First Find Your Child a Good Mother has several distinctive features that give it the potential to make major contributions to the development of psychological anthropology. By simultaneously examining two different communities within the same cultural milieu, it addresses the problem of situational comparability that habitually plagues both culture-and-personality and cross-cultural psychology. By showing in detail how theories were examined and developed as part of the ethnographic process, it adds to our understanding of the role of theory in the study of both social and psychological processes. In addition, this grounded quality of Paul Riesman's new theory makes it possible to infer and work with many of his concepts even though the book is incomplete. He states in chapter 8 that his ultimate objective is "to build on this case study to develop a more general theory that would describe the relations between self, personality, and society for all situations." It is impossible even to attempt the reconstruction of that intended final chapter. Instead, my purpose here is to situate his work in psychological anthropology and to reflect briefly on the implications of the theory he was developing.
Since contemporary psychological anthropology is somewhat fragmented in its approaches and its foci, it may be helpful to deal