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Lasswell, H.D. (1954). Caste in a Peasant Society. A Case Study in the Dynamics of Caste. By Melvin M. Tumin. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952. 300 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 23:457-458.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:457-458

Caste in a Peasant Society. A Case Study in the Dynamics of Caste. By Melvin M. Tumin. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1952. 300 pp.

Review by:
Harold D. Lasswell

This monograph deals with a rather isolated village in Guatemala inhabited by twenty-four hundred Indians and eleven hundred Ladinos. The latter claim to be of Spanish descent and maintain a position as the ruling caste. Although there is some agreement among the Indians (and a few Ladinos) that it is possible to rise from the lower caste, no known case exists in the village, and only a handful of persons living away from the pueblo have 'passed'. Professor Tumin is concerned with the equilibrium between the members of the two castes, and while he regards the eventual modification of the system as probable, he emphasizes the stability of the present adjustments despite various internal stresses.

The report faithfully presents the results of patient field-work in the light of present-day anthropological theory and knowledge. The monograph is of little direct interest to psychoanalysts, however, since no consideration is given to the perpetuation of adult types by the practices of child and youth care current in the culture. Nor are the dynamics of personality development considered in relation to the points of stress. Professor Tumin has however published a valuable article in Character and Personality (1945) presenting 'some fragments from the life history of a marginal man'.

Article Citation [Who Cited This?]

Lasswell, H.D. (1954). Caste in a Peasant Society. A Case Study in the Dynamics of Caste.. Psychoanal. Q., 23:457-458

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