Cooperation And Competition Among Primitive Peoples - First by Margaret Mead

By Margaret Mead

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They therefore did not have cross- The recognition of this fact led us far toward cultural meaning. the most basic conclusion which comes out of this research: that competitive and cooperative behavior 011 the part of individual of a society is fundamentally conditioned by the total members emphasis of that society, that the goals for which individwork are culturally determined and are not the response of the organism to an external, culturally undefined situation, like a simple scarcity of food.

And a newcomer, not a member of the clan, must be specifically introduced to the ghosts and commended to their care. The sanctity of the marsalai places is further emphasized by specific tabus against the intrusion of pregnant women, menstruating women, or people who have recently had sexual relations. When the Arapesh go beyond their own locality, whether toward the Beach, the Plains, or the tribes beyond, each man must follow an inherited path. There are three networks of such paths along which the members of different lineages walk from hamlet to hamlet.

Actually the functioning of Arapesh society is of a very different order than that implied in their structural arrangements. The Arapesh minimize blood position, inalienable membership in any given group, or fixed association with any pi<>ce of land. Even in the use of kinship terms, instead of conceiving the self as occupying a fixed position in a genealogical scheme, on the basis which kinship terms are applied to other related persons, the Arapesh make an individual choice in each instance, conceiving the application of a kinship term to be a personal matter, depending in many cases on whom one "helps," that is, through whom of COOPERATION AND COMPETITION 28 counting the relationship at the moment.

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