The Problem of Social Conformity in Action. The functional analysis of social life is concerned with the discovery and elucidation of the inner coherence and living unity of single cultures. The comparative analysis of social life, on the other hand, sets out to explain the similarities and differences which distinguish separate cultures by reference to universal laws which are objectively, that is to say actually, true of all known societies. Separate analysis must necessarily precede detailed comparison, for only so can intelligible units of comparison be discovered. None the less the analysis of a single culture must, right from the beginning, assume a certain general similarity between all cultures if it is to be successful in its own limited field. Intelligibility is nothing else than comparability, and it is only by making explicit the comparability of a Central African culture, for example, with our own and other cultures that we can make its own unity and inner coherence intelligible to ourselves. But, while we are concerned with a single unit only, its comparability with other units can only be made explicit in general terms and not in detail.