the wman does make the stable Plement in tho society.

So that it is really a collection of pensionss or systemss, isn't it.

So you have an extended family in which tho mother is the stable lo-mo-nt

and the individual identifies all gratifioationsin life, at least in the

formtive years, Ihe mother. This is one of the factors which con-

duces to a strong rivalry situation btvween thomeonwho are trying to get

back to some sa h thing.
Now with.regard to the disciplines I might mention only one thing.

Anal training apparently is not associated with any very stringent

punishments; it is taught by example and at an age where the child is

able to understand what the function is. From kt that time on there is

some insistence on cleanliness and the child who fails is "anacked3" (word

suggested by Dr. Wagley).

Now vith regard--from this point on, from the age of 5, lot's

say, the disciplines that are instituted differentiate; sharply between

male and fcz female.

Dr. W,, Let's put it a little later. I would put it--because
there are children's gangs far.hich are croxsad sex lines between 5 9.
aorou s
It's after 9 that I see the break, whon the girls begin to do woman's xak

on a small scale in the house.


Yes, but you can't avoid the impression that the males is

subjected to a great many difficulties from the age of nine, let us say,

and after that, whereas the =am voman escapes scot-free and practically

doesn't have to change her adaptation.throughout life. She enjoys a

particularly protected position in that she's sought after and the vomen

in this society retain perpetual capacity to threaten the men.

It im 't universal, however. 4Risigzi I xIsy prestige is

practically all concentrated on the male side and I think the reason why

is that the rivalry situation between males for the women isparticularly

high and therefore they over-valuate enormously all functions and attri-

butes that would be of importance to the women. The enormous emphasis

placed upon phallic rituals, etc., so that the male is very touchy about

his attributes and I think he has good reason to be. He is really in

the dog househere. He can be put out of countenance by the words of a

woman and he is particularly at. their meroy after he gets married.

(sorm thing missed ) (aboutgirfs) because at that age they ban also

be married, can they not?
Dr. W.: I still would put that after nine. Between 4 9 they
do ,.nfea.vory little --ork in therfeily. They are playing at that age.
They have no responsibility at that time.

Nevertheless they are inducted into family activities by marriage.

But they still are ru.mnirg about the village, but after that'
they take more part in the house.
Dr. K.: Thore's no great break though? (She's not subjected to soz
until very much lator: Dr. W.) Look at the importance that thess female
child has in this society. Even as a baby she can wield a great power

over a man by virtue of the fact that she'shis wife. Her mother does

the work. She really has a tremendous importance for the man from birth


Question: Is it true that there are numer'.oally more men than

I can't answer that satisfactorily. At the time I visited the
Tapirapo there was a very important factor that there were more men. The
story of before wvhen there were equal numbers does not seem to vary a
great deal. Althotuh I think an important consideration comes in that


the woman vho is ugly and lazy' does not have a husband in spite of the
fact that some ton have no wife.

Dr* K.: She has to pay sona'.thin:_ for her o e .

Dr. Wo*.1 i Yes, she pays and pays.

I am speaking largely of the psychological security and position'

the woman has in connection vith the man. You mentioned only onevomnan

who was an old maid.

Dr. W. s I mentioned one woman vho was not wanted by men but
who was also taken in sex life under certain conditions. (short dis-
oussion of nature of mass rape) It is an adventure.

Yes, the woman suffers no k privations in her life; she has

a position of security as and has no suffering, she can have sexual

gratification at any time she wants to and is ready for it. At no time

in her life is that associated with taboos, except those applying to

siblings. The only hardship she really is exposed to is Arnx5n= taking

care of the household taboos of childhood and one other, the tatooing,

which, I understand, is not obligatory?
Dr. Vi.s You don't have to go in the draft; you oan go to prison
too. That about describes her position. If you are not tabooed you are
an outcast.

Yes, and here's another interesting thing, to pile P t5-^

on tA 5?rz/, after menopause she has all the privelegos of a man

and she can have . ih the way of prestige.
Dre W. And she can be a shamen.

Nevertheless there is a difference in this society between the

rights and privileges enjoyed by the women in contrast to those in the

Marquesas. The whole situation is pointed up much more sharply in the

Marquesas because there was more competition there: three women to one man,

Here the ratio isanot so great and here despite the fa'ot that there is

no great competition between mon the females nevertheless mn enjoy great

prestige, are comparatively free of conflict and capable of enjoying every

element of prestige in the society at some time in her life, in contrast

to the male, nho after 35 begins to decline.


Dr* L.3 One point I haven't got clear. What's the relation
between mothers and grown sons here. How far can a groin son rely on
his mother to get water eto. for him, to assume the role of the wife in
case he has no wifo?
Dr. W :
I can answer that by cases better. .--there are cases of a man
losing his young wife, one a very handsome xxm young woman and moving to
his mother's house who was married again, not to his father but to another
husband and she would cook for him. Another case of an old, old woman
without a husband being the key person in the household. But she would
carry water for her grown sons, one of whom happened to live in the house-
hold with his wife. As it is set up today a man couldn't count on it, but
it does take place and ix he could say he could go back, and would do so.

I want you also to note that the nominal powers in this society

are vested in males; the actual powers in females. The maleshave all the

show and fanfare, whereass the females have all the power and can trounce

any man at any time and subject him to shame.

Questions I s=x understand the tatooing is done after marriage?

Dr. s.: Yes, before children but after marriage.

Question: What isthe idea of making the woman do it after
she's married? Is it to please her husband?
Dr. K.: It has a certain prestige value. It is just one of

those things. Is there any rationalization for that?

Dr* '1.7: It is talked of by the women when it is going to t ake
place. It is not set and formalized in that it must take place one year
after marriage. I saw women decide not to have it this year, or her
mother decided for her. They say they are not pretty unless they are
Dr. K. The tatooing isoonventionalized, always the' same thing?

Dr. W.s Exactly the same on all. It is stenoo. missed the
fractions and localizations of the moons)

Dr. K*. There's one point you did not mention in your discussion

and this should be really of some value to us. You did nam mention

homosexuality among men; is there any mention of homosexuality among women?

Dr. W. Never.

Dr. K.: The odds are against it.

Dr. W,: Let's keep in mind the difficulties which I described
in the field work. And that it's quite obvious that I had a better
rapport with the men.


Dr. K.: The likelihood is :ortdinly against it bcoausoxnia

At no time in the life of thewo=nn 3as she any hardships in exorcising

,or feminine role. There are no infantile traumas I can identify likely

to render the female child homosxal. ior access to men begins at ths

Earliest age.

Dr. W. i There is a very important point in this very important
first few years which we have outlined on the board, so far as I oni toll
thore is no differentiation between 1 and 5 or 1 and 7; thero is the
sano warmth, oto.

Correct. Now here's a little problem I would like you to think
Eforotofore .w have been accustomed to studying societies whero frustrations

go straight. through like in Trobriand they are intormittent--the child

starts with having no sexual restrictions or aim; suddenly it at ton it
is olampod down upon; then ak 14 onit is unrestricted straight through.

So you soe there is a break here which is likely to have an important

influence, not the same as h our society where taboos hold from birth

to the time of marriage. And I will tell you what the difference is

likely to be. There is likely to be a deanAEsa great intensification

of' rivalry, tremendous rivalry among men, both for prostige and for

women. Now whenever tho differentiation between male and female begins

the males have an uninterrupted series of conflicts and hardships that the

females do not. Presti:-e factors begin very early. Some of these

probably spread in the females too, because women are favorite children

too. But whether or not you are a favorite child begins to pl'-y a role

and prestige and status are greatly emphasized. But once you are a

favorite child your position in life is more or less guaranteed. He is

Uimune from certain obligations.

Dr. W.: On the other hand I don't think he is as free of anything.
He takes more azxc1-mxzon his shoulders. On the other hand he doesn'thavo
to rustle for food. He is supposed to load a sednntUry life. Early he
has to stand out and dance with the men. He is more highly decorated. In
one case he stood in the middle of the plaza and cried. He didn't know

how to dance. He was decorated within an inch of his life. He finally


danced the end but he didn't know hoa. It places on his shoulder a
load and 9ess not guarnatee continued increasing presti-e. But he's
more likely to be a chief.

And therefore he's more likely to have a claim on certain women
and more likely to have his wife's fidelity protected by the other men.

The wife of the chief is relatively free from affairs fra with other

men. What other points are there in the prestige conflicts of the little

boy? Well, he is inducted at a very early age to act as subaltern to

older boys, run errands, etc. By the way I didn't get the point whether

the female child is just as much subject to punishments as the boy. Is

that so? Your emphasis seemed to fall on the boys?

Dr. W.: My emphasis did. As I recall, it strikes me that boys
wore purnihed much more frequently, except going back to girls of five
who also could not walk and were punished because of tantrums--they would
fall flat because they didn't want to walk across the plaza. But girls
of nine--I don't raemeber very aany being punished.

The entire process of socialization for the men ismuch more
complicated. Another thing I would like tmc3mda you/think about

for next time is, what is the significance of the moiety systems?

The last difficulty that the boy is subjected to in his

socialization is the process of initiation, where he is isolated from

women in the dance house, scratched by his father, etc., and has km no

free sex play. He is scratched if he has sex play or if he is disobedient

to elders. I cannot avoid the impression that the sexuality of the boy,

although it is given free play in early childhood isconstantly reminded

by his elders that he mist not do that thing. Sexual play is discouraged

by the old men whenever the boy is likely to become a rival.

Dr. W.: You must remember that the first part of it is scratching
and isolation but at the end of it is the highest point of decoration in
his life. So that it all ends up in a blaze of glory which the women never

Dr, Burqelt It is a very phoney blaze of glory, isn't it?

Dr. Wa. Oh, no. people say, "I was very beautiful when I danced
like that.




He never enjoys the import a again in his life unless he

beooces a chief or a shaman.
Dr. W.: It is an import point in contrast to the women who
are never that beautiful. Womon nev have occasion to dress up like
Dr. K. that// But let's not stress only the difficult features of the boy. He
has no economic responsibilities until he is.16. After initiation a
great deal of pressure is brought to bear on him to marry booause
contingent upon his marriageLa large aspect of his status is insured.
A man could be humiliated if he isn't married. And it is on this
account that the young girls are in such high demand for marriage at
this time. That is the prestige of the man apparently follows with
age and prestige as he grows older is much harder to get and very
much harder to maintain. In other words, what I want you to carry
away tonight from the life cycle of the individual, the conflicts are

largely in this .society in the rivalry situations between men culminating

in one of two ways enormous enhanoemcat of male prestige; conflicts

between men for women; and finally the note you added tonight that

is of such importance, that there is such a thing as passive homosexuality,

That is just what you would expect from severe =s rivalry between men

for women, that xaa some of them saocumb to the feminine role.

Well, now, with this as a groundwork, we will take up the

other features and see what correspondence there is between features

of the life cycle and the remaining features of the social organization.

We shall especially stress religion and finally the myths*



1. give up easily run away
2. shifting family
3. factors that diminish population --infanticide

I. Location of greatest conflict
1. male
2. prestige
3. giving and taking

Life oy le

1. Shamen has to do with conception

2. Pregnancy

1. headaohs

2. gives up heavyymvork

S3. gives up sex activities

4. danger of death


stops cooking (late months)

oouvade (attenuated)
doesn't take fluid--
cause woman to

has to dispose of property*