Neither "All by All" Nor, without Modification, "Some by Some"
The findings of this comparison of survey interviewing data indicate that substantial revisions in traditional views of cultural distribution (i.e., who shares what with whom) are called for. The data here show that the once-prevalent view that all culture is shared by all members of a society is, as expected, without factual foundation even in a small and long-established group like the Swahili. This is worth noting because the all by all view of sharing, despite its universal disavowal, has by no means lost its place as the basis for formulations explaining how culture, either that of particular societies or generally, actually operates. What is called for is a useful alterna-
tive to an approach to cultural dynamics that does nothing more than invoke "shared beliefs and values." The processes whereby beliefs and values affect those who do not share them have received less attention than they require, and giving this attention begins by demonstrating the inadequacy of formulations based, explicitly or implicitly, on all by all sharing.
This is made more challenging by the findings that show the main alternative to "homogeneous" cultural sharing, Linton's status-centered approach (the "some by some" view), is also far from well supported by the facts. The limited sharing within statuses does not gainsay the part statuses play in cultural dynamics, but it does raise new questions about how they operate.
In chapter 6, where attention moves beyond the family into the general community, we will see that as concerns quite different sorts of understandings and quite different statuses, the sharing by (and about) members of mainly age- and gender-based statuses is extensive despite the fact that these statuses do not have the linguistic marking internal family statuses do. In that discussion, it will be suggested that "specific expectations" regarding statuses play a quite different part in social life than "general expectations" do and that "identifying understandings" (the cultural elements that serve as the basis for assignment to cultural categories) have a unique role in cultural operation.
These results indicate that it is as important to refine and develop the "some by some" model of cultural sharing (that is, Linton's basic view as he formulated it) as it is to reject the all by all model. Statuses are crucial to the distribution of understandings, but among the Swahili (and elsewhere), sharing within statuses is quite incomplete so that members of a given status cannot be assumed to share with one another all understandings seemingly relevant to that status in the various contexts and situations in which the status is involved.
If this last is so, as the data in this chapter suggest, an approach to culture's operation that is based wholly on finding the schemata in the minds of status occupants cannot explain culture's ability to serve as the foundation for social life. This is a consequence of the finding that some of the components of these schemata, including those directly concerned with the statuses, are different for different status occupants; that is, they are not shared.
This limited sharing of culture does not prevent statuses from operating, as will be seen in the following chapters. This is vital in a number of ways that go beyond the functioning of social relationships. As this discussion develops (and especially in chap. 10), it will become clear that a crucial aspect of culture's operation can be understood as a result of the "organization of culture" (a concept to be introduced later but concerned with how the various understandings group members share are related to one another). This organization is not entirely the result of shared understandings that put different cultural elements in relationships with others as some understandings (e.g., "it is better to be liked than wise") do. A vital part of cultural organization
comes from the ways statuses operate to make available the results of the guidance of understandings to those who may not themselves share those elements.