influence" (1945, 15).
The first basis for instability in colonial societies is that they are dominated politically, which refers to the "impact of a higher, active culture upon a simpler, more passive one" (1945, 15). But this impact is not a matter of the simple transfer of Western prototypes or the retention of African prototypes. Rather it is a dynamic fusion of the two types into qualitatively new forms: The concept of the mechanical incorporation of elements from one culture into another does not lead us beyond the initial preparatory stages, and even then on subtler analysis breaks down. What really takes place is an interplay of specific contact forces: race prejudice, political and economic imperialism, the demand for segregation, the safeguarding of a European standard of living, and the African reaction to this. (1945, 23) Accordingly, Malinowski viewed colonial societies in terms of what he called his "three- column approach," which delineated three kinds of social forces: (1) "the impinging culture with its institutions, intentions, and interests"; (2) "the reservoir of indigenous custom, belief, and living traditions"; (3) "the processes of contact and change, where members of the two cultures cooperate, conflict, or compromise" (1945, vii). Malinowski viewed the relations among these several forces as unstable for two reasons. First, the intruding European culture and the surviving African cultures are not evenly matched. He described the European culture as "higher" and "active" and the African cultures as "simpler" and "passive." Second, the existence of conflicting institutional patterns makes for cultural contradictions and pressures for change: The African in transition finds himself in a non-man's land, where his old tribal stability, his security as to economic resources, which was safeguarded ― 376 ― under the old regime by the solidarity of kinship, have disappeared. The new culture, which has prompted him to give up tribalism, has promised to raise him by education to a standard of life worthy of an educated man. But it has not given suitable and satisfactory equivalents. It has been unable to give him rights to citizenship regarded as due an educated Westerner; and it has discriminated against him socially on practically every point of the ordinary routine of life. (1945, 60) Malinowski predicted that the incessant pressures of European culture and the various forces of culture contact and change would "sooner or later … gradually … engulf and supersede the whole of [the surviving African tradition]" (1945, 81). Malinowski's theory of culture contact and change constitutes an especially interesting recombination of ingredients of the following sort: (1) the theories of classical evolution were largely irrelevant by now to his enterprise; (2) like the classical functionalists, he adopted the postulate of societal interrelatedness, but, unlike them, he built in a postulate of constant conflict and contradiction, with equilibrium never reached; and (3) like the diffusionists, he
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- Spring '09