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C.r. Hallpike, Social Hair, In Man, 4, 1969

Social Hair Author(s): C. R. Hallpike Reviewed work(s): Source: Man, New Series, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Jun., 1969), pp. 256-264 Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland Stable URL: . Accessed: 30/03/2012 04:49 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers




  Social HairAuthor(s): C. R. HallpikeReviewed work(s):Source: Man, New Series, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Jun., 1969), pp. 256-264Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland Stable URL: Accessed: 30/03/2012 04:49 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]  Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserveand extend access to  Man.  SOCIALHAIR C. R. HALLPIKE Dalhousieniversity A centralroblemn the nterpretationfrituals the act hatwhile he arti- cipantsn each societymaybe unable o give an explicit xplanation f themeaningfthe ymbolsnvolved,heres a large ody f ymbols nd ymbolicactswhich s common o a widevarietyf cultures,nd while nyparticular symbolmay ave multiplicityfmeaningsromocietyo society, e find hatthesemeaningsonstantlyecur. orexample, sTurner I966) haspointed ut,black, hitendred re he oloursmost ften sed nritual, herelack s very oftenymbolicf dirt r rainclouds,hite fmilk r semen, ndredofblood. Given, hen,hat heres a numberf symbols,ith commonignificationn differentultures,willtry o explain hebasis f this imilarity. Two differentypothesesuggesthemselves.he firsts that hemeaningsascribedo symbolsrerelatedo theworkingsf the ubconscious, hich reassumedo be similarn membersfevery ulturend,more pecifically, o themechanismsf he epressionnd ublimationfhe exualmpulses.he econdsthat, iven he ommon oncernfallsocieties ith urvival,henature f the physical nvironment,rocreation,he social role of the sexes,youth nd age, orderand disorder, nd similar asic concepts, here re certainymbols nd symbolicctswhich re nherentlyppropriate nexpressinghese oncepts,ndthat his s why hese ymbolsreocommonlyound ndoften ave heamemeaningn differentultures.hus thefirstheory egardsymbolssbeing'about' he ubconscious,hile heecondheoryegardshemsbeingabout'heworld ndman'slacen t.Theobject f his rticles are-analysisfDrLeach's elebratedndtimulatingessayMagical air' Leach 958) inwhich eadvancestheoryftheymbolicmeaningfhairwhichs of he irstype.Leach xamineshe elationshipetweenheignificancefsymbolismn theindividualubconscious,s seenbyapsycho-analyst,rCharleserg,ndthesignificancef symbolismn socialitual,sinterpretedy ethnographers.heparticularieceof symbolismhiche usess a basisordiscussionsBerg'shypothesishat heresabasicymbolicquivalenceetween eadhairndthemalegenitalsn theubconscious,uch hathair-cuttingqualsastration.isproblems toexplainowtheonclusionsfpsycho-analysisbout heymbolicmeaningfhairn ndividualantasies, s amatterffact, houghithoutuchlogical rempiricalustification,urn utobecloselynccordithwhatthno-graphersaveosayboutheignificancefhair nritual. isconclusions thatthepsychologistsnd theethnographersrediscussinguitedifferentypesfphenomenatheubconsciousndheocial),ut hathesychologistsan ontri-bute oourunderstandingf ritualecausemuchftscontentsdesignedoexpress,nd thereforeocontrol,urpotentiallyangerousmotions.hallic  SOCIAL HAIR 25 7 symbolismccurs ften n ritual ecause ritualmakes xplicit hese owerful nddangerous houghts.. Phallicismn ritual s thus formfcatharticrophylaxis;it s not n expressionf he epressednconsciousf he ollectivendividual, t sasocial processwhich serves o prevent he individual rom developing exualrepressionst all' (I958:I6I). This may or may not be so; the problemwithsuch heoriess to bring hem nto ome ort f relationship ith hefacts,o that theyan beshown mpiricallyo be truer false. he wholerelationshipetween private nd ocial ymbolisms too complex o be considered ere;on thisccasionmy mmediate oncern s to consider particularymbolic heme,n theight f Leach'spsychologicalheory,nd to try o determine hethert s really ruehatheadhair an beshownobe associated ith exualityn awiderangefsocietiesand, more xplicitly,ftstrue hat:head=phallushair= semenhairutting=astrationand that:long hair= unrestrainedexualityshort air=restrictedexualitycloseshaven air= celibacy.Let us first f all consider he pecial haracteristicsf hair. i. Like thenailst grows onstantly. 2. Itcan be cut painlessly,gain ike thenails.3. It grows n great uantity,uch hat ndividual airs re almostnumberless.4. Head hair s apparent n infantsf both exes t birth. 5. Genital/analairppears t pubertyn both sexes.6. Insome races,malesdevelopfacialhair fter uberty,nd also body hair. 7.Hair ondifferentartsof the bodyisof differentexture, .g. eyelashes,pubic hair,head hair. 8. Inoldagehairoften urnswhite nd/orallsut. 9.Hair is aprominent eature f animals, speciallymonkeys,man's analogueinthe nimalkingdom.Now thehuman ody s thefocus f much itual; nd t s not surprisinghatphysical eaturewith such manipulative otential s hair should be usedsofrequentlyn ritual.Moreover,n view of tsmanifoldharacteristics,hich have justsetut, t would be surprisingf ll tsritual nd symbolicmanifestationsould bereduced o asingle rigin.One ofthemost requentitual ses fhair s nassociation ithmourning. nthispointLeach says: That hair ritualsmay have sexual associations as beenapparento anthropologistsrom hebeginning,utmostly hey avenotregarded thiss amatter f crucial ignificance.ylor,for example, lassed itualhair- cuttingsone of an extensiveeries fpractices,ue to various nd often bscure motives,whichcome under he general eading f ceremonialmutilations. f otheruchpractices e mentions lood-lettingnd the utting-offf fingeroints. Heavoidsreferenceo circumcision,ut the atter ite s clearly ceremonial mutilation Tylor 873: 2, 403)' (I958: i5o). Whileoncedinghat itual oes notreflecthepsychologicalondition f the ndividual erformingt,but rather  25 8 C. R.HALLPIKE that thestructurefthe ocial ituationequireshe ctor o make ormal ymbolicstatementsf a particularind' (I958: I53), he stillfindsBerg'shypothesisnrelationo shavinghe head atmourning-thatossof the lovedone equalscastrationquals ossof hair-tobe meaningfuls explaining he genesis f thesymbolismn the firstlace. Nowexactlywhypeopleshouldreacto grief yshavingoff heirhairand mutilatinghemselvess undoubtedlymenabletopsychologicalxplanation,ut heresnoprimafacieeason o ink twithastration.Certainly ircumcisionas no suchmeaning, ut quite hereversen mostprimi- tive societies. Oneofthegreatest eaknessesn Berg'shypothesishathaving eadhair qualscastrations thatwomenhave heireads nmournings well as men.But whatonearthoes it meanto talkof femalecastration'?he notion ssufficientlybizarre o require omeelucidationorreaderswho arenot psychologists.ore-over,referenceso shavinghehead at mourningeryfrequentlyescribethermutilationsuch asgashing heface and body.For example,Frazerists I923: 377-83) besides heJewsf theOld Testament,ixty-eightocietiesnwhich omeformfelf-mutilations performedt mourning,nd nalmost veryasewe findthat heutting ff fthehair s accompaniedybodily aceration.n thebsence fany ndicationo theontrary, hyhouldwethereforessumehat heutting ffofthehairs not implyparticularype f elf-mutilation?Wefrequentlyindnethnographicaliteraturehathairhas closeassociationswith the soul. Forexample,orefero Frazergain:The Siamesehinkhatspirit alledkhuan rkwun wellsn thehumanhead,of which t stheguardianspirit. hespiritmuste carefullyrotectedrom njuryf every ind;hence heact of shavingr cuttinghe hairs accompaniedithmany eremonies' 1922: 230);and he citesmanyothernstanceso show the acredharacterftheheadand consequentlyhepeculiarnaturef headhair. Sincethe head isthe seatofreason ndthe ensoryrgans,mongotherhings, hiss surely oodreasonorrecognisinghat ts amost ppropriateeatof theoul,nprimitiveyes.Leachconcludesoweverhat The soulstuff f suchwriterssHuttonnd Wilkenisnotperhapseryifferentrom he libido ofthepsycho-analysts' I958: 5o). Notperhapseryifferent,utufficientlyifferentorequireonsiderableemon-stration f similarity,hichwe arenotgiven.Magicis anotheramiliaritual seofhair,whichstreated,longwithnailparingsndbodilyecretions,ssymbolicallyqualto theersonromwhosebodytheyame. Ofthiseachsays: Thepsycho-analyst,eingconcernedith the nnerfeelingsf thendividual,ate-gorizesllactionswhichutawaypartf thendividual'sodyassymbolicquivalentsf'castration'.ethenrgueshat heseitualctshaveemotional orceor he ndividualbecauseheyre n factelt obe arepressionf ibidinousnergy.ncontrast,he ocialanthropologistsconcernedith heubliclycknowledgedtatus fsocialersons,nd-henotes hatheritualcts nwhichartf thendividual'sodyscutoff reprominentn ritesepassage .. Hemightell abel ll such itescircumcision'.he socialnthropologist'sexplanationfwhyrites f'circumcision',odefined,houldbeemotionallyhargedcomesfromDurkheim.heritual ituationonverts hesymbolntoa'collectivee- presentation'fGodandSociety...Theseworguments,hesycho-analyticndhe urk-heimian,ppearobesharplyontrasted,et heyrenotontradictory.e canccepthembothimultaneouslyogetherith thirdrgument,orrowed romrazer,o theeffect