Since we have been a conversation-man has learnt much and named many of the heavenly ones. Since language really became actual as conversation, the gods have acquired names and a world has appeared. But again it should be noticed: the presence of the gods and the appearance of the world are not merely a consequence of the actualization of language, they are contemporaneous with it. And this to the extent that it is precisely in the naming of the gods, and in the transmutation of the world into word, that the real conversation, which we ourselves are, consists.
-- Martin Heidegger, "Hölderlin and the Essence of Poetry"
This is a book about people. It is about some people who live in a town in the Midwest of the United States somewhere between Peoria and Dubuque.
Why should their lives-personal, social, and cultural--interest us? What can we learn from them? Most of the people who appear in this book are white, middle class, and Protestant. For many readers, such people will not have the quality of exoticism that South American Indians, African Pygmies, Appalachian whites, the blacks of Harlem, or even the Irish and Italians of South Boston may have. For many, Midwestern whites are "us." They are us" in a most immediate and mythic sense. Hated or loved, they seem easy to understand. There appears to be no need for translation in order to apprehend their reality.
For some, these Midwestern Whites are still the envied citizens of romantic small towns where one knows everybody and is known by them, where society is on a human scale, where the pace is slow, where one can catch the seasons of the year and the seasons of life come and go. The image is of white-frame churches and the shrill voices of children in the quiet streets under the drooping elms. It becomes all the more a romantic and nostalgic image with the realization that the elms are dying, that beneath the quiet is the dull, persistent rumbling of the trucks on the interstate highway that bypasses the town, and that often the stillness is broken by the roar of a pack of motorcycles, snowmobiles, or hot rods leaving in their tracks empty beer cans and whiffs of marijuana smoke. Mass society has touched the small town, some say, and they mourn.
For others, small towns are Main Streets, environments of petty gripes, rigid ideologies, intolerance, and prejudice deadening to those without courage or the opportunity to escape into the cosmopolitanism and real life of the urban centers. For these critics, small towns are closed societies, stuffy, oppressive; they are places to run away from.
For both advocates and critics, small towns are considered simple societies, one-dimensional cultures of conformity removed from the complexities of mass urban society. Conflicts have been solved, moral dilemmas are absent. One can raise happy children there who will remain sheltered from the evils of society until they have the strength to withstand them as adults.
This image is susceptible to a positive or negative evaluation. The perception of the nature of small-town life that underlies each evaluation is the same, and it is problematic. Can there really be societies quite so one-dimensional as the small towns of popular sociology? Whether Americans live in the cities, congratulating themselves on a narrow escape from small towns or yearning for the opportunity to escape to small towns, whether they live in small towns and talk about their experience to themselves and to outsiders, they are prone to view small towns as something that I believe they neither are nor could be.
I lived for one year in such a town. It is not quite so small nor quite so remote from metropolitan centers one imagines when conjuring up the image of such a town. It is a town, though, that its inhabitants and visitors would consider small. And yet what I found was not simplicity, conformity, lack of conflict, or dilemma. There was, rather, an intensity of life, a depth of' feeling for the tragic element in the human situation that none of my reading in the academic (and nonacademic) literature on small towns had led me to expect.
We have learned that neither poverty of means nor primitiveness of technology nor isolation from the major centers of civilization means poverty of imagination, primitiveness of expression, or isolation from the central problems posed to all men by the nature of their relationships with the world around them and each other. We know this applied to the thinkers whose wisdom has grounded the greatness of our civilization: Socrates, Jesus, Shakespeare, Pascal, Marx. We have come to accept as somehow worthwhile the wisdom of truly foreign sages like the Dogon Ogotemmeli or the Yaqui "Don Juan." But this should not be accompanied by the kind of reverse snobbism that scorns the no less wise world view that underlies the nonextraordinary lives of the middle class.
To find wisdom only in the most foreign forms bespeaks a false' humility that can lead only to more radical degrees of ethnocentrism. We, French or Americans, are no less exotic to each other and to the rest of the world that looks at us than are those at whom we look. The traditional goal of the social sciences in general, and anthropology in particular, has been the attempt to demonstrate that "out there" they are not savages (free from the convention of civilization or subjugated by ignorance, disease, and feebleness of mind) but men with all the qualities and potentialities that we recognize in ourselves. This demonstration has gone hand in hand with a constant reiteration that what is strange to "us" is familiar, ordinary, to "them"- l'exotisme est quotidien as Georges Condominas puts it.
The other side of the coin is that our everyday life is exotic, too, and one of the main goals of this book is to try to make the familiar strange. The simple awareness that there are other ways of life than our own may be enough to make us realize that we do not know ourselves quite so fully as our empathic understanding of our situation may lead us to believe we do. But becoming aware of the exotic qualities of our everyday life is a complex process, and we do not have many models showing how to go about it. Claude Levi-Strauss has argued that most of our cultural ideas, like those most "others" have about themselves, are the product of wild thinking-la pensée sauvage-rather than of a rational discovery of the logic of nature. We may agree that this has intuitive validity, but the demonstration has not really been made.
What I want to do is surprise readers into a reevaluation of what they thought they knew about small towns, the Midwest, the middle class, whites,-maybe themselves. Throughout the book I will stress everyday life and everyday interpretations of the world. At times I A,ill refer to the more esoteric knowledge that cultural specialists possess, but more as a way of staking a claim than as a central argument. I want to demonstrate that everyday life is internally structured in a complex fashion. That this structure should look like the structure of the great tradition of America is interesting and probably not surprising. But the discovery of correspondences between great and small traditions is not the central point of this book. In fact, at the time I was in Appleton, and even while I was writing the main body of the book, my knowledge of the great tradition was very limited. Except for what I gleaned from a few works written by sociologists and anthropologists about small towns, I was essentially ignorant of America, and what I have come to know of it derives mainly from my encounter with the everyday life of my informants.
I am an anthropologist, and as an anthropologist I went to Appleton and am now reporting on its natives (many of whom were not born there!). In a Postface to the body of the book, I will detail my theoretical position for those who would like to go into these questions at greater depth. But what can anthropology contribute?
Traditionally anthropology has demonstrated from still another angle what disciplines such as sociology and social psychology also demonstrated: that our nature as human beings is but the product of our position in a certain historical process. To attain an analytical understanding of "who we are" it is necessary to become aware of our total context, what we might refer to as "the world." At the most general, there is us, and there is the world, a world given to-indeed, imposed upon-us. It is a world that we must react to, but also one that we can operate on, and thus change. The outcome of our operations then becomes a part of that very world 4 6 outside" to which we must react anew, on which we must operate, and so on in an infinite and ever-expanding spiral.
The process of our intervention in the world is oftentimes mechanical and essentially unconscious. In these situations we have no real "choice." In other situations the pressure of the historical situation is indeterminate. While boundaries are set, they are very broad and allow for much variation. Choices must be made. And insofar as these are "conscious"-that is, insofar as we have verbalized the unconscious-we translate the world into a language, a culture that interprets it and organizes how it is to be perceived. Human beings in all situations possess enough freedom from unconscious determinisms to have developed en, everywhere such structures of interpretation arid in the process to have submitted themselves to new forms of determinism that must also be analyzed if we are to understand fully who we are.
Franz Boas wrote that anthropology is dedicated to expanding our knowledge of "how we are conditioned by [our civilization], how our bodies, our language, our modes of thinking and acting are determined by limits imposed upon us by our environment." This is done through an exploration of "the life process and behavior of man under conditions fundamentally different from our From the beginning, anthropologists have refused to be confined to the intellectual ghetto of curiosity-seekers and have insisted on the relevance of their insights to an understanding of the culture that produced them, and have, indeed, shown the way along which further research ought to proceed. Anthropology has probably contributed most to the analysis of these processes, processes that are also at work in our societies as anthropologists have long agreed.
Margaret Mead, for example, is famous for her brilliant attempts at relating her work among "strange" societies to issues of immediate interest to her readers. She has commented extensively on such questions as: Is a crisis at adolescence a necessary part of the process of growing up? Is the division of labor between the sexes as we know it a "natural" thing? What is the relationship between early socialization and adult characters A. R. RadcliffeBrown through his students W. Lloyd Warner, Alfred L. Kroeber, and Claude Lévi-Strauss have all commented more or less formally on our own culture. This is a great tradition, and it is not without trepidation that I attempt to place my work in it. My work would not have taken the shape it developed had it not been for their contributions.
And yet the major efforts of these anthropologists in this area have quite a different quality from those they made in other areas. Take Margaret Mead, for example. She studied the Samoans or the Arapesh from the point of view of ignorance, as an outsider. She wrote about Americans in her book And Keep Your Powder Dry from the point of view of intuitive knowledge, as an insider. We must, of course, take into account the context of Mead's book: she wrote it as a conscious attempt to raise the morale of Americans as they entered World War II. As she was writing, other researchers were taking a more strictly anthropological route-for example, W. Lloyd Warner in his work on social structure, and Geoffrey Gorer in his work on national character. two authors representative of the main approaches to the study of America at the time. A few, years earlier, Robert and Helen Lynd had written two books about Muncie, Indiana, often considered to be the first examples of the application of anthropological techniques to the study of America.
The Lynds were already conscious of the danger, "never wholly avoidable, of not being completely objective in viewing a culture in which one's life is imbedded, of falling into the old error of starting out, despite oneself, with emotionally weighted presuppositions and consequently failing even to get outside the field one set out so bravely to objectify and study."' But in fact what limited their insights was not so much their emotions as the mode of thinking they had adopted. They agreed with the functionalist tradition that there are, "despite infinite variations in detail, not so many major things that people do, 113 and they adopted the list of things set forth by W. H. R. Rivers, a list he had used to deal with his ethnographic descriptions of primitive cultures. In the process the Lynds transformed what, though not so obviously, were in fact cultural categories into natural ones of universal validity. It took anthropologists many more years to recognize this mistake than for the Lynds to "accept" the validity of the foreign experiences they observed.
When anthropologists are away from home, their temptation to use their own categories to organize their data is not quite so crippling, since the data itself obliges them to transcend the boundaries. To say that in most primitive societies kinship is the foundation of social organization is to criticize implicitly our thinking about the family as solely an agency of early socialization. In many societies the family is much more, and, indeed, in ours it is also more. As Hope Leichter has recently argued, it is very much an educative institution. As David Schneider has pointed out, the symbols that structure the definitions of the family, ethnicity, and religion are essentially the same. From a different angle, Lawrence Cremin makes the same point when he says that education is not something that takes place solely in the schools, but that churches, libraries, newspapers, and so forth have a distinctively educational function.'
To criticize the Lynds, Mead, Warner, or Geoffrey Gorer for implicit ethnocentrism should not, however, be taken as a denigration of their findings. I am convinced that my work, too, is ethnocentric in some of its most basic assumptions, those of which I am not conscious. Only outsiders to my frame of reference will be able to perceive these assumptions, just as I am now able to perceive some of the assumptions behind the Lynds' organization of their book. In 1929 they could not have done much else than what they did, and that was pioneering. In their context, they were objective. In my context, which is different from theirs if only because their work itself is part of it, my attempt to be "objective" about our own society, a goal that I share with them, must be based on a criticism of their work. To be part of a tradition is not to duplicate the works of the founding fathers.
Progress is being made. We are becoming more critically aware of the exact nature of these "cultural prejudices," which the early writers knew existed, even though they could not exactly locate them. We are discovering that culture does not operate simply at the level of manifest values but at the deeper levels of the semantic constraints built into language that prevent the speaker of any language from easily describing any other way of perceiving the world than the one the language itself provides. In other words, a shift is occurring in the perception of what it is exactly that anthropology must objectify. It is because I intend this book to participate in the exploration of this new way that it does not look like a traditional community study. I did not use the traditional categories to organize my material, though all the data that could have fit under them are there, but spread throughout the book in an effort to make a different point.
I ask the same question social scientists ask: What is the reality of American culture? My answers, however, proceed along a different line from the one they generally follow. I am not interested so much in how Americans do certain things as in how they say these things, not so much in their actions as in their verbalized perceptions. To this extent I see my task not as one of demythologizing commonsense interpretations by demonstrating how distant they are from action, but as one of exploring these interpretations to understand with more precision their exact structure. I will not ask: Is America democratic? Not only does this way of asking the question ensure a negative phrasing of the answer--how could America "be" democratic, since cultural interpretations are by definition not equivalent to the world with which they deal?--it also prevents the researcher from confronting the very notion of democracy as a problematic area In its own right.
Democracy at the level that interests me is a complex symbol or rather a metasymbol-a summary symbol for a host of more limited symbolic practices and definitions. So are notions like "community," "individualism" "love," and "freedom." My work could be seen essentially as an attempt to understand these notions as then, are lived in Appleton. I did not, however, go to the field to explore them, and then, do not provide the principle behind the organization of the book. But as I explored the everyday life of my informants, I was led inevitably to remark on questions that are often asked of Americans: Are Americans individualistic or are they conformist? Do they (generally) do their own thing or are they mostly, occupied with keeping up with the Joneses?
Many, answers have been given. Max Weber's ideas on the relationship between Protestantism and capitalism have been used to argue for the primacy of individualism among Americans and their belief in the "Protestant ethic." On the other side is David Riesman's insistence that "inner-directedness"-a concept not so far removed from individualism-was only a stage in the development of the American character, which then shifted to other-directedness," where the clue to success is external to the person rather than internal. According to Riesman, most p I eople acquiesce to this insidious form of dictatorship and thus become conformists, probably without realizing they are doing so.
Riesman's book The Lonely Crowd appeared in 1950. Ten years later the children of these other-directed parents exploded into the dual celebration of "doing one's own thing" and of communal ideals such as "caring." While some broke old values with a vengeance, others like Philip Slater lamented what he called the "pursuit of loneliness."
It is not my intention to pursue, variations on the theme of the incompatibility between individualism and community, for I believe the problem is not well posed in this formulation. The attempt to measure America, or Americans, against a scale-be it democracy, individualism, or any other one might come up with-implies the belief, even if only operational, that these concepts have a fundamental and transcendental meaning that can be specified outside the context of actual use. "Democracy" is a universal in this perspective, and one can rate the United States as "more democratic" than Russia but "less" than the ideal. I do not believe that such a popularized Platonism is warranted. I would like to challenge this Platonism by raising a question that is ignored in all these discussions: What is the systemic meaning of the concepts of "individualism" and "community," as used by Americans? In other words, in what context do Americans use these concepts and what can we learn from recognizing that thev do use both? They gain their meaning only within the context of their occurrences. The major consequence of this epistemological decision is to make this meaning problematic. We, as participants in a society, do not fully know what we mean when we use such terms, since we do not have access to many of the contexts in which they are used, nor can we control the utterances of others around us.
I went to Appleton to listen, not to evaluate or classify. My study is not so much an effort to discover the "real" behind the "ideal" as it is an attempt to make the familiar strange and, in so doing, to discover the unsuspected relationships that structure American interpretations of the world that both limit the American imagination and yet continually generate cultural performances of a human quality as high as any. I remember well the feeling of elation that came over me one Sunday morning in a glorious Indian summer. As I was walking in my best suit to the Methodist church for the eleven o'clock service after a week spent at Farm Bureau meetings, in classes at the high school, cruising the country roads, and drinking with the hippies the night before, it dawned on me that I was living a sort of improvised baroque concerto with various instruments playing the theme and answering each other. It seemed to me that all the miscellaneous activities I had experienced proceeded from the same fundamental source and exhibited a wholeness that did not consist in simple repetition or the quantitative totality of my apprehension of Appleton.
I also remember other times, sobering times, when I realized that what I perceived as the thematic tensions that an author builds into his work, if only to dazzle the audience with his skill at resolving them, tensions that made Appleton interesting and, indeed, beautiful, were tensions that individuals lived. There is no author to a culture. Its unity comes from the self-regulation of feedback mechanisms. The process, however, works through individuals, and as it works through them, they suffer, for they cannot see the eventual purpose of a local tragedv. It is their son or their husband in the immediate present. My informants were actors in a play they did not write, but one thev had to live existentially.
I hope the intensity of this life will come through in the following pages, and that I have been successful at expressing the beauty and romance and irony in the life of the people I met and am reporting on. I will be talking about structures and regularities in pattern. The task is probably drier and less regarding than a simple immersion into the gestalt of the culture in pursuit of an intuitive understanding. It is not that I see culture as a static and unchanging crystal. I am convinced. on the contrary, that it is in constant recreation and transformation. It is, indeed, a process. And yet to understand this process, to appreciate it, and maybe even to intervene in it, we must know the mechanisms that make it work.
In this book I have not followed the order of presentation of data that is traditional for community studies. I have indicated briefly why I believe it is time to renew the genre so as to make more apparent the exoticism of our everyday life and its structure. For readers interested in a more theoretical presentation of my point of view, I have included a Postface where I address myself to some of the issues that I may have raised in the body of the work, particularly issues relating to structuralism and to the theory of culture. Certain issues must, however, be dealt with at the outset in order to guide the reader through the body of the work.
As Lévi-Strauss has emphasized many times, no analysis of human phenomena can ever be finished and closed. Life goes on, and continually offers new material that could modify the analysis as it was left dangling when the analyst stopped collecting the odds and ends of phenomena that he encountered during his fieldwork. What I will offer in the conclusion to this work will thus not be one structure but rather the temporary product of the stage my analysis has reached.
This form of analysis does not allow easily for the detailed exploration of domains into which one may still wish to categorize human life. In fact, it is a good method for people who do not believe that it is very fruitful for social science to collect butterflies and then pigeonhole them, in Edmund Leach's colorful metaphor, and for those who believe that most of our categories for example, that most hallowed category of all, kinship p7 -have no reality in the real world, except the rarefied "real world" of sociological theory. Some may not wish to go this far. For the latter, the main interest of the method, and of this book, may lie in what it tells thei-n about linkages, correspondences, and congruences between domains.
This book is organized from the point of view of these correspondences in structure. Data about family life are, for example, spread throughout the book in chapters 1, 2, 8, 9, and 10. Data about politics appear in chapters 1, 4, and 6. Reference is made to religious doctrine or organization in chapters 3, 5, 6, and IO. -1-ii Is means that in Chapter I readers will find discussions of family relationships, political organization, and political ideology. It: Chapter 2 they will find more discussions of family life and some brief discussions of education, general ideology, and social structure.
There is another way in which this book is a departure from traditional community studies. The units of study of most social anthropologists or sociologists are "integral entities," ill the words of Robert Redfield, "a person . . . , a people .... a nation .... a civilization . . . , [or a] small community."" As Redfield says, this may be more of a commonsensical view than all empirically defensible one. The point is that the categories of inquiry remain exterior to any category the culture may have. They may be categories that have common sense validity, such as the category of community, or categories that have theoretical validity, like the category of social class. In both cases they are categories that are defined a priori and that one explores as if they were integral, discrete entities on the model of isolated islands.
My task is precisely to investigate the commonsense categories that our culture uses to structure its perception of the world. I must thus work outside them. Theoretically constructed categories are useful for scholars interested in going beyond native interpretations. They can be used as a check against getting to see the world as the natives see it. I, on the other hand, am interested in these very native interpretations. My units of study must thus be drawn so as to give me access to them.
They must also be, insofar as I want my statement to be scientific, directly observable and recordable events. What kind of' events? Generally, spoken utterances and, more broadly, texts. I will explain in more detail in the Postface some of the implications of this approach. Let it just be said that a text, as I understand the notion, is a sequence of verbal, or verbally interpretable, behavior. I see these texts as concrete, empirical events-in-ttie-world that can be studied with no attention paid to their relationship to any other Gimore real" level, except in attempts to separate what is necessary, (in most cases, the content of the utterance) from what is contingent (the cultural style of the utterance).
Whatever I may say about texts, I have no way of knowing whether I am saying this about the people who create, perform, or utter them. Who created the Pledge of Allegiance or a certain way of telling one's life history? The individual who recites or performs the text? An individual who once upon a time "invented" it? Culture? The question remains unanswered. Insofar as these texts are performed I),%- people who call themselves American, we may consider them examples of American (-nature. I will expand on this point in the Postface. But we cannot assume in any simpleminded way that any text refers to anything other than itself. An example might make this point clearer. A few years ago the Catholic Church rephrased the Creed, in which the basic tenets of the faith are enunciated, from "I believe in one God" (first-person singular) to "We believe in one God" (first-person plural). This was congruent with a general reordering of certain points of dogma. All Catholics now recite the new formula, in public rituals at least. Does this mean that they as individuals have changed their beliefs? A simple examination of the Creed would not tell. It remains, however, that tile faithful have no choice, that a mode of interpretation is given to them by the tradition and that their personal lives are lived in the context of this tradition whether they like it or not, whether they "believe" in it or not.
A tradition may not be imposed quite so autocratically or be so consciously, enforced as the Catholic tradition is to be effective in framing the perception of participants. For example, Americans are prone to deal at length with their emotional states at particular times. The third part of this book will thus deal in detail with the discussion of these states and their place in the ideological structure. The importance of these states was great for many of my informants. And yet it was generally impossible for me to decide whether my informants were really happy, in love, having fun, depressed, or whatever it was they were telling me they were feeling at the time. I just did not have the techniques to measure the reality of these states.
There were able to tell me that they were feeling something; they had different words for the different feelings, and clear patterns in the usage of these words could be discovered, as I will try to demonstrate. To this extent, their accounts of their personal impressions in a particular situation are texts, real events that can be the starting points of a scientific analysis.
Thus this book is organized around texts reconstructed from my field notes. I have chosen them more because of my greater familiarity with the events in the lives of the people involved than because of all), belief in the typicality of the situations. These texts are of different types; they are life histories, descriptions of re-unions of a small group of friends, the position taken by four people during the unfolding of a love story. Analysis of these main texts is complemented by consideration of shorter texts or of long texts in less detail.
The first text, for example, consists of two life histories their I recorded in intensive, though diffuse, interviews over the year I spent in Appleton. The text is thus an aggregation of statements rather than a complete statement made at one sitting. Mr. and Mrs. Mark Howard were two of my best informants. I ate with them many times, spent a few days living in their house, and generally developed a very satisfying relationship with them. Compared with everything I got to know about them, these life histories remain only very sketchy outlines, a skeleton list of events and the ideological comments that were made on these events. In all cases the material was psychologically much richer, and I have often been sorry that it wasn't a novel I wanted to write so that I could have given more human justice to the reality that I was allowed to share. Yet I believe that I have reported quite faithfully the experience of two Americans as they themselves saw it. In all the pages where I tell the history of the Howards directly, my own analytical interventions have been kept to a minimum. Even in passages where I am not quoting verbatim, the ideological interpretations are Mr. and Mrs. Howard's.
At the end of the first chapter, I will begin the process of generalization by juxtaposing the long description of these two lives to a very short text, the creed of an institution that played a large role during a part of their lives: the Farm Bureau. This creed was composed by persons sociologically, demographically, and economically very close to the Howards, and it offers a concise summary of some of the principles that governed their lives.
The book will then continue to unfold in a manner inspired by the organization of Lévi-Strauss's Mythologiques. The Farm Bureau 'Creed will not be analyzed as a complete explanation of the Howards, but simply as one possible way of looking at them and of discovering relations and meanings not directly perceivable at an initial stage. Similarly, I will not argue that the Farm Bureau Creed can be explained by reference to an educational system, a kinship system, or even a set of religious ideas. Rather I hope that each new set of evidence will somehow illuminate, and be illuminated by, the other evidence that I will already have presented or will present later. In this sense the Howards' should appear much richer, even in my watered-down account, at the end of the book than it probably will seem to be at first.
I realize that there may still be some confusion about my stance in individual passages. I have tried to be as careful as possible about distinguishing the different points of view that I must use to conduct my demonstration. At the simplest level, there will be reports of what an informant told me he had done. However, informants often were very long-winded or told me about certain things over several sessions. In most cases my reports are summaries. I cannot even say that I myself worked on the verbatim statements, since in most cases I was not able to record conversations that were either too private and would not have occurred if I had barged in with a tape recorder or else too public(during a car ride with a group after a church service, in the lobby of a movie theater, and so forth) to give me a chance.
Also, on many occasions I was told about other people in the speaker's network. I have generally used this as evidence for the speaker's mode of interpretation. I have also used it as a way of collecting information about the simple occurrence or non occurrence of an event.
I will also refer to what I "saw" or "observed," but generally as a counter point to what I was told and as a way of discovering the implicit structure that generates the statements informants make. "What I observed" is not the reality. In most cases I was not able to record the event in a way that would allow me to validate my own statements about what I saw. The usefulness of "what I saw" is that is represents another mode of interpretation to which the informants' mode can be compared. My references to "how it is in France" have the same sort of usefulness. I am a native Frenchman, but I am not an expert on France; I have not done intensive fieldwork there. However, I became aware of many of the things I saw in Appleton because they shocked me by their difference.
My rationale for the many reference to other analysts of American life throughout this book is the same. I have used them during the process of analysis to build my conclusion. I am using them in this book to express and communicate these conclusions stylistically. Furthermore, these authors have written about other times other places, with other interests and points of view, and they can help readers, if they are aware of these works, to tie my own to some that may be more familiar to them. My presentation may be strange, but the facts themselves are familiar, and most readers will have experienced situations similar, to at least soiile of' those I discuss. I hope they will use these clues to criticize my analyses.
In the preceding pages I have often used the pronoun 'we' when I wished to emphasize that I and the reader shared certain things, particularly an interest in self-discovery or a position in relation to the world. In the body of the work, as I am doing now, I will use mostly "I" as a marker for the times when I, as analyst, am intervening: I recorded this, I saw this, I have seen this done in such a way in France, and this is what I make of it. I hope this will not be taken as self-aggrandizement but rather as the humility of, the researcher assuming responsibility for his work. I am part of a tradition. And this tradition is working through me. However, as I write these lines I stand alone, and it is only through the reaction of the audience that they will come to be accepted, or rejected, by that tradition.