SAPIR, SULLIVAN, AND LASSWELL COLLABORATIONS: REAL AND IMAGINED
SAPIR, SULLIVAN, AND LASSWELL COLLABORATIONS: REAL AND IMAGINED
Sapir and Sullivan met in l926, and Lasswell soon joined in an extended collegial exchange that developed a convergence in framing a genuinely interdisciplinary synthesis of anthropology, psychiatry, and political science. The collaboration would address the rise of militant fascism among European workers. The rise of militancy is still with us, and is no less alarming in 2013. Their actual work and envisaged goals are described and discussed, and held to have contemporary relevance.
Key words: interdisciplinarity, anthropology, psychiatry, politics, synthesis, militancy
Where was Sapir headed in the late l930s, the last few years of his life? The indications are various; he has sometimes been represented as heading where scholars have variously, retrospectively wished to see him follow their own specialties, perhaps thereby constituting his final vote of confidence for their own particular disciplinary goals. But this is projecting our wishes onto his intentions and special preferences; in fact, he maintained many major interests, continuing his work on Indo-European (Malkiel l984) and Amerindian (Golla l984) languages and on the psychology of culture (Preston l984) and other topics.
This paper affirms his overarching humanistic philosophy of the psychology of culture and focuses specifically on the intellectual context that was developed in his collegial exchange with two other major thinkers: psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan and political scientist Harold Lasswell. My thesis is that the three men were engaged in remarkably convergent paths in their individual intellectual careers, each reacting creatively to what he believed to be unsupportable and unscientific narrowness of inquiry in their respective professions. The l920s and l930s were formative years for major syntheses in psychiatric theory and practice and for policy formulation regarding mental health and psychopathology. Freud, his disciples and his dissenting students were of great interest, not so much as a professional force (this was to come in the late 1930s with the exodus of psychoanalysts from Europe under Hitler's domination) as the asking of fundamental questions regarding human emotion and mentation. The answers to these questions had potential application to understanding the willingness of millions of Europeans to espouse militant fascism, thus enabling Hitler’s rise to power. Today these answers may apply to understanding and ameliorating the rise of new militancies, including Islamist, Zionist and Christian.
Sapir, Sullivan and Lasswell were a part of a lively context of argumentation regarding future directions in theory, method and applications of psychiatric and social scientific knowledge. They were not alone in this, although they were aware of the general attitude of skeptical distancing preferred by most of their colleagues. One like-minded colleague was sociologist W. I. Thomas, who, in l927, convened a conference on the theme of the form-giving or synthetic tendencies of the unconscious, as a corrective to the Freudian emphasis on the disorganizing or dysfunctional attributes of the unconscious. Among the contributors were Sapir, the gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka, the psychiatrist William Alanson White and other major figures of this period (Dummer et. al. l928). Other manuscripts which are of particular value in documenting the period are the transcripts of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Hanover Conferences and the National Resaerch Council (NRC) Committee on Personality and Culture. Sapir, Sullivan and Lasswell participated in a number of these meetings.
For Sapir, the time and effort required to further most or even a few of his projects was diminished by illness several years before his death in 1939, but he continued to work and to offer guidance for the work of others. His situation at Yale was a difficult mix of some admiring students and colleagues, coupled with negative pressures of both a professional and a personal nature. Given the negative pressures and his limited energy for teaching, it need not be surprising to us that he would consider resigning from Yale to support Sullivan's scheme to establish, under the auspices of the William Alanson White Psychiatric Foundation, a genuinely interdisciplinary research program (Perry l982:366-376; Sapir to Kroeber, 25 August l938, quoted below). What was he willing to try to move into, at this point in his life? Sullivan writes that,
The Foundation proposes expressly to concentrate research on a small number of fundamentally important issues. Its initial research program comprises a group of interconnected investigations to supply relevant data for the checking of major hypotheses. A comparative study of personality will be undertaken, concentrating on individuals from 15 to 35 years of age, since their difficulties in adapting to the standards of their given cultures render them singularly accessible to investigation, and expose the stresses which are induced by contradictory tendencies within the culture.
These personality maladaptations are joined to 'material' and 'administrative' factors in determining the line of collective discontent which furnishes the immediate dynamic of political change. This emphasizes the necessity for a continuing survey of fluctuations of discontent throughout the world.... The cultural situations which are significant for the comparative analysis of personality and social unrest must be investigated in order to furnish the necessary backgrounds for the sound interpretation of specialized details. (Sullivan l938:l35-36)
The instigator of this scheme was Sullivan, and our most complete record of the context of the scheme is in Helen Swick Perry's biography, Psychiatrist of America: the Life of Harry Stack Sullivan (l982). Perry's book is graceful, thorough and clearly partisan. As a biography of the innovator of a theory of interpersonal psychiatry, it is also appropriately interpersonal, detailing the most significant relationships (including Sapir and Lasswell) in his career. For Lasswell, we have a substantial essay by Marvick, introducing his edition of Lasswell papers (l977), and some short items by others. For Sapir and Lasswell, though, we are faced with shorter, fragmented, individualist portrayals with too much eclectic effect and none contain more than a brief mention of their intellectual convergence. This makes the task of evaluating their three respective points of view on the interrelationship a matter of very unequal evidence. Perry speaks persuasively of Sullivan's views, but we are less sure of how Lasswell and Sapir regarded the goals and means of the scheme, what they hoped to do in collaboration with Sullivan, and how they saw their continuing relationships.
We know that they had been intensely engaged as friends and colleagues since soon after Sapir's arrival at the University of Chicago and that they shared remarkably similar theoretical concerns and interests in sustained exchanges over a dozen years. Some appraisals of Lasswell's career come close to being a fair description of the intellectual style of all three of them:
The innovations and scope of his research, the fertility of mind and fluency of style, the freedom from pomposity and cant, the throw-away generosity with ideas and insights, make him unique among contemporary scholars. (anon., l970:l68)
Lasswell's deepest personal committment was to the creation of a comprehensive theory for inquiry about the individual human being in social process. His goal was to develop a theory which could be made sufficiently precise to facilitate performance of all the different intellectual tasks necessary to the rational clarification and implementation of individual and community policy. (McDougal l979:676)
A more irreverent phrasing is given by Robert Redfield, attending the l930 SSRC Hanover Conference as a junior colleague, writing to his wife:
The principal psychiatrist present is Harry Stack Sullivan, a droll person, and interesting. He is another one, like Sapir and Lasswell, with the gift of tongues. When the three of them get together the polysyllabic confluences are amazing.... (l978[l930]:l2)
But even his humourous remarks are in a context of something closer to awe.
I feel very poorly equipped in this company. They are so wise in the ways of the academic world, and make so many brilliant suggestions. I don't even answer the questions adequately, for while I am considering the question, they answer it for me and go on to something else. I do not feel completely at ease in the company of such scintillating intellects. (11)
The interest in the interplay of culture, personality, society and politics was a significant part of the intellectual milieu of the period between the two world wars, a powerful motive, for instance, in the development of “The Chicago School” with Merriam, Thomas, Angell, Cooley, Ogburn and others. Applied social science was a major part of the scene, motivated by an interest in the effective implementation of experimentally proven or systematically hypothesized ideas, as the best and ethically most sound route to the amelioration of social problems in Chicago and elsewhere. A comparable relevance to then-current sociopolitical threats and a similar scope of inquiry was the development in Germany of Gestalt psychology by Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt Koffka and later, Kurt Lewin. Sapir, Sullivan and Lasswell were also not alone in their more particular concern with the problem of personality pathology in social, cultural and political contexts. But if they had some good company, they also had opposition from the very general tendency within social science toward more narrowly professional interests in the definition and maintenance of boundaries of careers and disciplines, away from the larger issues of Personal Psychopathology (Sullivan l972), spurious cultures (Sapir l949[l924]), and "The Garrison State" (Lasswell l94l).
Lasswell wrote more than 30 books and 250 articles, Sapir's Collected Works fills l6 volumes, and Sullivan was also generous with words. Their gift of tongues creates a logistical problem to which I will respond here by examining only a small sample at an appropriate place and time: the first issue of Sullivan's journal Psychiatry (l:l:l938). Each of them contributed an article and Sullivan also provides a prospectus (cited above) for their sustained collaboration as a research nucleus at the White Foundation.
Sapir's contribution "Why Cultural Anthropology Needs the Psychiatrist," is best known for his explication of the statement "Two Crows denies this." The point was a criticism of the degree of impersonality in anthropology, a product of a more or less deliberate method of generalizing through the over-optimistic use of the technique of normative over-inclusion. The fallacy of normative over-inclusion arises out of the difficulty and necessity of generalizing about the phenomena of social life, against the backdrop of the intellectual drive for making elegant, powerful and parsimonious statements to one's peers or, perhaps, even more powerful statements for the public media and policy makers. In Sapir's words, "The assumption was that in some way not in the least clearly defined as to observational method it was possible for the anthropologist to arrive at conclusive statements which would hold for a given society as such." (l949[l938]:569). In his seminars, he specifically criticised both Benedict and Mead for the over-generalized and implicitly homogeneous psychological characterizations that are made to stand as normative metaphors for Zuni or Samoan people. Because of its tendency to oversimplification, the method is better suited to art than to science, and Sapir's example of Two Crows is intended to tell us why this is so.
At the level of method, "Two Crows denies this" is both a reproach and an opportunity. The reproach is to question the degree of consensus implied in our pattern statements, for culture is rarely so unanimously validated by its carriers. The opportunity is to define our method to account for variance and, thereby, to get to the psychology of cultural processes. It is not only bad science to fail to account for variation; in some few instances, what begins as individual variation, takes hold on a large social scale. The process by which new patterns form, to augment or to displace existing patterns, is appropriate for study by intensive, psychological inquiry.
What starts as a thoroughly irresponsible and perhaps psychotic aberration seems to have power, by some kind of ‘social infection,’ to lose its purely personal quality and to take on something of that very impersonality of custom which, in the first instance, it seemed to contradict so flatly.(57l)
A truly rigorous analysis of any arbitrarily selected phase of individualized ‘social behavior’ or ‘culture’ would show two things: First, that no matter how flexible, how individually variable, it may in the first instance be thought to be, it is as a matter of fact the complex resultant of an incredibly elaborate cultural history, in which many diverse strands intercross at that point in place and time at which the individual judgement or preference is expressed [this terminology is cultural]; second, that, conversely, no matter how rigorously necessary in practice the analyzed pattern may seem to be, it is always possible in principle, if not in experiential fact, for the lone individual to effect a transformation of form or meaning which is capable of communication to other individuals [this terminology is psychiatric or personalistic]. What this means is that problems of social science differ from problems of individual behavior in degree of specificity, not in kind. (572-73; bracketed insertions mine)
Statements defining the "effective consistencies" (576) in the variations and uncertainties in human behaviour are the psychiatric science's replacement for the impersonally defined “patterns.” We risk missing the objective reality of culture unless we are able to go behind impersonal pattern statements to perceive the actual interrelationships of persons and to discern their variations in relation to their central tendency. Through this close and psychiatric analysis, we are able to discover the meaning of norms as they really are, as effective consistencies in behaviour. In Sapir's example, Two Crows disagrees with other Omaha persons on the matter of whether there are eight clans in Omaha society. By inquiring, we may find that, for example, there is one clan that is now extinct. Therefore, in a practical sense, represented by Two Crows's statement, there are only seven clans; in a theoretical sense, represented by the other Omaha informants, there are eight. But the variance may be psychologically more complex, and it may be that Two Crows, for instance, is not simply motivated to be practical rather than theoretical, but also is motivated by some satisfaction at the demise of this particular clan for some remembered slight they had caused to his own clan. Now we can see both a practical and an emotional basis for denying the claims of the other informants. And through this and further inquiry into the psychological reality of the informants' statements, we will be able more precisely to discern the form and meanings of "effective consistencies" in statements and perceptions regarding Omaha clans. In this way we are able to clarify the actual processes involved, not only in informant's pragmatic use of language, but also in the ways that perception and conception change through time in culture.
Sapir's example of Omaha clans is illustrative of the value of a psychiatric approach in a more deeply systematic sense than the discernment of effective consistencies, or patterns in behaviour. The interpersonal context of inquiry allows for the determination of causality. Sapir was convinced that the search for causality in social phenomena was impossible so long as they were defined as if they were a separate order from actual behavioural phenomena.
An effective philosophy of causation in the realm of social phenomena seems impossible so long as these phenomena are judged to have a valid existence and sequence in their own right. It is only when they are translated into the underlying facts of behavior from which they have never been divorced in reality that one can hope to advance an understanding of causes. The test can be made easily enough. We have no difficulty in understanding how a given human being's experiences tend to produce certain results in the further conduct of his life. Our knowledge is far too fragmentary to allow us to understand fully, but there is never a serious difficulty in principle in imputing to the stream of his experiences that causative quality which we take for granted in the physical universe. To the extent that we can similarly speak of causative sequences in social phenomena, what we are really doing is to pyramid, as skillfully and as rapidly as possible, the sorts of cause and effect relations that we are familiar with in individual experience, imputing these to a social reality which has been constructed out of our need for a maximally economical expression of typically human events. It will be the future task of the psychiatrist to read cause and effect in human history. (576)
Actual events, whether purely physical or dynamically psychological, are more amenable to causal analysis, while abstractions from events, particularly abstractions from events influenced by mentation, are more appropriately limited to functional analysis. Sapir is quick to add that psychiatry is far from being able to approach the goal he has set, but the path to the goal must be through a more precise understanding of human beings, their personalities and interrelationships with other personalities.
Sapir, Lasswell, and Sullivan were conjointly developing similar ways to understand behaviour. In "What Psychiatrists and Political Scientists Can Learn From Each Other," Lasswell addresses comparable issues within political science, with a similar strategy of exposition, contrasting the discipline's use of formal generalization with the immediate phenomena of events. The phenomena of political behaviour are the lively exchange between rules and persons:
The "great game of politics" as we know it operates within the rich context of rules which are commonly held to be authoritatively binding. These rules may be stated in statutes passed by legislatures, ordinances made by executives, regulations laid down by administrators. Such authoritative words are generally presumed to guide the official in the exercise of his judgement. The working politician knows that the rules give different results in the hands of different men, and of the same men under different incentives: what, after all, he asks, is the constitution among friends? (Lasswell l938:33)
But the discipline of political science is not organized to reflect this, Lasswell tells us. Instead it focuses on the study of public law, political ethics, and especially upon political institutions. Most of what is done by its practitioners is the description of the structure and function of government. Most commonly,
efforts are made to connect the agencies of public law with the context in which these agencies operate. This requires the collection of data about the relative rise and fall of agencies in relation to one another through selected periods of time.... If this change is once established, the path is clear to consider aspects of the context which can be said to cause the change.... This explicitly connects the authoritative rules with the context in which they are found, and furnishes a procedure for the statement of the conditions under which laws will ‘work’, that is, when events will conform to the express requirements of the law. (35)
Both the terminology and the method of abstracted empiricism (taking normative statements as if they accurately represented experience) are very similar to the cultural view that Sapir was criticising, and contrasts with the complementary but under-utilized psychiatric view that both men advocated. Lasswell goes on to espouse this complementarity of what he terms extensive (Sapir's "cultural") and intensive (psychiatric) research. Like Sapir, Lasswell hopes to use psychiatric study to discern the actual processes of symbolic formulation and use, and to find, through an analysis of variation, the reality of a norm. Speaking more of himself than his colleagues, Lasswell says,
In recent times there has been a rapidly increasing emphasis among political scientists upon the symbolic and personality aspects of the context in which rules operate.... The moment any serious attempt is made to understand the conditions which determine the successful manipulation of symbols, the aid of the psychiatrist is bound to be enlisted...Qualified political scientists are well acquainted with the facts about the distribution of many symbols in definite historical situations, and they are accustomed to consider these symbols as aspects of the context in which they occur, and as interacting upon other aspects of this context. But, the political scientist has developed no strict procedure for the investigation of the finer texture of this context.
The contribution of the psychiatrist is chiefly his standpoint of observation: he focusses attention upon the individual career line for protracted periods of time, and he utilizes special ways of exposing the structure of personality. Hence he can examine in great detail the degree to which a given set of political symbols is integrated with the other features of the total personality. (ibid.:35-36)
Lasswell makes a similar case for the intensive study of particular leaders, the problems of recruitment of competent administrators, and the potential contributions of social psychiatry to the advisory staff of these persons, so that they will gain greater expertise for guiding the use of symbols in directed culture change.
Both Lasswell and Sapir direct us to the value of adding the study of "personal symbolisms in the use of cultural patterns" (Sapir l949[l934]:568) to more abstracted types of studies that are made in terms of the key social scientific "technical metaphors" for organized behavior (e.g., pattern, norm, rule, institution, process) per se. Sullivan comes at the problem from the other extreme. The formulation of The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry (l953) and The Fusion of Psychiatry and Social Science (l964) arose in criticism of the individualist metaphor and its consequence: a narrow focus on subjective experience taken by most of his predecessors and contemporaries in psychiatry.
The dynamic psychiatry of the present is chiefly interested in bringing order into the subjective elaboration of experience, without much concern for implications as to the culture complex, accidents of acculturations, and implicit culture invention or disintegration. The next task of psychiatry is to seek out the actual processes that manifest in human differentiation and deviation. Its basic formulations must be derived from analyzing these processes of personality growth and function in terms of a temporal series of distributed interactions of a highly integrated organism with other people as cultural surrogates. It must view each person as an emergent configuration referable to the interplay of factors of native endowment, physico-chemical and biological environments, and personal interaction. It should interpret the phenomena of interpersonal relations in terms of more or less extensive references to unrealized personal goals, and find one of its most valuable tests in the prediction of future behavior. Unfortunately, the inhibitions and facilitations more or less universally effective in any elaborated culture complex tend to minimize the range of personal differentiation and to stereotype both personal goals and performances for their achievement. The special need of psychiatry is the comparison of life courses that have been studied in this culture with intensive studies of personalities in culture areas widely divergent from ours. This type of investigation will show the limitations of many of our current formulations and point accurately to advantageous fields of investigation. (Sullivan l938:l36)
Clearly, the main point of convergence is between the social scientific over-emphasis upon extensive method for large scale abstractions from the phenomena of human interaction, which both Sapir and Lasswell found methodologically and theoretically insufficient, and the psychiatric and psychoanalytic over-emphasis upon an intensive method for the understanding and amelioration of the subjective states of individuals, which Sullivan found methodologically and theoretically insufficient. Their convergence is towards the social psychiatry of cultures, drawing upon the historical developments of the psychiatry of mental health as well as the psychiatry of mental illness. From this, they hoped to develop a significantly more powerful and synthetic social science. And on the more applied, ameliorative side, they hoped to develop a social psychiatry of personal and patterned maladaptations, of which the rise of Hitlerian fascism was the most immediately pressing example. In a letter to Kroeber dated August 25, l938, Sapir is able to put it bluntly:
Of course I'm interested in cultural patterns, linguistic included. All I claim is that their consistencies and spatial and temporal persistences can be, and ultimately should be, explained in terms of humble psychological formulations, with particular emphasis on interpersonal relations. I have no consciousness whatever of being revolutionary or of losing an interest in what is generally phrased in an impersonal way. Quite the contrary. I feel rather like a physicist who believes the immensities of the atom are not unrelated to the immensities of interstellar space. In spite of all you say to the contrary, your philosophy is pervaded by fear of the individual and his reality. You find anchorage ̶ as most people do, for that matter ̶in an imaginatively sundered system of cultural and social values in the face of which the individual has almost to apologize for presuming to exist at all. It seems to me that if people were less amenable to cultural and social mythology we'd have less Hitlerism in the world.
But my basic philosophy has little to do with my specific interests. I am as much as ever interested in large scale patterning, in such problems as reconstructing Athapaskan and placing Tokharian accurately in a genetic and historical sense (which last, incidentally, I think I shall be able to do if my allotted span is long enough)...
The rumor you picked up is hardly justified. There has been talk of my joining a unit at Washington but, as far as I can see now, I continue at Yale in l938-39. Needless to say, I'm a bit fed up with teaching, for it takes a lot out of me and my health is probably going to be precarious for the balance of my life. And there are many points on this planet that are more attractive than New Haven.
Yours as ever,
Sapir immediately reiterates his central point. Yes, patterning is the prime interest of social science. But the shape of content in any pattern is a complex of effective consistencies with individual variations. That is to say, what humans think, feel and do is guided by an historically based consensus, as each individual happens to embody that consensus. Two Crows is an example, as we have seen, of the way that the consensus may look different from different individual's points of view. So the task of a more scientific study of patterned behaviour is to be able to more precisely and intensively define the range and dynamics of variation. This must be selective in its application, of course, for the task would otherwise be overwhelming. But a practical application of selective psychiatric inquiry is a recognition of the essential philosophical point that social scientists are addressing phenomena that are in reality the behaviour of individuals, however these phenomena may be abstracted into folk or scientific categories. It is similarly a recognition that individual behaviour is powerfully guided by consensus ̶ by unconscious and conscious patterning ̶ and that social science is therefore fundamentally a psychiatric science. Sapir's distress at the tendency of social scientists to regard their task as sundered (to use his term) from actual individuals was in considerable measure shared by Lasswell and some others of the period, while the reciprocal error, an over-exclusive emphasis on specifics of individuality by psychiatrists and psychoanalysts, caused Sullivan a comparable distress and motive for developing a more adequate psychiatric science.
The letter to Kroeber speaks, individual to individual, to Kroeber's insistence on a superorganic, "sundered" from the intensive study of actual persons, and then speaks to the particular projects that Sapir was engaged in during the last year of his life. "But my basic philosophy has little to do with my specific interests," is a statement worth our reflection. He is at work, but not in a way that he feels is a satisfying expression of his fundamental values and goals. He is, in most of his writings and in the great bulk of data in his memory, a superb linguist. But his philosophy does not rest only within the discipline of linguistics. Rather, he was, as Kroeber (l959) argued in a retrospective assessment, a humanist more than he was a linguist or an ethnologist. Perhaps his philosophy would have been partly expressed in a book on the Psychology of Langauge, and we have good indication that it was to be given substantial statement in the proposed book on the Psychology of Culture. He had a genius for language, but for all his facility and the richness of his technical resources, he found in it the limited satisfactions that accrue to the contemplation of pure form, "the serenity of a self-contained system" and the relative ease of working within a domain of inquiry that offers well-defined technique and method. "His work on languages was such a pleasure to him that he was able to remain 'busy' in that manner, but he did deeply feel that he died without saying his full say." (Jean V. Sapir, cited in Preston l980:374)
These statements by Sapir, Kroeber, and Jean Sapir should persuade us that no one discipline can fairly claim Sapir as essentially theirs; he was indeed a humanist first, and an interdisciplinary pioneer. Linguistics was the field of his most perfect achievement; psychiatric anthropology was an emerging field that he provided with a schematic program. His work in the arts may be fruitfully researched for statements and aesthetic images that are complementary to, and in this way clarifications of, his other work. To evaluate the whole man as if he were best remembered as a linguist is to diminish him, and to diminish the significance of the relationships between language, culture, psychiatry, criticism, and art.
We can only wonder at the effects of the personal disappointments at Yale, of his failing health, of the tendencies of intellectuals to prefer narrow goals, and of the depressing outlook for Europe as war loomed ever larger, on his morale and intellectual efforts. In this context, "Psychiatric and cultural pitfalls in the business of getting a living" (l939) is all the more poignantly autobiographical in tone and in substance, probably written with a feeling of deep pessimism about his prospects and those of the world at large. The closing paragraph of the letter to Kroeber shows his sense of resignation towards a return to Yale for lack of a viable alternative in Washington.
Sullivan had tried and failed to find funding for their unit, including a salary for Sapir and support for his family upon the eventuality of his death. At Lasswell's urging he hired a fund-raiser Lasswell knew, but this also failed (Perry l982:366-37l). Had funding been found by l938, it is fair to suggest that a productive collaboration would have got under way. But reality was less kind. Lasswell resigned from Chicago in l938, and the van moving his papers to New York crashed and burned. Sapir returned from his sabbatical in New York, where he had visits from Sullivan 3 or 4 afternoons a week, to die at Yale early in l939. Sullivan then moved to Washington and, while both he and Lasswell were based there during the war years, they worked separately. The White Foundation furthered its work in the professional training of psychiatrists and publication of its avowedly interdisciplinary journal. Sullivan worked there and continued his work for government agencies. During a l949 trip to Europe to a meeting of the founders of the World Federation for Mental Health, he made a side trip to speak with General Clay regarding East-West communications. Both events were discouraging to him, and he was found dead, perhaps a suicide, in a Paris hotel (Perry l982:4l4-424). Lasswell, much younger than the other two, took a position at the Yale Law School, where he felt that his influence might be better worked upon future leaders during their professional training, than would be likely in a department of political science. He died in l978.
It is intriguing to imagine what might have been the outcome of their planned collaboration, but today this remains only imagination. It is worth noting here that one aspect was to be work by Stanley Newman on some of the psychiatric aspects of language use, perhaps along lines which he subsequently did on his own initiative. Newman and Sapir were looking to small examples to reveal the precise detail of actual psychological processes. (Sapir 1927; Newman and Mather 1938; Newman 1939, Newman 1941, Newman 1944)
Another possibility is the furthering of what became known as paralanguage studies. As far as I know, the major study of personality that Sullivan refers to in the first issue of Psychiatry (cited earlier in this paper) has not been begun yet, although it would be of great interest to better understand the cross-cultural basis of political discontent in terms similar to those proposed. Perhaps also the study of the dehumanizing effects of social and cultural mythologies that Sapir refers to in the letter to Kroeber would have been a topic for their collaborative research. There are many fascinating possibilities.
But I will move on finally to mention the relation of all this to Sapir's unwritten book on the Psychology of Culture. He continued to teach his graduate seminar from the outline of the book, up until his last sabbatical. And the concerns to redefine the study of culture toward a blend of cultural and psychiatric terminology is a large part of his outline. Further, his emphasis on dealing intensively and comparatively with the problem of individual adjustment in society, and ultimately to discern the processes of cultural decay and renaissance (Preston l984) speak directly to the goals of the planned collaboration. Put simply, The Psychology of Culture was very much a part of the planned collaboration; the convergence of interests of the three men was fundamental and extensive.
The fact that the ambitions of these goals exceeded the abilities of the psychiatric and social sciences (and this is still the case) does not make the effort unworthy or impractical, to be buried away under "opportunities never realized." It is still, today, a major direction for the furthering of these sciences. The appalling willingness of young adults to “escape from freedom” is still enabling militancy, globally. Three brilliant men saw the challenge as both possible and necessary during the l930s. The succeeding years have served to further emphasize both the challenge and the importance of these directions for research.
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