Ongoing cultures, by virtue of the personalities they produce and the social arrangements they embody, create tensions or strains for their individual members; and they provide as well for the institutionalized expression and alleviation, if not complete reduction, of these tensions in culturally approved channels. In this view, cultural stability refers not to the absence of persisting conflict on the individual or social level; but rather to a high degree of complementarity between institutionalized sources of strain or conflict for the individual, and institutionalized arrangements for tension reduction or expression. This conception of stability does not assume that all relatively stable cultures are equally productive of psychological well-being, even assuming this nebulous condition could be specified. Nor does it assert that all stable cultures are equally adaptive in the face of external pressures. It does imply, however, that sources of conflict and channels for its expression will be sufficiently balanced to insure perpetuation of culturally standardized social arrangements and beliefs over many generations.

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