• Wade C. Mackey
Part of the Perspectives in Developmental Psychology book series (PDPS)


The argument presented so far has traveled a circuitous route and has touched a wide array of conceptual and empirical bases. To help crystalize and profile the structure of the argument that has been presented, it may be useful to summarize the key points of the argument. The two basic questions this exploration addressed were (1) what were the behavior patterns that existed between men and children and (2) what were the forces which generated and reflected these patterns of behavior.

The one condition that was fundamental at the inception of the project was the requirement of letting the men and children who were to be surveyed to act on their own priorities, preferences, and agendas. Ad lib or feral behavior on the part of the respondents was essential. So, methods of surveying the interaction between men and children were designed which would be unintrusive and would leave the man-child relatively unfettered by the form and texture of my speculations and intuitions. At that juncture, thousands of men, women, and children around the globe were consigned to the honor of being stared at by various cuts of social scientists when they, scientists and subjects alike, were in public places during daylight hours. Once the decision was made to use naturalistic observation upon feral humans in their play and recreation, the next problem was the selection of which spots on the globe were to be surveyed. Ruing for the moment the problems that geopolitics tend to serve for the social scientist, vast areas of interesting places and people were unavailable for scrutiny. Although I was tempted to accept a volunteer who thought a combination of urban guerilla-anthropologist-lay missionary was attractive as a summer adventure, I ended by restricting observation sites to those places that were safe, politically insensitive, and with relatively unrestricted access. Eventually 18 samples were collected in 15 countries on 5 continents with over 49,000 adult-child dyads recorded. The samples were selected in part on their reliance on men to perform traditional tasks which called on their superior brute strength. A second criterion was based on urban-rural distinctions. The idea underpinning the first of these two variables was that gender and age were important variables in any society and that the structuring of any culture would include ordered allocations of the presence or absence of males versus females and younger versus older. In addition, it was accepted that a populace with a rural, agrarian lifestyle may well develop different values and habits toward their children when compared to the lifestyle in an urban service-oriented lifestyle.


Rubber Band Symbolic System Paternalistic Behavior Circuitous Route Genetic Recipe 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wade C. Mackey
    • 1
  1. 1.Iowa Wesleyan CollegeMount PleasantUSA

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