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11 Eliot Chapple’s Long and Lonely Road Alice Beck Kehoe and JimWeil Anthropology in the 1970s surged on the crest of the 1960s radical expansion of universities and academic departments of anthropology. This proliferation of anthropologists called for stretching the bounds of the profession ; it was the time when “applied” anthropologists asserted themselves to be “practicing” anthropologists. Surely, one of the founders of the Society for Applied Anthropology (1940), the first editor of its journal Human Or­ ganization, a person who, since the 1930s, had been an independent practicing anthropologist consulting with big business and big hospitals, would be triumphant at this time. But Eliot Chapple was marginalized. We look at his career as a means of backlighting, as it were, successes described by other accounts in this book.1 The year 1970 should have been a high point in Eliot Chapple’s career. His most complete formulation, an unorthodox sort of textbook titled Cul­ ture and Biological Man:Explorations in Behavioral Anthropology, was published that year. In it he outlined “a framework within which anthropology can be understood as providing a systematic and general science of the human condition,” rooted in biogenetic givens of human nature (Chapple 1970:v). Chapple’s output of monographs, articles, and reports during the 1970s suggests that this decade may have been the most productive of his career. At this point his research had come to focus on rehabilitation in psychiatric settings (e.g., Chapple 1979). Some of his work dealt with cybernetics, although he had not been associated with participants in the remarkable Macy conferences of the 1940s and 1950s, who established that interdisciplinary field of inquiry (Chapple 1970:76–78; see Heims 1993). Nor did he rise to a position of influence in such burgeoning new subfields as medical anthropology , when NIMH and other branches of the National Institutes of Eliot Chapple’s Long and Lonely Road / 95 Health began to sponsor research programs and provide unprecedented levels of funding for anthropological research along such lines. Chapple had intentionally avoided the term culture in Principles of An­ thropology, a more standard textbook written with Carleton Coon near the beginning of his career (Chapple and Coon 1942). “This tour de force led some reviewers to object to the title of the book: ‘It couldn’t be anthropology since culture is nowhere treated,’” he wryly commented (Chapple 1953a:828). Speaking to the elite of his discipline in the 1952 conference Anthropology Today, Chapple complained that “the term ‘culture’ had become for the anthropologist a portmanteau, and thereby almost meaningless , word” (Chapple 1953a:828). By 1970 Chapple was willing to conform to disciplinary standards and used the term; he may have realized that his earlier, relentlessly scientific, cultureless chronograph method threw out the baby with the bathwater (Saunders, see appendix below). Chapple’s engagement with issues on the frontier of anthropology-athome began in the 1930s with pioneering studies in industrial settings, culminating at that stage in a seminal article, “Quantitative Analysis of the Interaction of Individuals,” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sci­ ences (Chapple 1939). He “cut his teeth” on W. Lloyd Warner’s ethnographic study of Newburyport,Massachusetts—“Yankee City”—directing its fieldwork component.A central concern of that innovative and ambitious project , drawing from insights formulated by German theorist Georg Simmel at the turn of the 20th century, was the interaction between two or more individuals and the social relationships within which these encounters take place. The explicit, overt behavior of individuals, verbal or bodily, as well as “mental attitudes or psychological occurrences within the minds of the individuals” studied, have been understood by us “as a product of mutual determinations and reciprocal influences” (Warner and Lunt 1941:12, citing Spykman 1925:27). Seeking greater scientific coherence in anthropological research, Chapple tracked sequences, durations, and further outcomes of human interactions, and looked to identify sets of interactions. To do so he invented a primitive computer, called the Interaction Chronograph, that used clockwork to record elapsed time on printouts (Chapple 1949): “The recording is done on the basis of observations of overt activity, reflected through sound and/ or the action of skeletal muscles. There is no concern with intent or other intuitive judgments on the part of the observer. . . . These measurements are obtained by the use of a computing machine developed for the purpose, called the Interaction Chronograph, which measures . . . activity, . . . pace or tempo, the degree and quantitative characteristics of . . . degree of initiative well as the relative degree...


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