Clan, Caste, and Club

Clan, Caste, and Club

Clan, Caste, and Club

Clan, Caste, and Club

Excerpt

The primary purpose of this book is to explain the world as the Hindus see and approach it. For contrast I have compared the major manifestations of the Hindu view of the world with those of the Chinese view on the one hand and of the American view on the other.

My principal hypotheses are that the Hindu approach to the world is characterized by supernatural-centeredness or unilateral dependence in contrast to the American and Chinese approach which are characterized,respectively, by individual-centeredness or self-reliance and situation-centeredness or mutual dependence. Throughout the following pages there runs a basic assumption: that man's primary and most important relationship is with his fellow men and that, consequently, his relationships with other elements of his world are distinctly patterned after or visibly integrated with it. Hence, though family as an institution is not so overwhelming a key point in the culture of the United States and India as it has been in that of China, it cannot help being the basic transmitting and educating mechanism in all three. The family with its intensive and sometimes also extensive human relationships is the basic school of all cultures.

Starting with the family, our analysis moves into the secondaryhuman grouping in each society. In China we find theall-important secondary human grouping is clan, as contrasted with the all important secondary grouping of caste in Hindu India and that of club (in its widest sense, meaning all free associations outside the kinship group for whatever purpose) in the United States.

Although my principal hypotheses regarding the Chinese and American worlds were developed in Americans and Chinese: Two Ways of Life (New York, 1953, and London, 1955), they are reexamined here in the light of many new facts as well as in terms of contrast with the case of Hindu India. In this three-way comparison, the problem of physical management of the materials makes it impractical to give all three worlds equal attention at all times. Consequently what I have done in this book is to treat the two Asian cases first. When that is largely accomplished from Chapters III to VIII, the American pattern of life is brought into focus in Chapter IX. All three worlds are compared and contrasted in some detail in the concluding . . .

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