"History, as well as life history, is necessary for the study of national culture," David Riesman '31, Henry Ford II Professor of Social Sciences, told an overflow crowd at New Lecture Hall yesterday.
Riesman, in his inaugural lecture, discussed the origins and problems of work in the field of national character, with special reference to the American case. He distinguished between two kinds of approach: the "classical," emphasizing generalizations that can be applied to any society; and the "romantic," concerned with a particular people at a single time and place.
His own The Lonely Crowd, Riesman said, falls into the romantic category, placing its emphasis on specific social strata in this country. The book takes the U.S. as the chief exemplar of post-industrial society and seeks to assess the meaning of this situation for individuals and for institutions.
The study of national character, according to Riesman, has grown out of an interaction of psychoanalysis, anthropology and history. The first two fields have a kinship, he remarked, in their common concern for "underprivileged data," (dreams, games, weaning habits), and search for "the rivulet of motive in the tidal wave of history." But "groups, like scholars, may differ over what is basic in society," and to understand these differences, a study of history is necessary.
In a future "where people are even more different from one another than they are now," Riesman concluded, "national character may become an even more tenuous concept than at present."
Riesman Will SpeakDavid Riesman '31, Henry Ford II Professor of Social Sciences, will speak on "Observations on Work" at 8 p.m. tonight
Riesman Will Require Soc. Sci. ApplicationApplicants for Social Sciences 136 will be asked to complete a questionnaire on their interests and concerns in connection with
Sectioning to Be By Questionnaire In Soc. Sci. 136Personal interests and backgrounds will be important factors in assigning students to sections in Social Sciences 136, Paul E. Sigmund,
Professors Urge Major Reforms In Foreign PolicyA plea "that our whole foreign policy be re-examined" was made last night by Howard Mumford Jones, professor of English.
Riesman May Be Affiliated With Quincy House StaffDavid Riesman '31, who will join the Faculty next year as the first Ford Professor, will probably become an associate