The History of Human Marriage - Vol. 1

By Edward Westermarck | Go to book overview

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION ON THE METHOD OF INVESTIGATION

The comparative method in sociology, p. 1sq.--The resemblances of culture-phenomena due partly to mental similarity and partly to transmission, p. 2sq.--The difficulty in deciding whether they are due to the one cause or to the other, p. 3sq.--The ethnological method, so unfriendly to the idea of independent origins, has itself independently originated in two different countries, p. 4sq.--The customs of savages subject to spontaneous changes, which may lead to similar results in different cases, p. 5sq.--The investigations of the evolutionary school, which chiefly endeavours to find the psychological and sociological origin of culture-phenomena, and those of the ethnological school, which is concerned with their wanderings, supplement each other, p. 6.--How the comparative method helps the sociologist to find the origin of customs, p. 7sq.--Dr. Rivers' criticism of the endeavour to discover the psychical causes of social phenomena, p. 8sq.--Social survivals, p. 9sq.--Dr. Rivers' distrust in our capacity of learning the motives by which social conduct is determined, p. 10sq.--The field-ethnologist's inquiry into motives, p. 11sq.-- The hypothetical character of many explanations of social phenomena, p. 12.--The complaint that the use of the comparative method is hardly compatible with a sufficiently careful scrutiny of authorities and sources, p. 12sq.--The trustworthiness of ethnographical evidence, p. 13sq.--The complaint that the comparative method detaches the cultural phenomenon from the organic whole of which it forms a part and thereby easily represents it in a wrong light, pp. 14-17.-- The study of a cultural phenomenon as it is distributed among different races and the study of it which is restricted to a particular ethnic group complement each other, p. 17sq.--The homogeneous elements of the human mind underrated and the homogeneity of the group-mind overrated by the school of Durkheim, pp. 17-19.-- An error of method prevalent among the evolutionary school, p. 19sq. --The only condition on which the universal prevalence of a social phenomenon in the past may be assumed, p. 20sq.--Criticism of the method of Durkheim, p. 21.--Biological facts underlying marriage and many particular customs and rules relating to it, p. 22.--The influence which people's ideas and beliefs have exercised upon their marriage customs, ibid.--The influence of industrial culture, p. 22sq.-- The particular subjects discussed in the present work, p. 23.--The method of dealing with them, pp. 23-25.

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