HomePersonalDemocratic PeaceDemocide20th C. DemocideMegamurderersLesser MurderersWhy DemocideDimensionsConflictMethodsTheoryPolicyLinks

Volume 1

Expanded Contents


1: Introduction [and Summary]
2: Physical Field Theories
3: Psychological Field Theories
5: The Field of Power
6: Field Theories in Summary
7: Perception and Reality
8: Actuality versus Potentiality
9: Manifests versus Latents
10: Latent Functions
11: Perception, Space, and Field
12: Cognitive Dissonance
13:Behavior, Personality, Situation, and Expectations
14: The Behavioral Equation: Behavior, Situation, and Expectations
15: Situation, Expectations, and Triggers
16: Person-Perception and Distance
17: The Behavioral Occasion
18: Social Behavior
19: Motivational Explanation
20: Energy and Attitudes in the Psychological Field
21: Motivation and the Superordinate Goal
22: What About Other Motivations ?
23: The Dynamic Field and Social Behavior
24: The Sociocultural Spaces
25: The Biophysical Spaces
26: Intentions and The Intentional Field
27: A Point of View
28: The Self As a Power
29: The Will As a Power
30: Determinism and Free Will
31: Alternative Perspectives on Freedom of the Will
32: A Humanism Between Materialism and Idealism
33: Atomism-Mechanism versus Organicism
34: Between Absolutism and Relationism
35: Humanity and Nature

Other Volumes

Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix
Vol. 3: Conflict In Perspective
Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace
Vol. 5: The Just Peace

Other Related Work

"A Catastrophe Theory Model Of The Conflict Helix, With Tests"


Chapter 4

Social Field Theories*

By R.J. Rummel

It is the reality of a causal-functional and meaningful unified system of the subjects of interaction with their properties and actions, of the meanings-norms-values they have and interchange, and of the material vehicles they use for objectification and socialization of the meanings-norms- values. As such this reality is fundamentally different from the total sum of these components taken in the state of mutual isolation.
----Pitirim Sorokin, Society, Culture, and Personality, 150-151

4.1 B. F. BROWN

 B. F. Brown was one of the first Americans to study with Lewin in Berlin and through his early publications helped to acquaint American psychologists with Lewin's theory. In the 1930s, when Lewin's major publications were emerging, Brown contributed his Psychology and the Social Order,1 an attempt to apply field theory to social problems and groups.

The introductory part of this work gives a philosophical and historical context to Lewin's field theory, and later chapters clarify some of Lewin's basic ideas. In brief, Brown argues that field theory is an organismic approach, in contrast to atomism-mechanism and vitalism. Specifically, field theory

  • determines the behavior of objects by the structure of the surrounding field, rather than by their class membership-by field-laws, rather than by what an object is defined to be;
  • involves no local determination;
  • involves forces with vector properties;
  • relies on primarily functional concepts rather than on the essential characteristics of objects;
  • applies a relational rather than structural method;
  • depends on scientific laws, rather than on empirical descriptions;
  • is "hypothetico-deductive," rather than empirical;
  • allows no dichotomies;
  • insists on value-free concepts; and
  • tries to answer a scientific "how?"

Other than helping to define some of Lewin's ideas and to clarify the epistemological status of field theory as perceived by those working with it, Brown's book presents little else of a substantive or theoretical nature. He is concerned with a crucial problem, which Lewin himself did not well attend to: How do we move from the subjective life space of the person to the social space of many individuals, groups, roles, and institutions? This is not an easy question, for the life space is tied uniquely to a person, his needs, his goals, his inner forces and tensions. Lewin avoided the problem explicitly and simply applied his constructs to groups and their members, as for example in considering the forces and tension in democratic versus autocratic groups. In one place2 he related the fields of two persons by considering first their separate life spaces, then an objective "life space" involving both (which raises a swarm of unanswered questions), indicating their actual locomotion regarding each other, and then their separate life spaces again after the locomotion has taken place.

Like Lewin, Brown does not address this problem of transition from the subjective life space to the social field, and instead simply and uncritically applies the field constructs at the group level. Moreover, the book in its substantive aspects consists of low grade sociology and political science, tendentious comments on the sins of capitalism and virtues of Marxist socialism, and the most naive observations on Soviet communism3 -all sprinkled with obtrusive "barriers," "regions," "locomotion," and "vectors."


 As a result of his firsthand experience with the crises and eventual demise of liberalism and democracy during the 1930s in Germany, the German sociologist Karl Mannheim became quite concerned about the sociological nature of this breakdown, which he saw portending elsewhere. He especially sought to determine how society and humankind might be reconstructed to avoid liberalism's weaknesses. The answer he saw was in "planning for freedom," the regulation by society of those objective aspects of social life that would enable human beings to pursue their subjective interests. His analysis and conclusion were published in English in 1940 as Man and Society in an Age of Reconstruction.4

One of the relevant problems to Mannheim is the nature of social control over the individual. How is the individual regulated, steered, and commanded by his fellowman? There are, of course, direct means such as by using force and intimidation. But Mannheim is concerned more with the indirect methods, especially those consistent with liberalism. There are two kinds of indirect controls that Mannheim finds in society. First are the controls that concrete groups, such as the family, church, and state, exercise over the individual. Second are the controls working through interdependent actions of many individuals cutting across concrete groups. Mannheim calls the "category" through which this control works a field structure.5 He is aware of Lewin's field theory and of Brown's attempts to apply it to society. He feels, however, that only in the context of social controls does the meaning of field become clear.6

What more precisely is a field structure? It is a coherent pattern of activities not specific to any group, but similarly involving individuals across many groups. An example Mannheim uses is that of commerce, which is a pattern of related activities like trade, bookkeeping, traveling, and correspondence.7 To portray adequately the meaning of such patterns, Mannheim feels we must "draw on" the conception of a magnetic field. There are many segmented social pressures and influences involved in the field structure, and these are conveyed by the interdependent activities themselves traversing group boundaries: field structures "traverse society like a magnetic ray emanating from a distant focus."8

A characteristic of the field structure is that individual activities comprising it are balanced by the spontaneous and free adjustment of individuals.9 Behavior in the field is regulated only by social and natural laws and not by administrative regulation, although a field structure is not inconsistent with rules determining the framework of the field (such as property and contract laws) as long as the individual actions are left relatively alone to adjust among themselves.10 However, as soon as power becomes centralized, as soon as decisions become concentrated among a few, then the field structure is transformed into organized behavior. The controls that need to exist in the field structure would combine self-adjustment with a central authority supervising the field to prevent injury to society or the endangering of a central democratic plan.

It is at this point that Mannheim leaves the idea, and so far as I can determine, does not return to it again. His doing so is unfortunate, for Mannheim had pointed to a crucial concept in understanding and transforming socioeconomic and political behavior. Society surely is divided into a variety of interests and activities constantly undergoing mutual adjustment, transformation, and balance. A central political and philosophical problem has been to what degree society should regulate this activity to ensure a balance among the freedom, equality of opportunity, and welfare of individuals. What the boundaries and rules of this field structure should be is, in fact, a central operational question dividing laissez faire liberalism, welfare or social liberalism, democratic socialism, and communism.

What in summary is Mannheim's social field? It is simply the pattern of interdependent activities, pressures, influences, and mutual adjustments that traverse concrete groups. His field, then, is a category (as he put it himself) of particular social activities and controls. It involves no specific tensions, forces, balances. It comprises no particular springs to action. As such, his field appears as an analytic conception much akin to Quincy Wright's (which we will consider below) but without the recourse to coordinates, spatially located systems of action, and vectors.


In 1949, Walter Coutu published Emergent Human Nature11 as an attempt to synthesize field (that is, situational) and symbolic interactional approaches to sociology and social psychology. In this, he proved to be unsuccessful. His theoretical-conceptual framework is confused, and his interrelated definitions create a grand tautology (what people do when they behave is behave and they do this because they behave). Moreover, his book manifests behaviorism (a sort of social reflexology) carried to extremes, as for example in his normative conclusion that because (by his theory) all we do is fully determined by stimuli,12 we cannot allocate moral responsibility or blame.

Although it might be kinder to let this work rest in the oblivion to which scholars have consigned it, aspects of Coutu's theory are suggestive and the approach as a whole represents a continuing attempt to apply field theory to social relations, even if in this instance the attempt was abortive.

For Coutu, a field is a context, a situation, a social setting.13 It is a partition-a slice-of ongoing social process made at a particular time. The field is symbolic in nature,14 consisting of the interrelated meanings15 that are involved when people interact.16 The field is not only passive, in the sense of being simply composed of symbols and meanings, but is also active in being the source (stimuli?) of behavior. Now, Coutu emasculates his field approach by trying to avoid the use of "force," which he feels is an outmoded hangover from attempts to interpret behavior causally.17 His way around this is the Tinsit, which is activated by the field.18

The Tinsit, a term Coutu means to stand for Tendency-in-situation, is a key construct of his theory. Simply put, behavior varies by situation; and as situations reoccur, we have a tendency to behave in the same way. Thus, behavior cannot be divorced from the situation, and both conjointly--the Tinsit--enable us to understand and predict behavior.19 The Tinsit represents a probability of acting in a specific way in a particular situation20 and also a stress or pressure toward such action.21 It is a form of readiness to act that constitutes a vector quantity, having direction and magnitude.22

The social field is therefore the configuration of situations activating people's Tinsits. There is no local field determination,23 for a behavioral tendency depends on the overall field, on the total configuration of situations we are aware of at a particular time. Coutu adopts a Lewin-Brown field view24 (without employing his topological formalization and constructs like life space, region, and valence), particularly in making the social field subjective, dependent on the perspective of the actor. He tries to overcome the consequent partitioning of social reality into discretely different individual fields by positing social norms as common probable Tinsits25 of a group of people, and a consensual field as a modal or average interpretation of a situation.26

How does the field work? What mechanism translates situation into behavior, Coutu proposes a theory of selectors to answer these questions. The field provides stimuli to which we then give meaning.27 We then respond to this meaning.28 What governs our response, or behavior, is a system of selectors constituting any need, that is, any hope, bias, prejudice, habit, value, and such,29 a person has. These selectors we get from our socialization into society; they fix our Tinsits and in conjunction with the field fully determine our behavior. We have no free will; what we presume to be our will is our Tinsits as chosen by our selectors.30

Such should suffice to suggest Coutu's field. In sum, the field consists of our interactions, the meanings we attache to them, and socially given selectors transforming meanings into responses. We are totally at the mercy of this field, as are iron filings in the grip of magnetic forces. We have neither choice, nor moral responsibility.


Lewin, Brown, and Coutu meant for their field perspective to unite psychological and social facts in understanding humankind. For Lewin, however, the psychological level clearly dominated all explanation as did the social for Brown and Coutu. J. Milton Yinger, on the other hand, in his book Toward a Field Theory of Behavior31 made interdisciplinary unity the keynote of his method and consciously applied this view throughout in considering aspects and problems of perception, roles, the self, anomie, delinquency, prejudice, and abnormal behavior.

In defining a field, Yinger explicitly adopts Lewin's descriptive definition that it is the "totality of coexisting facts conceived of as interdependent."32 However, in his use and discussion of the field, Yinger clearly means his field theory to be an approach to, a perspective on, a research orientation toward human beings. His field is but the norm that we should have an interdisciplinary regard for humanity; that we should consider the simultaneous effects of variables at the biological, individual, social, and cultural levels; that our behavior should be considered in the light of the range of forces at work.33

Of course, Yinger's epistemology is not without its ontology. The source of behavior, Yinger believes, lies not alone in humankind as biological and psychological knowledge considered in isolation from other levels would seem to imply, Nor can behavior be completely understood by focusing alone on our social relations and cultural context. Rather, biologically and psychologically we must be related to the sociocultural situation before full understanding is possible. We are a reservoir of many tendencies. Which tendency will become behavior depends on the situation. "Both the situation and the individual are 'unknowns' that can be defined only when the other is also defined."34

There is nothing more to say about Yinger's field. It is synonymous with an interdisciplinary approach and incorporates no theory of tensions, forces, valences, needs, social energy, and so forth. It assumes no analytic spaces, regions, vectors, and the like. Yinger has ignored or discarded the Lewin-Brown-Coutu paraphernalia and only wishes to emphasize a multilevel view of behavior. Consequently, his insightful discussion of delinquency, abnormal behavior, personality, or the self simply tries to emphasize the interworking of biological, psychological, social, and cultural variables, without imposing any consistent theoretical frame on them.


In 1965, Harold Mey published his doctoral dissertation, Studien Zur Anwendung des Sozialwissenschaften, subsequently translated into English and published in 1972 as Field Theory: A Study of Its Application in the Social Sciences.35 This book is an exhaustive coverage of the social science applications of field theories and use of the field construct, and is especially useful for its comparative discussion of German social science usage.

Except to note its bibliographic value, it is not my intention to review this book. Nor is it necessary here to summarize the varied applications of field theory it discusses, for there is overlap, but not identity, between Mey's coverage and those field theories I am describing in these chapters. Mey gives considerable space to Lewin and Brown, for example, and relatively little attention to Wright and Yinger. Tolman is not mentioned, and Coutu only gets a reference. Rather, my concern with Mey's book is in its own orientation toward field theory.36

First, Mey relies on Lewin's theory and Brown's applications as the basis for his own sociological views. Lewin's topological approach, replete with diagrams of life space regions and forces and pseudomathematical equations, is assimilated by Mey into his discussion of sociological spaces, forces, groups, status, roles, and so on. However, although he follows Lewin's formalization, he is clearly insecure about it and concludes that its main value is in illustrating facts and posing problems.37 He finishes his book and the final chapter on field theory formalization with the view that Durkheim's method of variational analysis (in fact, a correlational method)38 is the most important method for a sociological science.39 Yet, this methodology is mathematically different from the topological spaces he accepts and adopts from Lewin and indeed, would assume a Euclidean space40--the very kind of space Lewin felt undefinable in terms of social concepts.41 Mey is but the latest of field theorists bedeviled by an inappropriate and misleading formalization and unable to adopt a more appropriate framework, even when justified by his own epistemology and conceptual scheme.

Aside from method and formalization, Mey's major addition to field theory is its application to society, particularly to social roles and societal norms. Now, Lewin also applied field theory to groups (in fact, most of his later fame rested on such applications and consequent experiments) but simply as a straightforward analogical generalization from inner-personal fields. However, the transition from a person's life space to that of two people, of groups, and of societies was not theoretically clear, and Lewin had no guiding social, qua social, theory. Brown's attempt42 to deal specifically with social structure and processes is only a reductio ad absurdum of Lewin's applications. Mey makes much of Lewin's and Brown's topology of social structure (especially groups) and processes, but he clearly goes beyond them.

Mey conceives of society as a field of tension, conflict, and power struggles; as cross-cut by a variety of superimposed quasi equilibriums43 between different dynamic social totalities, roles, and segments.44 The social field is one of reciprocal tension, of a dynamic balancing of forces.45 The field sources of these tensions and forces, however, are not clear. One possible source lies in the interpenetrations of life spaces.46 People in contact become projected into each other's life spaces, and because the spaces are subjective realms, people see each other differently and, accordingly, the life spaces "chafe."

A second possible source of social tension and conflict lies in the social roles. For Mey, the personality is divided into roles, where a role typifies general social categories of people (such as farmer, teacher, doctor). As people live through their various and diverse roles, role segments will overlap, as when for example, a doctor's role behavior interacts with those administering a hospital, those responsible for licensing, and the doctor's patients and family.47 As a result of such segmentation, different parts of the life space will fall within different zones of interpersonal spheres of interest, thus creating tension.48 Together, all these segmental tensions form a field.

A third possible source of tension within the field is the changing power balances among groups. In one of the clearest sections of his book,49 Mey describes a major dynamic ingredient of the social field. Norms, he points out, do not exist independently of group support.50 Rather, the norm system is a balance among various possible norms and represents the immediate power relationship among groups.51 Norms, in other words and reminiscent of Hans Morgenthau's writings in political theory, are related to the struggle for power.52 Which particular ones become society's norms depends on the conjunction of social forces and the stability of this system hinges on the equilibrium between these forces.53

The power basis of norms only typifies a society-wide process. For Mey goes on to assert that a particular configuration of power supports a particular social order, as in the case of a libertarian society which requires a division and adjustment among different power groups. As with norms, the stability of such an order rests on a balance between power groups.

In sum, Mey adopts the Lewin-Brown formalization of field theory, but in applying it to society adds to it a social theory. To wit, society is a quasi-equilibrium of tensions, forces, and power balances between role sectors and groups. And these tensions and forces constitute a social field.


Closest to my practical concern with war are the research and ideas of Quincy Wright, whose scholarly and scientific publications on international law, politics, and war span almost fifty years. In 1955, Wright published the only major scholarly attempt to encompass the whole discipline of international relations in its variety of subdisciplines, approaches and perspectives, theories, practical concerns, and major propositions.54 Distilled from a lifetime of familiarity with international relations by one of its most respected scholars, The Study of International Relations55 deserves the most careful study by anyone trying seriously to understand the discipline or its subject matter. In this light, Wright's presentation of a field theory of international relations as a summing up in his final chapters is noteworthy and especially of interest.

Wright first considered56 various conceptions of international relations, specifically the world as a plan, as an equilibrium, and as an organization. The world as a plan conceives of international relations as the working out of some grand design or idea, whether by virtue of God or nature, and whether through history or divine guidance. Falling under this rubric would be, clearly, religious interpretations of history as well as natural law theories (such as those of Hobbes, Gentili, and Grotius) and historical determinisms (like Hegel's historical march to Freedom and Kant's hypothetical progress toward a European-centered federation).

The world-as-an-equilibrium view considers international relations to be a more or less stable balance between forces of expansion and preservation. Nations are driven to increase their power for one reason or another, but this force is met by the forces of self-preservation among nations. Balance-of-power theories obviously manifest this view.

The world-as-an-organization approach sees international relations as an organic whole to which nations and groups are subordinate. The whole has purposes, such as enabling the fittest to survive and of maintaining some kind of biological homeostasis. Moreover, a world unity or community should dominate over national interests and struggle for power.

According to Wright, these three conceptions represent emphasis on entities, forces, and processes, respectively, each emphasis being a stage in the development of a discipline and science.57 The latest and fourth stage is and should be a focus on relations: on dependence and interdependence and correlation and functions. The conception comprising this stage is of the world as field, "of conditions, values, ideals, and attitudes, in continuous flux, but at any point and moment exerting influence upon the actions of individuals, associations and nations."58 Entities, forces, and processes reciprocally influence each other, and all aspects of the field are influenced by the field as a whole. Wright felt that international relations is best approached through the world as field. This view can subsume power59 and best synthesize the other conceptions.

However, Wright had too strong an empirical and scientific orientation to leave the field conception in such general terms, and in a chapter on "The Form of a Discipline of International Relations"60 he gives field substance and structure. Now, for Wright "field" can be understood in two senses:61 an actual time-space of events he calls a geographical field, or an analytical system of coordinates called an analytical field. The geographical field comprises the actual empirical conditions, events, elements, and behavior constituting international relations and the internal affairs and processes of nations. Wright suggests that we need surveys and studies of objective conditions and their correlations to understand and control international relations. In particular, we should identify the most important factors in the field, indexes to measure them, and the regulators that give us control over the field and enable us to direct its change.

Wright devotes the most effort to detailing the nature of the analytic field. Here he conceives of international relations as a multidimensional Euclidean space within which "systems of action" are located. The dimensions-coordinate axes of the space-are the continua influencing the choices, decisions, and actions of these systems. This attempt to construct a space within which sociocultural phenomena could be located is not new.62 What is new is the identification of such a space with a field of reciprocal influences and the connection of the dimensions of the field with a quantitative methodology much used in the sciences.

Once a multidimensional field was stipulated, Wright had to determine its dimensions. On this he felt that much empirical research had to be done, and from the context of his discussion,63 what he had in mind seems to be that which had been applied to determine factors (dimensions) of intelligence and abilities in psychology by C. E. Spearman, E. L. Thorndike, and L. L. Thurstone. The method they used was a form of factor analysis,64 which can be considered as one kind of solution to the general eigenvalue-eigenvector problem much applied in the natural sciences and engineering.65 Noteworthy about Wright's intuition is that he had made the kind of connection among field, space, dimensions, and empirical method that would have borne considerable theoretical and empirical fruit had he exploited it. For example, his analytic conception and the nature of the factor analysis methodology (such as the substantive interpretation that can be given to angles and dimensions) would allow him to deal effectively with some of the problems Lewin, Brown, and others faced in their applications of field theory to social relations (such as how to conceptualize analytically and measure movement in social space). (On the nature of factor analysis, see "Understanding Factor Analysis.")Moreover, Wright could also have drawn on what factor analyses of nations had already been done to define the dimensions of his analytic field.66 However this may be, relying on his long acquaintance with international relations he chose simply to postulate what the dimensions might be.

Wright divided these dimensions into two types, while recognizing that the distinction was only analytical and that there is mutual interaction between the two. One type represents the values of systems of action in the field at each moment. The other represents the capabilities of these systems. Both value and capability dimensions indicate general tendencies, and the particular tendencies of a system of action at any one time may be described by a vector in the field. This vector's length and direction reflect the rapidity and direction of change in a system's values and capabilities, and the relation of friendliness and hostility between systems can be shown by the mutual directions of their vectors. Specifically regarding the capability dimensions,67 according to Wright, if all vectors are headed in different directions there is a tendency toward a stable balance of power. However, instability and bipolarization are likely if the vectors move toward two remote parts of the field. And a general tendency toward the center of the field (growing similarity in values and capabilities) points toward general international organization.

At this point we need not go into more detail about the actual substantive dimensions Wright postulated and his subsequent propositions. In analyzing international relations in a subsequent book, I will have reason to discuss these in a more appropriate context. My immediate concern is with the conceptual and analytic nature of his field, for which one aspect remains to be clarified. What did Wright mean by systems of action? Here he was characteristically careful in trying to untangle the sources of influence and behavior in international relations. He felt that the analytic field must involve at least four kinds of systems of action, each kind representing a different functional level. The first kind of system consists of the people within the territory of a state. They form a group of communicating individuals functioning at the psychological level. The second system is the nation. It represents the culture of the group and functions at the cultural level. The ideology of the group, its system of official law for example, is represented by the state which operates at the social level. Finally, there is the system of action standing for the government as the organization of the group and functioning at the political level. People, nation, state, and government are all simultaneously systems of action within the field. For Wright, a vector in the field, then, is that connecting these four systems together and running from the people through nation and state to the government which is the head of the vector.

This should communicate the essentials of Wright's field. It is an organic view of international relations emphasizing the interrelations of things and events; and, leaving aside his valuable substantive observations, the field is little more than this. Space, dimensions, vectors, systems of action are in their analytic unity little more than an intuitive -descriptive map of international relations. While this may be valuable in its own right,68 Wright's field consequently has no theoretical efficacy. There are no dynamic elements, no forces in tension, no generators of behavior as a necessary part of the field. In sum, his field is a plot of where international relations has been and what it is now, from which we can project the likely direction of future behavior. However, the plot provides no explanation, no theory,69 and in this vein differs from the field theories of Lewin, Tolman, and Mey. 


* Scanned from Chapter 4 in R.J. Rummel, The Dynamic Psychological Field, 1975. For full reference to the book and the list of its contents in hypertext, click book. Typographical errors have been corrected, clarifications added, and style updated.

1 New York: McGraw-Hill, 1936.

2. Lewin, Field Theory in Social Science (New York: Harper and Row, 1951): 195 ff.

3. When forced collectivizations had accounted for tens of millions of deaths and Stalin's purges were adding more millions of the political-intellectual elite to the death roll, Brown was writing that "in accordance with the avowed ideals of liberal democracy, the trend in Russia is 'progressive' and 'forward' while Germany is definitely retrogressing" (Brown, Psychology and the Social Order, op. cit., p. 425).

4. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co. This is a much enlarged and revised version of Mannheim's Mensch und Gesellshaft im Zeitalter des Umbaus (Leiden, Holland, 1935). All references in this section will be to the English revision.

5. P. 295.

6. P. 295, n. 2.

7. P. 296.

8. P. 297, n. 1.

9. If we assume that nations are like individuals, then international relations manifests the purest form of field structure.

10. P. 298.

11. Coutu, Emegent Human Nature (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1949).

12. Coutu poses a two-stage stimulus-response process: stimuli act upon the personality, become interpreted as meanings, and these are in turn stimuli that axe responded to.

13. Emegent Human Nature,p. 13. All references in this section are to Coutu's book. Coutu is not consistent in equating field and situation, for near the end of his book (p. 216) he defines situation as a locus or position in a field, which implies that a field is something more than situation. In the remainder of this discussion, however, I will ignore such numerous inconsistencies and try to present what appears to be his major theme.

14. P. 184.

15. Pp. 205-206.

16. Very generally, Sorokin has the same aim and perspective as Coutu. They both define meanings as central and are similarly concerned with showing the social integration of personality, society, and culture. However, there the similarity ends, and perhaps it is cruel to suggest that Coutu's book be compared to Sorokin's Society, Culture, and Personality (New York: Harper, 1947). Incidentally, Coutu never refers to Sorokin's ideas or works.

17. P. 180.

18. P. 198.

19. It is striking, as I have noted before, how separate scholars will often unknowingly duplicate each other's theoretical frameworks or will search for frameworks that already exist in the literature. Coutu was trying to develop intuitively and rationally a conceptual framework showing that our behavior was dependent on the situation, particularly, that our personality could be defined by our Tinsits. Yet, trait psychologists contemporary to Coutu had precisely done this empirically within a formal mathematical model. Specifically, for example, Raymond Cattell's specification equation defines the empirical response of a person in a situation (the coefficients) given a person's tendencies (factors). See Cattell's Description and Measurement of Personality (Yonkers-on-Hudson, N.Y.: World Book Co., 1946) predating Coutu's by three years. Coutu's unawareness of the two major sources, Cattell and Sorokin, that could have profoundly enriched his ideas was unfortunate, but as an example of scholarly narrowness and compartmentalization in the social sciences, is not unusual.

20. P. 12.

21. Ibid.

22. P. 20.

23. P. 191.

24. P. 183, n. 13.

25. P. 206.

26. P. 201.

27. P. 59. Coutu defines "meaning" as that toward which a person responds (pp. 256-257).

28. In the light of my previous footnote, the circularity is obvious.

29. P. 107. See also pp. 28, 101-102, 105.

30, P. 143.

31. Yinger, Toward a Field Theory of Behavior (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965). All references in this section are to this work.

32. Pp. 7, 39.

33. Pp. 7-8, 39.

34. P. 45. I share Yinger's perspective here, as will be seen from my description of the psychological field in Part V. Note particularly that my field assumes that our character (personality components) is weighted by a situation (dispositions) and that our choice of behavior in this situation depends on (leaving aside our will) our behavioral tendencies and expectations.

35. Trans. Douglas Scott (New York: St. Martin's Press).

36. Unfortunately, Mey's book suffers from many of the faults of dissertations, such as excessive references, a tight packing of the ideas of others, and lack of clear separation between them and Mey's views, especially regarding Lewin's. Add to this a potpourri organization and a difficult and, in places, opaque prose (in translation), and one finds extracting the true Mey to comprise textual exegesis.

37. P. 235. All pages referenced in this section will be to Mey's 1973 English edition.

38. Pp. 237-238.

39. P. 242.

40. Just one technical example I cannot resist: the product moment correlation coefficient (the most often used coefficient of correlation in the social sciences) between two standardized variables is the angle between them as vectors in a Euclidean n-dimensional space, where n is the number of cases for each variable. See my book, Applied Factor Analysis (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970): 59-64.

41. See note 40.

42. See section 4.1.

43. A quasi-equilibrium is a slowly changing or a moving balance of forces. A favorite metaphor is a river, which maintains its form although moving and changing.

44. P. xv and passim.

45. Pp. 64-65.

46. Pp. 68-69.

47. Pp. 79-80.

48. P. 180.

49. Chap. 12, sec. 4.

50. P. 168.

51. Ibid.

52. P. 169.

53. P. 170.

54. There are textbooks galore on international relations, of course, but they are not generally meant to be scholarly contributions, nor by comparison with Wright's work do they have the same breadth and depth.

55. Wright, The Study of International Relations (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1955).

56. Chapter 30. All references in this section are to Wright's book, op. cit., unless otherwise indicated.

57. Pp. 531-532.

58. P. 491.

59. P. 539.

60. Pp. 531 ff.

61. Pp. 539-540.

62. For a history and discussion of such attempts, see Pitirim Sorokin, Contemporary Sociological Theories (New York: Harper, 1928), chap. 1; Sociocultural Causality, Space, Time (new ed.; New York: Russell and Russell, 1964): 103-108.

63. P. 545.

64. The particular form is called common factor analysis. See "Understanding Factor Analysis".

65. See my book, Applied Factor Analysis, op. cit., pp. 95-100. This book is summarized in "Understanding Factor Analysis"

66. Raymond B. Cattell. "The Dimensions of Cultural Patterns by Factorization of National Characters," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 44 (1949): 443-469; "The Principal Culture Patterns Discoverable in the Syntal Dimensions of Existing Nations," Journal of Social Psychology 32 (1950): 215-253. Raymond B. Cattell, H. Breul, and H. P. Hartman, "An Attempt at More Refined Definitions of the Cultural Dimensions of Syntality in Modern Nations," American Sociological Review 17: 408-421.

67. P. 545.

68. Indeed, my Dimensions of Nations (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1972) was in part an attempt to empirically map international relations by defining these dimensions and the location of nations within the resulting space.

69. In his discussion of the meaning of dimensions and vectors and their directions and relationships in the field, Wright is at his theoretical best (as, for example, in drawing on his distance theory of war in selecting his capability dimensions and assessing their implications). However, these meanings and implications are not intrinsic to the field, any more than a specific mountain is intrinsic to the idea of a map.

since 11/28/02

Go to top of document