Holy (1977) 'Toka ploughing teams: towards a decision model of social recruitment.'
in M. Stuchlik, ed. Goals and behaviour [The Queens University papers
in social anthropology, 2]. Belfast: Queens University, p.72-3
The methodological approach which I have taken here, treats
the statistical structure as a descriptive device and the normative structure
as the relevant stock of actors' knowledge manipulated by them in the process
of their decision making. [...] As far as the normative structure
is concerned, what has been treated as problematic here is not the structure
itself, but rather whether, why, and how it does or does not enter into
individuals' decisions, or, in other words, what people do with it at the
transactional level. The problematic elements in my approach is thus
neither the statistical nor the normative form of society, but the process
of individual decisions which generate them.
Holy (1979) 'Changing norms of inheritance among the Toka of Zambia.' in
D. Riches, ed.
The conceptualization and explanation of processes of
social change [The Queens University papers in social anthropology,
3]. Belfast: Queens University, 103.
The invocation of a norm by actors in actual social transactions,
and the revalidation of the same norm through these social transactions,
are two aspects of the dialectical relationship between actions and norms.
Any norm enters into an action only through being invoked and enacted in
that action; at the same time, the action in which the norm has been enacted
affects this norm in that it revalidates it and thus makes it invocable
and enactable in a future action.
Holy and Milan Stuchlik (1983). Actions, norms and representations:
foundations of anthropological enquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, p.121
The anthropologist's acknowledgement of the role of actors'
notions in shaping social reality does not mean that his explanation must
resemble the actors' own model or be a duplication of it. In fact, it will
never be either for the simple reason that the anthropologist's and the
actor's interests in the same social reality fundamentally differ: the
actors' interests are always practical, the anthropologist's interests
are theoretical. Guided by his theoretical interest in the social reality
he studies, the anthropologist will always ask of it questions in his analysis
which are not asked and cannot be asked by the actors. He will seek answers
to problems which are not perceived and cannot be perceived as problems
by the actors. In consequence, the anthropologist's explanatory model has
to be by definition different from any kind of model the actors have. The
anthropologist's explanation is fully legitimate so long as it does not
alter the meaning which the phenomena explained have for their own creators,
i.e. so long as the actors' meanings are not replaced by the anthropologist's
meanings. In our references to existing analyses at various points in the
essay we have tried to indicate some of the ways in which such a substitution
of meaning occurs. When actors' meanings are replaced in the course of
analysis and explanation, the anthropologist is not explaining social reality
as it exists in the only meaningfully possible sense, but through his explanation
creating it. Since social reality exists only as a meaningful reality,
it is through creating meaning that social reality itself is created.