65° - 01.09.1967, Blaðsíða 23

65° - 01.09.1967, Blaðsíða 23
to cover all of Iceland in one summer, an aim both over-ambitious and unrealistic. Since such a plan would have involved gathering responses by mail, and since Icelanders have a reputation for not answering mail, the plan was revised, and formal, personal interviews were used instead. Because of time, the study had to be limited to Reykjavik, and thus is not representative of the whole country, but it represents the majority of the population, nevertheless. One June 20th, the researcher began by analyz- ing statistical records from the Statistical Bureau of Iceland, evaluating historical data, selecting a representative, random sample of the inhabitants of Reykjavik, constructing a questionnaire and pre-testing it. Finally on July 14th the survey began, and ended July 24th. The questionnaire contained 202 questions and could be split into the following 14 divisions: 1. The respondent’s upbringing — his family of orientation. 2. The indoctrination (formal and informal) of his own and his future children. 3. His economic status, his parents’ and parents in laws’. His and their income, expenditures and division of labor within the family. 4. Residence rules, the size of residence, housing, sleeping arrangements. 5. “Rules” governing building one’s own home and their effects upon family life and interac- tions between the husband and wife. 6. The relationship and intensity of interactions between the respondent’s family of orientation and his family of procreation. 7. Pre-marital sexual relations, actual, and at- titudes toward. 8. Intensity and duration of interactions between members within family of procreation. 9. Relationship between the spouses, both in general and in minute detail about their sexual relations. 10. Actual pre-marital cohabitation and attitudes toward it, also actual (and attitudes toward) common law marriages. 11. Attitudes toward legitimate vs. illegitimate children, and towards married vs. unmarried mothers. 12. Divorce and the right of the female vs. the right of the male. 13. The formation of marriage, preferred mar- riages, ideal husbands and wives, etc. 14. Biographical data. Each respondent received one third of the questionnaire by mail prior to the personal inter- view in order to reduce the interviewing time from three to two hours, and to give the respon- dent the “feel” of the subsequent interview. This form contained mostly biographical questions and questions over which the respondent had to ponder. 150 persons were selected from the Election Register in Reykjavik with respect to age (over 21), sex, marital status, length of residence in Reykjavik, and education. Since some were de- ceased, others had moved, and a few bluntly re- fused to answer, only 132 were interviewed. Of these, 88 were married, 32 single, 4 legally sepa- rated, 4 legally divorced, and 4 in common law marriages. “They’ll throw you out”, “They’ll slam the door in your face”, “They’ll laugh at you”, “They’ll call the police”, “They’ll lie to you”, “Icelanders are so reserved”, were the encourag- ing words the researcher heard from everyone from his younger sister to skeptical scholars. In short, almost everyone predicted that the study would be a complete fiasco from the very begin- ning. But the researcher found that the reverse was the case. True, Icelanders interviewed were not so open as, say, Americans, but when they opened their secret doors, the researcher believed they did it completely. The researcher attributed this frankness to a human need to talk about such problems, since it is not accepted and rarely practiced that Icelanders talk to their closest kin about personal problems, much less psychologists, psychiatrists and ministers, and to the Icelanders’ extreme helpfulness and goodwill. Not everyone answered with the same ease, however, nor were all sections of the questionnaire answered without hesitation. Generally speaking, single women, aged 40—50, were the least co- operative respondents, and married men, aged 21-—30, were the most open. Even more open, however, were unmarried women who had been cohabiting for many years. Contrary to expectation, the sex questions did not cause as much hesitation as those pertaining to economic matters. The researcher felt this reluctance might have been due to the fact that most Icelanders cheat on their taxes in one way or another. Questions about the respondent’s family of orientation were most willingly answered, as well as most suppositional, non-committant questions, i.e. about attitudes. “Why do you want to have 65 21



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