EXPOSITION OF THE PROBLEM AND METHOD
THE problem of the social forms of family life still presents some obscurities. What appears to be most urgently needed is a careful investigation of facts in all the different ethnographical areas. I propose in this study to undertake this task for Australia. I shall avoid making any hypothetical assumptions, or discussing general problems which refer to the origin or evolution of the family. I wish only to describe in correct terms and as thoroughly as possible all that refers to actual family life in Australia. In other words I intend to give in outline the social morphology of the Australian family.
It may be well to show briefly the necessity for this task, which to some may appear superfluous, and to indicate: the lines on which it will be attempted. In the first place there are some contradictions with regard to the problem of relationship or kinship in Australia, which can be reduced to the question: Is kinship in Australia exclusively individual; or is it exclusively group kinship (or tribal kinship, as it often is called); and, further, do these two forms exclude each other or do they perhaps exist side by side? When Howitt says: "The social unit is not the individual, but the group; the former