The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 394
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
sponsored by the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Several
monographic reports on this work have already been published,
and others are scheduled to appear soon. Redfield's volume
embodies the results of all this work.
The method of investigation used in the Yucatecan field by
Redfield and his associates is a novel one. Four communities
were selected for study. These lie on a line extending from
the more heavily populated northwestern part of the peninsula
to the thinly settled jungle area of the southeastern interior.
The four communities include every type present in Yucatan-
a city (M6rida), a town (Dzitas), a peasant village (Chan
Kom), and a tribal village (Tusik). By proceeding in a north-
westerly direction from Tusik to M6rida it is possible to follow
the gradual transition from the culture of a Maya tribal group
to modern Spanish or Mexican civilization. The ethnic compo-
sition of the population shows a corresponding transition from
native Indian to Spanish white.
Essentially Redfield's book deals with the contrast between
tribal and modern society and the transition from the former
to the latter. Tusik is small, isolated, ethnically and culturally
homogeneous, and the customary ways of life are well organized
and have internal consistency. Group behavior predominates,
and religion-now as much Catholic as pagan-is still a vital
and cohesive element in the social structure. M6rida, on the
other hand, has all the characteristics of a modern urban com-
munity-heterogeneity, mobility, disorganization, individualized
behavior, and a high degree of secularization. The communi-
ties of Chan Kom and Dzitas occupy an intermediate position,
both spacially and culturally, and show how M6rida must have
developed out of a tribal community.
In his preface Redfield states that he has attempted to do
two things at the same time --namely, to summarize facts
about present-day folk culture in Yucatan, and to set forth
some general ideas about the nature of society and culture.
He admits that these two may be incompatible, and this re-
viewer is inclined to agree that there are difficulties. The method
of presentation leaves something to be desired. There are special
chapters on economics, the family, religion, medicine, and
magic, etc., and in each of these there is a constant shuttling
back and forth from one Yucatecan community to another.
Thus some readers are likely to be confused and fail to get
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/436/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.