American Social Psychology
IV. William I. Thomas (1863), Ellsworth Faris (1874), and Others Associated With the Social-Psychological Viewpoint
Fay Berger Karpf
The direction of social-psychological development which has been traced out here, more especially through the work of Cooley, Mead, and Dewey, leads next to the important social-psychological work of W. I. Thomas, who has made a most notable contribution to American social-psychological thought in conjunction with his monographic study of the Polish group, made together with Florian Znaniecki. Thomas' theory has importance here from the standpoint of the advance of American social-psychological thought in several respects, but above all because the methodological form of his exposition has tended to direct attention to social psychology as a research technique and not merely as a point of view and basis of criticism of traditional social and psychological thought, as it for the most part appeared to be in the case of these other writers. In this respect, Thomas supplements the formulations of these other writers very strikingly and, in fact, his work rather tends to link social psychology with the detailed research that is at present increasingly being carried on in the fields of psychology, sociology, and anthropology than with the more abstract and generalized type of discussion which has traditionally so largely occupied these fields of endeavor.
The methodological setting which Thomas gives his social-psychological theory as outlined in conjunction with his monographic study of the Polish group is, however, notable here also in another connection, in that it sets his position off so decisively from conflicting positions and tends to bring the issues of social-psychological thought, as Thomas sees them, to a focus in a way in which they appear nowhere else in recent social-psychological literature. Nowhere else do we get such a clear-cut statement of social-psychological thought from the standpoint of its implications for actual research and investigation, and nowhere else, therefore, do we get such a challenging presentation of the social-psychological position viewed as a definite procedure alongside of psy-
( 352) -chology and biology on the one hand and sociology and anthropology on the other. It is for this reason, no doubt, that Thomas' work has brought forth a very considerable following which, despite important differences of interest and emphasis, is conspicuously unified in general viewpoint. In his work we accordingly reach one of the important points of concentration which the research interest in recent American social psychology is precipitating. Others will be noted in the course of this and the remaining parts of our discussion.
Formal methodological discussions in the field of science which are so prominent in Germany are comparatively rare in this country. And those that appear are for the most part quickly forgotten and neglected. There is a feeling here that such discussions are on the whole futile and that science develops, if at all, rather in spite than because of them. Thomas' work represents an exception to the rule in this respect, for in his case interest has centered in his methodological exposition to such an extent that even his concrete study of the Polish group has seemed to take on real meaning and significance only in the light of it. And while this has doubtless been due to the fact that his methodological discussion is developed as an integral part of his monographic study and is supported and illustrated all along in terms of the concrete materials and findings of this study, the fact remains that it is the methodological formulation of his position which has become the common meeting ground of the expanding group of writers associated with his social-psychological theory. It will be important, therefore, to follow out this part of Thomas' work in some detail here as the necessary background upon which the concrete aspects of his study as well as his work as a whole, and in large part also the work of the other writers to be considered in this section, must be projected. First, however, as in the
( 353) case of other writers considered, we must lead up to this part of Thomas' work through a preliminary consideration of some of his earlier views, such as have relevance here and will help to bring his position as later outlined into proper social-psychological perspective.
Thomas' social-psychological thinking like Dewey's, in whose psychology it was to a considerable extent grounded, presents a striking process of growth corresponding to Dewey's shift of emphasis from instinct to habit as a mode of approach in social psychology. He started out in this field of thought with an expression of interest in the point of view of folk-psychology, from which field Thomas apparently carried over the notion of the closeness of relation between social-psychological theory and ethnological material which he consistently stressed in his work up to the time of his change of viewpoint in this regard in his Polish Peasant (1918). This expression of interest was superimposed on an essentially biological orientation of thought and a thoroughgoing individualistic conception of the dynamics of human conduct as represented by instinct psychology in its extremer forms and somatic anthropology. His emphasis at this time fell on "food" and "sex" as the motivating forces of human life and associated with these underlying principles of explanation the so-called "gaming instinct" and the "pursuit pattern of interest" as logical corollaries of this conception. In an early article Thomas said:
A statement of life in terms of food and sex is as crass, when applied to culture conditions, as the chemical definition of man as "forty pounds of carbon and nitrogen scattered through five pailfuls of water." But it is important to recognize that food and sex are the irreducible factors of social life; and that beginning with these, we may hope to understand the meaning of the different variables of society: ideas, institutions, beliefs, sentiments, language, arts, literature—and to trace the "red thread" of consciousness through them.
Food and sex, Thomas felt at the time, "like the foci of an ellipse," are the points about which the whole process of social behavior turns. These were the great original stimuli to action and culture, he argued, and in accordance with the broad principles of evolutionary development,
( 354) they have so ingrained themselves into our innermost physical and mental being as to remain permanently the fundamental motive springs of our nature.
Food and sex, he accordingly held, are at the basis of our most deeply seated cravings and tendencies, of our pleasures and pains, our aversions and enthusiasms, our natural interests and disinclinations. Only by reference to them, for instance, can we get at the underlying reasons as to why we find—as he asserted that we do—war, sport, and the conflict pattern of activity generally interesting, while most of our highly organized industrial and occupational activities are dull and irksome; also as to what the elemental motivation is of such social types as the tramp, the vagabond, and the so-called "sporting" person. For these interesting phenomena all have root, he held at the time, in the elemental struggle for existence which the evolutionary process imposes, and which seemed to him to be ultimately reducible to food and sex, as a minimum formula of the process.
From this standpoint, the chief problem of social psychology, as Thomas pointed out, "is not so much to account for the gambler as to account for the business man." The gaming instinct being part of the original endowment of all normal persons, the gambler, the vagabond. and the like simply express their impulses in reference to this instinct, in the most spontaneous fashion. There is no need, therefore, of a complex social psychology to explain the behavior of this group; it is explainable along simple biological lines. It is the business man on the contrary, according to him, the socially controlled and conventional person, that challenges social-psychological explanation. This, reduced to essentials, has of course always been the conception of social psychology when the subject has been approached from the biological and individualistic stand-point. Thus far, then, Thomas' position was substantially in keeping with the prevalent biological and individualistic rendering of the field of psycho-social interpretation.
A single additional passage will suffice to illustrate this aspect of Thomas' thought and to link it with its proper intellectual setting as already previously developed here.
The human mind was formed and fixed once for all in very early times, through a life of action and emergency, when the species was fighting, contriving, and inventing its way up from the sub-human conditions; and the ground-patterns of interest have never been, and probably never will be, fundamentally changed.
(355) Consequently, all pursuits are irksome unless they are able, so to speak, to assume the guise of this early conflict for life in connection with which interest and modes of attention were developed. As a matter of fact, however, anything in the nature of a problem or a pursuit stimulates the emotional centers, and is interesting, because it is of the same general pattern, as these primitive pursuits and problems. Scientific and artistic pursuits, business, and the various occupational callings are analogues of the hunting, flight, pursuit, courtship and capture of early racial life, and the problems they present may, and do become, all-absorbing. The moral and educational problem has been, indeed to stimulate for the simple, co-ordinative killing, escaping, charming, deceiving activities of early life, analogues which are increasingly serviceable to society, and to expand into a general social feeling the affection developed first in connection with courtship, the rearing of children, and joint predatory and defensive enterprises.
From the first, however, Thomas felt the need of supplementing this biological and individualistic standpoint, and he leaned increasingly to the Dewey type of psychology as a basis of interpretation of human conduct and social life. This latter basis of interpretation, with its emphasis on the concepts of habit, attention, crisis, control, gradually led Thomas, as it led Dewey, to the formulation of a more characteristic social-psychological position. Thomas' first transition, consistently with his interest in ethnological material as source material for social psychology, was through a position similar to that of the Boas school of anthropological thought in this country, at any rate in so far as the explanation of cultural and achievement differences among human groups and classes is concerned, a central problem in the folk-psychological conception of social psychology, in which, as was said above, Thomas early became interested.
It was Thomas' position, in general, on the matter of cultural and achievement differences, that the inherited basis of mind, in its essential aspects, is a possession of all mankind and that the observed differences of the present are to be accounted for chiefly in terms of the laws of habit and attention and the accidents of history rather than in terms of biological differences and evolutionary stages of development. Accord-
( 356) -ingly, he began to shift emphasis, first in respect to this specific problems and later, more generally, from the food and sex basis of interpretation this other psycho-historical basis. In this way, he gradually passed on to the position which he outlines in detail in The Polish Peasant and in which we are chiefly interested here.
It is upon this formulation of his social-psychological theory in terms of "attitudes," "values," and "wishes" and the concrete investigation which he carried on in conjunction with it that Thomas' position as social psychologist of note chiefly rests. For the reasons outlined above the methodological setting which Thomas gives his social-psychological theory here has a special importance when viewed in relation to his monographic study of the Polish group of which it is a part and upon which it supposedly rests, as more or less of an inductive product. This will appear in detail as our analysis of Thomas' position progresses. But in the meantime, his own preliminary description of The Polish Peasant: is directly of interest in this connection. He says:
The present study was not, in fact, undertaken exclusively or even primarily as an expression of interest in the Polish peasant . . . but the Polish peasant was selected rather as a convenient object for the exemplification of a standpoint: and method outlined in the methodological note forming the first pages of the
(357) present [first] volume. The scope of our study will be best appreciated by having this fact in mind.
Bearing this statement regarding the relation between the methodological and the descriptive parts of Thomas' work in view on the one hand, then, and on the other hand the fact that the real force and import of his methodological argument issue from the supposition that it is essentially a formulation and explanation of the procedure actually incorporated in the concrete part of his work, we may proceed to the analysis of his position as developed in this connection.
Thomas starts out in his Polish Peasant by calling attention to the urgent present-day need of a rational and scientific technique of dealing with human affairs and by pointing out the inadequacy, in our present-day complex and rapidly changing social world, of what he terms the "ordering-and-forbidding" and "common-sense" methods of dealing with human situations, which are the methods in use, according to him, in the absence of a scientific basis of procedure. In the interest of stimulating the development of the latter, he proceeds to outline, after a critical consideration of some of the more glaring fallacies inherent in social practice as based upon the ordering-and-forbidding and common-sense procedures, what from his point of view should be the direction of social science development if it is to be able to meet the need of a scientific social technique more adequately than it has in the past. Taking up first the general questions of standpoint and perspective, he says:
If we attempt now to determine what should be the object-matter and the method of a social theory that would be able to satisfy the demands of modern social practice, it is evident that its main object should be the actual civilized society in its full development and with all its complexity of situations, for it is the control of the actual civilized society that is sought in most endeavors of rational practice. But here, as in every other science, a determined body of material assumes its full significance only if we can use comparison freely, in order to distinguish the essential from the accidental, the simple from the com-
(358)-plex, the primary from the derived. And fortunately social life gives us favorable conditions for comparative studies, particularly at the present stage of evolution in the coexistence of a certain number of civilized societies sufficiently alike i their fundamental cultural problems to make comparison possible, and differing sufficiently in their traditions, customs, and general national spirit to make comparison fruitful. And from the list of these civilized societies we should by no means exclude those non-white societies, like the Chinese, whose organization and attitudes differ profoundly from our own, but which interest us both as social experiments and as situations with which we have to reconcile our own future.
In contrast with this study of the various present civilized societies, the lines along which most of the purely scientific sociological work has been done up to the present—that is, ethnography of primitive societies and social history—have a secondary, though by no means a negligible importance. Their relation to social practice is only mediate; they can help the practitioner to solve actual: cultural problems only to the degree that they help the scientist to understand actual cultural life; they are auxiliary, and their own scientific value will increase with the progress of the main sphere of studies. In all the endeavors to under-stand and interpret the past and the savage we must use, consciously or not, our knowledge of our civilized present life, which remains always a basis of comparison, whether the past and the primitive are conceived as analogous with, or as different from, the present and the civilized. The less objective and critical our knowledge of the present, the more subjective and unmethodical is our interpretation of the past and the primitive; unable to see the relative and limited character of the culture within which we live, we unconsciously bend every unfamiliar phenomenon to the limitations of our own social personality. A really objective understanding of history and ethnography can therefore be expected only as a result of a methodical knowledge of present cultural societies.
This statement represents substantially a reversal of Thomas' position as reflected in his earlier writings, among which his Source Book for Social Origins stands out conspicuously, and it is notable here especially because it registers in methodological terms the reaction against the traditional evolutionary approach which dominated psycho-social thought under the influence, more particularly, of Spencer's work and that of the evolutionary anthropologists. It is notable here also because it links up directly with the other point which Thomas emphasizes in his discussion of the object matter of social theory and which is perhaps more immediately suggestive here in its social-psychological bearing, namely, "the necessity of taking into account the whole life of a given society instead of arbitrarily selecting and isolating beforehand certain particular groups of facts." He says in this connection:
We have seen already that the contrary procedure constitutes one of the fallacies of the common-sense sociology. It is also a fallacy usually committed
(359) by the observers of their own or of other societies—litterateurs, journalists, travelers, popular psychologists, etc. In describing a given society they pick out the most prominent situations, the most evident problems, thinking to characterize thereby the life of the given group. Still more harmful for the development of science is this fallacy when used in the comparative sociology which studies an institution, an idea, a myth, a legal or moral norm, a form of art, etc., by simply comparing its content in various societies without studying it in the whole meaning which it has in a particular society and then comparing this with the whole meaning which it has in the various societies. We are all more or less guilty of this fault, but it pleases us to attribute it mainly to Herbert Spencer.
In order to avoid such arbitrary limitations and subjective interpretations in social theory, there are, according to Thomas, only two possible courses open. " We can study monographically," says he, "whole concrete societies with the total complexity of problems and situations which constitute their cultural life; or we can work on special social problems, following the problem in a certain limited number of concrete social groups and studying it in every group with regard to the particular form which it assumes under the influence of the conditions prevailing in this society, taking into account the complex meaning which a concrete cultural phenomenon has in a determined cultural environment." In the one case, he suggests, we go from the whole social context to the problem, and in the other, we go from the problem to the whole social context. Continuing with this preliminary statement of valid procedure, Thomas says further:
And in both types of work the only safe method is to start with the assumption that we know absolutely nothing about the group or the problem we are to investigate except such purely formal criteria as enable us to distinguish materials belonging to our sphere of interest from those which do not belong there. But this attitude of indiscriminate receptivity toward any concrete data should mark only the first stage of investigation—that of limiting the field. As soon as we become acquainted with the materials we begin to select them with the help of criteria which involve certain methodological generalizations and scientific hypotheses. This must be done, since the whole empirical concreteness cannot be introduced into science, cannot be described or explained. We have to limit ourselves to certain theoretically important data, but we must know how to distinguish the data which are important. And every further step of the investigation will bring with it new methodological problems—analysis of the complete concrete data into elements, systematization of these elements, definition of social facts, establishing of social laws. All these stages of scientific procedure must be exactly and carefully defined if social theory is to become a science conscious of its own methods and able to apply them with precision, as is the case with the more mature and advanced physical and biological sciences.
On the basis of this preliminary statement, Thomas proceeds to the consideration of the more detailed content of a social theory that would be able to satisfy the requirements of a scientific social technique. These are, he suggests, two fundamental practical problems which have constituted the center of attention of reflective social practice in all times (1) the problem of the dependence of the individual upon social organization and culture and (2) the problem of the dependence of social organization and culture upon the individual. Practically, according to him these two problems express themselves in the following two questions. "How shall we produce with the help of the existing social organization and culture the desirable mental and moral characteristics in the individuals constituting the social group?" and "How shall we produce, with the help of the existing mental and moral characteristics of the individual:.: members of the group, the desirable type of social organization an culture?"
Approaching these fundamental problems and questions, therefore. from the standpoint of social theory viewed as a basis for a scientific social technique, Thomas says by way of introduction to his own central thesis:
If social theory is to become the basis of social technique and to solve these problems really, it is evident that it must include both kinds of data involved in them,—namely, the objective cultural elements of social life and the subjective characteristics of the members of the social group—and that the two kinds of data must be taken as correlated.
That is, in order to solve these and similar problems, social theory must. according to him, correlate what he technically speaks of as the "social values" and the "social attitudes" involved in a given social situation.
( 361) These terms, which Thomas introduced into recent psycho-social theory with a distinctive social-psychological significance, he defines as follows:
By a social value we understand any datum having an empirical content accessible to the members of some social group and a meaning with regard to which it is or may be an object of activity. Thus, a foodstuff, an instrument, a coin, a piece of poetry, a university, a myth, a scientific theory, are social values. Each of them has a content that is sensual in the case of the foodstuff, the instrument, the coin; partly sensual, partly imaginary in the piece of poetry, whose content is constituted, not only by the written or spoken words, but also by the images which they evoke, and in the case of the university, whose content is the whole complex of men, buildings, material accessories, and images representing its activity; or, finally only imaginary in the case of a mythical personality or a scientific theory. The meaning of these values becomes explicit when we take them in connection with human actions. The meaning of the foodstuff is its reference to its eventual consumption; that of an instrument, its reference to the work for which it is designed; that of a coin, the possibilities of buying and selling or the pleasures of spending which it involves; that of the piece of poetry, the sentimental and intellectual reactions which it arouses; that of the university, the social activities which it performs; that of the mythical personality, the cult of which it is the object and the actions of which it is supposed to be the author; that of the scientific theory, the possibilities of control of experience by idea or action which it permits. The social value is thus opposed to the natural thing, which has a content but, as a part of nature, has no meaning for human activity, is treated as "valueless"; when the natural thing assumes a meaning, it becomes thereby a social value. And naturally a social value may have many meanings, for it may refer to many different kinds of activity.
By attitude we understand a process of individual consciousness which deter-mines real or possible activity of the individual in the social world. Thus, hunger that compels the consumption of the foodstuff; the workman's decision to use the tool; the tendency of the spendthrift to spend the coin; the poet's feelings and ideas expressed in the poem and the reader's sympathy and admiration; the needs which the institution tries to satisfy and the response it provokes; the fear and devotion manifested in the cult of the divinity; the interest in creating, understanding, or applying a scientific theory and the ways of thinking implied in it—all these are attitudes. The attitude is thus the individual counterpart of the social value; activity, in whatever form, is the bond between them.
Attitudes as thus defined are to be distinguished from psychical states, according to Thomas, just as values are to be distinguished from natural objects, in order to indicate their importance for social psychology. He says on this point :
By its reference to activity and thereby to individual consciousness the value is distinguished from the natural thing. By its reference to activity and thereby to the social world the attitude is distinguished from the psychical state. In the examples quoted above we were obliged to use with reference to ideas and
(362) volitions words that have become terms of individual psychology by being abstracted from the objective social reality to which they apply, but originally they were designed to express attitudes, not psychological processes. A psychological process is an attitude treated as an object in itself, isolated by a reflective act of attention, and taken first of all in connection with other states of the same individual. An attitude is a psychological process treated as primarily manifested in its reference to the social world and taken first of all in connection with some social value.
"The psychological process," he says in summary, "remains always fundamentally a state of somebody; the attitude remains always fundamentally an attitude toward something." And this difference of stand-point, according to Thomas, determines a corresponding difference of methods appropriate to the study of these two types of fact—appropriate, that is, to individual psychology on the one hand and to social psychology viewed by him as a part of social theory on the other.
This statement requires elaboration, inasmuch as attitudes and values are, according to him, the data of all the sciences that deal with human culture and not only of social theory, under which heading, as he
tells us later, he seeks to discuss the common methodological aspects of both social psychology and sociology. The limitation of the field of social theory arises quite naturally, however, he suggests, `from the necessity of choosing between attitudes or values as fundamental data—that is, as data whose characters will serve as a basis for scientific generalization." This division of interest is, according to him, a methodological necessity, for there is, he says, "no possibility of giving to attitudes and values the same importance in a methodical scientific investigation; either attitudes must be subordinated to values or the contrary."
Now all of the sciences that deal with separate domains of culture, like the sciences of language, art, economics, etc., subordinate attitudes to the study of values, while social theory, that is in the form of social psychology, tends to subordinate values to the study of attitudes. Social psychology, then, as "precisely the science of attitudes" has thus, Thomas believes, "to perform the part of a general science of the subjective side of social culture." "It may claim," he says, "to be the science of consciousness as manifested in culture, and its function is to render service, as a general auxiliary science, to all the special sciences dealing with various spheres of social values."
We see, then, what the importance of social psychology as conceived of by Thomas is from the standpoint of his interest in the larger problem of the relation between social theory and scientific social practice, and we can follow out the elaboration of his position further with this larger problem in view.
As defined above, social psychology is, according to him, a unified field of investigation in its own right, separable alike from "psychology in general" or individual psychology as well as from sociology. As regards his conception of the relation between social psychology and individual psychology, little need be said, since he felt that these two fields of investigation were so different in both standpoint and method that "if it were not for the traditional use of the term `psychology' for both types of research, it would be even advisable to emphasize this difference by a distinct terminology." In these as well as in other important respects, social psychology is much more closely related to sociology, according to Thomas, though at least theoretically, sociology "as the theory of social organization" is separable from social psychology on the same ground as the other special sciences of culture, namely, that in directing itself primarily to the study of social organization, it must subordinate the study of attitudes. Social psychology and sociology in being "both concerned with the relation between the individual and the concrete social group," are, however, both, according to his view, embraced under the general term of social theory, and their methodology can to a considerable extent be discussed on common ground. It is with this common bearing upon social psychology and sociology that his methodological standpoint is further developed here.
With this common reference in view, then, Thomas proceeds to develop his position as follows: The chief problems of modern science, he recalls, are problems of causal explanation. The aim is always to lay the foundation of a technique and to understand and control the process of becoming. If social theory is to become the basis of a scientific social technique, it too must direct itself to this task, and there is, according to him, only one way of fulfilling it.
Social becoming, like natural becoming, must be analyzed into a plurality of facts, each of which represents a succession of cause and effect. The idea of social theory is the analysis of the totality of social becoming into such causal processes and a systematization permitting us to understand the connections between these processes. No arguments a priori trying to demonstrate the impossibility of application of the principle of causality to conscious human life in general can or should halt social theory in tending to this idea, whatever difficulties there may be in the way, because as a matter of fact we continually do
(364) apply the principle of causality to the social world in our activity and in our thought, and we shall always do this as long as we try to control social becoming: in any form. So, instead of fruitlessly discussing the justification of this application in the abstract, social theory must simply strive to make it more methodic and perfect in the concrete—by the actual process of investigation.
Accepting the above as a statement of goal, therefore, Thomas suggests first of all that "if we want to reach scientific explanations, we must keep in mind that our facts must be determined in such a way as to permit of their subordination to general laws," for, as he says, "a fact which cannot be treated as a manifestation of one or several laws is inexplicable causally." In the past, according to him, the chief error of both social practice and social theory has been that they determined. consciously or unconsciously, social facts in a way which excluded in advance the possibility of their subordination to any laws. "The implicit or explicit assumption," he explains, "was that a social fact is composed of two elements, a cause which is either a social phenomenon or an individual act, and an effect which is either an individual act or a social phenomenon." In this, social theory and social practice have followed uncritically the example of the physical sciences, "which always tend to find the one determined phenomenon which is the necessary and sufficient condition of another phenomenon." Thereby they have forgotten to take into account one essential difference between physical and social reality, "which is that, while the effect of a physical phenomenon depends exclusively on the objective nature of this phenomenon and can be calculated on the ground of the latter's empirical content, the effect of a social phenomenon depends in addition on the subjective standpoint taken by the individual or the group toward this phenomenon and can be calculated only if we know, not only the objective content of the assumed cause, but also the meaning which it has at the given moment for the given conscious beings." This simple consideration should have shown to the social theorist or technician, he suggests, "that a social cause cannot be simple, like a physical cause, but is compound, and must include both an objective and a subjective element, a value and an attitude."
Thomas accordingly lays down the following principle, already alluded to in preliminary form above, as basic.
The fundamental methodological principle of both social psychology and sociology—the principle without which they can never reach scientific explanation—is therefore the following one:
The cause of a social or individual phenomenon is never another social or individual phenomenon alone, but always a combination of a social and an individual phenomenon.
Or, in more exact terms:
The cause of a value or of an attitude is never an attitude or a value alone, but always a combination of an attitude and a value.
Elaborating somewhat on the methodological significance of this important principle, he says:
If we wish to explain the appearance of a new attitude—whether in one individual or in a whole group—we know that this attitude appeared as a con-sequence of the influence of a social value upon the individual or the group, but we know also that this influence itself would have been impossible unless there had been some pre-existing attitude, some wish, emotional habit, or intellectual tendency, to which this value has in some way appealed, favoring it, contradicting it, giving it a new direction, or stabilizing its hesitating expressions. Our problem is therefore to find both the value and the pre-existing attitude upon which it has acted and get in their combination the necessary and sufficient cause of the new attitude . . .
If now we have to explain the appearance of a social value, we know that this value is a product of the activity of an individual or a number of individuals, and in so far dependent on the attitude of which this activity is the expression. But we know also that this result is inexplicable unless we take into consideration the value (or complex of values) which was the starting-point and the social material of activity and which has conditioned the result as much as did the attitude itself. The new value is the result of the solution of a problem set by the pre-existing value and the active attitude together; it is the common effect of both of them.
Examples of the disastrous results which follow the violation of these methodological rules in the field of social theory and practice can be multiplied indefinitely, according to Thomas, and he himself cites some very striking situations by direct reference to the concrete materials of his study of the Polish group in illustration of the practical import and bearing of such violation. We fail so frequently in our attempts to understand and to deal with social problems, he suggests, because we direct our efforts toward one or the other important aspects of a social situation, toward the attitude or value aspect, to the neglect of the other aspect, never realizing that each of these is a function of the other and hence cannot be successfully dealt with in isolation. The confidence which we have in the "legislation" and "moral suasion" techniques, as in themselves effective methods of social control, suffers under this limitation, and the failures which they so frequently result in are precisely the effects which we should expect from their one-sided mode of procedure.
The common practice of reformers, according to him, "is to construct a rational scheme of the social institution they wish to see produced or
( 366) abolished, and then to formulate an ideal plan of social activities which would perhaps lead to a realization of their scheme if social life were merely a sum of individual actions." But inasmuch "as social reality contains not only individual acts, but also social institutions, not only attitudes, but also values fixed by tradition and conditioning the attitudes, these values cooperate in the production of the final effect quite independently, and often in spite of the intentions of the social reformer. "
There is here and quite generally, he suggests, a tendency to overlook what figures as the tertium quid in his statement of the basic principles of valid procedure. Hence it is that social programs so frequently fail of their intended purpose or that, at least, their successes are so frequently counterbalanced by their failures that they foster the impression that social behavior is in the main unpredictable and uncontrollable.
It must not of course be concluded, according to Thomas, "that the proper way of formulating social facts is never used by social theory or reflective social practice." The point is that the proper formula has never been applied with any consistency either in social theory or in social practice, while the wrong formula is in widespread use in both of these fields of endeavor. He says:
At every step we try to enforce certain attitudes upon other individuals without stopping to consider what are their dominant attitudes in general or their prevailing attitudes at the given moment; at every step we try to produce certain social values without taking into account the values which are already there and upon which the result of our efforts will depend as much as upon our intention and persistence.
A systematic application and development of the methodological rules stated above would, however, according to Thomas, necessarily lead in a completely different direction. He explains :
Its final result would not be a system of definitions, like law and special parts of political science, nor a system of the philosophical determination of the essence of certain data, like philosophy of law, the general parts of political science, ethics, and many sociological works, nor a general outline of social evolution, like the sociology of the Spencerian school or the philosophies of history, but a system of laws of social becoming, in which definitions, philosophical determinations of essence, and outlines of evolution would play the same part as they do in physical science—that is, would constitute either instruments helping to analyze reality and to find laws, or conclusions helping to understand the general scientific meaning and the connection of laws.
Such an achievement, it is evident, Thomas points out, can, in the natural course of events, be attained only by a long and persistent
( 367) cooperation of social science. But this, he takes pains to make clear, is a necessity resulting from the fact of specialization and subjective attitude and is quite apart from the common notion of the complexity of the social world as such which, in his opinion, has been entirely too often and too unreflectively overemphasized. He says very significantly in this connection:
Complexity is a relative characteristic; it depends on the method and the purpose of analysis. Neither the social nor the natural world presents any ready and absolutely simple elements, and in this sense they are both equally complex, because they are both infinitely complex. But this complexity is a metaphysical, not a scientific, problem. In science we treat any datum as a simple element if it behaves as such in all the combinations in which we find it, and any fact is a simple fact which can indefinitely repeat itself—that is, in which the relation between cause and effect can be assumed to be permanent and necessary. And in this respect it is still a problem whether the social world will not prove much less complex than the natural world if only we analyze its data and determine its facts by proper methods. The prepossession of complexity is due to-the naturalistic way of treating the social reality. If it is maintained that the social world has to be treated as an expression or a product of the psychological, physiological, or biological nature of human beings, then, of course, it appears as incomparably more complex than the natural world, because to the already inexhaustibly complex conscious human organism as a part of nature is added the fact that in a social group there are numerous and various human beings interacting in the most various ways. But if we study the social world, without any naturalistic prepossessions, simply as a plurality of specific data, causally interconnected in a process of becoming, the question of complexity is no more baffling for social theory, and may even prove less so, than it is for physical science.
The search for social laws, which is precisely the problem at issue in discussions of the complexity of the social world, does not as a matter of fact, Thomas maintains, present any special difficulties if our facts are adequately determined. The process is in all respects parallel, according to him, to the necessary procedure in other fields of scientific investigation. He says in elaboration of this point:
When we have found that a certain effect is produced by a certain cause, the formulation of this causal dependence has in itself the character of a law; that is, we assume that whenever this cause repeats itself the effect will necessarily follow. The further need is to explain apparent exceptions. But this need of explanation, which is the stumbling-block of a theory that has defined its facts inadequately, becomes, on the contrary, a factor of progress when the proper method is employed. For when we know that a certain cause can have only one determined effect, when we have assumed, for example, that the attitude of A + the value B is the cause of the attitude C, then if the presumed cause A + B is there and the expected effect C does not appear, this means either that we have been mistaken in assuming that A + B was the cause of C, or that the action of
(368) A + B was interfered with by the action of some other cause ... In the first case the exception gives us the possibility of correcting our error; in the second case it permits us to extend our knowledge by finding a new causal connection. by determining the partly or totally unknown cause . . . which has interfered with the action of our known case A + B and brought a complex effect, D .. . instead of the expected C. And thus the exception from a law becomes the starting point for the discovery of a new law.
And so all along, according to Thomas, the problem of laws, i.e., "nomothetic" social science, is essentially not unlike, and it remains questionable whether it is more complex than, the corresponding phases of other fields of scientific investigation. Such being the case, and the problem of laws being, as he argues, the most important one of scientific methodology from the standpoint of the control of the process of becoming, the ground is cleared for his aggressive attitude toward the development of a technique of scientific social control. Social generalization is of course under the limitation, he recognizes, that it is not so easily subject-able to experimental verification as some other fields of generalization. But this fact must not, according to him, be permitted to discourage aggressive social investigation or to justify laxity of procedure. Rather must it be accepted as a challenge for the exercise of exceptional caution in the use of other safeguards to scientific validity, for example, the methodic use of systematic observation in the search for contradictory as well as corroboratory evidence. It is because social theory has not in the past been sufficiently aware of the need of these exceptional cautions that so many of its works, suggests Thomas, "bear a character of composition, intermediary between philosophy and science and fulfilling the demands of neither."
As in other important connections, Thomas elaborates these points concretely and at some length by reference to the concrete materials of his study of the Polish group. In the end he leads to the following conclusion: "There are no obstacles in the nature of the social world or in the nature of the human mind which would essentially prevent social practice from obtaining gradually the same degree of efficiency as that of industrial practice. The only obstacles are of a subjective kind." And these, it is presumed, will gradually give way just as they gave way in the case of other fields of scientific investigation, when they became surer of their ground and really effective in demonstrating their possibilities of success.
Throughout his discussions, Thomas accordingly assumes, in the spirit of this part of his argument, "thatif an adequate technique is
( 369) developed it is possible to produce any desirable attitudes and values." This assumption is practically justified in fact, according to him, because we find in the individual attitudes "which cannot avoid response to the class of stimulations which society is able to apply to him." In pursuance of this point, Thomas formulates his now widely known theory of the fundamental human wishes. And in view of the popularity of this part of his theory on the one hand and the fact that it defines an important point of difference between some of the prominent members of the group of writers associated with Thomas on the other, the form of his statement on this matter is particularly notable here. He says:
Every individual has a vast variety of wishes which can be satisfied only by his incorporation in a society. Among his general patterns of wishes we may enumerate: (1) the desire for new experience, for fresh stimulations; (2) the desire for recognition, including, for example, sexual response and general social appreciation, and secured by devices ranging from the display of ornament to the demonstration of worth through scientific attainment; (3) the desire for , mastery, or the "will to power," exemplified by ownership, domestic tyranny, political despotism, based on the instinct of hate, but capable of being sublimated to laudable ambition; (4) the desire for security, based on the instinct of fear and exemplified negatively by the wretchedness of the individual in perpetual solitude or under social taboo.
These four "general patterns of wishes" as defined, indicate at the same time, then, fundamental directions of human desire and basic lines of personal dependence on social milieu and hence of effective social control. Thomas explains:
Society is, indeed, an agent for the repression of many of the wishes in the individual; it demands that he shall be moral by repressing at least the wishes
(370) which are irreconcilable with the welfare of the group, but nevertheless it provides the only medium within which any of his schemes or wishes can be gratified. And it would be superfluous to point out by examples the degree to which society has in the past been able to impose its schemes of attitudes and values on the individual. Professor Sumner's volume, Folkways, is practically a collection of such examples, and, far from discouraging us as they discourage Professor Sumner, they should be regarded as proofs of the ability of the individual to conform to any definition, to accept any attitude, provided it is an expression of the public will or represents the appreciation of even a limited group. And even if we find that the attitudes are not so tractable as we have assumed, that it is not possible to provoke all the desirable ones, we shall still be in the same situation as, let us say, physics and mechanics: we shall have the problem of securing the highest degree of control possible in view of the nature of our materials.
Any further statement on this matter must obviously be based on the detailed study of particular cases. Thomas accordingly leaves this important subject at this point, in order to come back to it in a later more specific connection. In his Introduction to volume III of his study, in accordance with the character of the concrete material which he introduces in this volume, he carries his methodological discussion for-ward to the consideration of the problems involved in the application of his point of view as so far outlined to the study of an "evolving human personality." This, he explains, is a problem of scientific social synthesis corresponding to the problem of social analysis and generalization heretofore emphasized in his discussion. In this connection, he outlines his view regarding the value of life histories as source material for sociological and social-psychological purposes. He says:
We are safe in saying that personal life-records, as complete as possible, constitute the perfect type of sociological materials, and that if social science has to use other materials at all it is only because of the practical difficulty of obtaining at the moment a sufficient number of such records to cover the totality of sociological problems, and of the enormous amount of work demanded for an adequate analysis of all the personal materials necessary to characterize the life of a social group. If we are forced to use mass-phenomena as material, or any kind of happenings—taken without regard to the life-histories of the individuals who participate in them, it is a defect, not an advantage, of our present sociological method.
But in order to be able to use life records for its purposes, social theory must, according to Thomas, have criteria on the basis of which to select from the mass of concrete human documents those which are likely to be scientifically valuable for the solution of a given social problem. "We cannot," he points out, "study the life-histories of all the individuals participating in a certain social happening, for then our task would be inexhaustible. We must limit ourselves, just as the natural scientist does, to a few representative cases whose thorough study will yield results as nearly applicable as possible to all other cases concerned." Such criteria can be arrived at, according to him, only by a theory of human individuals as social personalities. This means, he explains, that "the use of individual life-records as material for the determination of abstract social laws must be supplemented by a sociological study of those individuals themselves in their entire personal evolution, as concrete components of the social world."
This sort of synthetic approach to the study of personality is, how-ever, still in its infancy, from his standpoint. The scientific description and classification of social personalities, as a whole, he points out, despite the widespread interest that has at all times attached to the subject of biography and to discussions of temperament and character, shows a striking lack of progress from the level which they reached in antiquity. The reason for this lack of progress is, according to him, evident. It is that almost all the studies of temperament and character have proceeded on the ground of individual rather than social psychology." Since personal evolution," he says, "can be understood only in connection with social life these theories were unable to take into adequate consideration the whole wealth of important problems bearing on personal evolution, and had to limit themselves to a mere abstract description and classification of statically considered formal types."
With the end in view, therefore, of at least illustrating methodologically the social-psychological approach to the subject, Thomas suggests here his well-known classification of ideal personality types into the "Philistine," the "Bohemian," and the "creative individual." This classification, as he tells us, "based upon relations between the individual and his social environment whose essential features are the same in all societies, whatever may be the content of the personal and social life," is purely formal and tentative, claiming to be "only a starting-point for researches whose aim must consist in a synthetic characterization of human types precisely with regard to the content of the attitudes and values which constitute their social personalities." To be really useful,
( 372) he explains, such a characterization must be made from the standpoint of the problem of further development, i.e., from the standpoint of the problem of becoming which he throughout emphasizes. The aim, according to him, is to determine dynamic types as types of development. He states in respect to this matter:
The essential points, which cannot be here sufficiently emphasized, are that the social personality as a whole manifests itself only in the course of its total life and not at any particular moment of its life, and that its life is not a mere empirical manifestation of a timeless metaphysical essence, always the same, but is a continuous evolution in which nothing remains unchanged. This evolution often tends toward a stabilization as its ultimate limit, but never attains this limit completely; and even then it is not this limit as such, but the very course of evolution tending to this limit, that constitutes the main object-matter of socio-psychological synthesis.
Methodologically this means, as Thomas notes, the extension of the concept of type to the process of personal evolution, "for the concept of type plays the same part in social synthesis as the concept of causal fact plays in social analysis." And this involves, in turn, according to him, the recognition of the fact that not only single attitudes and values but more or less well-organized combinations of attitudes and values present a certain similarity from individual to individual—in other words, that there are typical lines of genesis in personal evolution. The similarity with which we are here concerned, he thus points out, is always only approximate and common only to a limited group, for it is not a matter of a single abstract law that we are dealing with here, but of a concrete cooperation of many laws. The concept of type, however, unlike the concept of law, "needs only an approximate identity of individual cases," according to him, "and class is supposed to possess only a relative generality."[67 Elaborating upon his suggested threefold classification of personality types from this standpoint, he says:
The definiteness of attitudes attained in character and the corresponding schematization of social data in life-organization admit, however, a wide scale of gradation with regard to one point of fundamental importance,—the range of possibilities of further development remaining open to the individual after the stabilization. This depends on the nature of the attitudes involved in the character and of the schemes of life-organization, and also on the way in which both are unified and systematized. And here three typical cases can be distinguished.
The set of attitudes constituting the character maybe such as practically to exclude the development of any new attitude in the given conditions of life, because the reflective attitudes of an individual have attained so great a fixity
(373) that he is accessible to only a certain class of influences—those constituting the most permanent part of his social milieu. The only possibilities of evolution then remaining open to the individual are the slow changes brought by age in himself and by time in his social milieu, or a change of conditions so radical as to destroy at once the values to whose influence he was adapted and presumably his own character. This is the type which has found its expression in literature as the "Philistine." It is opposed to the "Bohemian," whose possibilities of evolution are not closed, simply because his character has remained unformed. Some of his temperamental attitudes are in their primary form, others may have become intellectualized but remain unrelated to each other, do not constitute a stable and systematized set, and do not exclude any new attitude, so that the individual remains open to any and all influences. As opposed to both these types we find the third type of individual whose character is settled and organized but involves the possibility and even the necessity of evolution, because the reflective attitudes constituting it include a tendency to change, regulated by plans of productive activity, and the individual remains open to such influences as will be in line of his preconceived development. This is the type of the creative individual.
A parallel distinction, suggests Thomas, holds with respect to the schemes of social integration constituting life organization. We range here again, according to him, from the Philistine conformist type, characterized by the ability to define every situation in terms of the most stable elements of social tradition; to the Bohemian type, whose choice of a scheme depends on his momentary standpoint; and again to the creative type, characterized by adaptability and diversity of interest and an ability to adapt his purposes to a continually increasing sphere of social reality.
This threefold classification of types has been justifiably criticized on the ground that it is not mutually exclusive and not free from the implications of subjective valuation. The attempt is, however, highly suggestive from the social-psychological standpoint. Besides, Thomas frankly offers it only as an illustrative scheme which he suggests as a starting point for continued concrete investigation on the problem, and he himself calls attention to the fact that the types defined are not exclusive of each other. Thus he points out in this connection:
The Philistine, the Bohemian and the creative man are the three fundamental forms of personal determination toward which social personalities tend in their evolution. None of these forms is ever completely and absolutely realized by a human individual in all lines of activity; there is no Philistine who lacks completely Bohemian tendencies, no Bohemian who is not a Philistine in certain respects, no creative man who is fully and exclusively creative and does not need some Philistine routine in certain lines to make creation in other lines practically possible, and some Bohemianism in order to be able to reject occasionally such
(374) fixed attitudes and social regulations as hinder his progress, even if he should be unable at the time to substitute for them any positive organization in the given line. But while pure Philistinism, pure Bohemianism and pure creativeness represent only ideal limits of personal evolution, the process of personal evolution grows to be more and more definite as it progresses, so that, while the form which a human personality will assume is not determined in advance, either by the individual's temperament or by his social milieu, his future becomes more and more determined by the very course of his development; he approaches more and more to Philistinism, Bohemianism or creativeness and thereby his possibilities of becoming something else continually diminish.
The social-psychological suggestiveness of Thomas' classification of personality types as given follows of course from the fact that it links the phenomenon of temperament (a term which he uses in the sense of differential original equipment) and social organization in a unified view of concrete social personality. His classification thus connects up this part of his discussion with his earlier discussion of attitudes and values, social-psychological procedure being thus consistently defined by him, in both its analytical and its synthetic aspects, as a matter of sociopsychic material and method. The following statement on the process of personal evolution is directly of interest here in this respect.
Every process of personal evolution consists, therefore, in a complex evolutionary series in which social schemes, acting upon pre-existing attitudes, produce new attitudes in such a way that the latter represent a determination of the temperamental tendencies with regard to the social world, a realization in a conscious form of the character-possibilities which the individual brings with him; and these new attitudes, with their intellectual continuity, acting upon pre-existing sets of social values in the sphere of individual experiences produce new values in such a way that every production of a value represents at the same time a definition of some vague situation, and this is a step toward the constitution of some consistent scheme of behavior. In the continual interaction between the individual and his environment we can say neither that the individual is the product of his milieu nor that he produces his milieu; or rather, we can say both. For the individual can indeed develop only under the influence of his environment, but on the other hand during his development he modifies this environment by defining situations and solving them according to his wishes and tendencies. His influence upon the environment may be scarcely noticeable socially, may have little importance for others, but it is important for himself, since, as we have said, the world in which he lives is not the world as society or the scientific observer sees it but as he sees it himself. In various cases we may find various degrees of dependence upon the environment, conditioned by the primary qualities of the individual and the type of social organization. The individual is relatively dependent upon society in his evolution if he develops mainly such attitudes as lead to dependence, which is then due both to his temperamental disposition and to the fact that the organization of society is such as to enforce by
(375) various means individual subjection; he is relatively independent if in his evolution he develops attitudes producing independence, which again result from certain primary tendencies determined by a social organization which favors individual spontaneity. And thus both dependence and independence are gradually products of an evolution which is due originally to reciprocal interaction; the individual cannot become exclusively dependent upon society without the help of his own disposition, nor become independent of society without the help of social influences. The fundamental principles of personal evolution must be sought therefore both in the individual's own nature and in his social milieu.
Following up this general standpoint, Thomas goes on to indicate the relation of personal evolution to the fundamental human wishes as the concrete organizations of original traits and tendencies on the one hand, and to social organization on the other. In this connection he restates the fundamental wishes in their more familiar form as consisting of the desire for new experience, the desire for stability, the desire for response, and the desire for recognition, and he attempts to reflect them upon the basic background of social organization in primary group life. The latter becomes concretely effective in personal evolution, of course, through the processes of social control, which, in the case of personal evolution, as Thomas suggests, may be more appropriately termed "social education." Social education being, then, the crucial point from the standpoint of the possible control and direction of the process of personal evolution, Thomas' theory thus naturally leads him, as indeed the social-psychological point of view has so frequently led American writers since the time of Ward, to a consideration of the social-psychological aspects of education. And his discussion of this subject is particularly interesting because of the suggestive manner in which he interlinks it with his theory of personality types as above outlined.
There is a maximum of social efficiency between stability and flexibility, according to him, which the creative type of person represents, and it is the task of social education to bring about that proper balance of forces which will be most favorable for his development. More than ever, furthermore, the creative type is a social need of the present day, Thomas points out, for the other types are proving themselves increasingly inconsistent with the shifting demands of the present complex social order. From the standpoint of personal efficiency in modern society, in fact, according to him, Philistinism and Bohemianism must alike be regarded as complete educational failures.
Yet under the present conditions of social life and organized education, he recalls, Philistinism and Bohemianism are the most frequent products of personal evolution. The insistence upon a static and narrow
( 375) primary-group conformity in education when our complex social life demands dynamic and inclusive standards, forces the great majority of modern individuals, in the opinion of Thomas, into the one or the other of these social types. The individual who succeeds in producing for himself such a life organization as is adapted to the complex demands of present-day life, he suggests, has to do it "by his own devices." He is forced to invent step by step the methods of education which he needs without the help of an organized social technique based upon the past experience of others, and he must even "consider himself lucky," Thomas adds, "if his environment does not interfere with him too efficiently by trying to impose upon him a stable character" too soon. "Under such conditions, the appearance of a really efficient, creative personality is actually a very exceptional social happening, for it needs a very high personal ability and persistence to develop a dynamic individual organization for efficiency instead of adopting a static social organization for stability, when social education has exclusively the second purpose in view." In addition it is, according to him, only by a rare concurrence of circumstances that individuals who have this high ability of developing without proper educational help happen to be left in peace to pursue their own self-made lines. Thus it is, suggests Thomas, that the scarcity of creative individuals in modern society has led to the concept of "genius" and that high efficiency is viewed as something extraordinary.
This situation cannot however long continue, it seems to him. The direction which social evolution has been assuming in modern times tends to put a premium on efficiency and creativeness even at the cost of conformity, and the pressure of these new social tendencies must inevitably bear fruit for the reconstruction of our notions of a desirable life organization. Summarizing his position on this point, Thomas declares:
It is clear that these new characters of modern social evolution require an entirely new standpoint with reference to individual life-organization. The individual must be trained not for conformity, but for efficiency, not for stability, but for creative evolution . . . The best that society has ever done for its members was to put at their disposal materials for creative development by preserving values produced by the past. The task of future society will be not only to remove obstacles preventing spontaneous personal development, but to give positive help, to furnish every individual with proper methods for spontaneous personal development, to teach him how to become not a static character and a conformist, but a dynamic, continually growing and continually creative personality. And such methods, can be found only by socio-psychological studies of human individuals.
The study of such typical life records of the culturally passive mass as is presented in volume III of The Polish Peasant is, in Thomas' opinion, a first step in this direction. "Only the study of the common-place man," he says, "can make us understand why there are common-place men." Such study "will make us realize also that the greatest defect of our entire civilization has been precisely the existence of a culturally passive mass, that every non-creative personality is an educational failure. It will show the sources of such failures and thus open the way for a more successful social education in the future. It will be the deepest and the most efficient criticism of our social organization as inherited from the past." Particularly at this time, according to him, "when we are facing the greatest historical change that has ever taken place—a general democratization of the world—" is this an important consideration. "The growing recognition that democracy is the only order compatible with our highest humanitarian ideals," he thus says in conclusion at this point, "must be accompanied by a growing understanding that the removal of political obstacles is only the first step toward this order, that what we call democracy has been mainly ochlocracy, and will , be until the culturally passive mass becomes a thing of the past."
His point of view as thus outlined Thomas illustrates and elaborates in the course of his treatment of the various aspects of Polish life noted in his description of the concrete part of his study. His treatment of this subject matter, based as it is on his novel use of the somewhat novel source material which this part of his study introduces and which makes up the bulk of his imposing work, is both original and extremely suggestive. But all in all, it leaves many loose ends and raises many troubling questions of procedure, which for all of Thomas' lengthy methodological notes and comments remain unanswered in so far as his own work is concerned. Without stopping on more detailed questions of point of view and position, some of which have already been noted in previous connections, there is, above all, the basic question raised at the outset of our survey of his theory  as to just how and to what extent he used the concrete material of his study inductively and to what extent merely illustratively. In the absence of a definite statement on this matter, and in the absence of any description of definite technique and procedure, what reliance can we place on his various conclusions and generalizations over and above the theory of dozens of other writers in the field?
Such statements as Thomas makes touching on this important point, being, for the most part, not specific accounts of actual procedure but
( 378) general comments on the inductive method, the concrete approach, and the value of the monographic method, are quite inadequate and altogether inconclusive. Some of the more notable of these statements are the following:
As to the present work, it evidently cannot in any sense pretend to establish social theory on a definitely scientific basis. It is clear from the preceding discussion that many workers and much time will be needed before we free ourselves from the traditional ways of thinking, develop a completely efficient and exact working method, and reach a system of scientifically correct generalizations. Our present very limited task is the preparation of a certain body of materials, even if we occasionally go beyond it and attempt to reach some generalizations.
We use in this work the inductive method in a form which gives the least possible place for any arbitrary statements. The basis of the work is concrete materials, and only in the selection of these materials some necessary discrimination has been used. But even here we have tried to proceed in the most cautious way possible .. .
The general character of the work is mainly that of a systematization and classification of attitudes and values prevailing in a concrete group. Every attitude and every value, as we have said above, can be really understood only in connection with the whole social life of which it is an element, and therefore this method is the only one that gives us a full and systematic acquaintance with all the complexity of social life. But it is evident that this monograph must be followed by many others if we want our acquaintance with social reality to be complete . . . Naturally, the value of every monograph will increase with the development of the work, for not only will the method continually improve, but every social group will help to understand every other.
In selecting the monographic method for the present work and in urging the desirability of the further preparation of large bodies of materials representing the total life of different social groups, we do not ignore the other method of approaching a scientific social theory and practice—the study of special problems, of isolated aspects of social life .. .
Now we are ourselves primarily interested in these [special] problems, but we are convinced of the necessity of approaching these and other social problems by isolating given societies and studying them, first, in the totality of their objective complexity, and then comparatively.
These and similar statements leave one with the impression that Thomas' interest was primarily directed to the inductive development of the field of social theory, and yet nowhere does he provide the basis for actually following his theory through in that way. It would seem, everything considered, that his use of his materials was so informal that the need of a definite statement in explanation of his procedure never suggested itself. The whole question of the status of his theory, and beyond that also the more important question of the wider scientific usability of his source material, are thus left hanging in the air, and to
( 379) date neither Thomas himself in his later works nor any of his followers have met the challenge of those who remain skeptical of his approach on this account. But precisely because of this, as it would seem, Thomas' work has stimulated the sort of discussion of research technique and procedure which was most needed for the advance of the research interest in the fields of sociology and social psychology. In any event, his work has been prominently in the foreground as a factor during the last decade or so in directing attention to the research approach in these fields of endeavor and in helping to bring about that intensification of interest in research and investigation generally which is so notable a feature of psycho-social thought in this country since the World War.
In large part this has no doubt been due to the fact that Thomas' theory, as was noted at the outset of this section, has been made the basis of further operations by an influential group of colleagues, associates, students, and followers who have themselves been actively interested in furthering the research approach in the fields of sociology and social psychology. The group includes, besides the members of the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago who were immediately associated with Thomas, a widening circle of younger writers influenced by them. The recent volume in honor of Thomas, to which reference has already been made, presents the following group of contributors, described by the editor as collaborators and students who write from a viewpoint similar to that of Thomas: L. L. Bernard, Emory S. Bogardus, Ernest W. Burgess, Ellsworth Faris, R. D. McKenzie, Herbert A. Miller, Robert E. Park, Stuart A. Queen, E. B. Reuter, J. F. Steiner, E. H. Sutherland, Frederic M. Thrasher, Erle Fiske Young, Kimball Young, Florian Znaniecki. And there is in addition, as stated above, a growing number of other writers less directly associated with Thomas himself who have become identified with the point of view. Altogether, therefore, we are concerned here, certainly with one of the most prominent American groupings of present-day sociological and social-psychological writers and investigators. As a result of their combined effort, Thomas' point of view has been applied to the study of a large number of concrete research problems and kept before American sociological and social-psychological thought as one of the foremost issues of recent years.
Above all, it is necessary to mention here along with Thomas' own work the recent research activities of the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago, which for the last few years has been in the foreground in applying Thomas' theory in a comprehensive, program of concrete community research. In particular the work of Ellsworth
( 380) Faris, Robert E. Park, and Ernest W. Burgess, in developing, supplementing, and adapting Thomas' point of view to the testimony of accumulating evidence and research experience, has been so intimately a part of Thomas' own work as to be practically inseparable from it. Notable in this connection, especially, is- the restatement of Thomas' theory by Park and Burgess in their Introduction to the Science of Sociology (1921), where it is brought into proper historical perspective and relation with previous sociological thought, and the reinterpretation of important aspects of his theory by Ellsworth Faris in various articles dealing with the subject matter.
Some of the most challenging and critical formulations of the position under consideration have been the work of the latter writer, who differs from Thomas chiefly in his closer identification with the social-psychological theory of Dewey and Mead and in his more aggressive criticism of the position underlying instinct psychology. In this connection, as well as in his frequent reconsideration of Thomas' position itself, Faris has tended to stress especially the testimony of ethnology, upon which he places a greater reliance than most American social psychologists. In his formulations, therefore, the Thomas point of view is most frequently brought into relation with cultural anthropology and set off against the background of current instinct psychology. The distinguishing characteristics of the viewpoint thus appear more clearly than in the case of most formulations of the position. It is on this account and also because Faris' formulations are at the present time in themselves a very important part of the situation that it is illuminating, in closing this
( 381) section of our survey, to note how he reflects the Thomas point of view upon the background of related social-psychological thought.
The general point of view of Thomas and the others associated with his social-psychological position, says Faris for example in one connection after enumerating various other approaches to the study of human nature and social behavior, among them the imitation doctrine, instinct psychology, orthodox behaviorism, psychoanalysis, etc.
... differs essentially from the preceding formulations in the emphasis on the social group or matrix in which the personality takes shape, and in the emphasis on the social nature of individual personality. When Thomas speaks of "social attitudes" he refers to the attitudes of individuals which are the result of social influencing. Dewey wrote: "Institutions cause the instincts." Cooley has written convincingly concerning society and the individual as different aspects or phases of the seamless fabric of human life. Personality appears from this point of view as the subjective aspect of culture. Social psychology so considered draws heavily on anthropology and finds itself closely related to sociology. This explains why so many sociologists have been interested in the subject of social psychology.
Faris has applied this point of view to the criticism of Thomas' position itself in so far as it incorporates elements of the instinct approach, as it strikingly does, he has pointed out, in its theory of the wishes and
especially "the four wishes," which have come to be used by some of Thomas'
followers as a convenient substitute for the usual list of instincts and with
much the same objectionable results. This part of Thomas' theory, Faris has
suggested, is a hold-over of his earlier instinct approach. Furthermore,
according to him, it is out of harmony with his basic attitudes-values approach
and tends to obscure the importance of the latter contribution which, he has
maintained, can stand on its own merit as a fundamental shift of focus in modem
social-psychological thought corresponding to the alliance of social psychology
with the study of concrete social behavior rather than with some assumed
abstract elements of
( 382) behavior, as in the case of instinct psychology. It is on this account, according to him, that Thomas' point of view has been so valuable as a research approach. "The instinct controversy," says Faris, "is a matter of the last seven or eight years and the subject is at present under discussion with a number of foremost authors still defending the conception as having value, but with an increasing tendency on the part of most writers to be apologetic and tentative in their use of the term . . . A reconciling formula is still in the future, but it seems accurate to say that the concept of instinct plays little or no part in any present researches. It belongs to the realm of `explanation.' 
It is in this respect that the concept of attitudes represents a most conspicuous step in advance, according to Faris. "The concrete and factual nature of the concept," he says, "has already resulted in valuable researches. This is in marked contrast with the paralyzing sterility of the instinct concept which dominated this field for so long but which is, fortunately, being very rapidly discarded."
In further explanation of this point, he says again in another connection: "The discussion has not reached an end and there is no warrant for asserting unanimity but the trend seems clearly in the direction of complete emancipation from the necessity of discovering or even the possibility of admitting any essential and definite elementary constituents in the developing individual." And this, he points out, would have consequences of the first importance for the study of personality and social behavior. "For it would place the social group in a new perspective and enable us to find in the mores and institutions of a time and area those elements which were formerly asserted to exist in the psychophysical organism."
This emphasis upon the group approach and "the mores and institutions of a time and area" as a necessary setting for social-psychological investigation may be taken as formulative of the essential characteristic of the point of view under review, especially as it has been put into effect in the Chicago research program mentioned. It is in accord with other recent formulations of the point of view, including Thomas' own more recent restatements of his position, and interpretive of what is most
( 383) distinctive in the activities of the group of writers enumerated in this discussion.
So far the studies in which this point of view has been incorporated have been largely non-quantitative in character. While some of the most recent of these studies incorporate quantitative procedures and while ultimately most of the investigators associated with the point of view hope to develop significant quantitative presentations and treatments of their materials, for the present the latter are held subordinate to the descriptive technique illustrated in The Polish Peasant, the feeling in general being that in the present stage of sociological and social-psychological knowledge and investigation, the quantitative approach is not especially significant in so far as the advance of a genuine science of human behavior is concerned. In this respect, therefore, as well as in respect to the definite alliance of the point of view with anthropology and sociology, as appears from Faris' statement, the direction of social-psychological development represented by the group of writers here under consideration is thus supplemented by another important direction
( 384) of social-psychological development which has recently been gaining ground rapidly in this country and which by contrast stresses the quantitative approach of statistics and laboratory psychology. This other direction of social-psychological development, to which preliminary reference has already been made in the opening chapter of this part of our survey and which has been associated chiefly with the physiological view-point of individual psychology instead of. the socio-cultural viewpoints of anthropology and sociology, has until recently lacked social-psychological spokesmen in this country corresponding to those associated with the other viewpoints considered. In Allport's Social Psychology (1924) and, increasingly following upon this work, in other treatments of the subject, it has however gained a very decided prominence. This may be judged from such an imposing survey of the quantitative aspects of social psychology as that of Murphy and Murphy in their Experimental Social Psychology (1931). It will be considered here further in the next chapter in conjunction with some of these works.