Culture and Human Nature
Theoretical Papers of Melford E. Spiro
This volume of Spiro's major theoretical writings concentrates on theories of culture and human nature, functional analysis, and religion. Spiro argues that important dimensions of the human family are the same everywhere and that a theory of human nature is both possible and necessary. He discusses religious beliefs, analyzing not only their structures but also the ways such beliefs are held and the meanings attributed to them. This analysis, Spiro shows, can be done most successfully by means of a theory of the human family, of infant and child development and socialization, of panhuman unconscious processes, and of universal psychodynamic constellations such as the Oedipus complex.
I. Culture and Human Nature
1. Culture and Human Nature
2. Some Reflections on Cultural Determinism and Relativism with Special Attention to Emotion and Reason
3. Preculture and Gender
4. Is the Oedipus Complex Universal?
II. Functional Analysis
5. Social Systems, Personality, and Functional Analysis
6. Religious Systems as Culturally Constituted Defense Mechanisms
7. Collective Representations and Mental Representations in Religious Symbol Systems
III. Religion and Myth
8. Religion: Problems of Definition and Explanation
9. Virgin Birth, Parthenogenesis, and Physiological Paternity: An Essay in Cultural Interpretation
10. Whatever Happened to the Id?
11. Some Reflections on Family and Religion in East Asia
12. Symbolism and Functionalism in the Anthropological Study of Religion