Kinship and Marriage in Burma: A Cultural and Psychodynamic Analysis

Kinship and Marriage in Burma: A Cultural and Psychodynamic Analysis

Kinship and Marriage in Burma: A Cultural and Psychodynamic Analysis

Kinship and Marriage in Burma: A Cultural and Psychodynamic Analysis

Excerpt

This is the third volume in a continuing series in which the Upper Burma village of Yeigyi is the setting for the study of society and culture in Burma. The previous volumes were concerned with the two facets of Burmese religion, the nat cult (Spiro 1967) and Buddhism (Spiro 1970). The present volume is concerned with kinship and marriage. A final volume will deal with other facets of social structure, notably politics and social stratification, in relationship to personality.

Although it is my intention that these volumes contribute to a greater understanding of Burmese society and culture (and, hence, of Southeast Asia in general), my primary concern is theoretical rather than ethnographic. The ethnographic research was undertaken in part to explore the extent to which psychodynamic personality theory, in conjunction with functionalist cultural theory, could be fruitfully used as an analytic framework for collecting, organizing, and interpreting ethnographic data. Ethnographic data, as I conceive of them, are the expressions of tradition--traditional ideas and traditional action. Anthropology, as I conceive of it, is the study of the persistence of and change in tradition. Expressed as ideas, tradition comprises a cultural system; expressed as action, it comprises a social system. Both systems are intimately related to each other, and each, in turn, to personality.

"Culture," to begin with the term by which idea systems are denoted, is defined as "a system of traditional ideas, beliefs, and values which, expressed in public symbols, are shared by, acquired from, and guide the action of the members of a social group." If, then, culture (as anthropologists have long believed) is holistic, its elements being organized in some fashion to comprise a "system," then part, at least, of that organization must surely be found "inside the heads" of social actors. That anthropologists can construct cultural wholes may testify to their organizational skills, but it does not as such demonstrate how the culture itself is . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.