Notes 2013 Interim
WEST COAST BAPTIST COLLEGE
TRAINING LEADERS IN THE 21 ST CENTURY
MI314 – Cultural Anthropology
Tobi England - Instructor
Course Name: Cultural Anthropology
Course Text: Cultural Anthropology A Christian Perspective
Course Number – MI 341
Text Author: Grunlan and Mayers
Each student is to retype the following questions on your own paper and answer the
questions from the textbook. You should re-word the question in your answer. Some
questions will require a few words to answer while others may require several
paragraphs. You will get out of the textbook what you put into it in effort.
Questions Begin Here
Chapter 1 – Anthropology and Missions
1. What are the two extremes as to the role of cultural anthropology in Christian
2. What did Peter Wagner state as to the need of strategy?
3. List the four ways that cultural anthropology can contribute to an effective
4. What are the two ways in which a person may react to a new culture?
5. List and briefly explain the three stages of culture shock.
6. Define ethnocentrism.
7. Complete the following quotation by Leighton Ford: “Jesus Christ is the
of no culture and the
of all cultures.”
Chapter 2 – Humanity, Culture, and Society
1. Give the background to the word anthropology and its definition.
2. What is the basic premise of anthropology?
3. What are the behavioral sciences not?
4. What are the behavioral sciences?
5. What are the basic principles of Darwin’s evolution?
6. What are the three major convictions of the Biblical theory of creation?
7. What is the key concept in the study of anthropology?
8. How does Sir Edward Tylor define culture?
9. List Malinowski’s seven basic needs of man.
10. Rewrite the paragraph that summarizes this chapter on page 50.
Chapter 3 – Fields and Tourists
1. How are individuals significant in society?
2. What is ethnotheology?
3. What is the goal of anthropology?
4. How did Lewis Henry Morgan spell out his scheme in Ancient Society?
5. Who is known as the “father of American anthropology?”
6. What was his major contribution?
7. Who is the most noted Protestant anthropologist? What organizations did he
Chapter 4 – Enculturation and Acculturation
1. How do we define instinct?
2. Do infants possess culture at birth? How are they encultured?
3. What are the two major aspects of enculturation?
4. What are the four major stages of “canalization?”
5. How many societies have an education program?
6. Who had the “master- apprentice relationship?” Explain.
7. What are the four major stages or “crises” in the biological destiny of
8. Define acculturation.
9. What is the key principle in adapting to another culture? Explain.
10. What is bi- culturalism?
11. What should be our mission in life?
Chapter 5 – Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
1. What is the most revealing characteristic of a person?
2. Define language.
3. How old is a person when they have mastered a language’s grammar?
4. List the three observations on language listed on page 92.
5. In what three primary ways is identity expressed?
6. What must a translator or a language constantly ask himself?
7. What is dynamic equivalence?
8. What three factors make up the ultimate test of a translation?
9. Rewrite the closing paragraph to this chapter as found on page 105.
Chapter 6 – Economy and Technology
1. What basic needs do all human beings share?
2. What five major social changes to place in the emergence of industrialism?
3. What one invention spurred the industrial revolution?
4. Describe briefly a peasant economy.
5. Define technology.
6. What are tool?
7. List the four basic types of tools.
8. Give the three reasons that we need an understanding of the technical and
economic systems of a society and why they are important as we minister to
Chapter 7 – Role, Status, and Stratification
1. Define status.
2. Define role.
3. Give the difference between ascribed status and achieved status.
4. Give a personal example of role conflict in your life.
5. Describe a role conflict that a Christian could face.
6. What are the three major factors of social class?
7. What does a missionary need to be aware of when planting a church?
Chapter 8 – Marriage and Family
1. What is the family unit composed of?
2. In what setting do children learn most of their behavior?
3. What do all societies consider taboo?
4. How do most people in the U.S. find a mate? How does this differ in other
parts of the world?
5. Define monogamy.
6. What is the most common form of marriage in the world?
7. Who makes up a nuclear family?
8. What is the basic unit of every society?
9. What does the Bible teach that marriage is? Give Scripture references.
10. What are the three purposes of marriage according to the Bible? Give
Chapter 9 – Kinship
1. List the six reasons for the importance of kinship according to Nelson
2. What are the three types of kinship ties. Explain them briefly.
3. List the nine basic symbols that account for all kin relationships.
4. Explain a kinship system that is patrilineal.
5. What is a clan?
6. What should the investigator do who is analyzing a kinship system?
7. Why must we understand kinship systems in order to evangelize a group of
Chapter 10 – Groups and Communities
1. What are the three reasons given by Goldschmidt that humans live in groups?
2. What are the five properties of a group?
3. What is an aggregation?
4. Give some examples of small groups.
5. What do we mean when we speak of a city?
6. What two factors are necessary for a city to exist?
7. What small group did Jesus work with?
8. What is self- disclosure?
9. What do self- accepting people find it easy to do?
10. What two major responsibilities are necessary in apprenticeship?
Chapter 11 – Social Control and Government
1. Define government.
2. What is the difference between informal and formal government?
3. What are the four factors that produce normative behavior?
4. What are folkways?
5. Define laws.
6. Why is an understanding of deviance important to a missionary?
7. What are the five modes of adaptation given by Merton?
8. What are the seven functions of deviance as given by Cohen?
9. What might be considered deviant behavior in some countries according to the
text on the bottom of page 213?
10. Explain how the polity of a church in a foreign country might be different than
the polity of an American local church.
Chapter 12 – Religion
1. What social institution is found in all cultures?
2. What are the six basic cultural functions of religion? Explain briefly.
3. What is animism?
4. What is the difference between religion and magic?
5. What is sorcery?
6. What two anthropological concepts must a missionary keep in mind when
bringing Christianity to other cultures?
7. What three- step strategy should they develop?
Chapter 13 – Anthropological Research
1. Explain participant observation.
2. How are computers being used in anthropology today?
3. List the five steps in research.
4. List the eleven preliminary research procedures.
5. According to Engel and Norton, what is the major breakdown in
communicating the Gospel to other cultures?
Chapter 14 – Biblical Authority and Cultural Relativity
1. What do we as Christians claim as our universal moral standard?
2. Rewrite Nida’s definition of “relative relativism.”
3. What questions (given by Mayers) can serve as a guide in the process of
Chapter 15 – Anthropology and Theology
1. How may the Creator be known?
2. What can we learn about God by studying people?
3. What contributions does anthropology make to theological studies?
4. If we are going to reach the world for Jesus Christ, what must we do?
5. Rewrite the concluding two paragraphs as found on page 275.
MI – 341 – End of Questions
“WEST COAST BAPTIST COLLEGE”
“TRAINING LEADERS FOR THE 21 ST CENTURY”
MI 341 – Cultural Anthropology
As Christians, we are called to be
of the world. Because of this we
must understand the peoples of this world in all of their cultural diversity. The Gospel
does not put people in different camps or classes, but rather seeks to restore
between God and people and between people themselves.
Cultural anthropology can help us to understand how we can build relationships with
people by understanding and appreciating their cultural settings.
Our purpose here on earth is to make the Gospel relevant and understood. John Stott once
said, “There is a deep chasm between the cultural contexts of the Bible and the
contemporary cultures.” 1 In order to effectively
the Gospel we
need to understand divine revelation within its historical and cultural settings as well as
the people of our present day and their culture. The first we gain through Biblical studies
and the second through a study of the social sciences. Both of these understandings are
needed. If we have a knowledge of the Bible without a knowledge of contemporary
societies we are in danger of proclaiming a message that is irrelevant and meaningless.
On the other hand, if we have an understanding of present day cultures, but no
understanding of the Gospel, we have no message to bring.
Anthropology is very important for Christian
are involved in building relationships and communications across
boundaries. Often, here in America, we seek to equate Christianity with our culture and
thus try to westernize converts in other cultures. We tend to
practices of other cultures as unbiblical or uncivilized. As a result, Christianity is viewed
by these nonwestern cultures as a foreign religion that condemns their cultural past and is
irrelevant to their current problems. To be meaningful to people, the Gospel must be
expressed in cultural forms that they understand and trust.
left heaven and entered fully into a human culture, so the
missionary must identify with another culture to communicate the Gospel in ways those
people understand. The Bible must be
into their language. The
must be organized in ways with which they are familiar.
must answer the questions they face.
…as my Father
John Louwerse, Una (West-New Guinea) Worldview and a Reformed Model for Contextualizing Crosshas sent me, so…
Cultural Communications of the Gospel (Irian Jaya, Indonesia, Dutch Reformed) (Fuller Theological
Seminary, 1987), p. 8.
Seeking to understand and appreciate cultures does not mean we must accept them
. To do this would be to accept a cultural
that would render all values meaningless and all human beliefs equally true or false. The
missionary’s role is to help people understand the Gospel within their cultural setting. To
from without would reduce the role of the missionary to a
policeman. A knowledge of the missionary in the culture will keep him or her from
making uninformed and insensitive judgments- judgments that are usually false and close
the door of effectively winning people to Christ. God’s desire is to __ win_____
people, not to condemn them.
Alicja Iwanska, a Polish anthropologist, points out that western people tend to divide
their world into three categories:
. The first includes mountains, trees, weather, and other parts of
their environment about which they talk, but which they cannot manipulate. These they
enjoy in a disinterested sort of way. Machines are tools people use to get their work done.
These include cars, refrigerators, typewriters, and farm animals. Westerners enjoy and
value these things highly, and take care of them as long as they are useful and productive.
People are neighbors and friends with whom one visits or helps. These are enjoyed in a
personal and relational way.
Iwanska found, however, that not all human beings are seen as “
Westerners often see people in foreign countries as
. They go as
tourists to see the strange customs and talk about their “primitive” behavior. Westerners
often see migrant workers as
whose value lies in their
productivity. These are discarded as soon as they are no longer productive, just like an
old car. Basically, it was found that westerners see only friends and relatives as people –
as humans valued for their relationships.
It is possible for missionaries to go into foreign countries as
noticing the strangeness but never entering into and identifying with its culture. God
however, calls us to see all people as ourselves and to reach them in their world for
Christ. These lectures are designed to help us know how to effectively
the Gospel to other cultures and to adapt personally and identify with the people of other
Lecture 1 – “A Look at Cultural Anthropology”
Anthropology is the study of
. Psychology, sociology, history,
human physiology, medicine, and the arts and sciences also study people. Before we
determine what cultural anthropology is, let’s try to answer a couple important questions.
I. What are Human Beings?
A. Theology versus Science
make science their religion and hold that
alone is the cause and
controller of human affairs.
theology teaches that humans are not merely
material beings but are made in the image of
possess a nature that transcends their earthly lives.
3. In this class we will view human beings as creatures in God’s image
that have both eternal and earthly dimensions. We do not believe
that humans are determined by their environment, but we will
discover that anthropology does provide valuable insights into the
of human beings, particularly within their
B. The Boundaries of Personhood
1. When do you become a human being?
3 month old fetus
6 month old fetus
1 year old child
2 year old child
a. Is the fertilized egg a human being?
b. May a pregnancy be terminated, if it is the result of rape or if
the embryo is malformed, without destroying a person?
c. Is abortion permissible to save the life of the mother, to prevent
undo mental anxiety, or simply to comply with her request?
d. How late in pregnancy may fetal life be terminated?
e. What are the legal rights of the unborn, and when does the
taking of fetal life become murder?
2. There are no generally accepted answers to these questions.
a. Some define “persons” in terms of
life, beginning at conception.
b. Others hold that certain
development must be reached before the fetus becomes a
c. Some define personhood in terms of
in terms of social identity developed after birth in
interaction with other people.
d. The Ashanti, in West Africa believe that spirits play pranks on
people by being born as babies, but within a few days
lose interest in the game and leave the body. Only infants
that live more than eight days are considered human beings
and given names and places in society. When infant
mortality is high, this helps mothers explain and accept the
deaths of so many of their young.
3. What about biological experimentation and human engineering? 2
a. Should scientists generate human fetuses in test tubes in
attempts to control or prevent birth defects, develop
easier methods for reproduction, or create better strains
of human beings?
b. Is the destruction of test tube embryos different than abortion?
c. Should scientists alter the genetic structure of human life or mix
human and animal genes to create new forms of life that are
well adapted to specific jobs or cultures?
4. When does life end?
For a Christian perspective, read Francis A. Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis
A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982).
a. Should people whose life is only maintained by machines
continue to live? Or should they die?
b. How much expense should be taken to keep a person alive?
c. Who should make these decisions?
d. Is there a difference between a family taking a loved one off
of a machine because of the expense involved and the
common practice of the Eskimos who, when food is scarce,
walk out into the frozen tundra to die in order to leave more
food for their families? Or the culture that abandons an
infant born too soon after a previous child and threatens the
life of both through undernourishment?
5. We are going to discover that our ideas about people are closely tied
to our views as to what it means to be
C. What is Knowledge?
1. Until the middle 1900’s, science was thought to be a process by which
laws existing in nature were revealed and recorded by systematic
use of the human
a. If you threw a ball up into the air, it would always come down
- thus you discovered
it as a fact.
b. This process was compared to building a house of knowledge
by means of experimental data and scientific laws that
were believed to be true statements of reality. To challenge
any of these was to threaten the total structure of science
and truth itself.
2. In more recent years, scientists have become aware of the part the
plays in this process. Important
information can be screened out, if the person chooses.
Postmodernism has increased the frequency of these questions.3
a. While reading a book, we may be surrounded by many
sounds and activities that we ignore, but by turning our
attention to them we become conscious of their presence.
Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology & Counseling, ed. David G. Benner and Peter C.
Hill, 2nd ed., Baker reference library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 610.
b. Thus, what a scientist discovers, depends largely on
he is looking for or on the
he is asking.
c. As a result, we are often working with
rather than the world itself.
Let’s suppose that two people (Mr. A and Mr. B) see a man carrying a briefcase.
Depending on their “sense data” and what they are looking for, lets see how their
I see a
I see a
It is a man with a briefcase.
It is a man with a briefcase
He is taking some work home
Spies sometimes use
He must be a very dedicated man
to be taking work home with him.
I wouldn’t be surprised if
that man doesn’t turn out
to be a spy.
A man that is dedicated is bound to
be a success in life and an asset to
This country is infested
with spies and unless we
do something about it
we’re in trouble.
II. Theories are only Models
A. Theories are not
statements of reality.
1. Theories are only
organize our experiences.
that we construct our minds to
2. These models are like
. A map is not the actual land but
a simplification of where rivers, roads, mountains, etc. are.
The models we construct are a means by which the basic structure
and operation of the real world is portrayed.
B. Characteristics of these models.
1. They are always limited,
2. These models help us to
, and only
meaningfully in order to solve problems.
3. These models are always
to more data.
4. The process of
allows us to change and
improve the model constantly.
5. A true scientist is not dogmatically committed to these models.
He is willing to alter them to fit his experiences more closely
or reject them completely if newer ones are found which describe
the world more adequately.
6. The scientific process is a continuous cycle of
Conclusion: “Savages, we call them” by Benjamin Franklin (1784)
Savages we call them, because their manners differ from ours, which we think the
perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs.
Perhaps, if we could examine the manners of different nations with impartiality, we
should find no people so rude as to be without rules of politeness; nor any so polite as not
to have some remains of rudeness.
The Indian men, when young, are hunters and warriors; when old, counselors; for all their
government is by the counsel of advice of the sages; there is not force, there are not
prisons, no officers to compel obedience, or inflict punishment. Hence they generally
study oratory; the best speaker having the most influence. The Indian women till the
ground, dress the food, nurse and bring up the children, and preserve and hand down to
posterity the memory of public transactions. These employments of men and women are
accounted natural and honorable. Having few artificial wants, they have abundance of
leisure for improvement in conversation.
Our laborious manner of life, compared with theirs, they esteem slavish and base; and the
learning on which we value ourselves, they regard as frivolous and useless. An instance
of this occurred in the treaty of Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, 1774, between the
government of Virginia and the Six Nations. After the principa l business was settled the
commissioners from Virginia acquainted the Indians by a speech, that there was at
Williamsburg a college, with a fund, for educating Indian youth; and that the chiefs of the
Six Nations would send down half a dozen of their sons to that college, the government
would take care that they should be well provided for, and instructed in all the learning of
the white people.
It is one of the Indian rules of politeness not to answer a public proposition the same day
that it is made: they think that it would be treating it as a light matter, and they show it
respect by taking time to consider it, as of a matter important. They therefore deferred
their answer till the day following: when their speaker began by expressing their deep
sense of the kindness of the Virginia government, in making them that offer.
“For we know,” says he, “that you highly esteem the kind of learning taught in those
colleges, and that the maintenance of our young men, while with you, would be very
expensive to you. We are convinced therefore, that you mean to do us good by your
proposal; and we thank you heartily. But you who are wise must know, that the different
nations have different conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if
your ideas of this kind of education happen not to be the same with yours. We have had
some experiences of it; several of our young people were formerly brought up at the
colleges of the northern provinces; they were instructed in all your sciences; but when
they came back to us they were bad runners; ignorant of every means of living in the
woods; unable to bear either cold or hunger; knew neither how to build a cabin, take a
deer, or kill an enemy; spoke our language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for
hunters, warriors or counselors; they were totally good for nothing. We are not, however,
the less obliged by your kind offer, though we decline accepting it; and to show our
grateful sense of it, if the gentleman of Virginia will send us a dozen of their sons, we
will take great care of their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of
Benjamin Franklin, William Temple Franklin, William Duane, Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin, Volume 2
(New York: Derby & Jackson, 1859), p. 462.
Lecture 2 – “Anthropological Points of View”
Introduction: People study human beings from many different points of view. Atomic
physicists might view a person as a perpetual dance of atomic particles. Engineers
working with automobile safety are concerned with the effects of mass and inertia on the
human body in accidents. Microbiologists see the human being as a mass of corpuscles,
cells, and bacterial organisms.
Anthropology has the same general interests in human beings as others who study man.
Though specific interests in man are broad among anthropologists, there are some basic
viewpoints that we will study in this lecture.
view of humanity
1. Variety of humankind
a. To understand man in general, we must look at all segments of
society around the world. We cannot limit our studies to
Western Civilization or certain classes of people.
b. A true study of anthropology seeks to gather information from
nonliterate societies, peasants, common people, etc.
Example: A study of Western culture might conclude that
early child rearing is largely done by the mother. However, to
find out if this assumption is true we must use a comparative
method, to see if this is true just in Western
civilization or whether it is characteristic of all humankind.
2. Unity of humankind
a. Are there properties and processes – biological, psychological,
or social – that are characteristic of all males, females, all
adults, all people?
b. Do all people digest food the same way?
c. Do all have the same psychological drives?
d. Do all make tools, organize families, or believe in a god?
e. Are human languages based on principles of thought?
Is human reasoning universally logical?
g. If there are no human universal, how is it possible for
human beings to communicate with one another from
on language or society to another?
B. A Comprehensive
anthropologists – examine the
physical and biological processes of the human body
and the relationship of these to cultural and historical
are concerned with the origins and
evolution of the human body and of culture.
anthropologists analyze man in his society
specialize in the studies
to avoid when studying models.
a. This approach simply stacks the models one on another
without an attempt to interrelate them. Each remains
autonomous and self contained.
b. This results in a collection of fragmentary understandings
gathered at various levels of understanding.
c. People are more than collections of bits and pieces and fails
to understand them. People are more than a sum
a. This is an attempt to interpret all observations by reducing them
to a single level of analysis. Human culture is described
only by biological needs and instincts.
b. Man is more than just chemical equations and electrical
Example: A young man does not say to his fiancée, “I love you.
My heart rate is up forty beats a minute, and my adrenaline
secretion is up 15 percent.”
c. Reductionism defines a person only in physical and biological
terms and treats his social and cultural behavior as merely
modifications of this nature.
1. The holistic approach to humankind integrates the various models and
and shows the
affect the kind of culture they build and the ways that they
relate to fellow human beings.
b. How would the world be different if people were ten feet tall?
What kind of buildings would they build or cars would
they drive? What if people had a tail, or didn’t reach
sexual maturity until 30? What would social
relationships be like if there were three sexes instead of
c. On the other hand,
person’s physical being. People make their bodies
do that which fits their tastes.
Example: Some drill holes in their ears, lips, cheeks, and teeth
to support ornaments; bind heads and feet Diets are influenced
by ideals of health and beauty.
In the West, where slim figures are thought to be attractive,
women diet to stay slender; in Togo in the South Pacific, where
beauty is measured by bulk, a woman eats to maintain her
* The word culture comes from the German word “Kultur”. It denotes the proper,
sophisticated, refined way of
* We will define culture as: The integrated system of learned patterns of
characteristic of a society.
A. Patterns of
1. In describing a culture, the anthropologist must begin by
observing and listening to patterns of behavior.
Example: American men shake hands in greeting. Mexican men
embrace, and Siriano of South America spit on one another’s chests.
Americans have another form of greeting between men and women,
described by a Waunana tribal chief as “sucking mouths.”
Consider the following humorous look at this custom entitled, “The
Natural History of a Kiss” by E. Royston Pike.
What’s so strange about a kiss? Surely kissing is one of the most natural things in the world, so natural
indeed that we might almost ask, what are lips for if not for kissing? But this is what we think, and a whole
lot of people think very differently. To them kissing is not at all natural. It is not something that everybody
does, or would like to do. On the contrary, it is a deplorable habit, unnatural, unhygienic, bordering on th e
nasty and even definitely repulsive.
When we come to look into the matter, we shall find that there is a geographical distribution of kissing; and
if some enterprising ethnologist were to prepare a “map for kissing” it would show a surprisingly large
amount of blank space. Most of the so- called primitive races of mankind, such as the New Zelanders
(Maoris), the Australian aborigines, the Papuans, Tahitians, and other South Sea Islanders, and the
Esquimaux of the frozen north, were ignorant of kissing until they were taught the technique by the white
men who appeared among them as voyagers and explorers, traders, and missionaries. The Chinese have
been wont to consider kissing as vulgar and all too suggestive of cannibalism, and, as we shall see in a
moment, they have not been alone in this. The Japanese have no word for it in their vocabulary, and the
practice is tabooed as utterly immodest and revolting, except of course among those who have made a point
of adopting Western ways. But it is Africa which “has the sad distinction of being the largest non- kissing
area in the world.”
Such at least was the conclusion of the young English traveler Winwood Reade, and (to meet the objections
of those who speak out of present- day experience) it should be explained that he was writing of a time
when the natives of Equatorial Africa were still savages. The words are taken from his book Savage Africa
(1863), in which he describes his travels in the unknown “Gorilla Country” of the Upper Gaboon in West
Africa. Alone save for a few native attendants, he penetrated farther upcountry than a white man had ever
been before, and for some time he remained in a kind of honorable captivity as the guest of Quenqueza, the
“king” of the Rembo tribes folk. It was then that he met Ananga. She was beautiful – “full and finely
molded, hands and feet exquisitely small, complexion a deep warm color, her eyes large and filled with a
melancholy expression” – no wonder that, on one of those unguarded moments “in which the heart rises to
the lips, and makes them do all sorts of silly things,” he made to kiss her….
Not on first meeting, of course, but when for weeks they had been for hours each day in one another’s
company. He had gone to Africa to study the gorilla in his native haunts, bu t he found “this pretty savage”
a much more delicious study. At first she was timid, very timid, for she had never seen a white man before,
but she tried to keep this from him lest she should hurt his feelings, “and I could read it only in her
fluttering eyes in her poor little heart, which used to throb so loudly when we were alone. I found her as
chaste, as coquettish, and as full of innocent mischief, as a girl of sixteen would have been in England. In a
little while I found myself becoming fond of her.” So the thought came to him of a “new and innocent
pleasure.” To bestow a kiss upon lips which tremble with love for the first time – that (he reflected) was
certainly an epoch in a man’s existence; but just imagine what it must be to kiss one who has neve r
conceived the possibility of such a thing, who has never dreamt that human lips could be applied to such a
purpose! “And so, I kissed Ananga, the daughter of the king.” And what Reade had forgotten, or perhaps
had never realized, was that “this mode of s alutation is utterly unknown in West Africa. Ananga knew that
the serpent moistens its victim with its lips before it begins its repast. All the tales of white cannibals which
she h ad heard from infancy had returned to her. The poor child had thought that I was going to dine off
her, and she ran for her life!” 5
2. Not all behavior is
a. A boy touches something hot- he jerks his hand away and yells,
instinctive, but his
because in other cultures different expletives are used.
a. Certain culture traits are common among certain groups of
people within a society. Kings, secretaries, baseball
players, and students all have certain traits that are
peculiar to them. They are expected to act a certain way.
a. These are traits that are characteristic of
people in a given society.
Example: People in the United States are expected to wear
clothes in public places and to respect the property of others. A
man does not choose the best car from hundreds in a parking
lot, but rather one that is his own personal property.
5. Cultural patterns are constantly
Charles C. Hughes, Make Men of Them: Introductory Readings for Cultural Anthropology (Chicago:
Rand McNally, 1971), p. 83.
a. New activities are accepted while others are dropped.
are permitted and
tolerated only within the limits set by a society. Even
suicide, the ultimate antisocial act, is culturally patterned.
Example: American women do not drown themselves in
large open wells, which is the practice of women in South Asia.
1. Culture is also made up of
by which they set their goals and
judge their actions. There must be a consensus of these things
within a society if
are to be possible.
2. While behavior is linked to concepts and beliefs, sometimes people
do not live up to their own ideals. Sometimes there are behavioral
patterns whose meanings have been lost .
Example: Lapel buttonholes on business suits, once served the useful
function of buttoning up the collar. Now days, they are almost
meaningless and are often omitted altogether.
1. Another part of culture is
a. Animals also make use of tools. Birds make nests; some ants
use sticks as prods; caged monkeys use sticks to get
b. Humans are distinctive however, in that, they
knowledge to successive generations so that it becomes
2. As human artifacts are uncovered by archaeologists, cultures long
extinct can be studied.
a. An illustration of cultural configurations is American sitting
and sleeping habits. We spend a great deal of money in
America on platforms suitable for various rooms and
occasions: couches, rockers, dining room chairs, bar stools,
and lawn chairs. We are lost at night without a bed to sleep
on. At an airport, slumping in a chair to sleep is preferred to
the indignity of lying on the floor.
b. We would say this is the
people to sit, given the shape of our bodies. But most
people in the world are comfortable without chairs, and
there is no evidence that chairs are a more healthful way
c. Most of our cultural behavior is
our society and is not a product of reasoned planning.
d. Our concern for platforms is closely associated with certain
of our basic
about the nature
of things. It is our notion that the ground and its
extension, the floor, are dirty, and that dirt is bad.
Thus, we scold a child who eats food that has fallen to
the floor and we keep our shoes on when we enter a room.
e. The Japanese, however, start with the assumption that the floor
is clean, and thus leave their shoes at the door and
sit and sleep on small pads on the floor.
1. Some behavior patters are very important in a society and not
easily changed while others are marginal, with little commitment
tied to them, and thus are more easily modified.
Example: Styles in Western dress change rapidly, but the idea that
certain parts of the body must remain covered in public has persisted
over long periods of time.
2. As new concepts are integrated, cultural
Example: The automobile, the computer, and nuclear energy have
all had an impact on culture in our world today.
3. Sometimes values and customs are
to fit with changes taking place.
Example: Umbrellas and pajamas. The umbrella was originally used
in South Africa to shade kings from the sun. It was a symbol of
royalty and forbidden to commoners. Today they are used by
everyone, particularly to keep the rain off of us. Pajamas were
invented in the Near East for daytime wear, but Westerners have
adopted them for use at night.
4. All cultures are
constantly. New traits are
added while others are dropped. Change is
No culture ever arrives at a state of perfect integration or
F. Culture and
1. Part of the culture of any people is that which is considered
. There are some things that are
“characteristic of a society.”
a. People live
in groups and societies.
Within these groups, certain boundaries are established
by the people themselves in order to exist together.
b. We may speak of the “American Society” or the “Urban
Society” or the “culture of the elite” or the “culture
III. Cross- cultural
A. The fundamental
of cultural differences.
1. There are profound differences in people.
a. Differences in
culture. (food, eating patterns, houses, dress, and language.)
b. Differences in
(religious, political, and social views.)
c. Differences in how they
view their worlds. Edward
Sapir (1884 – 1939) points out that people do not simply
live in the same world with different labels attached, but in
a. Americans place a premium on
and define being “on time” as 5 minutes before or 5
minutes after the appointed time. Anyone arriving 15
minutes late would be expected to apologize and anything
beyond 15 minutes would demand an apology and a
b. In Egypt, only servants are expected to show up at the appointed
time as an act of obedience. The proper time for men of
equal rank to come is roughly an hour after the appointed
time. This shows their independence and social rank. Only
after an additional half hour are they considered late.
c. This of course poses a huge
and Egyptians have an appointment.
5 minutes before
Everyone on time
5 minutes after
Mumbled apology advised
10 minutes after
Slight apology advisable
15 minutes after
20 minutes after
Full apology required
Servants on time
30 minutes after
45 minutes after
1 hour after
Equals on time
1 hour and 15 minutes after
is another language that
communicates ideas and feelings.
1) Americans would feel free to talk with people within
about 12 feet of each other, thus they talk with
people on an airplane or bus. When they discuss
social matters, Americans generally stand within
about 4 or 5 feet of each other and usually at right
angles. If they are discussing personal matters, they
move closer to each other and drop their voices.
This is what is called the
2) Latin Americans have much smaller zones however.
The Latin American will step within this intimate
zone to talk casually. The American will step back
to the right distance for him for casual conversation
which causes the Latin American to move closer.
3) Often, neither the Latin nor the American are aware of
this difference in space. The American has the
impression that Latin Americans are pushy while
the Latin American thinks that North Americans are
cold and distant.
a. Americans would divide life into 5 or 6 categories.
1) Supernatural beings: gods, spirits, angels, demons, etc.
2) People (Natural but with an eternal soul)
3) Animals (Temporal)
5) Inanimate world (Lifeless)
b. In India the Hindu religion teaches that there is only one realityBrahman. Everything under that reality is of the same
. All life is of the same kind.
c. This is why the Indian would oppose killing cows for food.
Their response to someone killing a cow for food would
be the same as ours to someone suggesting that we
the poor to eliminate poverty.
B. Cross- cultural
1. In the West it is not uncommon to see couples hands or with their arms
around each other. In some parts of the world this would be
highly improper and even obscene.
2. South Asian men walk down the streets holding hands, which to a
Westerner might be a sign of homosexuality.
3. A missionary once introduced
to women in a
culture where none were previously worn only to find an increase
as a result in adultery. Later he discovered that prostitutes used
blouses as a sign of their trade!
1. All of us have an
everything in terms of ourselves.
in which we judge
2. Along with this we tend to consider our culture as the
is called ethnocentrism.
Example: Americans abroad would be disgusted by people who eat
with their fingers while foreigners in an American restaurant would
be appalled with having to use utensils that had been inside the
mouths of other people. Americans are often shocked by a lack of
regard for human life in some cultures, while foreigners would be
shocked by an American’s inhumanity to the sick or aged, who are
sent away to be cared for by strangers, and that even in death, the
body and grave are prepared by strangers.
3. Ethnocentrism even occurs
Example: Parents raised in one culture are often critical of their
children who are raised in another generation. Ethnic or racial groups
set themselves up one against another. Urban people look down on
their “country cousins.” Upper classes are critical of lower, etc.
1. Culture shock occurs when people move from one culture to
another and have misunderstandings and ethnocentric
responses. This period of cultural disorientation makes it
difficult for people to cope with simple tasks required to stay
2. Culture shock does not come from sights of
or lack of
, but rather from the fact that
people in an unfamiliar culture do not know the language and
the simple rules of conduct. What appears to be
may in fact be foreign, because it has different
in a different society.
3. Eventually, people became accustomed to their new culture and
become what is called bi cultural
4. People have two choices when they move from one culture to
another. They can respond with contempt to the new culture
and separate themselves from it or they can involve themselves
in the new culture an learn to appreciate it.
5. Often when a person returns to his parent culture, he suffers from
culture shock and faces disorientation
all over again.
Conclusion: It is important that we understand all people as fully
They may sound simple to us, but it can be a problem. Alicja Iwanska, a
Polish anthropologist, pointed out in a study of Americans of the Northwest
coast years ago: “They divide their world into three categories. 1) Scenery,
such as the mountains, weather, and strange places. 2) Machinery, such as
tractors, cars, books, pencils, and other objects to do a job. 3) People.”
She stated however, that they tended to see American Indians as scenery
and transient laborers as machinery. Only friends and relatives were really people .
Lecture 3 “The Study of Culture”
Introduction: When entering a new culture, the individual must interact with
. As he develops a close relationship with people, they are a big
help in interpreting that which he sees and hears. It is important to immerse
oneself in the culture in order to see life through the eyes of its members.
1. Studies reveal a huge difference between what people
and what they say they do. The “is” is mixed up with
culture consists of patterns of actual behavior and
thoughts of the people- what, in fact they do and think.
Folk system is the people’s description of their own
culture- how they see it and interpret it.
4. What is
to be right may be as different as
the number of people in the society because no one sees every
thing in exactly the same way.
5. In every culture, however, people do
perceptions in most areas making social behavior possible.
1. Most rules are learned initially through
How to speak and eat for instance are learned by listening and
2. Later, a child is taught the rules of language and which fork to use
C. Ideal vs. Real in
Example: Americans in discussing their cultural ideals to a foreigner would
Say that we are monogamous; we only marry one spouse and have sexual
relations only with them and only after marriage. Actual study of behavior
in America however, reveals something totally different in reality. In 1970,
of all men and women over the age of twenty, 74% had been married at least
once. Of those, one third were known to have been divorce or widowed.
Moreover, 6% of all married couples were separated for a variety of reasons.
Alfred Kinsey found that 92% of all males and 50% of all females in his
sample had engaged in premarital sexual relations and more than 50%
of the males and 26% of the females had extramarital sexual relations.
1. Culturally defined ideals and accepted behavior never fully
real life. They provide the goals and limits for
behavior, but deviations are frequent.
2. Behavior does
the ideals of society while
on the other hand, people, especially young people, tend to
form their ideals by watching the behavior of others.
1. It is difficult to construct the ideal or the folk ideals of a culture.
Often practices are hidden from the casual observer and are
only revealed in time.
2. Often the foreigner interprets what he observes with is own
3. The practices of people sometimes changes in the presence of a
1. Etic models – Etic models are determined as anthropologists
study the patterns of people and then
what they will do in given situations. The goal in this
kind of study is to possibly
may be detrimental such as diet.
2. Emic models- These models are determined by finding out
about things. The difficulty
in this is that people often will not discuss everything,
especially to a foreigner.
1. This is a method of discovering how people think. It looks at the
boundaries of words and how these words are used in speaking.
Example: English speakers use hail, snow, sleet, rain, frost, and dew
to describe different types of precipitation. Telugu speakers in south
India use one word to describe all of these phenomena.
Example: How would you define the word “father?” What
distinguishes a father from other males. Someone would say that
a father is the biological progenitor and other males are not. Someone else may say that he is the man who lives in the same house as
your mother and raises you, as for example, a step father. A third
person, seeing the sentence, “George Washington was the father of
our country” concludes that it means any male who starts or creates
Progenitor ( (pr -j n -t r)): an ancestor in the direct
2. Thus determining what is
meant by words is only learned as people
talk and share their thoughts.
G. The combined approach
1. Can emic and etic approaches be combined into one model?
Example: How does the anthropologist interpret a culture where
disease is thought to be caused by demons which people claim to have
seen? Should he, as the native does, accept the fact that disease is
caused by demons? Should he say that the people in that culture
believe disease is caused by demons, just as people in the west believed
it to be linked to germs? (an emic approach) Or should he report the
people’s best belief in demons as a cause of disease but use the germ
theory to explain outbreaks of illness among them? (an etic approach)
Much will depend on what we want to do with the information.
If he wants to explain the people’s responses to certain situations, he
will use the emic approach. If he is trying to explain an outbreak of
plague, he will probably use the etic model. However, if he is trying
to eradicate a disease in that society, he will need to use both. The
medical side of the campaign will most likely be designed with his
own scientific knowledge of diseases in mind. But to gain cooperation
of the people, he must explain his actions in terms they understand
and accept. This may involve modifying the program to fit the
II. Ethnographic and Comparative Approaches
A. Comparing cultures
1. In comparing cultures we can see how differences in variables
such as climate, type of family organization, or ideas of God,
a culture as a whole.
2. The disadvantage of this information is that we lose sight of
The holistic and integrated
of a single culture.
B. We need both the ethnographic and comparative approaches. The former
provides the roots from which data and theories of humanity and
culture are drawn, while the latter presents the general theories of
humanity and culture.
Conclusion: The basic data on which anthropologists build most of their theories
is gathered by fieldwork, in which they spend many months living with a
people, talking with them, participating in their activities, an observing
their behavior. This means not only finding a way to live in that society,
but also building a rapport with the people. Sometimes this presents some
interesting problems as the following article illustrates:
“The Feast of Love” by McKim Marriott
I had entered Kishan Garhi for the first time in early March, not long before what most villagers said was
going to be their greatest religious celebration of the year, the festival of Holi. Preparations were already
underway. I learned that the festival was to begin with a bonfire celebrating the cremation of the demoness
Holika. Holika, supposedly fireproofed by devotion to her demon father, King Harnakas, had been burned
alive in the fiery destruction plotted to punish her brother Prahlada for his stubb orn devotion to the true
The celebration began auspiciously, I thought, in the middle of the night as the full moon rose. The great
pile of blessed and pilfered fuel at once took flame… a hundred men of all twenty - four castes in
the village, both Muslim and Hindu, … marched around the fire in opposite directions and exchanged
roasted grains with each other as they passed, embracing or greeting one another with “Ram, Ram!” –
blind in many cases to distinctions of caste. Household fires through out the village had been
extinguished, and as the assembled men returned to their homes, they carried coals from the collective
fire to rekindle their domestic hearths…
I was awakened…. just before dawn by the crash of the old year’s pots breaking agains t my outer door.
Furious fusillades of sand poured from the sky. Pandemonium now reigned: a shouting mob of boys
called on me by name from the street and demanded that I come out. I perceived through a crack,
however, that anyone who emerged was being pelted with bucketfuls of mud and cow- dung water.
Boys of all ages were heaving dust into the air, hurling old shoes at each other, laughing and cavorting
“like Krishna’s cowherd companions” – and of course, cowherds were there. They had captured one
older victim and were making him ride a donkey, seated backward, head to stern. Household walls
were being scaled, loose doors broken open, and the inhabitants routed out to join these ceremonial
proceedings. Relatively safe in a new building with strong doors and high walls, I escaped an
I was summoned by a messenger from a family at the other end of the village to give first aid to an
injured woman. A thrown pot had broken over her head as she opened her door that morning. Protected
by an improvised helmet, I ventured forth. As I stepped into the lane, the wife of the barber in the
house opposite, a lady who had hitherto been most quiet and deferential, also stepped forth, grinning
under the veil, and doused me with a pail of urine from her b uffalo…
At noontime, a state of truce descended. Now was the time to bathe, the neighbors shouted, and to put
on fine, fresh clothes. The dirt was finished… “What is it all going to be about this afternoon?” I
asked my neighbor, the barber. “Holi,” he said with a beatific sigh, “is the Festival of Love!”….
I happily bathed and changed, for my eyes were smarting with the morning’s dust and the day was
growing hot. My constant benefactor, the village landlord, now sent his son to present me with a tall
glass of cool, thick, green liquid. This was the festival drink, he said; he wanted me to have it at its
best, as it came from his own parlour. I tasted it, and found it sweet and mild. “You must drink it all!”
my host declared. I inquired about the ingredients- almonds, sugar, curds of milk, anise, and “only half
a cup” of another item whose name I did not recognize. I finished off the whole delicious glass, and, in
discussion with my cook, soon inferred that the unknown ingredient - bhang- had been four ounces of
juice from the hemp leaf known in the West as hashish or marijuana.
Because of this indiscretion, I am now unable to report with much accuracy exactly what other religious
ceremonies were observed in the four villages through which I floated that afte rnoon, towed by my
careening hosts. They told me that we were going on a journey of condolence to each house whose
members had been bereaved during the past year. My many photographs corroborate the visual
impressions that I had on this journey: the world was a brilliant smear. The stained and crumpled
pages of my notebooks are blank, save for a few declining diagonals and undulating scrawls. 6
McKim Marriott, Kristna: Myths, Rites, and Attitudes (Honolulu: East-West Center Press, 1966), p. 99.
Lecture 4 – “Material Culture: Description and Explanation”
A. The most
elements of any culture are its material
B. Early anthropological ethnographies were limited to extensive
housing, tools, dress, and other
Example: Stephen Powers described the lodges of some Californian Indian
tribes in the following terms:
“This wigwam is in the shape of the capital letter L, made up of slats leaning up to a
ridgepole and heavily thatched. All along the middle of it the different families or
generations have their fires, while they sleep next to the walls, lying on the ground,
underneath rabbitskins and other less elegant robes, and amid a filthy cluster of baskets,
dogs, and all the wretched trumpery dear to the aboriginal heart.” 7
A more professional description is given a few years later by Lewis Henry
Morgan (1818- 1881), one of the most outstanding American anthropologists.
Regarding the long- houses of the Iroquois, who called themselves the
Ho-de-no-sau-nee (People of the long house).
“The long house consisted of a strong frame of upright poles set in ground, which were
strengthened with horizontal poles attached with withes, and surmounted with a
triangular, and in some cases with a round roof. It was covered over, both sides and roof
with large strips of elm bark tied to the frame with strings or splints. An external frame
of poles for the sides and of rafter for the roof were then adjusted to hold the bark
shingles between them, the two frames being tied together.
The interior of the house was compared at intervals of six or eight feet, leaving each
chamber entirely open like a stall upon the passage way which passed through the center
of the house from end to end. At each end was a doorway covered with suspended skins.
Between each apartments, two on a side, was a fire pit in the center of the hall, used in
common by their occupants. Thus a house with five fires would contain twenty
apartments and accommodate twenty families, unless some apartments were reserved for
storage. They were warm, roomy and tidily- kept habitations. Raised bunks were
constructed around the walls of each apartment for beds. From the roof- poles were
suspended their strings of corn in the ear, braided by husks, also strings of dried squashes
and pumpkins. Spaces were contrived here and there to store away their accumulations of
provisions… Whatever was taken in the hunt or raised by cultivation by any member of
the household, as has elsewhere been stated, was for the common benefit. Provisions
were made a common stock within the household.
Here was communism in living carried out in practical life, but limited to the household,
and an expression of the principle in the plan of the house itself.”
Stephen Powers, Tribes of California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), p. 174.
1. Descriptions such as the ones cited above, carry with them the
of the writers.
Example: “…filthy cluster of baskets, dogs, and all the wretched
trumpery dear to the aboriginal heart.” or “Here was communis m
in living carried out in practical life.”
2. Concepts must have specific
3. Definitions must stipulate those qualities that characterize a term.
a. A “house” might be defined as:
2) for the
b. This definition would include houses of different shapes,
sizes, colors, types of construction, as well as apartments,
hotels, and a wide variety of other structures.
c. Because of definition”3)” above it would exclude doll houses,
green houses, and dog houses.
4. Because we live in a world of variety of experiences, every definition
must distinguish between the concept that it denotes and other
concepts closely related to it by the process of
a. Houses must be differentiated from hospitals, stores, offices,
and other types of human structures and from ocean
liners, space ships, and trains, which “house” people
for temporary periods of time.
5. No language can have a separate
human experience. However, the more general we are with
our words of description, the more possible the confusion.
1. One approach to classification is simply to define all of the
categories with a
domain of study.
a. Houses could be classified according to the materials used
in them: rock, wood, concrete, etc.
b. Or they could be classified by shape: round, square,
2. Another approach is to arrange a set of categories by hierarchy,
such as from simple to complex, small to big, bad to good, etc.
a. These hierarchical classifications are called
1) A $50,000.00 house is more valuable than a mud hut.
2) This system can pose some problems however, as who
is to say which is more valuable to the
who lives there- the mud hut or the suburban home?
3. Any number of taxonomies can be formed:
a. Houses by
- leaves, fabric, ice, wood,
b. Houses by
- single family, multiple
family, community dwellings.
c. Houses by
- disposable windscreens,
space capsules, transportable tents, trailers, house boats,
immobile caves, houses, skyscrapers.
d. Houses by
- farm, village, city.
1. Anthropologists study many cultures to see what is common among
a. Do all cultures possess a sense of
reflected in the wearing of clothes?
b. Or do the clothes they wear reflect their
2. They also seek to find out how these cultural traits spread from
one area of the world to another. – When did people start
tailoring their clothes?
of concepts and classifications
1. A danger in classification systems is
a. It is not very helpful to simply say, that some people wear
b. One cannot on the other hand pull traits out of their
cultural contexts without a great loss of meaning. Putting
a ring in the nose of another person has different meanings
for Americans (a sign of enslavement) and for
Gypsies in South India (a sign of marriage.)
2. Another danger of classification is that we tend to
people into certain categories.
3. We also have to deal with our
bias when it comes
to classification. The words house, kitchen, family, money,
caste, etc. all have different meanings in different cultures.
G. No matter how detailed and accurate our concepts and descriptions, we
still have to give an
1. For this we must turn to hypotheses and theories.
1. Most anthropologists believe in a
2. According to L.H. Morgan in “Houses and House- Life of the
American Aborigines” on page 43, he believes that all cultures
evolved through the following stages:
1) Older period: From the first humans to the
domestication of the fire and subsistence on
2) Middle period: From fishing to the invention of the
bow and arrow.
3) Later period: From the bow and arrow to the
invention of pottery.
1) Older period: From pottery to the domestication
of plants and animals.
2) Middle period: From the domestication of plants
and animals to the invention of iron smelting.
3) Later period: From iron to the invention of the
c. Civilization: From the alphabet to the present.
3. Models such as these show not only a historical development, but
this development in terms of man’s
rationality and human progress.
4. In all cultures, there seems to be a logical evolution of that culture
and from the
1. In 1922, two new books introduced another approach to the study
of culture. (“Argonauts of the Western Pacific” by Bronislaw
Malinowski, and “The Andaman Islanders” by A.R. RadcliffeBrown.)
2. These two books treated societies as organic wholes, and gave
attention to the present
a. Cultural traits were explained in terms of their
significance and by the
within the society.
a. When there is a change in some cultural trait, it produces
in other culture traits.
Example: American suburban homes today would be built quite
different from those built before World War I. This reflects a change
in culture rather than building techniques.
Most houses built at the turn of the century faced sidewalks, to permit
easy access on foot to all parts of a town or neighborhood. Generally,
these houses included front porches, with swings for relaxing on hot
summer evenings and for courting; parlors for hosting guests and for
important family rituals, such as weddings and wakes; dining rooms
for formal meals; and large kitchens for work and casual visiting.
Backyards contained clotheslines, gardens, garbage cans, and small
garages. All of these reflected- and in turn molded- the life style of
Modern houses are linked to contemporary ways of living. Sidewalks
and picket fences are rare, having been replaced by carefully kept
lawns that display the householder’s pride in appearance. Gone are
the porches and alleys. Instead we have family rooms, patios, indoor
bathrooms, two- car garages, and swimming pools.
of houses on the land has also
Example: Early colonists uses a survey system known as “metes and
bounds” to demarcate their lands. A field would be bounded on two
sides by a river and a road and on the third by a line that met the
river at its fork and joined the road at the crest of the hill. When
towns were planned, streets were laid according to the main
topographical features in the area such as rivers, mountains, railroad
As the frontier expanded westward, a new survey method known as
the “Township- and- Range” system, oriented to the North Pole, was
introduced. Streets were laid out in a north-south, east-west grid,
creating a disorderly pattern in relation to earlier street patterns,
especially in some older cities. In the center of such cities, streets run
at angles to those in outer areas, and the articulation of the two grids
leads to irregularly shaped blocks and confusing intersections.
4. Housing is closely related to the
of a society.
a. Suburbs in the United States reflect a strong sense of private
b. Blocks are divided unto individually owned lots and within
the house, we have individual rooms which belong to
certain family members. The concept, “This is
is quickly learned.
5. We see similar values in the case of
a. Most farmer in other parts of the world would live in small
hamlets for companionship and safety and walk to their
b. American farmers would live alone, in the manner of lords
over their private lands, traveling to town for supplies
and social purposes.
6. In the Western world,
of land carries with it a
rights , including the right to transfer
7. It does not however, give him absolute
Example: A man living in an area of immaculately clipped lawns may
decide to let his yard grow wild, but he will soon face an army of
angry neighbors demanding that he conform to local custom of
maintaining his lawn.
Zoning laws prevent a man from building a barn in the middle of
a housing tract. The government also retains the right to repossess
land whenever it is needed for greater public good.
8. Other cultures have different ideas of ownership.
a. In tribal areas of the world, land is owned by the
and cannot be sold. Individuals are given the right to use
certain tracts of land by their kin group.
b. As long as a man tills the soil, he may “
it and pass it down as an inheritance to his sons. If the
land is unused, it reverts back to the tribe, who then
assigns it to someone else.
c. The land can never be
9. This concept of ownership, in which one has a right to use or rent
land but not to sell the ultimate rights in it, is termed,
10. Differences among concept of land ownership have led to many
Example: The American Indians, “sold” the rights to use land to
Settlers, who in turn refused to relinquish these rights when the
Indians expected and demanded their return. The colonists believed
they had acquired permanent rights to the land, a cultural
assumption they enforced with guns.
C. Function and the
1. Cultural practices generally exist because they meet some individual
_ _ _need__ .
a. People have
requirements such as
food, shelter, and reproduction.
b. They also have
needs such as
a sense of security and the means to reduce anxiety in
situations where an element of chance or hazard exists.
c. Thus, people build houses for shelter against the weather and
protection from other people and beasts. They also
provide people with a sense of place, personal identity,
2. Attitudes differ when it comes to individual
Example: In the U.S., front lawns are public but not for general use,
and backyards are semiprivate. Walls provide privacy in the house,
and there are different levels of permissible access. Living rooms are
public, although entry to them is regulated by a number of very
complex and often subconscious customs. Kitchens and dens are
semipublic and open to friends, while bedrooms and bathrooms are
By contrast, south Indians often entertain friends in the bedroom, but
their kitchens are extremely private. It is a serious breach of etiquette
for non-family members to enter the kitchen, and their presence may
defile it, making elaborate purification rituals are necessary.
D. Function and
1. Radcliffe-Brown rejected the notion that function was limited
to biological and psychological needs. He taught that culture
had more to do with the
a. American houses are closely linked to American style
b. The house is designed for the
(Parents and unmarried children) Relatives and friends
may stay for a while, but the house in not designed
c. Thus, when children marry, there is a
to move elsewhere because the house is poorly designed
to suit them living with the parents for a long period of
d. By contrast, the long-houses, of the Iroquois reflected their
families, in which
daughters stayed with their mothers after marriage.
2. In America there is also a relationship between housing and
a. Wealth, power, and prestige often lead to differences in
housing, not only in style and cost, but also in
. Certain areas of any town
would be considered “well to do” while others would be
3. An individual’s house in one of the important
symbols whereby he can display wealth and position.
a. Lloyd Warner used the cost and location of a person’s house
as two of the four measurements in his formula for
assessing the rank of a person in the American Society.
1. Functionalism ignores
a. Functionalism shows how things operate now, but not
why those things are the way they are or how they got
e.g. A cross worn
on the neck may
serves the function
other of the same
belief, but if seen
in its religious
context may be
thought of as a
good luck charm
2. Functionalism fails to account for
a. Complex cultures have internal tensions and conflicts that may
may foster disintegration.
Example: Segregated housing may serve the interests of the
rich, but it can create an explosive resentment among the poor.
What is functionally useful for one part of a society may be
disruptive for anther part or for the whole of the society.
constantly in response to
internal and external factors.
3. Functionalism in an extreme form allows for no
judgments and rejects such concepts as
a. Whatever is, is
b. Thus, it could be argued that slavery, colonialism, racism, and
fascism are justified in particular cultural settings, because
they help maintain those societies.
c. Likewise, if a particular style of housing is found in a given
society, why try to change it in favor of a more modern
d. In 1963, Robert Brown, a philosopher, stated that one of the
dangers in arguments of cause and effect is to explain a
process by its
and not by its
Example: One might argue that it rains because rains bring
good crops. This logic is obviously false. Functionalist
arguments can fall into the same trap. We may argue that
segregated housing (what it does for the society and the reason
for its existence) is to maintain stratification in the society. It
may not be as obvious, but the logic here is equally false.
4. Functionalists do not take seriously the
ideas and beliefs.
Example: Why do Christians spend money for churches,
hospitals, or schools in other countries, when there are
no apparent gains to themselves? If we inquire, they will
explain their actions in terms of their faith in God and the
desire that all should hear about Him. A functionalist
however, would explain that programs help maintain and
integrate the Christian community by providing it with
a common task that unites people. In order to carry on such
programs, the people must organize ways for raising money,
recruiting personnel, and spending the fund abroad. These
tasks, themselves draw the people in the contributing churches
together and strengthen their faith. To a strict functionalist,
the content of the people’s faith is irrelevant to the analysis.
of Functional Theories
a. People do consciously
acts and organize
institutions to achieve certain ends or goals. They hire
police to maintain peace, build houses for shelter, and
establish schools to educate their children.
b. Lets look at the function of
1) The first common reason for dress is
from inclement weather. People depend on clothes
and houses to create artificial environments for
their bodies which enable them to survive almost
everywhere on earth.
*Often people are indifferent to the weather:
Example: The Yahgan of the southern tip of
South America live in temperatures commonly
below freezing, with snow and cold rain, yet
they once wore almost no clothes at all. When
they began to adopt Western dress, their health
declined. The same indifference is seen in
Western men who wear formal attire on hot
evenings or women who wear mini skirts in
2) Another reason people wear clothing is for
. Certain parts of the body are
exposed for public review and admiration while
other parts are considered private, and their
exposure in public is considered immodest or even
immoral. Proper dress in respect to modest varies
from culture to culture. We might consider
Australian men who wear only a tassel made of
human hair hanging from their belts to be
immodest. Arab women who keep their faces
covered in public by veils would consider
American women immodest for not doing so.
Modesty however, serves the important social
function of regulating the potentially explosive
relationships between the sexes.
3) A third function of clothes is
People like to be beautiful and noticed. Most people
in all cultures are not concerned only with a few
drab wraparounds which meet the needs of
protection and modesty. Color, pattern, texture,
style, and decoration, along with hairdos,
mustaches and beards, tattooing, jewelry, cosmetics,
and perfumes, all show that adornment is an
important part of dress.
a. In contrast to manifest functions which are the expressed
goals for which human activities are organized, latent
functions are the
consequences of these
b. Going back to dress as an illustration, along with protection,
modesty, and adornment, it also serves in less obvious
1) The visible indicator of
. It is important
to identify the sex of a person so that one can act
appropriately toward them.
Example: Men in south Indian villages in the past wore
mustaches, and clean shaven foreign males were often
mistaken for females. In the West, men wore pants, and
the first women to do so were often the brunt of
a) The current trend of unisexual clothing is more
than just a whim of fashion- it reflects and
advances the growing
sexes and the decline of specialized
2) Clothes also speak of
status . Royalty and
nobility need ways to show their superiority from
the common people, and clothes are a convenient
way to do so. In America, formal attire, tuxedos,
business suits, furs, and jewelry, all indicate a
3) Clothes also indicate
Example: Doctor’s coats, military uniforms, priestly
garb, uniforms for postmen, clerks, or waitresses.
4) Clothes are also
It is easy to tell the
the local gang banger.
5) Clothes reinforce differences in social
. A professor would
not come to class in a bathing suit, nor would a
student go to a banquet in pajamas. Dress also
varies with day and night, the nature of the event
(wedding or bowling) and with the company of
people attending. (Mixed or one sex only) By
dressing appropriately, we reinforce the activities
6) Clothes reflect and in a measure, create,
. They express our
self image. Our desire for individualism
in the U.S. is indicated by our not wanting to wear
clothes identical to someone else.
Conclusion: Contemporary anthropologists go beyond simply collecting and classifying
cultural data. They seek to construct models that identify human
. Descriptive information may be interesting, but theories
that are good enable us to
Lecture 5 – “Cultural Ecology”
Introduction: Humans are closely linked to
and they depend
on it for all basic requirements of life. Nature also produces what humans
, such as predators, diseases, storms, droughts, and
fires that destroy people.
People are not just passive recipients of the forces and fortunes of nature.
They clear forests, cultivate soil, carve roads through mountains, and produce
medicines to cure diseases. They heat their homes in winter and cool them in the
summer. They create artificial environments which are products of their
As technology develops in complexity, humanity becomes more and more
on metals, plastics, fuels and nuclear energy to
maintain the culture it has developed. What would it be like in America
without electricity or automobiles? The tyranny of nature could be replaced
by an equally dangerous tyranny of
must be maintained between technological
advancements and nature. Man must adapt to the changes taking place in
I. Types of Adaptation
1. The human being’s ability to survive depends, in part, on the ability
of the human body to adapt
Example: The natives of the Andes Mountains in South
America are a good example of biological adaptation. While
most people at elevations of 17,000 feet suffer from dizziness,
shortness of breath, and light-headedness because of a lack of
oxygen, these mountain dwellers live normal lives. Their bodies
have developed 1.5 times the hemoglobin content of the blood
and the lung capacity of people who live at or near sea level
which enables them to live in this rarefied air.
When these highland Peruvians descend to sea level, they
suffer from high blood cell counts and from an excess of
several important body acids. A successful adaptation in
one environment thus becomes a weakness in another.
Studies show that the Eskimos flow of blood in their hands is
double that of most white men; therefore, they can survive in
extremely cold climates with minimal danger of frostbite to
2. The human body is not
to specific environments.
It can adjust to a wide variety of alternative cultures and climates.
1. By building cultures, people can push back the limits of their
a. Clothes and houses enable them to live in regions where they
could not otherwise survive.
alter the natural patterns of disease
c. Cities could not exist without the advanced agricultural
technology that enables farmers to extract more food from
the soil than it would produce untended.
2. Technology influences
a. People in pre-industrial societies are dependent upon the
sun for light and the timing of their activities is determined
largely by the cycle of day and night. The development of
artificial light enables humans to extend many of their
daylight activities well into the night.
of the year influence human behavior.
Example: South Indian farmers work hard from June, when it first
rains and crops are planted, to January, when the harvest is gathered.
Marriages, festivals, and evening entertainments are reserved for the
nights of February through May, when the hot dry days make it
impossible to work in the fields.
Modern industrial societies would be less affected by seasonal changes
and yet people do choose their clothing and plan vacation with a view
of the weather.
will not completely determine a culture. Different
cultures often develop in the same geographical regions. A good
illustration of this is in the southwestern part of the United States where
in the same region you have the sheepherding Navajos and the agricultural
II. Levels of Subsistence
is one of the basic requirements for the existence of people
and societies and therefore plays a key role in the formation of any culture.
1. Procuring and processing food are closely linked to
Example: Muslims do not eat pork, and Hindus refuse to eat
beef, even though they may be in abundant supply, just as
Americans have refused to eat horse meat during the past
2. New technology has taken us from cultures that simply gather anything
edible to a highly systematized production of food by natural and
3. We must reject the
however, that cultures that
do not possess this technology do not necessarily have simple
a. American culture places a high value on material goods which
is indicated by our factories, department stores,
investments, and stock markets. We tend to
the development of other societies by their levels of
technology and assume that cars are superior to oxcarts,
that material possessions reflect a man’s status, and that
everyone would like to own a refrigerator.
b. Other cultures, by contrast, place high values on human
beliefs or values.
c. Development of culture in one area of culture does not imply
development in all areas.
1) A culture may not have solved the environmental
problems of famine and disease, but they may
provide more satisfactory answers to the human
questions of old age, orphans and widows, or the
very meaning of life itself.
a. What these cultures hunted or gathered depended on the
availability of that which was edible.
b. Their ability to gather food was expanded by the development
tools such as digging sticks, stone
hand axes, scrapers, clubs, and throwing sticks. Later
tools were developed such as joining
articles together to form spears, harpoons, nets, traps,
blowguns with poisonous darts, and various types of bows
on hunting and gathering cultures.
a. Rarely is there more than one person for each square mile
of land and commonly the ratio may be one person in
50 to 100 square miles.
b. People are usually grouped into small bands of 20 to 50
throughout the year to take
advantage of seasonal food plants, roving game, and water
c. Small bands are often linked by marriage and interaction into
numbering 200 to 500 people.
d. By comparison, the average American college student relates
to 1,000 people on a first name basis and would have
casual relationships with many others.
of people in these cultures rarely
changes: able bodied men and boys do the hunting, the
women gather roots or berries, and the children, old, or sick
remain in camps which are near water supplies.
in these cultures usually exists
on a hierarchical system based on kinship and inheritance.
g. Initially, food-gathering societies dominated the earth’s
population. Today, less than
people would exist in this type of culture, scattered in the
marginal regions of the earth.
of plants and animals turned
man into a producer of food, generating the cultural
revolution that ushered in the
2. The origin of
a. Farming seems to have originated in several places: in
southwest Asia, with the domestication of wheat,
rye, flax, peas, apples, pears, and plums; in southeast Asia, with the cultivation of rice, sugar cane,
coconuts, bananas, citrus fruits, breadfruit, yams,
and cotton; and later along the Gold Coast in Africa,
where millets and sorghum were raised.
b. Three fifths of the current world agricultural production
presently comes from crops that were unknown in
Europe prior to Columbus such as beans, squash,
maize, corn, pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes, chili
peppers, artichokes, avocados, guavas, passion fruit,
pineapples, and tobacco. These crops first appeared
in Central and South America.
a. New technologies were developed for the production and
of food. With this came the
development of pottery, woven baskets, and refined
tools made of polished stones.
became a valued commodity, that
could be owned by individuals or groups, and
methods were devised for survey of it.
made it possible for
some people to specialize in the production of tools,
while others chose religion or trade.
d. People began to settle in permanent
built houses, and began to make articles not
essential to life such as mirrors, combs, chairs, and
e. Social and
changes took place
due to people living in larger groups.
4. The domestication of
a. People began raising animals for
harnessing their energy for
a. Bronze, gold, silver, copper, and later iron were
b. There was rapid development of temples, palaces, and
c. Religions developed with priests and philosophers.
d. Governments with kings and nobles.
came into being with merchants and
the construction of armies and massive fortification.
6. Today, all food is produced in the world from cultivating less
percent of the earth’s surface.
D. Four Types of food-producing cultures
a. Horticulture or gardening is an early type of agriculture
where seeds are sown, weeded, and harvested
a. People who raise animals for food are called
b. A great deal of
exists in these
cultures. Some drink milk and make cheese, others
animals and blood are eaten. The hair or fur of
animals is used for clothing or tents.
c. Many pastoralists are
, moving from
one grazing land to another, often in a regular
yearly cycle that is referred to as
a. This is a high productivity level of food producing but
requires specific types of
technology that allows farming the land over long
periods of time without significantly depleting soil
b. People learned to improve crops and animals through
selective breeding, to control the supply of water through
irrigation, and to market the surplus. This resulted in rapid
expansion of trade and social interaction.
c. Through this period, man had to realize how to
the resources on which they
depended for their existence.
a. This resulted from the harnessing of new forms of
, particularly those derived from
b. Human and animal power became less significant, as steam,
gasoline, electricity, and today atomic fission and fusion,
increased tremendously the power available for human
c. New sources of power produced more tools which produced
mass production of
prices to the common person.
d. Mass production called for new systems of
based on transportation and
changed peoples minds about
what was considered a need.
f. Production and marketing produced the need for banking,
financing, insuring, accounting. When these services
fail to emerge as is the case in some countries, the growth
of those nations is hampered.
g. Industrialization leads to a high degree of
in tasks and the complex development of administrative
did the majority of the work while
man was needed for service and administration. In the U.S.
nearly two thirds of the labor force is in non-manual
1. Increase in knowledge and technological breakthroughs continue
to revolutionize the relationships between nature and humans.
a. Chemical and biological technologies, atomic energy, and
computers continue to have an impact on this era of
b. Machines have multiplied people’s
powers, while computers extend people’s
2. Synthetic foods are now being produced from inorganic materials.
II. The Current Revolution
1. Population has not always grown at the rate it is now. In 1348 A.D.
the plague, aptly called the “_____black_____ _ __ death____”
eliminated from a quarter to a third of Europe’s population in
one year. By 1650, the population of the earth had grown to only
about 500,000,000 people, and many societies were weak because
2. The present population growth began in the middle of the 18th
Century and continues to escalate.
a. In 1800 the population reached one billion.
b. It took
years to reach the second billion.
c. It took
years to reach 3 billion.
d. It took
years to reach 4 billion.
e. It took
f. It took
years to reach 5 billion.
years to reach 6 billion.
3. The population increase is due largely to modern
a. Vaccines, sanitation, and modern medicines have cut death rates
in half while birth rates remain high.
b. Infant and child rates have been cut the most enabling many
more girls to become mothers.
4. Birth rates have been
in recent years particularly in
developed countries where there is a desire for higher standards of
living and higher levels of health and nourishment.
5. Poorer societies continue to see birth rates go up while death rates are
down, putting pressure on their standards of living.
1. What is the “__ _carrying_____ _____ capacity_____ ” of the earth?
Will we ever run out of resources?
a. People in the U.S. consume nearly half of the resources
produced in the world each year, yet they comprise
less than 1/15th of the world population.
b. Americans also produce more waste materials (junk cars,
agricultural and industrial waste) than anywhere else
in the world. The average American disposes of an average
pounds of waste each day.
c. Americans also
more than most people in the world.
If everyone in the world ate as Americans do, the world
could only support 1,200,000,000 people.
2. Some resources, especially
is not renewable.
3. We must learn to be wise stewards of God’s creation.
Lecture 6 – “Symbolism and Communication”
Introduction: Humanity’s basic achievements – its technology, social organization,
knowledge, and beliefs – as well as its ability to
depend on people’s ability to think in
People have the ability to
signs and symbols for ideas,
actions, and other phenomena, thereby giving them cultural significance.
This sets them apart from the animal world and enables them to create complex
“Everywhere we turn, we see the symbolic process at work. Feathers worn on the head or
stripes on the sleeve can be made to stand for military rank; cowrie shells or rings of
brass or pieces of paper can stand for wealth; crossed sticks can stand for a set of
religious beliefs; buttons, elk’s teeth, ribbons, special styles of ornamental haircutting or
tattooing, can stand for social affiliations. The symbolic process permeates human life at
the most primitive and the most civilized levels alike. Warriors, medicine men,
policemen, doormen, nurses, cardinals, and kings wear costumes that symbolize their
occupations. Vikings collected their victims’ armor and college students membership
keys in honorary societies, to symbolize victories in their respective fields. There are few
things that men do or want to do, possess or want to possess, that have not, in addition to
their mechanical or biological value, a symbolic value.” 8
I. The Symbolic Process
1. Symbols may be objects, colors, sounds, odors, acts, and events – in
short anything that can be
- to which
people have assigned meaning or value.
2. On the one hand, symbols have an
form, by which they enter our experience.
3. On the other hand, symbols are mental
. The word
“tree” is a combination of particular sounds and a set of marks
on paper, but it is also a
in the minds of the
speaker or writer.
B. Symbols as human
1. People are free to
symbols and manipulate
them to form new and complex ideas.
Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1949), p. 22.
a. We can agree to let “X” stand for dollars and “Y” for hours,
or we can let “X” stand for gallons of gasoline and “Y” for
2. This ability to create and manipulate symbols sets us apart from the
animals. The command to “roll over” can be taught to a child or a
dog. The difference is, that to a child, these words may be either a
sign or symbol, whereas to a dog, they are only a sign.
are direct representations of other things.
Example: Snow is a sign that it is cold outside; smoke is a sign
of fire. There are countless cultural signs: road markers, street
lights, barber poles, flowers at funerals, and rice at weddings.
, link physical things with mental
c. Confusion can come when they may be interpreted either way.
Example: Students can learn to read Latin aloud without
understanding the words, because to them, the printed words
are signs instructing them to utter particular sounds. To Latin
speakers, however, the words are symbols, conveying meanings
which can be abstracted from the printed and spoken form
and rearranged into new sentences.
C. The arbitrary nature of symbols
1. Because people arbitrarily assign meanings to things, meanings are in
rather than in the symbols themselves.
a. Often we confuse symbols with the
and things they symbolize.
Example: Some movie audiences in Africa jeered when John
Wayne acted the part of a bumbling cowhand, because they
knew from a previous film that he was an expert gunslinger.
They did not comprehend that movies are symbolic
representations rather than factual enactments. Likewise many
Englishmen felt that the government deprived them of 12 days
of their lives when a calendar change was made in 1752 and
September 2nd became September 14th . We in America are
encouraged to go deeply into debt to buy big cars and
expensive homes to show prosperity, and students cheat to get
good grades, which supposedly stand for a high level of
b. We are also tempted to use
making words generalizations and overlooking specifics
within the group of which they refer.
Example: “Gang members are trouble makers.” “Americans
are racist.” “Polynesians have more than one wife.” These
statements can only be supported by some specific instances.
We rarely trouble to survey data to test whether our
generalizations actually fit all or most of the cases involved.
The result is a prejudice that has little connection to reality.
c. Words can be
Example: Democracy, socialism, Christianity.
d. Symbols can
in meaning over time.
Example: At the end of the 19th century, deeply tanned skin
was associated with outdoor labor, and women shielded
themselves from the sun with wide hats, long sleeves, and
parasols to preserve their pale color. Today, a tanned skin
indicates a life of leisure on the beach, particularly in northern
areas in the winter, so people who cannot afford an expensive
vacation turn to sun lamps and tanning lotions to darken their
D. Symbols based on
1. Symbols have a degree of conventional
the community that uses them.
may develop their own personal symbols.
Example: A child pretends that her doll is grandpa, and an adult
devises ways of reminding himself of a task he must do.
however, depends on sets of symbols
by groups of people.
4. We learn the meanings of words and symbols from the way they
are used in everyday life, though the meaning of any symbol
may vary slightly from person to person.
Example: A dog lover and a postman may agree as to what a dog is,
but have quite different feelings toward the animal itself.
5. People reach general consensus on the meanings of symbols, in part
because they share similar
experiences . Most
people have seen hills, trees, stop signs, cars, etc. They learn by
watching the behaviors of others when they see these things.
6. People are at a loss when something is
terms outside their experience.
Example: A poor dictionary would define “badinage” as “persiflage”
and “persiflage” as “badinage.”
Unless the reader knows one or the other of the words, he has no
clue as to the meaning.
is very limited however.
That which we have personally seen, heard, tasted, felt, and
smelled. This is called our
8. Thus, we rely on a
world for our knowledge.
This knowledge is acquired through the words, spoken or written,
of parents, friends, teachers, and strangers. Symbolic systems
enable us to communicate and learn about the extensional worlds
9. Symbol systems can be held in
with other people
within a particular culture – to call this thing a “tree” and not a
“chettu” and to drive on the right side of the road and not the left.
1. No two people mean the exact same thing by the same word and no
two words in any one language are identical.
Example: Swastikas, which may evoke nationalistic feelings in parts
of Europe, are symbols with religious significance in India.
2. As a result, absolute
in communication is
impossible. However, cross-cultural communication is possible
for several reasons.
a. The processes of human
b. People share a common range of human
They must provide physical needs such as food and
protection and they face disease and death and they interact
with their fellow humans and animals.
c. People have the ability to
frameworks to take differences into account.
Example: We learn to adjust to someone speaking with a
strong English accent or southern drawl.
1. Communication, in general, is the transmission of
from a “sender” to a “receiver.”
2. Communication is not limited to humans with humans.
Example: Bees communicate to each other the direction of honey.
Men turn keys to start their cars and feed information into
computers which solve complex problems. Time clocks ring school
bells, signal lights control traffic, and computers control precise
machines in factories.
1. The sender
communication by transmitting a
“message.” To do this, he must select a “medium” and encode his
ideas into symbol forms which can be experienced by the receiver.
2. When one tries to learn a new
, we become
aware of the processes of communication and not just the content.
a. First the sender must put his message into the language and
symbol system of the culture.
b. He also encodes his message in terms of his own
. His choice of words, the
way he pronounces and arranges them, the feelings they
carry, and even the message he communicates are
determined by such personal factors as his position in
society, geographic location, past experiences, and present
c. Encoding also takes the
Example: We may communicate one way with our friends,
another with our parents, teachers, Pastor, policeman, etc.
d. This whole process is quite
complex . The speaker
must select words, modify them according to tense, gender,
and number, using them according to the rules of language,
and arrange them in proper sequence.
e. He must also produce
to show anger, scorn, fear, etc.
f. Facial expression, gestures, postures, and mannerisms all convey
meaning as well.
1. The receiver receives, decodes, interprets, and responds to the
2. He is
to receiving messages transmitted in
languages and symbol systems with which he is familiar.
3. Lost of communication takes place because of dialectic variations
or sub-cultural or regional differences.
Example: Imagine the response of an American service station
attendant to an Englishman who asks him to fill the tank with petrol,
check under the bonnet, and clean the windscreen while the
Englishman rearranges the luggage in the boot!
4. There is always some
of meaning when messages
are translated from one language to another.
5. Some cultures employ certain symbol systems to communicate
messages that are communicated by different systems in other
Example: Hindus commonly use dance and drama to communicate
religious feelings, unlike most Christian groups in the west.
6. The receiver, like the sender,
through his own personal and cultural experiences.
a. If a
background exists between the two
the effectiveness of the communication is high.
7. Loss or distortion of communication may arise when the receiver
blocks out part or all of the message.
Example: A test was done at Wayne State University and reported
by UPI in August of 1968. Students in a large college class were asked
to record what they were thinking about when a cap gun was fired in
class. The results showed that only 20% of the students were listening
to the lecture when the gun was fired.
8. People also tend to listen to only those things to which they
. This is especially true in religion or
9. People do
their ideas and beliefs however.
This usually takes place when the rewards of change outweigh
1. The medium is not the message, but the symbolic
by which the message was conveyed.
Example: There are many ways to transport goods from one place to
another – trains, cars, trucks, planes, etc. – so there are many ways to
2. The most obvious medium and most important is
3. There are two approaches to the study of language:
synchronic approach. This concerns itself
with the structure of the language at any given moment
in history and how it operates.
approach. This analyzes the
historical origins of language and how languages change
E. Synchronic Studies of Language
1. Languages are highly
deal of predictability.
and as a result show a great
Example: Yesterday Jane
the car to her friend
It is not difficult to fill in the blanks in the sentence above. The first
blank indicates a need for a word that is a verb in the past tense, such
as “drove” or “took”. The second blank requires an “s”, pronounced
“z” indicating possession.
2. There are two levels of study when it comes to language:
1) The mobility of lips and tongue working in combination
with the throat and nasal cavity enables the speaker
to make a surprisingly wide
2) The sounds are limited in languages ranging from
for Hawaiian to
in English, to close to
in some other languages.
3) These basic sounds are sufficient to express all human
4) The first step is to determine
are used and how they are made.
a) This is most easily accomplished by
an informant until he
is satisfied with the way the learner makes
5) Careful attention must be given at the outset in
learning a new language to the
sounds are made so that an
does not result.
Example: The English sound for “t” as in “ten” is made
by placing the tip of the tongue on the alveolar ridge
located just behind the upper teeth. Teluga, a south
Indian language, has two types of “t”. One is formed by
placing the tip of the tongue against the edge of the
top teeth, the other by rolling the tongue back, placing
the underside against the roof of the mouth, and then
snapping the tongue forward.
6) Most Americans find it difficult to pronounce names
borrowed from other languages, like “Ngoro,” or
nonsense words like “ngis.” The latter can be
pronounced correctly with a little self-deception
by going through the paradigm “singing,” “inging,”
“ninging,” and “ngis.”
7) Each language has its own complex
regulating its particular arrangement of sounds and
these must be discovered in order to describe its
phonetic structure completely.
8) Variations in tone, loudness, stress, inflection, and speed
can make subtle
in the meaning of sentence and change it
Example: “He went to jail” can be a question, a matter
of fact statement, or an expression of surprise or
1) Grammar divides into two parts:
- which is the study
words and how they are formed.
- which is the study
of rules by which words are combined into
meaningful sentences and groups of
are the smallest units of
meaning in a language and may be words or parts
Example: “Touch” can be used as a “free morpheme”
a word that stands by itself, or can be used as a “root”
to which “bound morphemes” or morphemes that
cannot stand alone, can be added as prefixes and
suffixes, as in “untouchable.” It can also be combined
with other root morphemes to from complex words
such as “touchdown,” “touchtype,” or “touch-me-not.”
can take place which
are very complex at times.
Example: In English, nouns change to plural, simply by
adding an “s.” But notice the change phonetically by
contrasting what happens to the “s” in the plurals of
“bat,” “hand,” and “house.” In “bats” the “s” is
pronounced “s.” In “hands” the “s” is pronounced “z.”
In “house” not only is the last “s” pronounced “z” but
also in the middle “s” changes to “z.”
refers to the structural rules
by which morphemes are grouped into meaningful
Example: “The lady is going to town tomorrow.”
In this sentence we see the pattern that is typical in
English sentences: subject + verb + qualifiers. If the
order is changed (verb + subject + qualifiers), the
statement becomes a question: “Is the lady going to
town tomorrow?” Sense can be made of an
arrangement such as, “The lady to town is going
tomorrow,” but the listener is aware that something is
wrong. He may assume the speaker is a foreigner.
However, the arrangement such as, “Town tomorrow
lady going to is the,” is meaningless.
5) Syntax deals not only with the order of words but also
with their relationships to each other. In English,
as in most languages, there must be an agreement
in number between the subject and the verb and in
time between verbs and other morphemes
Example: We do not say, “The lady am going to town
6) Phonetics and grammar provides us with the rules
of sound and the structure of language, but alone
they are still not sufficient to teach us how to
a language properly.
Example: The sentence, “The town is going to lady
tomorrow,” is phonetically and grammatically
correct, because “town” and “lady” are both nouns
and theoretically interchangeable, but the sentence is
F. Diachronic Studies of Language
a. One way to study language is to compare different languages
1) If a few words are identical, nothing is proven as to
the relationship of the two languages. If more than
percent of the basic words, such as
“I,” “you,” “are,” and “is” are similar in two
languages, the probability that there is some
historical relationship between them is exceeding
2) Languages sometimes
each other, so some similarities can be explained in
this way. Borrowing is usually restricted to cultural
Example: “pajamas,” “kayak,” and “taboo.”
b. A second explanation is
1) If a speech community is split into regional groups by
migration and geographic separation, each group
will develop its own
In time, if communication between them ceases, the
differences between these two dialects becomes so
great that they are no longer mutually intelligible.
The result is a genetic derivation of two languages
from a common ancestral one.
Example: The Latin sound “p” regularly became “f” in
German and English words derived from Latin: pater –
father; pro – for; piscis – fish. Similarly, Latin “t”
sounds regularly became “th” in English: tres – three;
2) Through these studies, languages can be grouped into
** Similarity in language can be seen in the following three versions of the Lord’s
The Lord’s Prayer in Pidgin English
Papa blong mipela i stop on top
Narim blong yu i tambu
Lotu blong yu i horn long mipela
Mipela doon alasaem ol ontop
I harim tok boy blong yu
Yu bringum kai kai teden long mipela
Yu larim mipela alasaem mipela larumol
Yu no bringum mipela kloster long rot i nogut
Yu lusim altogeta somting i nogut
I rousa long mipela. Amen.
The literal translation would be the following:
Father belongs myself he lives on top,
Name belong you he holy.
Spirit belong you he comes to me.
Myself down (below) all the same on top.
He hears me talking to you.
You bring me food today for myself.
You teach (learn) me, likewise me learn all.
You don’t bring me close to the road that is no good.
You take alway everything that is bad.
He looks after me. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer in 1350 (after the Norman conquest, when English had a tang of
French to it.)
Oure Fadir that art in heuenes, halwid be thi name; thi kyndom cumme to;
be thi wille done as in heuen and in earth; gif to vs this day oure breed oure
other substaunce; and forgeve to vs oure dettis, as we forgeve to oure dettours;
and leede vs nat in to temptacioun, but delyuere vs fro yuel. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer in 1000 A.D. (When English was in its Teutonic infancy.)
Faeder ure thu the eart on heofonum; si thin name gahalgod. To-becume thin rice.
Gewurthe thin wille on earothan swa swa on heofonum. Urne gedaeghwamlican
hlaf syle us to daeg. And fogyf us ure gyltas swa swa we forgygath urum gyltendum.
And ne gelaed thu us on costnunge ac alys us of yfele. Sothlice.
“a linguistic method that uses the rate of
vocabulary replacement to estimate the date of divergence for distinct
but genetically related languages.”9
a. Another way to study linguistic change is to compare
forms of the same language
over different periods of time.
1) M. Swandesh, an early linguist, found that only about
19 percent of a language’s basic
vocabulary changed every 1,000 years.
2) Glottochronolgy is the
this linguistic change.
1. The earliest and most universal means of communication is
speech. This form however was, until the invention of
in time to the present,
and in range to those in the audience.
2. These limitations were historically overcome by the use of signs and
3. True writing is basically speech encoded in visual
4. In the first systems of writing, such as Egyptian, Sumerian, and
Chinese, visual signs represented
and each character conveyed an
5. The creation of phonetic signs, in which alphabetic letters represented
sounds rather than ideas, new advantages were found.
a. Because the number of phonemes in a language is limited
to a few dozen at the most, the number of signs needed
to represent them also is limited.
b. Instead of a sign for every word in the vocabulary,
only one sign for each
Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary., Eleventh ed.
(Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).
1. People have created media other than language and writing to convey
- is communication by gestures and
Example: Americans point to things with their index fingers,
A gesture considered obscene in some societies, where the
head, hand, or lip is used to point.
expressions convey a great many
subtle messages in ordinary conversation.
b. People also communicate with
1) Car horns, church bells, clapping, and hissing.
2) Artifacts, like dress, beards, crosses, and stars.
3) Touch, like holding hands, kissing, and pulling ears.
4) Smells, like perfumes, incense, and tracers in gas lines.
5) Tastes, like ethnic foods and birthday cakes.
A. Communication is a
process, as information is
passed from the sender to the receiver, who in turn feeds his
responses back to the sender by various means.
Example: During a lecture, students transmit their feelings by facial
expressions, such as smiles or yawns, and by means of body move ments. The teacher, in turn, adjusts his message, taking into account
the student’s feedback, and they in turn react to the new message with
increased attention or boredom. Communication is comprised of a
great many such cycles.
1. Even someone talking on the phone wants some feedback
such as a groan. If that feedback does not occur, the
speaker will usually say, “Are you still there?”
B. In all communication, there is a certain amount of
(Anything that interferes
with the reception of
Example: A blinding headache, a noisy neighbor, or a cold room can
distract the listener at a concert, as can an outlandish dress, bad
manners, or bad breath at a party. Like the message, static is related
to the receiver. What distracts one person may convey meaning to
another, as young people who enjoy rock music can attest to.
C. The message is also closely related to the general
within which the communication occurs.
Example: One does not usually propose marriage in a classroom, or
crack a joke at a funeral.
Conclusion: Culture is transmitted through communication. As people send messages
and receive them, a number of biases are introduced. The result, particularly in
cross-cultural communication, is often a loss or misinterpretation of the
Symbolic systems are important, because they form the core of any
, linking thought to behavior and objects, and thereby
bringing a measure of order and meaning to life itself.
Lecture 7 – “Statuses, Roles, and Relationships”
Introduction: Social anthropology is the study of human
of what makes relationships possible and what causes them to break down. It is
important, because much of human life centers around people .
Our greatest joys, our deepest sorrows, and our most difficult problems relate, for
the most part, to our interaction
Each culture has its own acceptable ways of conversing, gesturing, loving, and
fighting. When a person’s actions do not fit these expectations,
results. The patterns of interpersonal behavior
characteristic of a society are collectively called: “
Social organizations can be studied at three levels: the organization of
interpersonal relations, the organization of groups, and the organization of a
society. In this lecture we will look at the first – the organization of
interpersonal relations – and study the other two later.
I. Key Concepts
1. Ralph Linton, an American anthropologist, gave a precise definition
to the word “status” as a position in a social
system occupied by designated individuals.
a. He stated that there are a number of socially defined positions:
teachers, priests, merchants, farmers, mothers, carpenters,
of these positions varies from
society to society but all societies assigns all of its members
to one or more social positions for only then does a person
and a place in social
1. Role is the behavioral
that we have
for people associated with specific social status.
Example: We have an idea of how teachers should act, and we expect
them to behave differently from employers, friends, parents, or
2. All people in a society have some idea of
Example: We know how teachers and students “should” act. In
practice, a great deal of variation is permitted in these roles. Some
teachers stand, others sit, and some wander around the room. The
teacher may be a bad teacher, but be considered a teacher,
3. There comes a point in role behavior when even the minimum role
requirements are not met, and the person
Example: A student who never comes to class, hires others to write his
papers and take his tests, and spends his time rioting outside the
building against the school, is no longer recognized by society as a
C. Role sets and status sets
1. A “role set” – a single status associated with a
Example: A teacher has a single status, but has role relationships with
his students, his colleagues, the president or principal, the alumni,
or P.T.A. Each of these roles is different and yet arises from a
2. A “status set” – an individual occupies a number of different statuses at
any one stage in his life.
Example: Our teachers may be a Republican, a Baptist, a husband, a
father, a member of the bowling league, and many other statuses
in addition to his status as a teacher.
3. A “status cluster” is when a group of statuses commonly go together.
Example: The status of a husband often leads to that of a father, and
then later, a grandfather. Likewise a laborer may be expected to
become a labor union leader.
a. In normal everyday life, the individual moves freely from one
status to another and changes his behavior accordingly.
Example: At one moment, a person is a student, but at the bell,
he turns into another type of social creature: a friend, a
football player, or a waiter at a restaurant.
b. This often can lead to
. The demands
of his school for academic excellence may
with those of his football team or job. To avoid these
conflicts, a person may use a number of different
1) He may set certain
statuses. (Football comes before studies)
2) He may ally himself with and seek the assistance of
those in power. (The coach can ask the teacher to
excuse him from some assignments)
3) He may make the conflicting demands known to the
other members in his role set. (He can tell the
teacher and coach what the other is demanding)
4) He can seek the
of others with
the same problem. (The team can organize and put
pressure on the administration)
5) He can
one of the role relationships.
(He can quit the team)
this even more is that one person
can move through various role sequences in the course of
Example: The student becomes a teacher or the child becomes
a mother or father.
a. Taken together, the statuses in a society provide it with a
structure .” This
is a framework into which people are socially placed.
assigned to these statuses which allows people in different
statuses to interact smoothly and in predictable ways.
c. It may be frustrating to some to realize that much of our
by society and that
very few of our actions are based on our own decisions.
However, without some
understood order, relationships end in chaos.
d. By structuring behavior and making it habit
we don’t have to spend all of our energy making decisions
about our actions, but can concentrate on the
for which the relationship is established – whether this is an
economic transaction, social companionship, or something
e. Order in relationships also allows us to predict
to some degree the actions of others and therefore choose
a course of action aimed at reaching our goals.
II. Characteristics of Statuses and Roles
A. Role Pairs
1. All social relationships, for purpose of study, can be broken down
into basic role
Example: Student/Teacher; Doctor/Patient; Employer/Employee, etc.
2. There must be
as to the socially defined
statuses before there can be suitable interaction.
Example: When a student flirts with a professor, one or the other
must change his role if a conflict in roles is to be avoided.
3. Role pairs provide us a
to study social relationships.
Example: The American family can be broken down into eight
possible role pairs:
husband – wife
father – son
father – daughter
mother – daughter
brother – sister
brother – brother
mother – son
sister – sister
Each of these pairs has its won ideal role relationships. A man is
expected to behave in one way towards a son, another way towards
a daughter, and a third way towards his wife. When any family
member deviates too far from these expectations, the organization of
the family is at risk.
4. The study of the American family becomes more
when we add the practices of adoption and remarriage or when we
look at broader ties of kinship.
Example: Secondary role pairs in American families are as follows:
By remarriage and adoption
stepmother – stepson
stepmother – stepdaughter
stepfather – stepson
stepfather – stepdaughter
father – adopted son
father – adopted daughter
mother – adopted son
mother – adopted daughter
By marriage alliances
mother-in-law – daughter-in-law
mother-in-law – son-in-law
father-in-law – daughter-in-law
father-in-law – son-in-law
brother-in-law – brother-in-law
sister-in-law – sister-in-law
brother-in-law – sister-in-law
grandmothe r – granddaughter
grandmothe r – grandson
grandfather – granddaughter
grandfather – grandson
5. Variety in these roles takes place according to a number of
: the social context, the absence or presence
of an audience, and the psychological attitudes of the people
Example: A husband treats his wife differently in church, at the store,
in the home, or on the beach. He modifies his behavior when friends,
children, parents-in-law, or strangers are around and according to
how he feels toward his wife on that particular day.
6. Role expectations
Example: The ideal American father 100 years ago was an
authoritarian figure, a man of strength, and a bread winner. Now
he is expected to be a companion to his son and a partner in marriage.
a. When the change in roles is
, as in the case
of the role of women in the modern Western world, a great
deal of confusion
7. Many tensions in early married life center around
over the roles of husbands and wives in certain everyday
Example: Should the husband wash the dishes, do the laundry, or
warm the baby’s bottle? Should the wife handle the finances or help
earn a living? Confusion often comes because we try to resolve the
conflict by looking to the past, or to what others are doing, rather
than establishing a mutual agreement.
8. Role expectations also reflect cultural
a. Much of what we know about the American family is based on a
white, middle class
b. Other American sub-cultural groups based on class and ethnic
differences, define marriage roles in other ways.
across sub-cultural boundaries are faced
with reconciling sub-cultural differences in role
expectations along with the adjustment to changing roles.
9. Each culture will differ but have certain
Example: Some cultures permit men to have more than one wife at
a time, and others allow wives to have more than one husband.
Among the Trobriand Islanders of the South Seas, a man gives half of
the yams he raises for food to his sister and her family, and he
depends in part, on the yams raised by his wife’s brother.
Among the Kapauku of New Guinea, men marry as many wives as
they can afford for an economic investment – the more wives a man
has, the more fields he can cultivate. A husband can also “rent” one of
The ideal wife in a south Indian village will avoid the proscribed
behaviors in the following folk poem.
A wife who refuses the scraps from her husbands plate will be reborn a buffalo,
A wife who adorns herself with jewelry when her husband is away will be reborn a pig,
A wife who eats before her husband returns will be reborn a dog,
A wife who sleeps on the bed and gives her husband a mat will be reborn a python,
And a wife who murders her husband for another man will be reborn a monkey.
B. Multiplex and simplex roles
1. It is not uncommon for one person to be
by more than one pair of roles.
Example: Reverend Jones, the Pastor, leads the services in which
Mr. Smith is a member. The next day, he drops by Mr. Smith’s store
to buy some groceries, and while he is there, they arrange an
afternoon round of golf together. Later that week, they meet at the
P.T.A, where Mr. Smith is the chairman and Reverend Jones is the
2. When several role bonds exist between the same two people, it is
called a multiplex relation.
a. In these relationships we meet the same person in
b. As a result we are more aware of different
facets of their lives and in our conversations we are able to
talk about a lot more areas of common interest.
of knowing others is to be
d. When multiplex relations exist in a community, it is difficult
to maintain personal
. What we do
in one area of life is soon known to everyone.
e. Multiplex relations often lead to
Example: Mr. Smith wonders if he should give his Pastor
a discount at the store. The professor feels uneasy about failing
his friend’s daughter and so gives her an “A.”
f. Multiplex relations usually exist in
The same people go to church together, do business
together, and talk over the backyard fence.
3. When a person has only a single role relationship with another
person, it is called a
relationships are often simplex. We
meet a lot of people, but usually in a single role
Example: You may exchange, in passing, a few remarks
on the weather, sports, or some other general
non-threatening topic with the checker in the
supermarket where you shop. And in time, all lines
being equal in length, you may choose his line, because
he will approve your check without a hassle. After all,
he “knows” you. However, if you see him on the street
the next day, you may be confused. The face is familiar,
but you cannot place it. Only later, when you return to
the store do you put face and place together. The
checker is part of the economic transaction and is not
thought of in any other social situation.
b. Because urban relations are often simplex, cities are
often charged with being
c. City people are forced into groups in which the members
have little in common. Thus their lives seem more
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)
We Wear the Mask
WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
d. With time and effort,
social relationships can be
those that we have contact with in
C. Personal and Impersonal roles
1. Tournier, a Swiss psychiatrist,
speaks of “ _____ personage_______”
as the outer social mask or role a person wears
and of the “_____person_____” as the personal
thoughts, feelings, and actions of the individual.
a. In impersonal relationships, interaction takes
place primarily on the basis of formerly structured
roles, or as “____ _personage_____” -to- “____personage_____”
b. In impersonal relationships we do not care
occupies the role, as long as
Example: We do not particularly care who checks out our groceries, as long as
someone is at the cash register.
c. In impersonal relationships,
a minimum, and communication proceeds in one direction.
Example: A guide leads a tour through a museum or a teacher
gives the same lecture for 20 years straight. Loewen, an
American linguist, labels this type of communication “this-is-arecording.”
2. On the other hand we have deeply
relationships where the level of communication is
“_____ person_______ to _______ person_____ _.”
a. In these relationships, it
difference who the other person is.
Example: We are particular about who we marry.
D. Ascribed and Achieved Statuses
1. People are
to certain statuses.
Example: A woman may be born a princess, an heir to an industrial
empire, or an outcast. Through birth, everyone acquires certain
characteristics, such as sex, class, ethnicity, and geographic location,
that affect his social status.
a. These are called
statuses on the other hand, are gained
through effort or circumstances.
Example: A person may acquire wealth, education, or a vocation
through his own efforts.
2. Some societies, such as American, stress
a. We believe that people should be able to rise to the highest level
of their ability and efforts.
b. In this system, there is a great deal of
c. Close social relationships often
, as people move
from one social class to another, or move from one part of the
country to another.
d. Family ties sometimes
when one son becomes a
wealthy doctor or executive while the other sons remain blue
collar workers like their father.
e. These factors often lead to
3. Other societies, emphasize
Example: An Indian villager, is born into a caste which not only proves
him with a general social position and clearly defined ways of life but
also dictates who he can marry, when and how he should bathe, what he
should eat, where he should live, and how he should be buried.
a. While there is still a great deal of competition within such a rigid
social system for status, wealth, and power, the caste system
does provide a person with a measure of
in his social position.
E. Vertical and Horizontal Roles
1. Human relationships are either
a. Master / Slave; Employer / Employee; Teacher / Student; Parent
/ Child; are all examples of Hierarchical or
role pairs in American society, in which one person
assumes a superior role to the other.
b. Friends, work associates, neighbors, and brothers, and sisters, are
generally thought to be egalitarian or
Husband / Wife relationships are becoming increasingly
2. In many societies around the world, hereditary vertical roles, called
” relationships are common.
a. The patron is a master who assumes full responsibility for the
welfare of his clients, seeing to it that they have food, shelter,
and protection. He is like their father. Clients in turn, must
give their patron their full loyalty and labor. They not only
work in his fields and household, but vote for him if he runs
for office, and wield sticks on his behalf if there is a fight. In
exchange they get security and the prestige of associating
with an important man. There is no calculation as to whether
the values and services exchanged are
relationship is one of interdependence.
b. Americans often have difficulty in understanding these
relationships. We are taught to value our
and independence, and see such relationships as exploitive.
Example: One American administrator in a South Indian
hospital fired the washerman when they staged a work slow
down for higher wages. He soon found out that no one else
would do the work, because the original washerman’s families
had acquired the publicly recognized hereditary right to work
in the hospital. In the end, he had no recourse but to hire them
back to negotiate wages.
F. Cross-Cultural role confusion
1. Roles vary from culture to culture. When one moves from one culture to
comes from a misunderstanding of
the behavioral ideals and patterns of the new culture.
Example: American teachers may be surprised and uneasy when
students in some foreign countries stand and salute them as they enter
the classroom. Unaccustomed to bargaining over purchases,
Americans may return from a foreign marketplace with a sense of
guilt at having driven too hard a bargain or resenting to having been
cheated or having wasted time. Americans can become frustrated by
the fact that they must visit with a shopkeeper over a cup of tea before
they can make purchases, not realizing that in these societies building
personal relationships is essential, even for purely economic
2. Another type of confusion comes when an outsider tries to play a role
that does not
in the new culture.
Example: What do people in a non-literate village think of a stranger
who announces that he is a missionary? Having no idea of what such a
creature is, they can only observe his behavior to see what role in their
society he fits most closely and assume that this is, in fact, what he
really is. They may end up classifying him as a government official, a
rich patron, a teacher, or a spy. The problem comes if he does not live
up to the expectations that they have assigned him, they will charge
him with hypocrisy.
a. It is important than an outside choose a role
by the people, or at least be aware of the role that they have
caste him in. To fail to do so will create continual
Conclusion: A person who occupies a status is expected to
in certain ways,
and these behavioral expectations are referred to as a
. All the roles
related to a specific status are referred to as a
People have more than one status in a society, and all the statuses they have at one
time constitute a
Relationships exist between people in the same roles or statuses. Some of these are
multiplex, while others are simplex. Some are personal while others are impersonal.
Some are ascribed while others are achieved. Some are vertical while others are
Lecture 8 – “The Life Cycle”
Introduction: In studying anthropology, we must study it in relation to
Time changes things and change affects culture.
One way to study the effect that time has on culture is to arrange experiences in
contexts, assuming that what is happening now is a result
of what happened just before it and so on.
The second way to study time is to look for cyclical
(things that repeat themselves again and again in our experiences) and to examine
the order that underlies this repetition. Days, nights, summers, and winters, all
affect our biological systems and also our cultural activities. Every society has
: times to eat, sleep, work, relax, etc. Lunar fortnights, months, annual seasons, and groups of years, are all longer cultural cycles
which impact culture.
, itself, is a biological cycle of birth, childhood, maturity, and death,
a cycle that every society must account for.
I. Life Cycles
A. The life cycle of the American family
1. There is no
example – families vary in life spans of
members, the number and spacing of children, and the occurrence
2. The following is an example of the
family in 1960 based on census statistics:
“The average American woman maries by age twenty, the man by twenty two. The
couples exclusive companionship is often short-lived, for the first child generally arrives
within the first two years of marriage. For the following twenty five years, there are
children in the home. The last child is usually born when the mother is about thirty, and
family life-styles change as the children grow older and assume more responsibilities.
During this period, family income rises, reaching a peak when the husband between fort y
five and fifty five years of age. Later, income falls, gradually at first, more abruptly at
retirement, until it reaches a low point below that for young families.
When the parents’ ages range between forty five and fifty five years, the children are a ll
launched into the world on their own careers. The marriage of the last child reduces the
family to the original couple, assuming of course, that both are alive and still live
together. On an average, husband and wife share sixteen years together before one of
them dies. Two thirds of all brides become widows, surviving their husbands by about
nineteen years. Husbands who outlive their wives can expect to be widowers for about
II. Rites of Passage
A. Birth Rites
1. There are
phases to birth rituals:
1) Those involved in birth are moved away from their
2) Some societies require the pregnant woman to live away
from society in a special maternity hut, and observe
taboos on sexual relations and certain foods.
3) In America this separation from previous roles is not as
clearly defined, until the time of
Changes do take place in the
woman is treated however, when she is pregnant.
1) Individuals undergo a change to a new status.
2) There may be rituals to guard them against certain
dangers and assure their
their new status.
Example: For an American mother, this would mean
dietary restrictions, baby showers, instructions
from older women, and rites in the hospital,
where specialists give careful attention
1) For the mother, this includes a new
, that of
2) The child is given a new identity and status in the social
a. A person’s social status develops in part, from a
Nameless people are categories, not persons.
b. The naming of a child varies with the culture:
Example: The Ainu of northern Japan believe a child receives
its body from the mother and its soul from the father. Body
and soul merge on the twelfth day following birth, and only
then does the infant become a person and receive a name.
Children in India are considered persons at birth but are not
given permanent names until later, indicating their religious
and, often, caste affiliations. A name is determined by
astrological calculations, based on the moment of birth, and is
assigned on an auspicious day that may be months after
delivery. Many an Indian mother in the United States has been
frustrated on finding she could not take her child from an
American hospital until it had been named.
c. Names are more than
. They often provide
information concerning sex and character of an individual.
Example: Among some American Indian tribes, a male was
given a temporary childhood name and later an adult name
that fitted his character. Americans often follow this practice
by means of nicknames and diminutives, such as “Tommy,”
that are dropped later in life. South Indian villagers who have
lost several infant sons may try to deceive the evil spirits that
kill baby boys by giving a girl’s name to a newborn male. Only
when the boy is four or five years old and able to resist these
spirits are his name and dress changed that that of his own sex.
3. Social Status
a. A new child needs not only an identity but also a social status to
him to others in the society, particularly
to his parents.
1) The biological mother is established at birth and usually
also becomes the
mother. In the
case of adoption, another woman assumes the role
of sociological mother.
2) The biological father is not as easily determined. Middle
class Americans assume that the husband of the
mother is the father of the child, and a stigma may
be attached to a child sired by a man other than the
woman’s husband. This assumption is by no means
. In some societies, it is commonly
expected that someone other than the husband
should father the first child. Even in Western
cultures, a study of the role of mistress and unwed
mothers would show the equation of father and
husband is not always assumed.
b. A father is need to provide the child with a legitimate
Example: In India, a child gets his caste and family ties from
his father. Without these, he has no inheritance and cannot
marry, for no man would permit a marriage between his
daughter and a man of unknown status, for fear that the
marriage might be incestuous or out-of-caste. Consequently, in
cases of adultery, considerable effort is made to find a
sociological father, as we shall see in the following case study:
Balayya, the leader of the Weaver caste, was responsible for guarding his
widowed daughter from immorality after she returned home because her
husband had left her no inheritance. When he found out that she was pregnant,
he called the caste leaders together and explained the facts. They fined him for
negligence and were investigating the case further when the frightened adulterer
appeared, offering t pay to keep the matter quiet.
The elders decided that there was no use forcing another wife and child on a
man who already had difficulty supporting his own family. On the other hand
the expected child needed a father to give it family and caste ties. In the end the
elders let the adulterer off with a fine and ordered Balayya to find his daughter a
husband before the child was born.
After a long search, the parents found an old Weaver of seventy whose
cantankerous wife had died previously. He was now content to live alone. When
they first approached him, he was not interested. Even after they promised to
pay the wedding costs and to support the woman and child, he was not
interested. Only when Balayya sought the support of the elders who appealed to
the old man to help the child did he consent and a simple marriage was arranged.
The baby girl who was born shortly thereafter was given the family name of the
old man and thereby became accepted member of the caste.
c. The question of sociological father is often resolved by special
Example: Among the Todas of south India, the wife of the
oldest brother is automatically the wife of all his unmarried
brothers. The oldest husband can claim to be the father of his
wife’s child by making a small bow and arrow and placing
them in the fork of a tree. If he fails to do so, the other
husbands can claim the offspring.
The “couvad” a peculiar rite that often serves the same
purpose, has been found among such widely scattered peoples
as the Ainu of northern Japan, the Caribs of South America,
and in parts of China, India, and Spain. In this custom, the
father goes to bed following the delivery of his child while the
mother returns to work. This not only helps him to recover
form the ordeal but also enables him to lay claim to the child.
At times, the rite is also performed in order to protect the
weakened mother from evil spirits, who are tricked into
attacking the husband in the delivery hut.
d. Birth rites may also be sued to incorporate a child into
Example: In the United States, the rites of baptism,
christening, or circumcision may mark a child’s entry into a
4. Initiations Rites
a. Initiation rites which mark the transition from childhood to
are widespread around the world.
b. These rites are often associated with biological changes, but
primarily symbolize a change in
c. In America, social adulthood does
d. In some societies, the transition is celebrated only by males
while in others only by females.
e. Among the Banaro, a tribe in the interior of New Guinea, girls
are initiated after they have chosen a husband and arranged
. Richard Thurnwald writes
of this elaborate ritual:
“Wild pigs are hunted, and domestic pigs are slaughtered on different occasions,
once by the fathers of the girls, once by their mothers’ brothers. During a lapse
of all together nine months, the girls are confined to a cell in the family house,
getting a sago soup instead of water throughout that time. For the whole p eriod,
their fathers are obliged to sleep in the globin-house. At last their cell is broken
up by women, the girls released and allowed to leave the house. The women get
coconuts laid ready beforehand, and throw them at the girls, whom they finally
push into the water, again pelting them with coconuts. The girls crawl out of the
water on the bank receive portions of sago and pork, and are now dressed, and
adorned with earrings, nose sticks, necklaces, bracelets and aromatic herbs.
After this a dance of the women takes place.
That same evening… the men assemble on the streets of the village. The old
men consult with each other, agreeing to distribute the girls according to their
custom. This custom was explained to me in the flowing way. The father of the
chosen bridegroom really ought to take possession of the girl, but he is ashamed
and asks his sib friend, his mundu, to initiate her into the mysteries of married
life in his place. This man agrees to do so. The mother of the girl hands her over
to the bridegroom’s father, telling her that he will lead her to meet the goblin…
The bridegroom is not allowed to touch her until she gives birth to a child. This
child is called the goblin’s child. When the goblin child is born, the mother says,
“Where is thy father? Who had to do with me?” The bridegroom responds, “I
am not his father; he is a goblin child.” She replies, “I did not see that I had
intercourse with a goblin.”
The bridegroom, for his part, is initiated into sexual activity by the wife of his
5. American initiation rites
a. Americans have initiation rites into certain adult groups.
1) Basic training transforms the raw recruit into a soldier.
He is separated for a time, and his past social and
psychological identities are removed by means of
2) Similar rites, with different degrees of
are found in initiations into some religious orders,
secret societies, fraternities, sororities, and other
b. Americans have no
set of ceremonies marking
the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
1) Religious maturity is recognized by confirmation, or
2) The right to drive a car is generally granted at age
sixteen or seventeen.
maturity is reached between 18 and twenty-
4) Most states have laws
legally consuming alcohol, attending X-rated
movies, and disregarding curfews.
maturity is recognized by
is not gained until parents
and grandparents die and full responsibility is assumed.
6. Marriage rites
a. In many societies marriage is the most
transition rite. One old Indian villager explained why:
“There are three important days in a persons’ life: the day of birth, the day of
marriage, and the day of death. We are not old enough to celebrate the first, and
not around for the last, so we make the most of our marriages.”
b. Mating and marriage
1) Marriage as a social institution is related to the
biological processes of
, but the two are not the
a) Americans tend to equate marriage and mating
and traditionally have placed strong
marriage. This attitude is found largely in
Judeo-Christian and Muslim cultures.
b) Premarital mating is
some societies, particularly in the Pacific
islands. Mating is accepted as biologically
natural and essentially a personal matter.
Marriage here is seen as a
that legitimizes sexual union between
spouses and assigns them new roles in their
relationships to each other, their offspring,
their relatives and friends and to society in
c. Marriage involves more than a couple; it functions as an alliance
1) This fact is recognized in many societies where
by family members
in order to cement social relationships between
2) Even in cultures where this is not the case, the marriage
does affect many more people than just the bride
d. Marriages serve a number of
1) They provide entertainment and excitement which break
of everyday life.
2) They provide group
for the participants.
3) They act as public
others of a change in status so that people can make
appropriate adjustments in their behavior toward the
4) The marriage also helps the couple to learn and adjust to
their new roles.
Example: Some of these functions may be seen in the
marriage ceremonies of the Andaman Indians of the
When a marriage has finally been arranged an evening is appointed for
the ceremony… The bride is seated on a mat at one end of the dancing
ground, her relatives and friends sitting near her. Torches or heaps of
resin are lighted near by, so that the ceremony may be seen by
onlookers. The bridegroom is seated with his friends at the other end of
the dancing ground. One of the older and more respected men
addresses the bride, telling her that she must make a good wife, must
provide for her husband such things as it is the duty of a wife to obtain
or make, must see that he does not run after other women, and must
remain faithful to him. He then addresses the bridegroom to the same
effect, and taking him by the hand or arm, leads him to where the bride
is seated and makes him sit down beside her. The relatives and friends
weep loudly, and the young couple look very self-conscious and
uncomfortable. The shyness of the young man is such that he often
attempts to run away, but is caught by his friends, who are prepared for
such an attempt. After some minutes the officiating elder takes the arms
of the bride and bridegroom and places them around each others’
necks. After a further interval he again approaches and makes the
bridegroom sit on the bride’s lap. (When a husband and wife greet one
another the man sits on the lap of his wife.) They sit so for some
minutes and the ceremony is over. The other members of the
community generally have a dance on such an occasion, but in this the
newly wedded pair do not join. A hut has already been prepared for
them and … they retire shyly to their new hut, while the friends
7. American marriage rites
a. The American rituals of dating and marriage reflect a growing
in our culture.
1) For centuries in Western countries, courtship was strictly
regulated, and marriages required
consent, and often, arrangement.
2) Dating, as we know it today, began around the turn of
b. Modern American dating practices develop through several
: Casual dating, going steady, and
serious dating, and formal engagement. Each stage has its
symbols with rings, pins, jackets, etc. Just before the
wedding there are bachelor parties and bridal showers
which mark the
of single life.
itself, is an assortment of legal
contracts, religious vows, and social feasts, with symbols
such as the wedding gown, veil and train, flowers, candles,
cakes, and rings.
d. Some of these lose their significance over the years.
Example: Bridesmaids were once used by Germanic tribes to
confuse the evil spirits which would come to the wedding party
to carry off the bride. Wheat was thrown on the couple to
guarantee prosperity and rice assured fertility.
encourages the couple to practice
their new roles. Other things may follow, such as a
housewarming party, or welcoming ceremony.
8. Funeral rites
a. Functions of death rites
of the body and preparation
of the spirit for its new existence.
a) When Egyptian pharaohs were buried, food was
prepared for the journey to the spiritual land.
b) Many in African tribes, believe that the spirits of
to live on and
treat them as members of everyday life.
the return of the dead in the
form of ghosts, and certain rites to assure
that they do not are performed.
2) A second function is to channel the expression of
and provide comfort and support
to those who are living.
3) A third function is to
that the deceased have left in social areas. Property
may need to be distributed. Someone else may need
to be assigned a task to replace the departed.
4) Funeral rites also
the religious beliefs
of those left here. As people enact rituals, they
reaffirm and strengthen their faith in the
explanations that these rituals support. Most
funerals are significant events in the religions of
Example: The Death of Amara
The impact of death in terms of sorrow and social dislocation is
common to all societies, whether or not they have beliefs that give it
meaning and rituals to express their grief. Laura Bohannan vividly
describes her own experience among the Tiv of West Africa when a
young woman, Amara, returned to the house of her uncle Yabo, a
medicine man, for the delivery of her child.
The sun sank lower, thrusting yellow fingers of light through the
dilapidated thatch of Yabo’s reception hut. Amara still lived, her hand
held in her husband’s…
Yabo’s senior wife held her pipe from her mouth. “She dies.” Amara’s
husband still clasped her hand. “Bring me a feather!” he snarled at the
old woman. Then to me, “Is she dead? She cannot be dead.” I could
find no pulse. The feather below her nostrils did not stir…
The women broke into a terrible wailing, a banshee lament tore from
sole and body. Standing, hands clasped behind the head, body arched
and shaking with the cry hat began in a high scream and sobbed itself
slowly down the scale into silence…
Yabo’s senior wife… knelt by Amara, lifted her head and tied the torn
cloth about her face, masking it completely…
The women washed the body and smeared it heavily with camwood. I
helped them lift the body – it was very heavy – so we might wrap it in
the white cloth that had covered Amara during her last hou rs of life.
This task done, they called her husband. “Watch, while we go wash
death from us,” they told him. “Come,” they said to me, “Take your
lamp, and we will go wash in the stream.”
The next day the women of the Yabo’s homestead sat closely about
Amara’s body, with leafy branches in their hands to wave away the
flies. The hut was packed. All the senior women of the neighborhood,
all the young women who had known and liked Amara, were crouched
close together, covering the floor and even under the eaves…
Outside, Yabo rose. Slowly, without evident emotion, he told us of
Amara’s death and manner of dying…
Someone had killed Amara. The guilt must be fixed… Amara was past
help, and the judgment was a foregone conclusion. It would be Yabo.
His guilt had been in their eyes yesterday. Who else among them was
so ruthless? Who else so selfish? … Yesterday, Yabo had defended
himself with powerful conviction. He wanted to prove his innocence
because he wanted to find the guilty one. Today, his motive was gone;
he was slowly entrapped in his own character and by his own
As the hours wore on, Yabo’s protestations of innocence became
formal, set phrases. His repetition of the indictments leveled against
him – “I a witch?” “I wish her death?” lost their first shuddering denial,
became empty, then gradually were tinged with an evil, mocking pride
that attested their truth…. A witch’s reputation grows like a
philanderer’s every new conquest is attributed to the same man; and his
denials are call discretion….
At the end, he stood alone and upright, contemptuous of the accusers
snarling about him, laughing at their horror of the crime, until they
gave way before him fear and loathing….
The elders sat immobile and withdrawn. Some of the women came out
of the reception hut and began to move about in their own huts. It
seemed hardly the right atmosphere for a funeral feast, yet I could not
imagine what else they might be doing. No one paid any attention…
The men all rose to follow the body to the grave. Yabo drew me along,
and Kako nodded approval. There are many sights forbidden to women,
but only to protect the women from the powers they are not strong
enough to withstand. As a European, I was considered probably
immune to many of these influences; my continued survival confirmed
their opinion. Only some of the women… thought I might possibly be a
witch. But today even the men looked curiously at me as I stood by the
side of the open grave and watched them lower Amara’s body into it.
They covered her with branches, so the soil might not touch her. Soon
only a raw mound of red earth marked her grave. There had been n o
ritual, no ceremony of any kind… Everything that had been in contact
with the corpse must be destroyed or washed. The women might come
out; they too must bathe, and the gravediggers.
When the women had returned to the stream, I saw the reason for their
former activity. They were leaving… Yabo sat, intent, making no signs
as one after another of his wives and children walked away out of his
homestead, without saying a word… Yabo’s senior wife came out…
she alone was not afraid to remain with Yabo.
By the time I got home, the boys all knew. “The evil at heart are left
alone, sitting in a silent homestead. Yabo is a witch. He could not
refute it. And it is thus that witches are punished. 10
9. American Funeral Rites
their elite, in the belief that the
departing spirits would one day return to the earth if the
bodies were preserved.
b. The Greeks practiced
c. Christians in early American condemned these practices as
d. Early American burials were
1) Members of the family would wash the body and wrap it
in a sheet, then hold the last vigil as it lay in the
family parlor. After a service in the house of
church, the body was buried with a brief prayer of
2) Widow’s weeds and black veil, black crepe arm bands
and ties for men, drawn blinds, still clocks, and
dampened hearths were some of the
e. Following the
1) Use of metal coffins and embalming gained popularity.
2) Burial services moved to funeral parlors and signs of
World War I.
f. Current funeral rituals reflected a changing culture with
emphasis on comfort and
Example: Today the deceased may be viewed by family and
friends in a Colonial Classic Beauty Casket, made of 18 gauge
lead – coated steel with seamless top and lap and joint – welded
Elenore Smith Bowen, Return to Laughter (Anchor, 1964), p. 192.
body construction which rests on a Classic Beauty Ultra Metal
Casket Bier. The body, restored with Nature Glo cosmetics, is
dressed in handmade original fashions, and wearing.
Floershim shoes, with “soft cushioned soles and warm
luxurious slipper comfort, but true shoe smartness.” The well
dressed corpse rest on a Beautyrama Adjustable Soft-Foam
Bed. Following the service, it is transferred by hydraulically
operated Porto Life onto a Glide Easy casket carriage and
taken to the Cadillac Funeral Coach.
At the graveside, were the Lifetime Green artificial turf covers
the ground, the mourners, surrounded by stands of preserved
flowers and shaded by a Steril Chapel Tent which “resists the
intense heat and humidity of the summer and the terrific
storms of the winter,” watch as the casket is lowered into a
vault decorated with pictures of the Tree of Life. The final
earth is scattered with a Gordon Leak-Proof Earth Dispenser,
to prevent the discomfort of soiled fingers. Such a funeral costs
in the thousands of dollars and millions by our society as a
whole – a worth tribute to affluence.
g. American funerals do reflect our sense of cleanliness, but also
of material affluence.
h. Our concern is with the psychological well being of those left
behind and our expenditures on beautiful
i. Religious and ethnic differences are marked through grave
stones, sympathy cards, flowers, obituaries, and legal
notices to inform the public.
j. Families gather following the funeral to redistribute the
descendant’s economic goods, and often family reunions
reinforce kinship ties and redefine roles.
are associated with major changes in roles in the course of
a lifetime and they serve important functions in adjustment for both society and
Rites of passage also assist the individual undergoing role change to adjust
psychologically to his new status.
Whether in celebration or mourning, this
community strengthens the individuals place in society.
of individual and
Lecture 9 – “Social Groups and Institutions”
Introduction: People are
beings. They are born, raised, married, and
buried in the company of their fellow human beings.
There are many different ways of defining these various groups that identify
people socially. Many people belong to the
We may speak of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus…
or plumbers, physicians, policemen, and physicists…
or of tribals, peasants, and city folk…
or of the illiterate and the literate…
or of the rich and poor…
or of the Chinese, Nigerians, Samoans, and Englishmen…
People come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
I. Types of Groups
1. These are groups of people who are divided a certain way by
anthropologists for study and who are
their existence in these groups.
Examples: Everyone over twenty one years of age.
Everyone married to their cross cousins.
Everyone who is rich.
Everyone who lives along the Amazon River.
2. There is no
to studying certain statistical groups.
Example: All the people in the world born on March 13 th between
1:00 and 2:00 am or all the people in the world who have read
Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Koran.
3. Certain statistical groups are important however to some people when
studying a society.
Example: Shoe manufacturers must know what percentage of people
wear a certain shoe size (When they export their product, they dare
not assume, that the same statistics are true in every country.)
Health officials need to know the incidence of various diseases.
For the anthropologist, societies of 10,000 people are going to be very
different from those with 1 million.
1. Statistical groups are “etic” in nature – societal groups are “emic” –
they exist in the minds of
a. We like to belong to groups that are
consciousness of kind.
us. There is a
b. People who are conscious of their common identity usually
1) Biological traits such as age, sex, skin color, or body
2) Cultural traits such as styles of clothing, distinct accents,
and specific customs.
3) Christians revere their Bible, Muslims the Koran,
American blacks have their soul food, and
Americans their hamburgers and fries.
2. Societal groups are
categories by which we sort out
ourselves and other groups of people on the basis of similarity in
a. Politically – Republicans, Democrats, or Independent
b. Religiously – Protestants, Catholics, Jews, etc.
c. People do not have to
with everyone in that
group to be a part of it. You have probably not met every
Independent Baptist in the world.
3. These societal groups provide some
in the minds
of people. You do not have to work out a relationship with every
person you meet on the street. You have already in your mind
reduced your interactions with people down to a manageable
number of relationships.
1. The word social implies
and social groups are
2. These groups come in a variety of types:
types of social groups might be people
riding on a bus together or cheering at a football game.
b. Colleges, neighborhoods, and businesses are more
institutionalized and have
c. Families and clubs are
groups, in which
members interact in personal, face-to-face relationships.
3. There is a difference between a
group and a
a. The Democratic party is a societal group in which there are
many people who are of the same kind but have never
met. The local chapter of the Democratic party is a social
group however, as they work in close knit organization.
b. Many churches, clubs, and organizations are social groups that
are part of a national societal organization.
4. Social groups will vary in their
Example: A group of tourists may develop a sense of identity in the
course of a month but have no organization beyond simple
interaction and consciousness of kind. A local church, a large
corporation, or the United States Marine Corps would have
formally defined memberships.
II. Group Dynamics
A. Identity and Consciousness of Kind
1. Groups provide people with their sense of individual
with an awareness of who they are and how they fit into the world.
Example: A Californian in New York is happy to meet a fellow
Californian, who, though a stranger, is somehow closer to him than all
those “foreigners” around him. He is even happier to discover that
both come from San Francisco and are Rotarians. Abroad, of course,
the same Californian is delighted to see a fellow American, even
though he comes from New York.
2. The nature of groups can change as a sense of identity is created.
Statistical groups faced with a common cause of crisis may
develop a consciousness of kind.
Example: If the government passed a law barring all left-handed
people from government jobs, left-handed people would soon develop
an awareness of one another, based not only on their similarity but
also on their common plight.
In the same way, people in a town, when faced with a natural disaster,
suddenly ban together and interact with one another for the first time.
3. Most people participate in a few
groups such as family
and friendships. In these they develop intimate personal
relationships and a sense of
4. These groups develop cultural
from other groups.
that set them apart
a. Family traditions, places of residence, behavioral patterns, etc.
Outsiders trying to come into these groups stand out
because they are not aware of these cultural similarities.
1. Groups are made up of people, and in all but casual gatherings, each
member of the group assumes certain statuses and roles which are
defined by the group.
of that group depends upon the ability to
maintain those roles even in the absence of those who
presently occupy them.
Example: When a college president dies, a faculty member
resigns, or students graduate, new people must be found to fill
those roles if the college is to continue to function.
into these groups will vary.
Example: Students may be admitted casually into clubs on campus
but very carefully into fraternities or sororities. Ethnic groups and
castes generally admit members by birth, but there are exceptions.
The commune founded by the Shakers of Mt. Lebanon, New York, in
1787 prohibited mating. New members were gained by adoption of
children and conversion of adults.
3. Some groups are joined
and others without choice.
Example: In America people are born into social classes, religious
communities, and linguistic groups, but in later life, these can be
changed, at least to some extent, by individual effort and choice. (This
is not true in some other societies as we will see later on.)
into a group means that a person is admitted to
roles, knowledge, values, and customs of that group. This may
involve training ranging from a pat on the back to the formal and
involved training of boot camp.
5. Sometimes acceptance into a group may come through subtle social cues.
Max Gluckman pointed out the importance of
indicator of acceptance in a social group. Outsiders generally do not
know the personal information and secrets about members of the
group, which are the proper topics of gossip. When one is accepted
into the gossip circles of the group, it is a
that a person has
in-groups, or the “
or the “ they
some people as participants or members,
others. This leads to a distinction between
,” and the out-group,
Example: H. G. Wells, in an amusing description, captures some of
the feelings between in-groups and out-groups.
“The botanist has a strong feeling for systematic botanists as against plant physiologists,
whom he regards as lewd and evil scoundrels in this relation; but he has a strong feeling
for all botanists and indeed all biologists, as against physicists, and those who profess the
exact sciences, all of whom he regards as dull, mechanical, ugly -minded scoundrels in
this relation; but he has a strong feeling for all who profess what he calls Science, as
against psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and literary men, whom he regards as
wild, foolish, immoral scoundrels in this relation; but he has a strong feeling for all
educated men as against the working man, whom he regards as a cheating, lying, loafing,
drunken, thievish, dirty scoundrel in this relation: but so soon as the working man is
comprehended together with these others, as Englishmen, he holds them superior to all
sorts of Europeans, whom he regards….
2. Members in stable groups tend to
groups in derogatory ways.
those in other
Example: To many Americans of European origin, all Africans “look
alike.” To many blacks, all South African whites are racists, even
though many have taken a stand against the discriminatory policies of
their government. To most Communists, all Americans are
imperialists and warmongers.
a. This kind of stereotyping
interaction with other groups.
is based on differences and without those
differences, life would be monotonous.
c. Pride can also lead to
1) Conflict is always greatest in those living geographically
to each other who compete for
the same resources and status.
Example: The Los Angeles Lakers have little conflict
with the Miami Dolphins or the Methodist Churches of
New York City, unless they are all scheduled at the
same place at the same time.
is different from
a. Certain requirements are necessary for any group, such as
academic standards for colleges, baptism for membership in
churches, etc. If someone
to meet these
requirements, they are excluded from the in-group.
b. Discrimination on the other hand is
individual or group, not on the basis of some qualification,
but on the basis of personal likes and dislikes to keep some
4. Discrimination is
, but we must not deny the fact that
differences do exist between people and groups of people.
a. The problem lies with those
with those who are discriminated against.
5. Groups can be divided according to the bonds that hold them together.
There are basically three types of groups.
a. Groups based on
b. Groups based on
neighborhoods, towns, and nations.
, such as
c. Groups based on an association of people who share a
interest or characteristic, such as
clubs, churches, social classes.
D. Social Stratification
between members within a group and
between groups of the same kind are characterized by
Example: Imagine that you and a few friends are organizing a
baseball team for your company in a small town. Not only would you
need to decide what sorts of people you want to admit but also how
the team should operate. It would need a place to practice and some
basic equipment. It would need players for each position in the team
and probably a manager and a treasurer to run it. In time each
person would acquire a status, high or low, in the team, and the team
would gain a general standing in a league and in the total world of
2. Social stratification is based on the division of labor into different roles
and the fact that these roles generally receive different
. These rewards take the form of:
goods or wealth.
Example: On your baseball team, the best players will gain
recognition and prestige if they lead the league in home runs,
which in turn if a professional team, turn into higher salaries.
The manager gains status, but on a different level. The
administrator’s role is not to play the game, but to organize
and thus his reward comes in terms of power, which can also
be translated into prestige and wealth.
3. The value of wealth and power are obvious, but
is more difficult.
a. Prestige is a group’s
on an individual’s social
b. Prestige may be expressed by such symbols as titles, awards,
differential treatment, and standings in baseball ratings.
c. Prestige covers the ability to collect scalps, wives, or high
grades. It includes associating with those who also have
high status and being invited to the “
parties and being mentioned with the “right” people.
Example: “Babbitt” by Sinclair Lewis
The Babbitt’s invited the McKelveys to dinner, in early December, and the
McKelveys not only accepted but, after changing the date once or twice, actually
came… Babbit hoped that the Doppelbraus (his neighbors) would see the
McKelvey’s limousine, and their uniformed chauffeur, waiting in front.
The dinner was well cooked and incredibly plentiful, and Mrs. Babbitt had
brought out her grandmother’s sliver candlesticks. Babbitt worked hard. He was
good. He was good. He told none of the jokes he wanted to tell. He listened to
the others. He started Maxwell off with a resounding, “Let’s hear about your trip
to the Yellowstone…”
But he could not stir them. It was dinner without soul. For no reason that was
clear to Babbitt, heaviness was over them and they spoke laboriously and
He concentrated on Lucille McKelvey… “I suppose you’ll be going to Europe
pretty soon again won’t you?” he invited.
“I’d like awfully to run over to Rome for a few weeks.”
“I suppose you see a lot of pictures and music and curios and everything there.”
“No, what I really go for is: there’s a little trattoria on the Via della Scrofa
where you get the best fettuccine in the world.”
“Oh, I – yes. That must be nice to try that. Yes.”
At a quarter to ten McKelvey discovered with profound regret that his wife had
a headache. He said blithely, as Babbitt helped him with his coat, “We mu ch
lunch together some time, and talk over the old days…”
When the others had labored out, at half past ten, Babbitt turned to his wife,
pleading, “Charley said he had a corking time and we must lunch – said they
wanted to have us up to the house for dinner before long….”
For a month they watched the social columns, and waited for a return dinner
The invitation never came, of course, but that is only part of the story.
Ed Overbrook was a classmate of Babbitt who had been a failure… At the classdinner, Babbitt had seen poor Overbrook, in a shiny blue business suit, bring
diffident in a corner with three other failures. He had gone over and been
cordial. “Why hello, young Ed! I hear you’re writing all the insurance in
Dorchester now. Bully work!
They recalled the good old days when Overbrook used to write poetry.
Overbrook embarrassed him by blurting, “Say, Georgie, I hate to think of how
we been drifting apart. I wish you and Mrs. Babbitt would come to dinner some
Babbitt boomed, “Fine! Sure! Just let me know. And the wife and I want to have
you at the house.” He forgot it, but unfortunately Ed Overbrook did not.
Repeatedly he telephoned Babbit, inviting him to dinner. “Might as well go and
get it over,” Babbit groaned to his wife…
It was miserable from the beginning… Babbitt tried to be jovial; he worked at it;
but he could find nothing to interest him in Overbrook’s timorousness, the
blankness of the other guests, or the drained stupidity of Mrs. Overbrook, with
her spectacles, drab skin, and tight-drawn hair. He told his best Irish story, but it
sank like soggy cake. Most bleary the moment of all was when Mrs. Overbrook,
peering out her fog of nursing eight children and cooking and scrubbing, tried to
“I suppose you go to Chicago and New York right along, Mr. Babbitt,” she
“Well, I get to Chicago fairly often.”
“It must be awfully interesting. I suppose you take in all the theaters.”
“Well, to tell you the truth, Mrs. Overbrook, thing that hits me bes t is a great big
beefsteak at the Dutch restaurant in the Loop.”
They had nothing to say. Babbitt was sorry, but there was no hope: the great
dinner was a failure. At ten, rousing out of the stupor of meaningless talk, he
said cheerfully as he could, “Fraid we got to be staring, Ed. I’ve got a fellow
coming to see me early tomorrow morning.” As Overbrook helped him with his
coat, Babbit said, “Nice to rub up on the old days! We must have lunch
For a week they worried, “We really ought to invite Ed and his wife, poor
devils!” But as they never saw the Overbrooks, they forgot them, and after a
month or two they said, “That really was the best way, just to let it slide. It
wouldn’t be kind to them to have them here. They’d feel so out of place and
hard-up in our home.” 11
4. Social rewards, such as wealth, power, and prestige, can be sought as
a. Wealth can be
to provide a better lifestyle.
b. Or, it can be given away, to display the
Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc., 1922), p. 196.
5. Social rewards can also be used as resources for getting something else
that the individual or group desires. Power can be used to obtain
wealth and then wealth can be used to gain power.
1. Mobility is the
of people from one status to another.
Example: On our baseball team, one player may go from sitting on
the bench one year to winning the batting title the next. The team may
go from last place to the championship.
social mobility is when people move from one
status to another of essentially the same rank.
Example: A businessman may resign to enter politics.
mobility takes place when people move up and
down the social hierarchy.
4. Mobility varies greatly depending on the kinds of
Example: Almost anyone can buy a ticket to a Dodgers game, but
admission into the American Medical Association or becoming a U.S.
citizen is another matter.
1. An institution is a set of formal, regular, and established procedures,
characteristic of a group or number of groups that perform a similar
function within a society.
2. In short, an institution is an
way of doing
of institutions can be made clear by contrasting them
and looking at institutionalization as a process.
Example: Almost any fall day, improvised football games can be
observed on campuses and parks across the United States. Almost
anyone can join, and there are few or no boundaries, uniforms, or
penalties. Moreover, there is no continuity of teams from one day to the
next. High school and college football, on the other hand, are more
institutionalized. They have clearly defined teams, stadiums,
prearranged schedules, uniforms, programs, parades, and formal rules,
enforced by referees. They have a set of formally organized procedures.
Professional football, with it’s highly paid players and coaches, national
television coverage, and league championships and Super Bowls, is even
more highly institutionalized.
teaches someone else how to do something.
3. In most societies, however, certain types of instruction are
organized, creating groups that are highly
organized. Education, religion, and government are good
C. Institutions and cultures
1. Institutions and culture are both
within a group.
ways of doing things
Example: Handshaking is an accepted cultural behavior. Saluting is
an accepted institutional behavior.
2. There is never a sharp line between institutionalized and
uninstitutionalized cultural traits. Informal instruction is carried out
in homes and communities and often in time is incorporated into
the schools. Even so, many of the informal practices of teaching
continue along side institutionalized education.
3. Different societies institutionalize different
Example: Religious behavior may be highly organized in some
societies, political processes in another, and war in still another.
to which a society institutionalizes an activity can
be taken as a rough measure of its importance in that society.
5. Almost every society has at least two organized institutions:
6. The more
the society, the more institutions it will
Lecture 10 “Marriage and the Family”
Introduction: One of the few cultural
is that of groups based on
the principles of
. Humans have developed a surprising
number of kinship groups, but in some form or another, kinship groups are found
in all societies.
I. Bonds of Kinship
A. Kinship Systems
There must be arrangements for encouraging human reproduction and for
the nurturing and training of offspring during their years of dependency.
B. Role relationships can be broken down into simple
1. Kinship groups are built on two basic types: paired or
between husband and wife.
of child from parent.
2. To these we can add
, the social extension of the
principle of descent beyond the biological sphere.
C. The dyadic relationship between husband and wife serves three important
1. It sanctions and regulates sexual
2. It makes possible the
3. It provides for complementary
goods between the couple.
of roles, labor and
D. The second important dyad is between the mother and child.
1. Through this relationship, the child is
ways of its culture.
or taught the
2. Some societies hold the father responsible for teaching the child, but
this is not universal. The biological and social
of an infant on its mother is recognized in all societies
is a combination of these two kinds of relationships within
the same social group.
II. The Marriage Dyad
A. Restrictions on Marriage
1. All societies practice some form of “
,” which is the
rule that a person must marry outside the culturally defined kinship
group of which he/she is a member.
Mating between parent and child and between brother and sister
in almost all societies. (The
most striking exceptions would be the brother – sister marriage
which were required of the royal families of Egypt, Hawaii, Persia,
Siam, and the Incas of Peru, to preserve the sacred nature of the
royal lineage’s. A few societies require the marriage of boy and
girl twins, on the basis that they have been together in the mother’s
2. The lines of exogamy vary in societies depending on how relatives are
determined and defined.
Example: The Chinese prohibit marriage between people sharing the
same surname, while high caste Indians often prohibit marriage
between seventh or ninth cousins. In the U.S. state laws vary
regarding marriage between first and second cousins.
3. There are explanations for the universal presences of incest and
a. Early anthropologists argued that inbreeding led to biological
, and societies prevented this by
imposing rules of exogamy.
Facts show that inbreeding only
already present, good or bad.
b. Malinowski argued that the
would disintegrate as
a viable social unit if there were no sanctions against sexual
unions of family members.
c. Tyler and Fortune advanced the theory that exogamy prevents
hostilities between different groups within a society. The
exchange of brides, like the exchange of goods and giving
gifts, helps to integrate the society.
4. Another principle regulating marriages in many societies is that of
.” This is the rule that people must marry
people of their own kind.
a. While exogamy excludes marriage to kinsmen, endogamy excludes
those who are culturally defined as “ outsiders
b. Tribes and village communities are frequently endogamous
groups. Some ethic groups such as the Pennsylvania Dutch
and the Hutterites are also such.
Example: Classic examples of endogamy are caste systems,
such as that in India. Marriages in rural Indian society, with
rare exception, take place within one of thousands of subcastes,
many of which number no more than 3,000 people. The
selection of a spouse is often limited, and parents frequently
make marriage arrangements for their children when they are
B. Prescribed and Preferential Marriages
certain types of marriages, and
a. In the United States we do not make a distinction between types
of cousins. Other societies do, however.
b. Many societies trace kinship either through the father or the
mother, but no through both.
c. Thus, children of
could not marry because
they are kin. (Parallel Cousins) But children of brothers and
sisters could. (Cross-Cousins)
d. In some societies, as in South India, people prefer cross-cousin
marriages, so that parents do not have their children
e. Marriage of parallel cousins was practiced in Bible times. Isaac
married his father’s brother’s granddaughter, and Jacob
took a wife related to him through the male line.
f. Robert Spencer argued that parallel cousin marriages serve as an
important function in seminomadic pastoral societies, that
of consolidating resources into a strong fighting force,
which could withstand the attacks of other groups.
C. Marriage Payments and Gifts
a. Marriages are frequently associated with some type of
exchange. Most common is what is called the “
”, in which the groom and his family make a
payment to the bride’s family at the time of marriage. This is not
intended to demean the woman into something that is “bought and
sold” but rather is intended to strengthen the marriage and family.
Example: Among the Baganda of east Africa, a man may inherit a
wife by means of the levirate, be given a wife as a gift, or capture one
in a raid, but it is preferable that his first wife be obtained by
negotiation and the payment of a bride price. The final price agreed
on reflects the social prestige of the families of both the bride and the
b. The groom is
in selecting a bride, because accumulating
the amount needed is often a long and difficult task. Later, he will
think twice about
her because his kinsmen,
who contributed toward his first marriage, may be unwilling to
finance the second.
c. A bride’s price is a
to her family for their
investment in her and the loss of her future labor.
d. Sometimes this money is referred to as “
because it serves as compensation to the family for the loss of their
daughter’s offspring. In some societies, children born before the
full price is paid, belong to the bride’s family. The relatives of a
barren wife must provide another bride or return the payment.
Service ” fulfills many of the same functions
as the bride price. The groom meets his obligation to the bride’s
family, by serving them in specific ways. Sometimes the groom
has life-long obligations to his parents-in-law.
” or payments by the bride’s family to the groom
are less common. This custom originated in the upper castes in
Europe and Asia as a way of assisting with the expenses of setting
up a new household. The practice of giving gifts at a wedding in
our culture serves much the same purpose.
D. Marriage Dissolution
a. No society
forbid it completely.
of divorce, but very few (less than 4%)
b. Most societies seek to strengthen marriages through rewards and
c. In spite of this, divorce is often the way out of intolerable binds of
social relations and cultural expectations.
d. In societies where there are no acceptable roles for unmarried adult
women, these women return with their children to their nuclear
family or immediately
e. Eskimo men used to steal a neighbor’s wife, but the neighbor in turn was
expected to kill the thief and get his wife back. The wife-stealer
therefore, often found it prudent to kill the husband before taking his
wife. This obviously produced a lot of social
III. The Conjugal-Natal Family
1. The conjugal-natal family consists of a husband and a wife and their
2. Most people in their lifetime belong to such a family
child and once as a parent.
. Once a
3. As a result, a person faces
of loyalties, to parents and
siblings on one hand, and to spouse and offspring on the other.
B. Types of Conjugal-Natal Families
a. This is a Judeo-Christian practice of taking only one wife in a
b. This practice is found in relatively
societies in the
This is the practice of having many spouses over a lifetime, so long
as they are married to only one
at a time.
3. Independent nuclear families such as we have in the United States are the
type of kinship groups that can be formed.
a. When young people marry, they become
and immediately take on a new status. If a wife quarrels with
her in-laws, the husband is expected to take the side of his
b. Often a price is paid for this independence and social mobility.
Children from their own families, leaving their parents alone
in old age. Divorce or death may break the marriage
relationship, leaving children with no parents or with parents
substitutes to care for them.
marriages are when a person is married to
more than one spouse at a time.
is the marriage of a man to several wives.
is the marriage of a woman to several
man to several sisters.
is the marriage of a
1) Jealousy and quarreling between co-wives is common.
2) On the other hand, it is not uncommon for a wife to ask
her husband to take another wife to help with family
duties, produce offspring, or add prestige to the wife
as the dominant wife in a polygynous family.
d. Polygyny serves different purposes in different societies.
1) Additional wives may add labor and income to the family
as well as
2) It is common in West Africa among tribes which prohibit
sexual intercourse between a couple after the birth of
a child until the child is more than a year old. The
postpartum (after birth) taboo on sexual relations
enables a child to nurse longer and therefore have a
better chance of surviving “kwashiorkor” a disease
caused by protein deficiency. Having more than one
wife enables the husband to satisfy his sexual desires
e. Polyandry is found primarily in Tibet and among the Eskimos and
some tribes in South India.
A common form is
which a woman becomes the wife of her husband’s younger
brothers. This is done primarily because it is difficult for the man
to support his wife financially by himself.
marriages are very rare and have only been reported
mainly in the Himalayan region where groups of brothers married
groups of sisters.
6. The relatively
balance in the number of men and women
along with the problems of organizing and maintaining a large
family dictate monogamous marriages.
C. Marriage Substitutions
1. The sudden
of a man or woman in their prime years, when
they bear the responsibilities of reproducing and maintaining life are
common to all societies. The problems that follow these deaths must
be dealt with.
2. In American society we are often concerned with the
needs of the surviving family.
a. Parents are expected to have life insurance, savings, and social
b. There is little provision in our society for substitutes to raise the
children or provide more offspring.
3. Many societies have what is called a levirate . The dead husband’s
brother or close relative is assigned to assume the role of husband
and father when death occurs. This was commanded by God in
serves a parallel function on the death of a wife –
usually an unmarried sister or female relative of the deceased wife.
John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton, IL:
Crossway Books, 1993), 160-61.
5. Studies reveal that where these arrangements are made, the children
adjust much better to a parent’s death.
D. Marriage Extensions
1. Not all societies
the rights and responsibilities of
marriage to the immediate pair. Many allow the partners to extend
these privileges to others by socially recognized means.
a. “Anticipatory levirate” is when a man shares his sexual rights to
his wife with his younger unmarried brothers, reasoning that
his brother will replace him if he dies.
b. “Anticipatory sororate” is the parallel practice of a woman to
extend sexual rights to her younger unmarried sisters.
c. Sometimes these extensions are offered to other men whom they
consider sociological or “ blood ” brothers.
Example: The Eskimos of northern Alaska, who inhabit small
villages along the seacoast and trade with nomadic bands of
Eskimos, who live in the interior near the mountains are
example of this practice. A coastal male forms partnership with
men in other villages and in the interior bands, this man will
provide him with protection and assistance while he is away
from his home village. Partners will also offer him their wives to
dry or chew their clothes, in order to keep them soft, this also
seals the bond of friendship. The hospitality is reciprocated when
the partners visit his village. A man also needs a partner or
partners in his own village to care for his wife and children
during his absence.
E. Fictive Marriages
A few societies have developed special forms of marriage to meet specific
Example: One of these is “adoptive marriages” which are found in
Indonesia, Japan, and south India. In some Indian castes, a prosperous
family having only daughters is faced with the problem of maintaining
the family name and inheritance. The legal fiction of an adoptive
marriage, in which the husband of one of the daughters becomes a
“son” in his wife’s family and carries on the family name, a man loses
some prestige, but the economic gains may outweigh the social losses.
Among some west African tribes, a barren woman may arrange for a
second wife for her husband, in order to provide him with children. The
children of the second wife call the first wife “father,” because she fille d
the male role of negotiating the marriage.
The Nuer of east Africa practice “woman marriage” for wives who are
barren. The childless woman marries another woman, with whom her
husband has sexual relationships. The children however, are considered
offspring from the first rather than the second wife. In some cases, a
woman may be married to the “ghost” of man, and the children she has
by another man are attributed to the deceased to perpetuate his name.
IV. Extended Families
A. Americans place a high priority on the marriage relationship, which results in the
of kin groups into nuclear families.
B. Most of the world’s societies emphasize the parent-child relationship.
1. In some, a man’s first
is to his father. When he
marries, his wife joins him in that loyalty. In others, the first loyalty
is daughter – mother and when the daughter marries, the husband
joins her in that loyalty to her mother.
two or more nuclear families into a single household and is
called an extended family.
D. The extended family provides more
1. When there is a
than do nuclear
, other members of the family take over the
2. The extended family provides parents with assistance and guidance in
3. Usually in these cultures, there are a number of women who care for the
children and the men perform essential family tasks.
4. The extended family also provides a check on
of children by incompetent parents, a danger not uncommon in
5. There are of course,
economic advantages to this system as married
couples build sleeping quarters on to their parents home and share
A. People tend to cluster together in “households” or domestic groups which share a
. A number of terms are used by
anthropologists to describe these:
a. The newly married couple is expected to establish a new residence
from either parent or relative.
b. This practice is
found in only about
to middle class America, but is
percent of the world’s
a. This is where the newly married wife comes to live with or near
b. This practice is found in two thirds of the world’s society.
The couple lives near the bride’s parents. This is not so common.
This is where the couple is expected to live with the parents of
either the bride or the groom.
The couple is expected to live with the husband’s mother’s brother.
This is a
practice where the husband and a wife live
separately, each with their kin.
B. Why resident patterns are what they are is unclear. There is some evidence that
neolocal residences is associated with
where money is a medium of exchange. Unlike food and other material
goods, money can be preserved indefinitely, and stored by the nuclear
family to guard against future crisis. Societies based on the trade of goods
and services apparently depend on
residential groups for
Conclusion: All kinship systems are built on two types of relationships:
. With these two, an astonishing
number of groups can be constructed from various types of families to complex
networks involving hundreds and even thousands of people.
Every society has rules prohibiting marriages and regulating divorce. Marriages
serve a number of functions including sexual rights, a division of labor, and the
responsibility of caring for the offspring.
Families may be nuclear or extended, but all societies have some type of family
group which constitutes the
form of social organization on which
all other forms are raised.
Lecture 11 – “Kinship Systems and Groups”
Introduction: Most Americans grow up with few
kinship ties other than
those in their immediate family and are surprised to learn of the elaborate and
varied kinship systems found in many parts of the world. Large kinship groups
serve a variety of important functions in many societies. An old Pomo Indian of
California expressed the importance of
in his tribe:
“What is man? A man is nothing. Without his family he is of less importance than the bug cro ssing
the trail… A man must be with his family to amount to anything with us. If he had nobody else to
help him, the first trouble he got into he would be killed by his enemies, because there would be no
relatives to help him fight the poison of the other group. No woman would marry him… He would
be poorer than a worm… The family is important. If a man has a large family, … and upbringing by
a family that is known to produce good children, then he is somebody and every family is willing to
have him marry a woman of their group. In the White way of doing things the family is not so
important. The police and soldiers take care of protecting you, the courts give you justice, the post
office carries your messages for you, the school teaches you. Everything is ta ken care of, even your
children, if you die; but with us the family must do all of that.
Without the family we are nothing, and in the old days before the White people came, the family was
given first consideration by anyone who was about to do anything at all. That is why we got along…
With us the family was everything. Now it is nothing. We are getting like the White people and it is
bad for the old people. We had no old people’s home like you. The old people were important. They
were wise. Your old people must be fools.” 13
Who are one’s
, and how does one relate to them? Those answers
vary from culture to culture. There is not always agreement from culture to culture
there is not always agreement within the culture. Who is a second cousin? What is a
I. Principles of Descent
This is a system where it is believed that each parent makes an
contribution to the life of the child.
1. Western folk traditions taught that each parent contributed equally to the
blood on which the life of the child depended. Thus the term
2. We now know that each parent contributes equally to an infant’s
Yehudi A. Cohen, Man in Adaptation: the Cultural Present, Volume 2 (New York: Aldine de Gruyter,
1974), p. 19.
This is the belief that there is a difference between the contribution of the
father and mother to the reproductive process.
Example: The Ashanti of west Africa, believe that a child gets its blood
from its mother and its spiritual nature from the father. It is important
for them to keep track of both the blood and the spirit relatives and to
distinguish between them.
The Murngin of Australia believe that spirit children in habit sacred
water holes in their desert-like land. If a child wishes to be born, it
appears in a dream to a married man and asks which woman is to
become its mother. When the mother-to-be passes by the water hole, the
spirit child enters her womb as a fish. In later life, people retain a
special attachment to the sacred water hole from which they came and
to the territory around it.
C. Kinship systems and kinship groups
1. Kinship systems consist of the
rules in a society which determine
who is related to whom and in what way. We have rules as to who is
an uncle, an aunt, a cousin and consider all those who fit these
categories to be
2. Kinship groups are the sets of relatives of which we are a part, who know
each other as individuals and who interact in some fashion as a
II. Bilateral Kinship Systems
A. Boundaries and Groups
1. The networks of kinships
rapidly and become more and
more vague as genealogical ties become more distant.
2. These relatives form a loose and ill-defined
a. Most Americans would not know who their third or fourth cousins
would be, because no
them. The Anglo-Saxons, on the other hand, required that a
man contribute to the progeny price and avenge the death of
his third cousins, so it was important for him to keep track at
least to that distance.
3. Each individual is the center of a “
” or a circle of people to
whom he can trace a blood relationship, and a few people share that
A person’s kindred
throughout his life cycle, with
the discovery of previously unknown relatives and with the addition
or subtraction of relatives through birth and marriage, death and
4. Individuals are not only centers of their own kindreds, but they are
members of the kindreds off all their kinsmen. This results in a
within the domain of the society.
5. Technically speaking, a kindred is not a kinship
its members often do not known each other, nor do they unite in joint
A kindred forms a
of personnel, from which
individuals are drawn for specific occasions and purposes.
Example: The circle of relatives with whom an American has
speaking acquaintance is almost always greater than that with
which he exchanges Christmas cards, and thus in turn is greater
than the circle of relatives with whom he exchanges gifts or
gathers with for reunions. An individual may expect many
relatives to attend a wedding, but those he can turn to for
financial assistance are likely to number only a few.
B. Kinship Interactions
between relatives depend on a number of factors:
factors – respective sex and age.
factors – how close they live to each other.
factors – cultural expectations of the
factors – how they feel towards each other.
2. Because kindred groups are not clearly defined and have very little
over time, they cannot serve many
important functions within a society.
People in bilateral kinship systems generally turn to groups or
institutions based on other principles to meet many of their needs.
Religion and education would be prime examples.
3. The overlapping of these kindreds often leads to
as individuals must set priorities in the kindreds of which they are
members. This undermines the solidarity of kindreds.
Example: Consider the celebration of Christmas in America
and you realize how difficult it can be to organize a simple
activity as a family gathering. Yong couples must decide which
reunions they will attend, and when, and older parents try to
arrange their celebrations so that they will conflict least with
the plans of their married children, who have obligations
4. Extensive, long term activities by large bilateral kin groups are virtually
in our society.
5. Some bilateral societies have what are called “
a. These are groups of people who can trace a known genealogical
relationship to the founder of the ramage through the male
and female descent.
in these groups are important men who
command wealth and prestige, which attracts followers
seeking aid and security.
c. Individuals may join the ramage of their father or mother, and a
married couple may join the ramage of either spouse
depending on which one is more advantageous.
depends on the consent of the group
and the ramage may reject or ostracize anyone who does not
fulfill his obligations.
III. Unilineal Kinship Systems
A. Unilineal kinship systems trace descent ties through the male or the female line,
but not through
groups trace their lineage through the males.
groups trace their lineage through the female.
3. This does not mean that one has no interaction with those on the
opposite side, but these relationships are distinct from and
to the other.
B. Unilineal Categories and Groups
a. These are sets of kinsmen who can trace their genealogical
relationship to one another through a common known
b. Patrilineal lines of descent
whenever a family
has more than one son. Consequently over several
generations, lineages divide into sublineages and those in
turn, into smaller lineal groups.
a. Members of clans consider themselves related, but genealogical
relationships cannot be traced.
b. Clan kinship is based then on the
Example: Chinese clans, consider as kin all who share a
is expressed in terms of a symbol or name.
Some are named after some species of plant or animal, in
much the same way flags, mascots, etc. are used in college
and professional sports in America.
C. Nature and Function
1. Unilineal systems have some
a. A society is divided into clearly defined, non-overlapping
groups and categories.
1) Conflicts of loyalty do not exist.
2) Large stable groups develop over time which can unite
on long range activities.
3) Members help each other economically and legally,
along with regulating
b. Unilineal groups often serve important
2. The fundamental weakness of unilineal systems is their vulnerability to
social splits and
. (The American legends of the
“Hatfields and the McCoys”)
IV. Double – Descent
A. These are
kinship systems with both patrilineal and
matrilineal principles. These “double descent” systems differentiate
between descent through the male and female lines.
Example: The Ashanti believe that people are both biological and spiritual
beings, and that a human being is formed from the blood of the mother and
the spirit of the father. The mother-child bond makes one a member of the
mother’s clan and her lineage, which forms the basis for re sidence and
political groups. The father-child bond is a spiritual one, in which the father
transmits his spirit to the child, molding its personality and disposition. Each
person therefore belongs to a biological matrilineage and a spiritual
V. Kinship Terminologies
A. In 1909, A. L. Kroeber identified eight basic criteria which are used to
organize terminologies in kinship systems. Forty years later, G.P.
Murdock elaborated on these and added a ninth. Not all of these will be
found in any one system. In the Anglo-American kinship system we use
a. People from different generations are identified by
1) Father, Mother, Uncle, and Aunt carry the connotation of
generation above yourself.
2) Grandfather, Grandmother, Grand Uncle, etc. generations above yourself.
3) Great-Grandfather, etc. would be
a. Lineality refers to those to whom we are related by direct
genetic descent, or
b. Collaterality refers to those whom we are not directly
descendant – Uncle, Aunt, brother, sister, etc.
Example: In our society today, we make this distinction with
terms like “my real Dad” and “my step Dad.”
a. Most of our English terms differentiate between the sexes such
as father, mother, uncle, and aunt.
b. There are some terms which do not however, such as cousin or
a. These are the people who are related to us by
b. This distinction is made for only those of a small circle of close
relatives, such as mother-in- law or brother-in-law. There are
no such terms for uncle-in- law or cousin-in- law.
a. Terms show polarity when two kinsmen refer to each other by
terms, such as “father and son” or
“uncle and nephew.”
b. Nonpolar terms such as “cousins” are interchangeable.
This is a distinction based on the sex of the person through whom
the relationship is established. Occasionally, we Americans use the
phrase, “on my mother’s side.”
Some terms indicate the relative age of kinsmen in the same
generation. In South India, for example, the concept of social
hierarchy is important in daily life, not only for caste distinction but
also for individual status.
In a few societies, men will use different terms for the same person
than women use. The Haida Indians of the northwest American
coast, the man uses a different term for his father than his sister
Some societies change the term for a person after they
B. Additional Criteria
1. Terms sometimes are complicated when people may use one term when
to a person and another term when
A teenager, when talking with his friends may call his father, his
“father” (or worse, his “old man”) but when talking with him
personally would address him as Dad or Pop.
is when we refer to or address a relative as
if from the perspective of another person.
a. A husband may address his wife as “Mommy” when talking
about her with his children.
b. We may address our mother-in- law as “Mom.”
3. Kinship terms are sometimes used in other relationships to convey the
feeling associated with that bond.
Catholics call priests “Father” and nuns “Sister.”
Conclusion: Bilateral systems, with their flexibility and proliferation of kinship ties that
can be activated on necessity, appear most suitable for simple hunting and
Unilineal systems, with their ability to give rise to large corporate groups that
have stability over time, are most closely associated with peasant agricultural
societies, with their need to mobilize human activities.
The highly mobile industrial/urban culture is more
autonomy of the nuclear family and the bilateral kinship system provide obvious
advantages, but there are many specific functions which must be met. It appears
that in complex societies, such functions are satisfied by
not based on the kinship principle.
Lecture 12 – “Associations”
Introduction: Kinship groups serve important functions especially in simple ones. But
they are always
by groups based on non-kinship
distinctions, such as mutual age, sex, and other shared characteristics.
In complex cultures such as the United States, these associations are almost
, but they are widespread in simple societies as well.
However, unlike Western cultures, where both men and women participate in
these associations, in primitive societies, men are more devoted to club life.
Household duties and male dominance make women’s associations relatively rare.
What would our lives be like if we had only ourselves and our kin groups for
association and activity? This might be possible in a simple society, but in
complex ones, ordinary living requires a great deal more organization.
The organization in these associations varies greatly.
Example: Car pools are formed by individuals with informal arrangements
among themselves. If one individual discontinues his role in the car pool, it is
possible that the association will end. The U.S. Army on the other hand, has a
great many formally defined statuses and roles, and it can exist for a long
period of time despite high personnel turnover.
I. Nature of Associations
1. An association is a group of people who have one or more interests in
a. These interests are the group’s functions, the purpose for which
it was formed.
b. Commonly, an association has one or two
functions and several subsidiary ones.
Example: A college’s primary function is education, but has
secondary functions such as football games, social life, and
entertainment which some students would consider major
c. Sometimes things are not as they
be a front for a drug dealer, etc.
. A store may
2. The association develops public
maintained through the behavior of its members.
3. The members who join these associations may do so for different
Example: One may join a church for religious purposes, another to
make acquaintances with the hope of selling insurance, a third to meet
some attractive person.
1. Each association forms its own norms of appropriate conduct for their
Example: Grades, credits, transcripts, student identification cards,
and commencements are characteristic of colleges but would be
inappropriate for factories, social clubs, or an army. These practices
would also vary with colleges.
1. Status is only relative
the specific association.
Example: The role of the quarterback is important to the football
team but is not supposed to carry any weight in the classroom.
2. Outsiders may ignore the status differences that are made within an
Example: Students in college would consider themselves freshmen,
sophomores, juniors, or seniors, while the resident of the community
might only distinguish between faculty and students.
3. These statuses are the basis on which the organization operates. No
baseball team has only catchers, or college only deans. Complex
associations enable a great many people with specialized skills to
work together to achieve a common goal which no one or few
could reach alone.
4. The structure of associations also permits
enter into activities with which they are somewhat familiar.
Example: Surgeons can perform emergency operations in a hospital
in which everyone is a stranger, and students can quickly enjoy the
complex activities of college life.
1. The simplest association has some type of
2. This may be very informal depending on the charismatic personality of
the leader or it may be a formal office.
1. Associations have
or other identifying symbols to
express their uniqueness, such as songs, emblems, slogans, colors,
flags, letterheads, secret languages, or rituals.
2. These symbols serve to
one association from
Some of these become very important such as a nation’s
This may be a place
of meeting, or simple artifacts used in gathering,
or it may include a large amount of property in various forms.
Usually, there is some kind of
1. These may be minimal to make membership easy or they may be
restrictive in order to maintain closed associations.
2. These requirements set these associations
statistical groups or random crowds of people.
II. Types of Associations
1. Often friendships are not considered as a social organization because of
the little formal structure involved.
2. Friendships are
but the nature and extent of them
varies from society to society.
Example: Among the Bangwa of the Cameroons in west Africa,
friendships between men and women exist just as they form between
those of the same sex. These relationships have no sexual implications.
When a young Didinga of east Africa becomes a member of the
association of Junior Warriors, he forms a close friendship with a
Senior Warrior, who becomes his teacher. This bond is considered
stronger than blood or marriage.
3. Americans feel that friendships should not be mixed with
and other obligations. We may expect to
help on occasion with needs, but too many requests by one party
may threaten the relationship.
This is very confusing to those who come from other cultures. In
some societies, friends are trade partners, political associates, and
allies, who guarantee the hospitality and safe conduct of one
4. Friendships are most often relationships between
individuals, but they may lead to formation of groups and networks
B. Associations Based on
1. Many associations have sex as a
Example: Boy Scouts, the Catholic priesthood, and the Masonic
Order, are restricted to males. While the Girl Scouts, the Eastern
Star, and the Daughters of the American Revolution consist only of
2. In some societies, sex alone determines admission to certain
Example: In New Guinea and surrounding islands, men clubs provide
a place for male entertainment, solidarity, and a refuge from females,
whose sexuality is considered spiritually dangerous. Young boys are
admonished to avoid their mothers and sisters and to join in male
activities, and formal puberty rites mark their initiation into the
fraternity of men. These rites symbolically portray the death of the
childhood personality and the resurrection of the novice into a new
life. He is then given a new name, new male privileges and told the
secrets that set men apart from women and make them superior.
Women are rigidly excluded from many rituals connected with the
men’s associations and often from the clubhouses, where men may
choose to live permanently.
The most famous women’s association is the “bondu” which is the
female equivalent to the male “porro.” Both exist in Liberia and
Sierra Leone, in such tribes as the Mendi, the Temne, and the Kpelle.
Initiation into the bondu involves seclusion and special training in the
female roles. Leaders in the association discipline those who are a
discredit to womanhood and join with the leaders of the porro in
making decisions involving the whole tribe. Nothing important even
can take place without the cooperation of the bondu or the women
members who dance at all significant ceremonies.
Age is a basis for categorization in all societies and influences admission
to most associations.
1. Societies cannot
the biological differences between
childhood, with its dependency on adults, adulthood, with its
maturity, and old age with its declining powers.
2. In American society, people generally find their friends and spouses
among their age-mates.
3. In some societies such as tribes in South America and sub-Saharan
Africa, men move according to their age from one group to
another, with changes in responsibilities corresponding to the level
Example: The Karimonjong of Uganda, east Africa, a tribe of
cattle herdsmen are a good example. All males are members or
potential members of one of four major age grades that are
seen as generations: the new generation forming, the junior
generation, the seniors, and the old retired men.
When men in the senior generation, who have served as judges,
administrators, and priests of the tribes, grow old, junior
generation men, who have been warriors and policeman,
become impatient with their elders’ senility and incompetence
and apply pressure for their retirement. The old men finally
agree, and a ceremony is held in which the seniors are retired,
the junior men are promoted to the senior grade, and the new
generation is promoted to juniors.
Karimojong age grades provide each man with secure
knowledge of his status in the society and link him to the past,
as well as to the future. All men in the generation immediately
older than he are treated as fathers, those two generations
removed are considered grandfathers. Males in younger
generations are thought of as sons and grandsons.
d. Formal age
in the United States is found largely
in schools. As these classes move up, they develop an
esprit de corps, (pronounced “Spree De Core”) symbolize
by class rings, or identification such as “The class of 2000.”
1. The word “
” can be misleading.
a. In some instances, members hide their identity with masks such
as the Klu Klux Klan.
b. In some societies, the secrecy involves not who is a member but
in the secret
that the group may possess.
of secret societies is widespread.
a. In west Africa, they provide for mutual
members and mutual
in conflicts with
b. Among the North American Indians, the
illness was a common activity by secret doctors.
c. The Klu Klux Klan in the United States, the Leopards of west
Africa, and the Mau Mau of Kenya exercise
power outside the law.
also sometimes create their own
secret agencies. (F.B.I., C.I.A., K.G.B.) These help to
strengthen their hand in dealing with other nations and help
to control crime and dissension within their population.
Many associations are
and admit members only on
the basis of wealth, heredity, status, individual achievement, or selection
by the members of that society.
1. Simple tribes often are run by a very
minority of elite
individuals who have gained that position through wealth or brave
2. Membership in the Mason, Elks, or American Medical Association are
restricted in the United States on the basis of wealth, birth, or individual
A great many associations particularly in modern societies are based on
interest of members.
- unions, cooperatives, trade associations,
businesses and corporations.
- churches, parochial schools, seminaries, and
- parties and lobbies.
- parent teacher associations and schools.
When informal associations
into formal ones: Political
revolutions into governments, religious revivals into churches, ideas of a few
into universities. This process that takes these groups from loosely structured
groups into stable, organized, and socially integrated ones is collectively
1. Formalization results when the informal customs and beliefs of the
founders are transformed into the accepted
of their followers.
are gained for members if the group is more stable
and has its own distinctive competence, reputation, and network of
Example: The American Medical Association not only provides
doctors with opportunities for visiting and exchanging information
and ideas, but also protects the interest by lobbying in federal and
in these associations becomes identified with
As associations become larger, it is more and more difficult for
decisions to e made by every member. Leadership is then placed in
the hands of a few, who sometimes only look out for their own
1. In the beginning an association may be formed to express common
interests or achieve certain tasks, but soon many of it’s members
and leaders see personal
in its continued
existence. They become concerned with the
of the association for personal satisfaction and identity purposes.
2. Ultimately, self-preservation may take precedence over the goals for
which the group was formed.
The longer an association exists, the more it becomes infused with social
and takes on a strong identity.
Example: Rivalries between the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines
has continued despite government attempts to merge them under a
single command. Another example is the delay of the United States in
shifting to the metric system of the weights and measures, even after
most of the world has done so.
Conclusion: Associations play an important role in all societies. By organizing roles, setting
norms, allocating authority, and mobilizing resources, they provide the organization
necessary to achieve certain tasks. They also help to
and to provide the people within it with a sense of identity and belonging.
of associations in a society is one indicator of its relative
Often structures become rigid or impersonal and new informal relationships arise
to restore a personal touch to communication.
Lecture 13 – “Geographic Groups”
Introduction: Kinship and associational groups as we have already seen are influenced
greatly by the geographic distribution of their members. Family members who
live in the same town generally have more to do with their relatives who live in a
1. Crowds are short-lived gathering of people in one place.
2. They take on several characteristics:
a. They are
, and therefore lack any stable social
b. They have the
identity and purpose.
for developing a sense of
c. People in crowds tend to take on the
group. (People will do in a crowd what they would not do if
develops and becomes an important
form of identification. Heavy pressure may be brought to
bear on those who do not conform.
Casual crowds arise
, without systematic
Example: Guakers at an accident, or visitors at a zoo.
2. These crowds normally
as soon as the cause of the
3. Excitement in these crowds can be intensified by one charismatic and
authoritarian leader – a destructive mob or a mass of screaming
1. These are organized gatherings in which emotions are
Examples: Religious services, dances, parties, and football games.
2. These crowds can be very passive displaying little emotional unity
(people attending a symphony or students at a lecture) or they may
be emotionally charged. (Religious meetings, political rallies, and
3. Unlike casual crowds, however, is that organized crowds can be
and therefore serve a very useful part in
the orderly operation of a society.
1. This is the most
consisting of a territorial localized group of people, in which most
of their daily needs are satisfied and their common problems are
2. Communities are found in all societies, but range from the simplest
bands to the most complex cities.
B. Earliest Communities
In these small communities the farmer was tied to his village associates
and the natural forces that determined the
2. Cultures were built around hours of daylight and darkness, the
progression of the seasons, the weather and the wind.
3. A few people had skills in agriculturally related areas such as potters,
basket weavers, ironsmiths, carpenters, etc. Most people were able
to do a variety of
4. Life in these villages is very
everything is known by all.
- everyone and almost
This led to mutual assistance and responsibility, but also to gossip,
criticism, and envy.
5. The fact that village life is a small,
system leads to a
feeling that George Foster called the “image of the limited good.”
“By “Image of Limited Good” I mean that broad areas of peasant behavior are patterned
in such fashion as to suggest that peasants view their social, economic, and natural
universes – their total environment – as one in which all the desired things in life such as
land, wealth, health, friendship and love, manliness and honor, respect and status, power
and influence, security and safety, exist in finite quantity and are always in short supply,
as far as the peasant is concerned. Not only do these and all other “good things” exist in
finite and limited quantities, but in addition there is no way directly within peasant power
to increase the available quantities. If “Good” exists in limited amounts which cannot be
expanded, and if the system is closed, it follows that an individual or a family can
improve a position only at the expense of others.” 14
Thus, individual ambition was perceived as a direct
to other members of the community. Appeals are
made to be content and people are discouraged from wanting more.
6. Social control in these villages was characterized by a moral order that
1. The nomadic communities were based on
2. These communities were often at war with the agricultural villages.
3. Social order was based on the
made up of the father, his sons and grandsons, and their families.
4. These households were then often
when the patriarch
5. Several patrilineal families formed a
section. These were
thought of as kin groups, but the factor of common descent was not
6. There was a strong identification of a patrilineal group with the
it occupied. Often wells were dug on these
territories that were occupied and became very important to their
7. The basic territorial group was the camp, which centered around an
extended patrilineal family.
Stuart Plattner, Economic Anthropology (California: Stanford University Press, 1989), p. 138.
This camp was the basic
unit and its leadership was in
the hands of the patriarch of the dominant extended family.
1. Cities depended on a steady supply of
grown in the land.
a. While agricultural practices were primitive, cities were scarce.
revolution ushered in agriculture
and domesticated animals along with technological
innovations such as, ox-drawn plows, the wheeled cart,
metal tools, irrigation, and boats.
c. These changes allowed for one farmer to supply enough food for
many in the cities.
2. Cities also relied upon an organization of
political, trade, etc.
elements in the development of cities.
were also key
a. Oxcarts and pack animals were used to transport necessities.
b. Long distances were impossible due to the vulnerability of the
animals and bandits.
c. Long distance trade was reserved for small, high-value
commodities used by the elite, such as spices, silks and
d. Drying was the principle way to preserve food along with
fermentation and pickling. Rot, decay, rodents and insects
took a heavy toll, from harvest to harvest.
also limited the development of cities.
5. These cities became the center of
E. Modern Cities
show the phenomenal growth of the city.
a. In 1800, no city in the world had a population of 1 million.
Fewer than 25 had populations over 100,000.
b. By 1950, forty six had more than 1 million and thirty one were
over 2 million
c. In 1970, New York City had a population of 15 million and 22
million by 1985.
d. In 1800, about 16 million people lived in cities over 100,000. By
1950 the number had risen 20 fold to 313 million.
2. A city is a
- an attraction of opposites. Vitality and
decay; crowds and loneliness; hope and despair.
3. It is in cities that much culture is
begins, and it is there that
and where change
in most of its forms is
4. Through systems of rapid transportation and electronic communication,
rural areas have become extensions of nearby urban areas, both
geographically and culturally.
1. Suburbs comprise smaller communities around the borders of cities
the best of both worlds, the city and the
residents of suburbia, mainly men, commute to work.
Their reward for doing so is to return in the evening to a comfortable
home where they are
, each with an identity.
Here he is able to know his neighbors, the policemen, and local
officials and vote on issues that affect him.
3. During the day, the suburbs belong mainly to the nonworking women and
children. A few males, firemen, doctors, ministries, and teachers,
remain to maintain essential
4. In some parts of the world “suburbs” do not consist of a dream lifestyle
like here in America, but are settlements of a very
class of people who live in ghettos or make shift shelters without
proper sanitation or food. These have often come to the city in search
of riches, only to lose everything.
5. The suburb is continually
. As more people move out
of the city, the suburbs expand, making commuting more difficult
and the suburb becomes more like a city in lifestyle.
- cities emerge that stretch for hundreds of miles with
no clear distinction between city and country. Urban strips exist
between Boston and Washington D.C.; San Francisco and
Sacramento; Milwaukee and Chicago; and all around Los Angeles
either direction along the coast. Each year, more and more farmland
is consumed to feed this urban growth.
G. Cities of the
1. Problems exist for the city. Overpopulation, pollution, power shortages,
and for some the boredom that accompanies and overabundance of
leisure, to name of few.
2. There is great
for creativity or destruction.
III. Tribes and Nations
A. Most modern societies are larger units, geographically, than the community and
its extension, the city. These societies may be called tribes, or they may be
B. These are sometimes divided into
units such as states and
counties; or they may be “international associations” such as the European
Union, or the United Nations.
C. We will deal more with the political power of these organizations in Lecture 17.
Conclusion: Communities are the stable. They are geographically defined groups in which
individuals live most of their lives and satisfy most of their needs. >The nature of
these communities varies from bands to villages, to cities, to megalopolises
composed of a great many communities.
Cultural activity (whether economic, political, social) or religious is centered in
these communities and it is here where change is first seen.
Large geographically, defined unites like kingdoms and nations form the social and
political organization at the highest level of complex societies.
Lecture 14 – “Societal Groups”
Introduction: Because contemporary societies are so
, it is nearly impossible
for people to interact with all or even most of the members of their society. Thus,
large societies are divided into “societal groups.”
Societal groups provide individuals with
categories of social
organization, which serve as models for interacting with other people in society.
Complex societies are composed of many societal groups and an individual may
belong to several different groups each dealing with a different domain of his life.
For instance, he may be of Irish descent, be a Baptist, and a Republican.
There are two types of societal groupings. One is “
are defined largely in terms of birth and ascribed status. The other is “ social
classes” which are based to a large extent on achievement.
I. Ethnic Groups
of Ethnic Groups
a. People are members of ethnic groups primarily by
b. Ethnic groups are often associated with the idea of “
c. Most people within an ethnic group share some knowledge about
their origin and historical heritage. Often these theories
cannot be proven.
a. People have an ethnic
. Someone may be a
good or bad Japanese-American, but regardless of whether he
is good or bad, he is still Japanese-American.
b. If he is rejected by his group, he does not automatically become a
member of another ethnic group. He becomes instead, a
c. People can be
into other ethnic groups. They
may be adopted or marry into a group and thus gain
membership by fictional kinship.
d. Though it takes generations, a group can adopt the values and
customs of another group and thus be accepted in it.
values and traits
a. Ethnic groups are not always culturally homogeneous groups.
They may share values and traits of other groups.
b. Ethnic identity is thus not based as much on common culture as it
is on a common sense of
c. Cultural traits that distinguish ethnic groups from one another are
of two kinds:
1) There are certain basic values to which the members are
committed, and certain standards by which their
is judged. These may include
specific religious beliefs, standards of morality, or
assumptions about the nature of reality.
2) Then there are cultural
- features such as language, dress, house form,
general life style, and specific rites expressing their
of these features is essential to the
survival of the group.
interaction among groups
a. While members of an ethnic group may interact with other
groups, their role in these groups is always colored by
. The others, in one sense, are
b. A young person may have friends from another ethnic group,
to one of them might threaten the
c. Where religion is a big part of the ethnic background, attendance
at other religious services would be forbidden.
roles in an ethnic group may be reserved only for
members of that group. Priestly offices and leadership are
generally reserved for members of that group.
e. Ethnic boundaries are being broken down more and more as our
world interacts with more people all of the time.
B. Types of Ethnic Groups.
a. Tribes are ethnic groups that occupy a single
and exploit its resources with little competition from other
b. Interaction between tribes is
involving trade, raiding, and warfare.
c. Tribes are becoming increasingly
and are found
largely in portions of South America, Southeast Asia, and
a. When more than one ethnic group lives in a certain territory and
they compete for resources it is called polyethnic.
b. There is always potential for
breakdown of ethnic identities.
c. These groups develop because of a dependency on the other for
certain goods or services.
Example: In Zaire, the hunting and gathering Pygmies live in
the forest on game, wild honey, and other forest products.
They depend on their neighbors, the Bantu Negroes, who live
in villages for metal arrow tips, spear blades, and cooking
utensils. The Negro villagers raise food by slash-and-burn
agriculture and depend on the Pygmies for meat from the
forest and labor in the fields. Whenever the Pygmies want to
take a holiday from hunting to enjoy leisure in the village; they
go to the village bearing meat and other small gifts from the
forest. The Negro villagers try to assert control over the
visiting Pygmies and put them to work, but he Pygmies use all
their guile to avoid work. When their welcome is outstayed,
and the villagers refuse to give any more handouts, the
Pygmies simply return to the forest.
d. Often these balances of groups are disrupted by
from outside countries.
a. Castes or jatis as they are often called in India, are
integrated into a common social system on the
b. Each caste has a rank based on its ritual purity.
Example of a caste system:
1. Priestly castes are referred to in general as Brahmins.
2. Kshatriya castes were once comprised of rulers and
3. Vaishya castes handle banking and trade.
4. Many Shudra castes, comprising of farmers, craftsmen,
(Weavers, Winetappers, Potters, Tailors), and servicemen
(Barbers and Washerman.)
5. Lower caste are comprised of workers such as Sweepers and
Leatherworkers sometimes referred to as “untouchables.”
c. The number of castes in a village may range from a half dozen
to more than forty and in all of the country as a whole in
d. These castes are based on the
that all men are not
created equal, but some have been given special spiritual
gifts. Thus priests deserve respect.
e. The lower castes are responsible for maintaining the
of the higher castes by performing ritually
defiling tasks, such as washing clothes, cutting hair, removing
refuse, and handling the mundane matters of society.
f. People in higher castes abstain from impure practices like eating
meat and drinking liquor, or eating food prepared by someone
who ranks lower than themselves.
g. Low caste men should not
sit in the presence of their
superiors, and in the past, even their
defiling to those in higher castes.
h. Certain jobs, such as a day labor, farming, and general trade are
the marriages of their children and their
sons inherit the right to enter their profession.
a. In some polyethnic societies, there are ethnic groups that are
by the dominant population and
thus live separate from the rest of the people.
b. They usually develop isolated social subsystems with their own
values and culture. There is very little opportunity for
interaction with the rest of the population.
II. Social Classes
A. Definition of Social Class
1. Social “Class” has been defined several ways:
a. Those who hold a common
in an economic
hierarchy either by occupational differences or by the
production of wealth.
b. All families and individuals that possess a relatively equal
or prestige in a community.
c. A stratum in a social hierarchy, with members who share
common opportunities, attitudes, values, life style, as well
as consciousness of kind and a sense of antagonism toward
2. The first two definitions are essentially etic in nature – they are
concepts by which we can analyze a society. The third is emic. It
takes into account that class differences become only important if
by the people themselves.
3. We will define “class” as a stratum of people who
common rank or status in a social hierarchy, whether based on
economic factors, social prestige, or both.
B. From Classless to Class Societies
1. George Murdock in 1967 found that of the 862 societies in the world,
(68%) were classless societies. These
societies had no hierarchy based on individual wealth, skill, piety,
Example: The Cheyenne American Indians were a classless society.
People were ranked on the estimation in which their family was held
by the rest of the tribe. A brave and wealthy man could raise his
family to a high rank, and a lazy one would end up poor. But the
prestige of the successful families rested in part of their generosity to
the poor, particularly those of their own kinsmen, so that the social
distance from the bottom to the top was never very great. Moreover,
the poor generally had influential and wealthy relatives to whom they
could turn for support.
2. Most societies that have developed distinct classes are divided into
. Only 8% of the world’s societies were found to
have a more complex class system.
3. In polyethnic societies, people of different ethnic groups may share the
same social rank, but feel their primary
is with their ethnic group rather than their class.
Example: In many American towns, middle class-blacks are not
accepted by middle-class whites into their clubs, churches, social
circles, or marriages.
1. Unlike ethnic groups and castes, which are based on
roles and recruit primarily by birth, classes depend to an extent on
achievement . Though a person may be born into a class with more
potential for achievement, or less, he still must make his own choices as
to what he does with that potential.
1) Few can question the importance of
in class structures, Money increases in a person’s
opportunities and adds to his choices of life-styles.
Money serves as a
in societies of
success in which material good are highly valued.
2) Wealth in itself is not a criterion of social rank. A recluse
may die in a slum with a million dollars in the bank.
3) It is also important, how the money was
In the West, it makes a difference whether one’s
money is inherited; earned as professional fees,
monthly salaries, or hourly wages, stolen; or welfare.
1) A study by Pavalko in 1971 off occupational ranking in
the United States found that bankers, county judges,
dentists, lawyers, ministers, physicians, and college
professors ranked more or less equal, despite the fact
that their salaries varied greatly.
2) A study of six modern nations found that professionals ,
such as doctors, ministers, teachers, lawyers, and high
government officials, ranked highest in all societies.
Below them were white collar workers and skilled
labor, and then came semi-skilled workers such as
farmhands, barbers, and clerks; and unskilled labor was
at the bottom.
In all societies,
and the possession of
knowledge, whether sacred of secular, carries with it a measure
of prestige. In the West, education has been one of the main
roads to upward mobility in the middle and lower classes.
1. Surprisingly, rural / urban life has become one of the most
widespread criteria for status ranking in countries
around the world.
2. Cities have always attracted people with their varied
patterns of trade, work, recreation, education,
political power, and religious activities. With this
variety has often come a contempt for rural life with
1. In tribal societies, wealth, power, and prestige often
. In contemporary complex
societies, there is more of a separation between
$6 billion on Nike
People under 25 years old:
$20 billion on cell phones
$6.3 billion on I-pods
$1/2 billion on gas daily
a) There is a growing
between those who control wealth, those
who control power, and those who control
the more traditional forms of prestige.
2. These criteria of course are
to each other.
Those who rank high in one are able to interact with
those who rank high in another.
Example: Wealth, occupation, education, and other
social symbols of success enable people in the same
strata to live in the same area, join the same clubs and
churches, send their children to the same schools, and
develop common values. In other words, these symbols
lead to a consciousness of kind.
Top 1% owns 37% of wealth
Bottom 90% owns 28% of wealth
3. One almost universal symbol of a shared life-style is the
, sometimes referred
to as “
Example: It is curious to note the fact that people will
have sexual relationships with and allow their children
to be nursed by people with whom they never share a
1. Societies with social stratification have elites, those who hold the
positions in the society.
a. These form a very distinct class, very conscious of itself, its
heritage and cultural distinctions, and the boundaries that
separate it fro the rest of the people.
operate much like an ethnic
2. In other societies the elite are less dissociated from the rest of society.
Their life-style may still be exclusive, but they are willing to admit
to outsiders who acquire the necessary requirements.
3. In some cases “
” develop with more than one set of
elites, each with a separate, and almost self-enclosed status group
with a minimum of interaction with other elites.
Example: A Pastor may play a significant part in determining the
values and beliefs of a community, but he may have no interest in
joining the local country club with political elites who have as their
interest the betterment of the community as well.
1. Systems of social hierarchy not only have elites at the top, they also
have low classes, such as slaves. Slaves are to class systems what
“untouchables” are to ethnic groups and castes.
2. Slavery existed in almost
of the world’s societies in the past
Example: Percentages of people who were slaves in the 1800’s.
Asian – 56%
Mediterranean – 61%
African – 78%
North American Indians – 31%
South American Indians – 27%
Pacific Islanders – 21%
3. Slavery takes a number of forms: In some societies,
of wars and raids become slaves and in time were adopted into the
families that they served. In other cases, slaves were considered
subhuman and treated as animals to be both sold, or killed at the
whim of the master.
a. In other societies that were more advanced, a poor man may
pledge himself or one of his children to pay off a debt. This
was common in Old Testament times in the lives of the
b. In a few societies, with strong legal systems,
were condemned to slavery. Imprisoning offenders in penal
colonies or jails developed in England and Europe largely
after the 12th century.
F. Class boundaries
1. People divide their social world into classes in order to compare
and evaluate their own behavior and that of others.
2. The extreme geographic mobility of Americans, the influence of
mass communications, and the vertical mobility from one class
to another keep the classes from becoming
groups and contribute to the fluidity of society.
3. Two generalizations should be avoided when considering social
a. The class structure of one community is
to that of another.
b. Communities contain a full
found in that society.
of the statuses
Example: Not every American town has an atomic
physicist, a major league umpire, an astronaut, and a
representative to the U.S. congress.
Conclusion: As societies become increasingly complex, the number of statuses and roles
, and societal groups develop. Societal groups are
composed of people who share a consciousness of kind and provide those people
with conceptual maps of how their society is ordered and how they should relate
to one another.
Two types of societal groups provide the basis for most societies: ethnic groups
and social classes. Classes develop as societies become more complex. Most
contemporary complex societies have both ethnic groups and classes.
Lecture 15 – “Economic Organization”
Introduction: Social organizations arise because of
. Acquiring food,
producing material goods, settling disputes, and relating men to supernatural
beings are all needed. One broad area of culture in which social organization
plays an important role is that of “
” – the creation, distribution,
and use of property and labor.
I. The Nature of Economic Organization
A. Property and Technology
1. All people use and consume material
2. All people have a rudimentary form or science and technology. By
science we mean a body of knowledge
, rules, and
conceptions, based on experience. Technology is the application of
this knowledge in dealing with the material world.
Example: The Trobriand Islanders of the South Seas have an easy
and absolutely reliable method for catching fish in their lagoons –
using poison. The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert can track a
wounded giraffe for days through the scrub forest until they run it
down. The Polynesians sail canoes across hundreds of miles of open
ocean from one island to another, charting their course by the shapes
and colors of the waves and the nature of the wind. These are all
examples of people employing their scientific knowledge in useful
ways, through technology.
3. All societies also have “
a. Property includes
as well as material
Example: Eskimo men own songs, and only others who have a
man’s permission may sing his songs. Ideas and words are
important commodities in universities, and people quoting a
unique idea must give its author due credit.
b. Property consists of:
, material or nonmaterial.
use of which is limited by a set of socially
c. Most simple things belong to
d. In complex societies, things such as irrigation systems, road
systems, railroads, air and sea ports, and factories are
generally owned collectively by groups of individuals or
e. What constitutes property and what socially defined rights are
associated with it
from society to society.
Example: American Indian tribes sold the rights to use their
lands, not its ultimate ownership, to the colonists. In American
Indian cultures, this ultimate possession of land could never be
sold. When they needed the land and asked for its return, they
were exercising this claim. The colonists however, saw sale of
land as a transfer of rights, without reservations, to the
purchaser. The results were misunderstandings and wars.
1. Economics deals also with “
” – the energy used in the
production, distribution, and maintenance of property.
2. People may not only have
labor to offer. They may
possess special skills and knowledge, and these are important to
economic services. These of course demand higher pay and also
carry and higher social status.
II. Types of Economic Systems
A. Technological and Social Differentiation
1. Technological Development
a. Without technology, it is impossible for a society to take full
advantage of its
. There is usually a
high amount of waste due to a lack of storage or
preservation. Unless that society has an inexhaustible
amount of resources (very few places in the world do) they
cannot exist very long.
b. In technology, there is a shift from
tools and from human and animal
driven by chemical and
c. Through technology, people are able to exploit more of their
2. Social Differentiation and Integration
a. As technology increases, structural differentiation begins to take
place as people take on specialized tasks.
b. Differentiation also takes place as
activities are separated from religious, political and social
ones. The family for example ceases to be the center of
religious worship, economic production, and political
c. Differentiation also takes place at an
1) Integration is not longer accomplished at a family or
neighborhood level, but through institutions such as
factories, businesses, political parties, churches, and
2) Within the economic sphere, there arise specialized
groups, such as labor unions, welfare agencies,
saving institutions, and professional organizations
all specializing in integration.
B. Reciprocity or Gift Exchange
a. Gifts are occasionally given with no
of return and
b. Gifts for the most part however, are part of a stable network of
exchange between persons or groups of roughly the same status.
to receive approximately as much as
it gives. People who fail to do so are usually criticized and
relationships with them are broken.
c. Gifts are also given to develop
d. In societies with simple technologies, gift exchanges play important
and provide the basic mechanism for
the distribution of goods and services that are vital to the survival
of the people.
Example: The Mossi farmer of West Africa needs to plant and
cultivate his crops. He may need to borrow a knife to cut thatch for
his roof, a bicycle to visit the marker in a neighboring town, or some
money for taxes. Even more critical is his need for help when he is too
sick to hunt of farm or when his health fails. At such times, he is able
to turn to those whom he has aided in their times of need. It is to the
person’s advantage, therefore, to help others and build networks of
e. Gift exchanges also lead to other forms of
. This is
especially true when hostility existed between two tribes who were
dependent on each other for needed goods or supplies.
f. Gifts are also used to
Example: Periodically, a chief or prominent person of the Pacific
northwest coast Indians would invite other leaders to a “potlatch”
ceremony to celebrate his claim to a new honorary title or to recognize
the marriage or death of an important person. The success of the
potlatch was measured by the feast that was given and by the great
quantities of goods that were given away to visitors and destroyed as a
display of wealth. Money was thrown into the fire, canoes were
destroyed, and blankets torn to shreds to show the wealth of the host.
The potlatch was part of a system of competitive gift-giving. Leading
guests at a potlatch were expected to reciprocate with an even more
lavish potlatch in a claim to even greater status. The competition
continued intermittently for years until one or another could no
longer gather the wealth necessary to challenge the victor. By means
of potlatches, the rich gained prestige and the poor got food and other
economic goods, In this sense they are similar to the banquets and
benevolent foundations sponsored by the wealth in some Western
a. In systems of redistribution, goods and services are gathered by a
and then parceled out among the
b. Most modern countries levy
and use the money to
operate the government and benefit the people.
system. This is a system of distribution in
In its classic form, the system centers around a high-caste landlord, or “jajman,” and the
raising of crops. The farm, the jajman needs to services of other specialist cast es: priests
to assure the favor of the gods; ironsmiths and carpenters to maintain the plows; potters,
barbers, and washermen to serve the household; and untouchable laborers to work the
fields. All of these are hereditary workers, who perform their services throughout the year
and at harvest receive a portion of the grain in payment. The first measures of the crop
heaped on the threshing floor are sent to the high caste priests as offerings to the gods and
to the village officials in respect of their authority. To the craftsmen, who share rank
roughly equal to himself, the landlord gives a payment and to his clients below him, a
d. Similar patterns were found in European
Serfs and laborers tilled small farms and gave most of the crops to the lord of the manor.
Smiths, tailors, weavers, cobblers, and ale makers worked in the manor shops and paid
the lord tribute. The lord, in turn, provided them with land and goods from those they had
produced. He judged their disputes, organized them in defense of their territory, and
provided for religious worship.
3. Market Exchange
a. Gift exchange and redistribution are systems that are increasingly being
, in which goods and services are
exchanged on the basis of
b. The primary difference is that in gift exchange, the primary object is a
relationship. In the markets, social
relationship is merely incidental to an
as a symbol
1) Money is not an economic thing, as are coconuts, rice, canoes,
or cars. It is an economic symbol, including bills, notes,
bonds, coins, and the like, which represents the exchange
value of the coconuts, rice, cars, etc.
2) Almost anything can be used as a
Example: The Polynesians used polished shells; the
Melanesians used pig tusks; the east Africans used salt; the
Aztecs used cocoa beans; the Europeans used gold. At the end
of World War II, when much paper currency in Europe was
worthless, a pack of cigarettes became an important form of
3) The value of money is its value as a
necessarily its value as a commodity. Hopefully a ten dollar
bill is worth more than the paper it is printed on.
d. One of the effects of money is the separation it leads to between the
A person can produce goods that he does not immediately need
and convert them into symbols representing wealth which he can
then use later to buy things he himself cannot produce.
e. Money facilitates trade by providing a standard that is acceptable in many
places. It is also small enough to make it
f. Special purpose money – In some societies, the currency can only be
used to buy certain things.
Example: Among the Tiv of Nigeria, food can be exchanged for food
or brass rods. Brass rods can be used to purchase the most valued
goods, women and slaves. Women and slaves cannot be exchanged for
food, and anyone who tries to do so is considered illogical by the Tiv.
The United States armed forces issued script money during World
War II, which could be used only in military stores. Americans buy
postage stamps which have limited usage. All such restricted
curren\cies are called “special purpose money.”
g. General purpose money – is portable and divisible and can be used to
purchase just about anything.
h. The development of markets
1) In tribal societies prices are determined by local
. People haggle over prices in order
to maximize their own gains.
2) In advance societies small industries arise as people make their
by producing goods.
3) The development of national and international markets helps to
prevent local food crises due to crop failures, but it also
increases people’s dependence on the larger economic
i. The separation of economic activities
economic activities from social and
political activities and increases their importance in
2) In market economies, the personal relationships give way to
impersonal ones as each individual is free to pursue
3) Money and markets also develop social stratification based on
of economic goods.
4) Wealth is usually in the hands of a
who now use
their money to gain income rather than labor.
between the poor and the rich tends to
III. Economic and Social Change
A. Why do Cultures
1. Many hold that economic factors, such as the level of technology and
the availability of resources, determine the type of social structure
found in a society and that social structure, in turn, determines the
2. Others hold that
are at the basis of change.
3. It is certain that economic systems place limitations on the social and
political structure, as well as on the ideologies that can develop
within a society. It is also clear that social, political, and belief
systems influence and limit the types of economic systems that
Example: “The Children of Sanchez” by Oscar Lewis
My mother-in-law and her husband lived in one room and a kitchen on Piedad Street, No. 30. At the time
all four of her children, with their families, were living with her.
The room had one bed, in which Faustino and his wife slept. The rest of us slept on pieces of cardboard and
blankets or rags spread on the floor. The only other furniture was a broken -down wardrobe, without doors,
and a table which had to be put into the kitchen at night to make more room… That is the way the thirteen
of us, five families, arranged ourselves in that little room.
When so many people live together in a single room, naturally there is a brake, a restraint, on one’s liberty,
right? As a boy in my father’s house, I didn’t notice it so much, except when I wanted to talk to my friends
or look at dirty pictures. But as a married man, I had more bitter experiences. Living together like that,
never, never can there be any harmony. There are always difficulties, like the time my brother-in-law
insisted on removing the light bulbs whenever he left the house, because he had paid the electricity bill…
We really had it rough for a long time. Even when I found a temporary job, we were very poor, because I
earned only am miserably low wage, and I had to wait a week to get paid.
My poor old woman never complained. She never asked me for anything or said, “Why do you treat me
like this? Why should it be like this?” Because of the poverty in which we lived, I even went so far as to
tell her, “Look, old girl, I feel like leaving you. You have a right to live a better life. I’m no good. I can’t
give you anything at all. I don’t deserve you.”
But Paula loved me – it was more than love – she worshipped me, all her life she worshipped me. And I
loved her too. Every day, before going to look for work, I would say, “Here, take these three pesos and get
yourself something to eat. That’s all I have.”
“And you, aren’t you going to have breakfast?” she would say.
“No, old girl, the senora who had the stand I the market will give me credit.” I told her this because I knew
two people couldn’t eat on three pesos. My thought was, at that time, to go to my friend A lberto and ask
him to treat me to coffee and something…
Well, so time passed. Paula and I had lived together for almost three years and we didn’t have any children.
I wasn’t pleased and said, “Looks like I’m living with a man; you don’t seem to be a woman . When are we
going to have a child?” At that time I didn’t know what it cost one to bring up children, or how bad one felt
not to be able to provide for them. I didn’t think of such things.
Then, one day, my wife told me I was going to be a father. “Man alive!” I said, “Really? You’re not fooling
me, old girl?”
“No,” she said, “It’s true.”
“Thank God!” I told her. Lets see if this doesn’t change our luck. Come on, old girl, let’s go to the movies.”
All I had was eight pesos. “It doesn’t matter, we’ll spend two pesos in the movies, but we have to celebrate
this. Come on mama, let’s go…”
When Paula was five months pregnant, Raul Alvarez asked me to come to work in his lamp shop… The
first week I drew two hundred pesos, just like that…
I worked there for about a month, when my brother-in-law Faustino, the one who treated me like dirt when
I wasn’t working, became sick. He was paralyzed from the waist down. He said to me, “Compadre,” (I’m
the godfather of baptism of his two children) “be a good fellow, go and help out the care, brother, won’t
you? If I don’t go to work I’ll lose my job. Take my job for two or three days, until I get better.”
“Man alive, compadre,” I said, “you see I’m just barely getting on my feet. I’ve just gotten this job with
Senor Raul. How am I going to ask him to let me off for a couple of days?”
“Aw, come on, be a good fellow,” and he looked at me so sadly that my conscience got the better of me.
“O.K., I’ll go, but only for a few days; here’s hoping you get well soon!”
I went to work in the restaurant. But Faustino recovered slowly and the two days stretched out and became
a week, then two weeks. I earned fifteen pesos a day and of this I gave my wife only five. The rest I turned
over to my compadre to pay for the doctor, medicine, rent and food. I thought, “Well, I’m lending him the
money; it’s like a saving. He’ll give me back the whole amount in a lump sum and I’ll be able to pay my
wife’s hospital bill.”
Well, it didn’t turn out that way. One time, while my compadre was sick, my godson Daniel became ill and
at night I had to go every two hours to get a woman to give him penicillin injections. After that my
compadre Eufemia got sick, and so there I was taking care of all three of them and paying for everything.
But I would think, well, I’m actually saving money. I imagined I was saving. The situation dragged on like
that for more than a month and a half. And so I lost the job with Senor Raul.
Santos, my daughter’s godfather, suggested that I open up a shoe shop; I took to the idea. Santos said, “Get
hold of two hundred pesos. You can make shoes and sell them at a profit of five pesos a pair.” I thought,
“Suppose I make five-dozen pairs of shoes a week. That makes sixty pairs… that makes three hundred
pesos profit a week. Why that’s wonderful.”
Santos loaned me the lasts and the stitching machine, and I borrowed the two hundred pesos from my
So I went into business. Santo went with me to buy the leather, and we started making shoes. But I knew
nothing about shoes or business then, I worked only by God’s good will….
I don’t remember exactly what happened… one of my finishers, Chucho, went on a binge for two or three
weeks, getting drunk every day. He later died in the street, abandoned and drunk, poor thing. But I took
pity on him, thinking that the worker kill themselves to earn so little, so I raised the finishers twenty
centavos for each shoe, and the machinist ten centavos. I wanted to show others how a boss should treat
Instead of making a profit, without knowing it, I was actually losing each pair of shoes. Then I sent
someone, I don’t remember who, to deliver twenty-five pairs of shoes, and he took off with the money. To
make a long story short, my business went broke…
After my business failed, I gave up trying to plan my life and get ahead. I lost the little confidence I had in
myself and lived just from day to day, like an animal. I really was ashamed to make plans because I didn’t
have the will power to, well, carry them out…
To me, one’s destiny is controlled by a mysterious hand that moves all things. Only for the select, do things
turn out as planned; to those of use who are born to be tamale eaters, heaven sends only tamales. We plan
and plan and some little thing happens to wash it all away. 15
Conclusion: Material goods and human services acquire economic value only as they
become part of social systems.
Societies with simple technologies have little differentiation in economic roles or
institutions. Most of the people are concerned directly with gathering or
producing food. As technologies become more complex, economic roles become
, and institutions develop that are essentially
economic in nature.
between economic, political, and social development
of the other, and in turn, is influences in its own development. Within their
combined limits, individuals live out their lives, calculating their strategies,
pursuing their goals, and, at times, choosing courses of action that will alter the
limitations in which they live. For some there are many
, but for
others, the constraints are confining and oppressive.
Oscar Lewis, The Children of Sanchez, Autobiography of a Mexican Family (New York: Vintage Books,
1963), p. 160.
Lecture 16 – “Legal Systems”
Introduction: While social groups and societies have organization, they also have internal
and disputes which threaten their organization. There are
always some individuals who deviate from the
them and infringe upon the rights of others. Some disputes are minor and dissipate
with time, while others have the potential for violence and disruption of society.
These must be
by the processes of feud, war, or law before
normal societal activities may be resumed. Anarchy destroys social order, and so all
societies must have
systems to regulate interpersonal
relationships. This has much contemporary significance, which is dealt with by
Daniel Carroll in his book on illegal immigration. He states unequivocally,
“Because Hispanics come from another culture, their concept of law will differ
from the way it is understood in this country.”16
I. Norms, Customs, and Laws
A. The basis for norms, customs, and laws
1. Norms are
rules that are intended to govern individual
Example: There are proper ways to eat, sleep, work, and play. People
have acceptable ways from deviating from these norms. Students are
expected to listen to lectures but may do something else , as long as they
do not disrupt the class.
2. The body of norms and the deviations and compromises that are regularly
allowed in practice are called
” are customs, but not all customs are laws.
Example: Individuals living in a suburb may leave their lawns
unmowed, or eat with their fingers in a restaurant despite their
neighbors’ disapproval. But if they are caught parked by a fire hydrant,
or shoplifting at a store, they will legally be punished.
sets apart laws from customs and norms?
5. There are three approaches to the anthropological study of law:
M. Daniel Carroll R., Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible
(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008).
a. The first was to define law as the explicit abstract
written or remembered, of a society.
1) This leads to the belief that societies that have no written
or spoken rules have no
2) Disputes must be settled on
than systematically arranged laws.
3) This allows a great deal of
magistrates to formulate law on the basis of previous
cases or advice from legal counselors.
4) Often legal codes were not upheld in strict accordance
with the law, but that laws are interpreted differently,
bent, or even ignored to fit specific cases.
b. The second approach is to define law as the patterns of
behavior characteristic of a society, rather than leave it up
to a few elite.
1) Law is thus assumed to be simply what people
2) This is unacceptable because it equates law with
c. A third approach is to study legal cases and abstract the ideals
and principles that they imply.
Since laws are principles abstracted from concrete cases, they
as the culture changes and may even cause
of law is often sufficient to prevent wrong doing,
but in the end, the power of the law lies in the enforcement of legal
2. When those in a dispute reach agreement, law is not needed; when
agreement cannot be reached, law is
3. The ultimate sanction of law in many societies is the legitimate use of
force – the ability to destroy or confiscate
property, to punish the wrongdoer, and at times, take one’s life.
coercion, through the use of economic,
social, or religious sanctions, is believed to be just as significant as
physical coercion in enforcing the law.
1. Laws must be enforced by one or more persons who have the generally
power to do so.
2. In primitive society, wronged individuals had the right to prosecute
their own cases with the support of public opinion as long as they
remained within accepted customs.
” law or criminal law have leaders – herdsmen,
chiefs, fathers, councils of elders, priests, magistrates, or other
individuals of greater or lesser status, who are granted by common
consent, the authority to initiate action and make decisions for the
4. Some of these positions are
and the leader gets
his authority on his ability to gain respect from those in the society.
Other positions are formal, like the President of The United States
who gets his power from the office he holds and his duties of
authority are clearly defined.
D. Intention of universal application
1. Not all
made and enforced by authorities are laws;
many are political acts.
2. Laws are intended as general rules to effect social
Political decisions are quick responses or solutions to immediate
3. Laws are distinguished from other decisions by
principles to similar cases in the future.
4. Laws have an
component which points out how
people ought to behave in all such circumstances, and it is this ideal
which provides continuity to law.
E. Legal ties of rights and duties
1. Laws describe the sociological relationships existing between individuals
and groups at the time that the law is violated.
2. The law defines the
of those involved, with emphasis on
the rights of the person who has suffered because of the illegal act of
II. Classification of Laws
A. Level of laws
1. There are as many legal systems as there are functioning
There are laws at the family, the lineage, the village, and the
association, in addition to the law of society as a whole. Even
decisions made by leaders of criminal activity, become
within the gang.
2. We tend to assume that all people in a society will behave alike. Therefore
we also assume the existence of a
within the society which is not the case.
Every society has different leaders, and many different sets of norms
operating at the same time.
3. The highest level of law is usually the society itself. Legal processes at this
level may be formally structured as legal institutions.
B. Types of law
All societies in one form or another have a “due process of law.”
1. Socially recognized ways of carrying out legal
available when needed.
2. “Due process” involves a recognition of those with jurisprudence and
authority, as well as, how the
is to be gathered. It also
involves what kinds and to what extent sanctions should be applied.
3. Rules governing the operation of the law are called “
Hoebel pointed out that people are protected from the terror of anarchy or
tyranny only when the law itself is enforced in a legal matter.
4. “ Substantive
” laws are those which regulate behavior and are
enforced within the group or society. Behavior which may be
objectionable but is not covered by law can not be subjected to legal
5. A legal system must also include a way to
person is guilty. In complex societies, formal ways of gathering and
deciphering evidence is accomplished with judges, lawyers, juries, and
5. In some societies, supernatural means for obtaining information or
guaranteeing the truthfulness of the witness are used. This is called “
Example: In Perak in the Malaysian Peninsula, contestants in a
dispute would appear before the Sultan. There they were ordered
to write down the truth of the matter and solemnly swear to it. The
statements were sealed in identical bamboo tubes, mixed up, and
given to two boys, who were led to stakes driven neck deep in the
river. At a given signal, both boys submerged, each trying to
outlast the other. The tube of the one who came up first was flung
into the river, and the tube of the victor was opened to discover the
III. The Case Study Method
A. Cheyenne law
1. In the 19th and 20th centuries the Cheyenne lived on the plains of North
America, governed by a council of Forty-Four and the military
societies. Theoretically, the Council was the ultimate tribal authority to
which the military societies were
practice, the military societies often took the law into their own hands,
as we see in the following case:
The tribe was moving in a body up the Rosebud River towards the Big Horn Mountain country in search of
buffalo. The Shield Soldiers, who were in charge on that occasio n, had their scouts out looking for the herds,
and when the scouts came in with their report, the order was given that no one should leave the camp or attack
the buffalo. Nobody was supposed to shoot a buffalo until the signal was given.
All the hunters went out in a line with the Shield Soldiers in front to hold them back. Just as they were coming
up over a long ridge down wind from where the scouts had reported the herd ; they saw two men down in the
valley riding in among the buffalo. A Shield Soldier chief gave the signal to his men. They paid no attention to
the buffalo, but charged in a long line on to the two violators of the rules. Little Old Man shouted for everyone
to shoot them: “Those who fail or hesitate shall get a good beating themselves.”
The first men to reach the spot shot and killed the horses from under the hunters. As each soldier reached the
miscreants he slashed them with his riding whip. Then some seized the guns of the two and smashed them.
When the punishment was done, the father of these two boys rode up. It was Two Forks… He looked at his sons
before talking. “Now you have done wrong. You failed to obey the law of this tribe. You went out alone and
you did not give the other people a chance. This is what has happened to you.”
Then the Shield Soldier chiefs took up the talk. “Now you know what we do when anyone disobeys our orders,”
they declared. “Now you know we mean what we say.” The boys did not say anything.
After that the chiefs relented… They called their men to gather arou nd. “Look how these two boys are in our
midst. Now they have no horses and no weapons. What do you men want to do about it?
One of the soldiers spoke up, “Well, I have some extra horses. I will give one of them to them.” Then another
soldier did the same thing.
Bear Standing On A Ridge was the third to speak out. “Well,” he announced, “we broke those guns they had. I
have two guns. I will give them one.”
All the others said, “Ipewa, good.” 17
2. Societies such as these were dependent on group
3. The ultimate aim of law was to
social order and
B. Village law in India
1. Laws in the villages of India have been enforced by “
a. Panchayats are, for the most part, informal procedures for reaching
consensus within the village. They consist of informal and
formal groups organized to solve specific problems.
Membership is not limited and rules are
b. The case of Chendrayya involving an unfaithful wife, illustrates the
ways in which the panchayats work:
One of our local bachelors got into trouble with the wife of another Washerman name Chendrayya. It was
common knowledge, but no one, not even his friends, would tell Chendrayya; they did not want to get in to
trouble or make him feel bad. Chendrayya suspected something. He tried beating his wife; but she denied
everything. Finally, one day Chendrayya left as though he were going to work but turned the corner and hid
behind a mud wall. When he saw the bachelor sneak into his house, he crept up to the house and snapped a big
lock on the door (like most houses this one had no windows or back door).
Then he went to call the police. They were only too willing to arrest the culprits and lock them in jail. When I
heard about his affair, I said to myself that nothing good would come of it if the case went to court. I went to
Krishna Chari (the village herdman) and told him we should settle the matter within the village. He agreed and
gave me a note for the patwari (village land officer). The patwari and I went to see the police. They agreed to
release the couple to us for seventy rupees which I paid.
Since the matter was serious, I locked the couple up in my house. I needed the support of my caste and the
village so I called in more than forty men from many castes. Elders from the barber, Muslim, and Harijan castes
were also present. The problem was a difficult one. The guilty couple loved each other. On the other hand, the
wife had several children including an infant boy two months old, and the bachelor was too poor to support a
wife. If we granted a divorce, the husband would take the children, a solution that would be hard for the
unweaned infant. We decided that for the children’s sake the husband and wife should remain together. We
Marc J. Swartz, Anthropology: Perspective on Humanity (John Wiley and Sons, 1976), p. 512.
decided that for the children’s sake the husband and wife should remain together. The husband was the key to
the problem. He was proud and did not want his wife back. If we could first persuade him, the rest would be
easy. I bought drinks around, and we went to the husband’s house. He said, “My wife slept with another man.”
Did you have any proof? We asked. “I caught them both in my house and called the police,” he replied. As soon
as he admitted calling the police; we found fault with him. He had insulted the caste by ignoring the elders and
going directly to the police. Moreover, he had charged an innocent woman without witnesses. We knew the
wife was guilty, but we did not dare admit it. We find the man five hundred rupees for dishonoring the caste. By
now he was quite humble and ready to take back his wife, and we agreed to drop the fine if he did so.
Next we dealt with the woman. To make certain that the trouble would not be repeated, we made her sign a
paper that if she were caught with the bachelor again she would have to pay the caste five hundred rupees and
made him sign a bond as well. I took seventy rupees to repay what I had given to police, and the rest we used
for celebrations. 18
2. A number of legal
emerge from this case.
a. First, some move must be made to force the issue to a
- in this instance, the husband caught
the culprits red handed.
1. In panchayats, all parties involved in the conflict are
of disturbing the
peace and are under caste suspension until judgment
2. They are seated apart from those gathered to discuss the
case, and there is no speaking of fellowship the one
with the other while the outcome is pending.
3. After a successful settlement, all parties are seated with
the elders, and a jug of palm beer is passed around,
symbolizing the restoration of the offenders to caste
fellowship. If there is no settlement, there are no
b. Disputes should remain under the jurisdiction of the caste and its
panchayats. By going to the police first, he violated the
system and he himself was
c. Anyone may join the panchayats, and have input, but the
of the elders is final.
d. There is no fixed standard of right and wrong that must be
enforced at all costs. Elders realize that all parties must
continue to live in the village for years to come. A poor
Paul G. Heibert, Konduru: Structure and Integration in a South Indian Village (North Central Publishing
Company, 1971), p. 110.
settlement only breeds more trouble; a good one repairs the
seams of the social fabric.
punishment can be administered.
Panchayats can impose fines and withhold favors; with
their ultimate sanction would be to put the culprit out of the
caste or village life and deny him his family fellowship.
Socially, he is
if this punishment is
C. Panchayats and Courts
The difference between panchayats and courts as we know them in the
West is between
1. The aim of the court is to
based on a single standard of justice.
wrong-doing by punishment
2. The aim of the panchayat is to restore
acknowledging the uniqueness of each situation.
3. In the court, based on the adversary principle, one party is the plaintiff and
the other is the defendant, and the
between the innocent and the guilty. Witnesses are required to tell the
4. In panchayats, witnesses are intimately known and are expected to
support their kin and castemen. Panchayats review the total social
context, instead of a narrow point of law and deal frequently with
some unnoticed problem beneath the
5. Panchayats are not more or less
simply that they are different.
than courts. The point is
IV. Functions of the Law
Effective legal systems are
essential to stable societies. According to
Hoebel, they serve four primary functions in maintaining social order.
A. Legal systems
the fundamental rights and duties of the
members of the society in their relationship to one another. They determine
illegal which is “substantive” function of the law.
B. They determine
has the socially recognized right to enforce sanctions
when laws are violated, as well as the ways in which these sanctions will be
applied. This is the “
” function of the law.
C. They resolve trouble cases that threaten to disrupt the normal activities of the
society and restore a measure of certainty and security to every day living.
relationships between individuals and groups as
culture changes. Without this flexibility of law, the stability of a society would
be threatened by every change in technology, social organization, or values.
Conclusion: No society can operate without norms or rules to regulate human behavior.
Many of these are customary ways of doing things, but some, called
are enforced by the society on its people. Not all laws are
down, nor is their enforcement always formalized.
Without law and legal procedures, disputes caused by disagreements, and tensions
created by social changes can lead to a disintegration of the society. Legal systems not
only resolve the tensions that arise out of daily life, but also help to direct the course of
change within a culture.
The alternative to law is
as social chaos.
Lecture 17 – “Political Organization”
Introduction: Leadership, power, control, and manipulation are aspects of every society.
The exercise of these generally speaking, is
. Politics has much to
do with government and law, but they are not the same.
I. The Nature of Political Organization
A. Structural Attributes of Politics
1. Leadership and decision making
a. In every society,
have to be made. Decision
making involves choosing between alternatives, allocating
power and resources, and initiating courses of action.
b. In most groups, this means that leadership is in the hands of a
a. Power is the ability of one person or group to exercise its
over the others to cause the others to
behave as one wishes even when they resist.
b. Power includes the ability to control
, to persuade and
exhort others to compliance, and to manipulate cultural
symbols, such as beliefs, values, and goods.
c. Not all uses of power are considered
society. Sometimes societies are ruled by those who misuse
the right of power.
B. Functions of Politics
a. Every society will have a different set of goals.
Example: The goals may be organizing hunting parties,
moving camp to new grazing lands, or fighting wars to gain
more territory. They may concern national prestige, territorial
defense, economic development, social or religious reform, or
b. Since most societies have
must determine priorities.
2. Mobilization and allocation of
resources, such as land, water, game, and
resources, such as technology, material
goods, and religious powers.
1) These resources must be mobilized by such provisions as
taxation, recruitment, and requisitions before they
can be used on behalf of the whole.
2) Weapons and men must be prepared for war.
3) Cattle, crops, trade, and production may be taxed to
support the activities of the government.
4) One of the best ways to determine the
of a society to examine the
ways its leaders allocate its resources.
resources to members.
a. Goods, money, prestige, services, and power are distributed to
the people within a society by its leaders.
b. Individuals, groups, classes, or castes that have more power
from the unequal distribution
of resources, and thus are in a position to maintain their
advantage and leadership.
4. Social control
a. Political systems exercise social control.
b. This may include
force, but usually it is a
manipulation of ideologies by controlling communication,
the use of economic rewards and sanctions, and social
C. Legal and Political Systems
1. There are always a lot of
between legal and political
a. They both deal with public matters.
b. Their decisions are often made and enforced by the
2. These authorities, men and women, who hold the statuses of public
leadership and exercise public power, constitute the
II. Types of Government
A. Stateless Societies
A stateless system lacks a
but is rather divided among difference types of groups. No one person
has the authority for the whole group.
a. Bands are found primarily in hunting and gathering societies.
Most are small in size ranging from twenty to five hundred.
They are seminomadic, moving in regular seasonal
patterns, following migratory game or fresh pastures.
b. Their political organization is generally
1) There are no formal offices, but leaders emerge out of
respect on the basis of personal qualities.
2) There are usually several leaders: One might be a leader
in religious areas while another might lead in the
obtaining of food.
Example: The King Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in
South Africa from a band society. Headmen often
inherit their positions, but they have no special honor or
privileges that set them apart from the others. They
normally make decisions on the distribution of food
resources and admission of outsiders into the band, but
these are usually made in line with long standing
customs. If they prove to be poor leaders, the band
turns to other men for direction. As one herdmen said,
“All you get is blame if things go wrong.”
a. Tribes likewise lack centralized political power and hierarchies,
but tribes are large political entities, made up of a number
of local groups or bands.
b. They usually have greater
c. Governmental functions at the level of the tribe are performed
by one or more groups or associations.
4. Kinship Groups
a. These are often called
b. Clan leaders settle disputes within their clans which may be
scattered through a number of villages.
c. Sometimes rival clans, which may be bitter enemies, will unite
in a common cause against an enemy of all. This is called
Example: The early American colonies were often bitter rivals,
yet they managed to unite long enough to successfully revolt
d. This segmentary opposition only lasts until the opposition is
5. Age sets
a. In some societies, governmental positions are assigned on the
Example: Among the Bantu Tiriki of western Kenya, there
formerly were four age grades responsible for the maintenance
of social and religious order. The Warriors were responsible
for guarding the country and holding the land. The Elder
Warriors organized community activities. The Judicial Elders
settled local disputes by holding courts at the local meeting
grounds to hear plaintiffs and defendants, question witnesses,
and give judgments. The Ritual elders presided over priestly
functions at the ancestral shrines and expelled witches who
threatened the well-being of the tribe. In this system, every
grown male had some responsibilities in the governing of the
tribe and could look forward to greater respect and authority
as he got older.
6. Village councils and headmen
a. In stateless societies, village councils and headmen often handle
b. They settle quarrels, allocate village lands, and organize
Political states are characterized by a
and a territory.
a. In tribal states,
lies in the office of a chief or
b. Authority may be
to prevent a total
concentration of power in the hands of a merciless tyrant.
Example: Many North American tribes had peace chiefs, who
acted as civil governors, and war chiefs responsible for military
1) Another separation of power in chiefdoms is that
between political and
” chiefs and kings, who combine the
powers of both in a single office, often command
a. Centralized governments are effective, but who becomes ruler
when the chief
b. One way to avoid this problem is to make the office of ruler
- this is called a monarchy.
This also has problems however; hereditary succession does
not guarantee that the
best or even a good man will
ascend to the throne.
c. Monarchies were the most
governments until recent times.
form of tribal state
4. Nation - States
a. Nation states or
is the most dominant
form of government around the world.
b. Nationalism emerged for several reasons.
1) There was a shift from political groups based on the
principles of kinship, locality, or ethnicity, to
politics based on
with clearly defined boundaries.
2) There was also a shift of
kin, and tribal groups to identification with the
population within the boundaries of the nation –
People became “Americans,” or “Japanese,” or
“Canadians.” The ability of a nation to unify its people
and mobilize its resources depends heavily on this
c. Nationalism is accompanied by several major political trends:
1) Increase in
- Nations tend to be much
larger than tribes, thus politics had to increase.
a) The recruitment of political powers became based
on expertise, performance, and seniority,
rather than on personal ties or influence. This
resulted in some form of “ civil
b) Recruitment to national offices is often achieved
parties act as mediators between the general
populace and various interest groups on one
hand and the government on the other.
2) Rising Aspirations
a) Increase in communication causes people to dream
of a better life-style.
b)When government is not able to fulfill all that it
promises, at times, a revolution or
” may take place, as
disillusioned segments of society attempt to
control the government. These rebellions are
not produced by poverty and hardship alone
but by an
a) As nations grow, there is a greater need for the
centralization of national governments to
administrate, regulate, and coordinate, the
activities of people and institutions.
b) As de Tocquevelle, a French lawyer and student
of societies in the last century noted, even in
democracies there is a great danger in the
tyranny of the majority over the minority.
C. Colonial Governments
1. Colonial governments are marked by centralized authority but by two or
Example: The British government in preindependent Kenya enforced
European law on British subjects and African law in matters relating
only to Africans. In British India, the colonial government had
separate codes for Hindu and Muslim communities, in addition to one
for Europeans. A man from one community would be jailed for
having two wives, while his neighbor from another was free to have
three or four. The colonial power determined not only what legal
systems it would recognize, but also how and when each would be
2. Two main types of colonial rule have existed.
rule is when the colonial power sets up its own
centrally controlled administrative hierarchy and governs
the people directly.
rule is when the colonial authority is
administered through existing government structure –
village leaders, tribal chiefs or kings. This minimized the
intruder’s impact and made social change more acceptable
to the people.
3. Colonial governments have existed through much of history as
European nations in particular extended their control over tribal
societies around the world in search of resources, markets,
prestige, and power.
D. International governments
1. International governments are just about impossible because of the
various legal systems and multiple centers of
2. There are international
but they are often difficult to agree
upon or enforce as many wars will attest to.
III. Political Processes
A. The difficulties of politics
1. It is not always easy to separate the legitimate and the illegitimate uses
of governmental knowledge and authority. Can a politician use his
office for personal
2. State Senator George Plunkit, at the turn of the century, defined the
term “honest graft.”
There is all the difference in the world between honest and dishonest graft. Yes many of our men have
grown rich in politics. I have myself.
I’ve made a big fortune out of the game, and I’m getting’ richer every day, but I’ve not gone in for
dishonest graft – blackmailin’ gamblers, saloonkeepers, disorderly people, etc – and neither has any of the
men who have made big fortunes in politics.
There’s an honest graft, and I’m an example of how it works. I might sum up the whole thing by sayin’: “I
seen my opportunities and I took ‘em”
Let me explain my examples. My party’s in power in the city, and it’s goin’ to undertake a lot of public
improvements. Well, I’m tipped off, say that they’re going to lay out a new park at a certain place.
I see my opportunity and I take it. I go to that place, and I buy up all the land I can in the neighborhood.
Then the board of this or that makes its plan public, and there is a rush to get my land, which nobody cared
particular for before.
Ain’t it perfectly honest to charge a good price and make a profit on my investment and foresight? Of
course it is. Well, that’s honest graft. 19
3. A closely related problem is the proper use of
. The improper use
of legitimate power under any circumstances itself becomes a
. An example is the experience of Carlos Alvarez,
who had come from a small Puerto Rican village sixteen years before and
worked as a night watchman at one of Chicago’s museums.
It was about six o’clock in the morning when I was getting ready to go home. I walk out about five feet
away from the back door of the Academy. A police officer was approaching near our parking lot over there.
The first question he asked me was what I was doing there? I told him I work here. He asked me if I have
any identification. I said, no, I just left it with the relief man. When he didn’t believe me, I ask him to come
in and ask the relief man himself. He says in a very rude manner, as he pushed me against the car, that he
has heard that before from other people, and he pushed me against the car again and called for help.
About six other police cars answer his call. Another sergeant dropped in, and this man grabs me and puts
my hands behind my back, crosses them, and throws me into that holdup car. My cheek hit the glass, the
door was slammed, and my arm was hurt by the side of the car. They were laughing about asking what my
nationality I was…
When I called the relief man and asked him to call Mr. Baird, who is the curator, Mr. Baird arrived about
five minutes later. And he asked the police what happened. Nobody answered him any of his questions.
They asked him if he recognized me. He says, “Yeah, he worked for us for many years and we know him
very good. What happened?” Nobody happened to answer him. The police officers went inside to call up
the director… They were talking there for a good half an hour before they decide to take me to the station.
About nine o’clock the judge arrived. Everybody was standing in line, like a pig, went to the courtroom.
The courtroom I was taken into was one that nobody is allowed to be admitted into. The public is not
allowed to be in there; the lawyer, my cousin, even Mr. Baird was not allowed to go in there.
When I waited for my turn to come where I could defend myself against what the officers were saying, the
judge said. They can talk all they want. The officers were saying I tried to punch t he sergeant in the mouth
or in his face… And the judge, the only thing he asked me was if I have any family. And I say, “Yes! I
have family.” He said, “Well, I’m going to charge you as guilty with a suspended sentence.” When I asked
him guilty for what, he simply said, “That’s all,” you’re not allowed to talk any more. I say good -bye to my
family and fellow employees.
I took three weeks off work. When I came back, the assistant director called me into his office and he says,
“I’m afraid we have to tell you right to your face that you have been fired…” Later I found out that one day
when the director mentioned my case to the board of directors, one of the women on the board said, I
should go back to Puerto Rico. People kept asking what was I hoping to gain here in Chicago? Why don’t I
just go back to Puerto Rico, where I belong. 20
Conclusion: All social groups and societies have
organization that makes political decisions, decides what goals a society should
Marvin E. Wolfgang, Crime and Justice (Patterson Smith Publishing Corporation, 1975), p. 364.
Studs Terkel, Division Street: America, Volume 4, p. 88.
have, distributes duties and rewards, and exercises power and social control,
Governments provide the norms and structures for political activities. Problems
come when the government itself is not properly
Lecture 18 – “World Views
Introduction: Through religious systems, man explains the fundamental nature of the
universe and his own
in it. Religion becomes the model man uses
to explain the
Religion includes not only assumptions and beliefs, but also its myths, rituals,
sites, and objects. In this lecture we will look at religions as explanatory models.
I. Two World Views
A. What is a “World View?”
1. Behind the patterns of human cultures there are certain
about the way the world is put
2. These assumptions are called “
a. These assumptions deal with the nature of reality, the
organization of the universe, and the ends and purposes of
b. Some deal with
- differentiating between
right and wrong, good and bad.
3. The assumptions used to explain a people’s total response to their
universe is called a “
B. On the following pages are two examples of world views, one of middle-class
Americas, and other of Indians in south Asia.
1. The first has been influenced by Greek and Judeo-Christian ideas, the
other by Hindu thought.
2. Beginning with much the same types of human needs and experiences,
the two groups have constructed two very different and contrasting
C. Basic Similarities
1. People in both societies are concerned with the problems of food,
shelter, health, protection, and everyday social activities.
2. They are interested in friends and relatives, in entertainment and the
enjoyment of life.
3. Because of these
communication is possible.
II. Anthropology and other World Views
A. Cross-Cultural Understanding
1. When two different culture
on the basic
assumptions, can they really understand each other?
Example: Suppose that a person in a different society tells us that his
illnesses are due to demons, and that he has actually seen them.
a. We must first avoid the temptation to
person and conclude that he is ignorant and foolish, without
first trying to understand him in terms of his own cultural
concepts and values.
b. In trying to understand another culture, the outsider can
observe human behavior and products, but he cannot see
c. Some things are “
” in a society and we must
determine what they are before we can say we
something about their culture.
d. Often we try to explain cultures in
concepts and values.
of our own
Example: Maya, Karma, and Dharma, which are basic to
Indian thought, cannot be translated with proper meaning to
an English word. No English word has exactly the same
meaning nor the same emotional associations as any one of
these Indian words. Thus it is best to use those terms,
2. We must formulate concepts and methods of investigation that are free
of any single culture. This is difficult as our
biases are deep seated.
B. Cultural Relativism
1. Philosophical relativism
a. Can we assume that all societies will be accurate in explaining
Example: Is it true that smallpox and pneumonia are caused
by demons? Or are they caused by viruses? Or are they
produced by demons in one culture and by viruses in another?
And finally, how are we going to determine which explanatory
model is a better picture of the “real” world? We, in the West,
might appeal to empirical facts and experiments to test these
explanations. But such “proof” cannot be accepted so easily. As
we have seen, in the world of maya, such “empirical acts” are
thought to be often illusory and deceptive, and one turns to
insights to discover truth.
b. We must distinguish between human universals and
1) Human universals are
that can be
empirically observed in all humankind, a kind of
human common denominator.
2) Philosophical absolutes are
reality and nonreality, about the truth and falsehood
of statements that are thought to apply to all people.
2. Moral Relativism
a. Are there any universal principles when it comes to what is right
and wrong or are all values
b. In all societies there seems to be a built in
to certain basic values and ethical principles.
c. There is a basic
and an honest
Conclusion: In a world of growing communication and interaction, there is the problem
of cultural diversity and the maintenance of world peace. Hoebel points out, “a
world society means a world culture with a certain measure of integration, and all
present cultural systems are most certainly not compatible with each other.
Therefore, some social norms will have to give along the way. Not all can be
Some type of world
is needed on the norms and customs
that should govern international relationships if world peace is to be achieved, but
the means by which such a consensus will be achieved still alludes mankind.
Lecture 19 – “Religious Beliefs and Practices”
Introduction: Early anthropologists defined religion in terms of beliefs in
beings and events. In this sense, religion is different
from science and other naturalistic explanations of the world. This is however,
more of a Western view.
In the broadest sense, religion encompasses all specific beliefs about the ultimate
nature of reality and the origins, meaning, and destiny of life, as well as the myths
and rituals that symbolically express them.
Religion is based on the human
to “make sense” out of human
experience and in turn find some order and significance in the whole human
I. Religious Structures
A. Anthropology and Religion
1. In their study of religions, anthropologists are not concerned with the
truth or error of specific beliefs. This is a question of theology and
2. Anthropology is interested in what these beliefs tell us about the people
1. All religions have myths or stories of cosmic origins and events and
which tell us of their significance in the world.
2. To the Westerner, these often appear to be superstitious mixtures of
fantasies and contradictions.
3. These are the products of some
order of mentality.
4. They are fanciful and poetic commentaries on what people think is the
very basis of the world and life.
5. Malinowski pointed out that myths are “
and form an integral part of culture, which legitimize actions.
6. Cross-cultural studies, comparing myths from different cultures, reveal
certain features and themes that appear to be
1. Myths relate experiences in the form of stories – rituals often
2. In a broad sense, rituals cover all
greetings to rites in the temple.
of behavior, from daily
3. Religious rituals are those thought to be
with the fundamental operations of the universe.
4. In many cultures there is no distinction made between the ritual and their
meanings. The meaning and the consequences lie in the act itself.
Thus, there is no such thing as an “
Example: To many, one does not go to church in order to worship;
going to church itself is worship. Similarly, the bread of communion
may not be seen only as a symbol of spiritual reality but that, in fact, it
becomes the reality.
D. Calendrical and Crisis Rites
1. Religious rites can be divided into those that are regular and expected
and those that arise out of unexpected
2. Calendrical events are part of the normal order of things, such as the
human rites of passage: birth, marriage, and death. Others relate to
the cycles of nature, such as ceremonies associated with the
renewal of the earth’s fertility or with the harvest. Many annual
festivals, such as Christmas and Easter in the West, reenact the life
cycles of supernatural beings.
a. These calendrical ceremonies are usually performed by priests
who hold religious
b. They are scheduled long in advance and there is a great
of the event.
3. Crisis or critical rites are precipitated by unforeseen events, such as
plagues, droughts, wars, and other disasters.
a. These ceremonies are frequently performed by diviners,
medicine men, and other religious leaders, who claim to
have a personal
with the supernatural.
E. Functions and Meanings
Rituals have a number of religious functions:
a great deal of information that is transmitted from
one generation to another. The endless repetitions and the dramatic
nature of the events assure the
knowledge with a great deal of accuracy.
2. Rituals also offer an opportunity to
life, and thereby allow people to find their identity in a group.
3. Rituals allow people to plan their religious activity and to give them an
idea of how to respond in time of
4. Rituals reinforce social
and hierarchy. Leaders
reinforce their roles as they lead the people in worship, and the people
their roles as followers.
5. They also enable people to relate to the
world of which
they are a part. People depend on seasonal rains, the renewed fertility of
the earth and animals, the orderly cycle of the sun and the seasons, and
the phenomena sparing them from natural disaster.
F. Religion, Magic, and Science
1. Religion is not born out of speculation or reflection, still less out of
illusion or misapprehension, but rather out of the real tragedies of
human life, out of the
between human plans
2. In some situations, people believe that they
supernatural power or beings, somewhat in the same way a scientist
controls chemical reactions.
a. When the right chant is recited or the right sign is used, the
in the expected way.
b. This attitude of control over the supernatural is called
c. When technical knowledge fails, people turn to magic.
d. The test of magic is if it
to convince the user.
, or at least well enough
e. When magic fails one does not question the system, but the
of the rite. The chant may have been recited
incorrectly. As modern analogy, the chemist does not reject
his science if an experiment fails, nor a doctor his, if a patient
f. Only when magic is used in the face of social disapproval, is it
3. The second type of attitude toward the supernatural is that of
a. In religion, the believer approaches the supernatural in an attitude
of subordination and supplication.
b. The basic rites are
c. Religion helps people deal with every day matters of life, but its
primary function is to provide an explanation for the universe
and man’s place in it.
Example: A religion may not only provide believers with a course
of action to prevent the deaths of their fellows, but also an
explanation for the place of death and its consequences in the total
order of the universe. It usually affirms that death is not final, but
that man is an immortal being which continues in another life.
1) This helps to conquer the
that man has
2.) They also provide comfort and meaning to the
G. Shamans and Priests
1. The ability to control the supernatural power provides a person with
2. There are two types of religious
found in almost every society.
and they are
a. A Shaman is a charismatic leader who claims to have received
religious power directly through
He is a
ancestors speak to men.
, the mouthpiece whereby gods and
b. A priest, on the other hand, receives his authority from the
he holds in a religious organization or
1) The power to influence the supernatural lies in the
institution, not in the
2) As a spokesman for a religious group, he is often the
intermediary, who speaks to the spirits on behalf of
H. Spirits and Mana
1. The term “
” is used to describe belief in spirit
a. Spirits have
but lack bodies; therefore
they are not subject to limitations of the material world.
b. They are found in human and animal souls, witches, demons,
globins, angels, and gods.
2. Ghosts and ancestor worship
a. The greatest fear man has is
b. This fear is minimized in those who believe in
death. This was the case for the early Christian martyrs, the
Muslims engaged in holy wars, and the sacrificial victims
of the Aztecs. Death loses some of its sting when it is not
seen as the
c. If the spirits of those that are dead live on, what is their
to those still living?
d. Belief in
is found in all cultures.
1) In most cases, ghosts are viewed with fear and dread.
2) People go to great lengths to insure the departure of the
ghosts to another world by providing them with
money, possessions, and means of transportation.
3) In the Bantu tribes of Africa, the Polynesians, and the
Pueblo Indians, ghosts are believed to continue on
as part of society, influencing the lives of the
favorably and unfavorably.
Often these ancestors are revered with festivals and
3. Nature worship
In many cultures, humans are not the only ones believed to have
spirits. Animals, plants, the sun, moon, and earth are seen as having
Example: The sun was worshipped by many tribes in
American. The Plains Indians pitched their tepees and camps
with entrances to the east. The spectacular Sun Dance was
performed in mid-summer, when the whole tribe had gathered.
In Polynesia and Africa, nature is associated with specific gods
of the skies, waters, hills, earth, and trees.
4. High God Worship
a. The belief in a high god is very widespread. Australians,
Polynesians, American Indians, and Africans had beliefs in
a high god.
b. These beliefs were particularly present in cultures around the
Mediterranean Sea that gave birth to Judaism, Christianity,
c. This high god was viewed in several ways:
1) Some thought of this god as
uninvolved in the everyday affairs of life.
2) In the Mediterranean cultures, the high god was seen as a
moral ruler, punishing evil and rewarding good.
a. Mana is an
force which pervades the
universe and is found in gods, men, animals, natural
objects, such as rivers, mountains, stones, and trees.
b. Mana is not a
with whom a person can
c. Mana can be controlled by one who knows the formulas, but it is
in the hands of those who are
ignorant of its ways.
d. Mana helps people explain extraordinary experiences and events
that cannot otherwise be explained.
e. It accounts for human
Example: A man is successful in a fight, not because he has a
strong arm and a quick eye, but because he has the mana of
some deceased warrior to help him. It may lie in the stone
amulet tied around his neck, the tiger tooth in his belt, or the
chant he recited before the battle. Similarly, a man has good
crops not, because he works hard – even the best workers fail
at times; he succeeds because he has mana. On the other hand,
mana also accounts for failures. If crops fail and weapons
break for no apparent reason, it is because they have lost their
mana. Among Polynesian groups, the highest chief, his shadow,
and all that he touches were full of mana and hence dangerous
II. Dynamics in Religion
1. Religious systems are constantly
to internal social pressures, environmental changes, and foreign
ideas and control.
2. During the past four centuries, European culture and colonial power has
spread over much of the world.
As a result, radical change has come to these societies with respect to
3. People are more likely to adapt and accept new technologies than they are
social organization or
To change their basic values and beliefs would be to change the very
of their culture.
B. Conversion and Acculturation
1. The spreading of ideas within an ethnic group is referred to as
2. When the spreading of ideas is from one ethnic group to another it is
acculturation .” Acculturation may be defined as
“relearning a new culture.”
a. The conversion process may take generations.
b. Often there are
between the old traditional
values, and the new ones they have adapted.
c. Often they are branded as
by those who do not
d. People generally bring with them parts of the
they convert. Their new ideas are often stated in terms of
the old thought categories.
C. Revitalization Movements
1. New religions and messianic cults are constantly appearing. Over 6,000
in Africa alone, thousands of cults and prophetic movements exist in
New Guinea and Oceania, and since World War II, hundreds of
religions have appeared in Japan and the Philippines.
2. Most of these are revitalization movements led by charismatic leaders
who claim to have some special
revelation and promise a new
heaven and earth with no sickness, poverty, or oppression.
These often come after some natural
such as a
flood or earthquake and will be accompanied by the coming of a
D. Nativistic Movements
1. These are movements which say that the present is
must be destroyed to usher in the golden age.
Example: A classic example of a nativistic movement is the Ghost
Dance that spread among some western American Indian tribes,
which were facing economic deprivation and disease at the end of the
19th century. Taivo, a Paiute, had a vision from the “Great Spirit”
that a massive earthquake would destroy everyone but that after three
days, all Indians who joined the dance would be resurrected. When
this did not occur, the movement died.
It was revived twenty years later by Wovoka, a prophet who had
learned some Christian theology working as a ranch hand. In an
illness; he had a vision of heaven and the happy reunion of the living
and dead in an unending utopia. In it, God said to him that if people
stopped fighting and danced the Ghost Dance, the old earth would be
wiped out by an earthquake or flood and a new one would appear.
This time the movement spread rapidly among the Plains Indians.
They felt that nature was wearing out and people becoming evil, so
God would destroy the earth and replace it with a bigger one. It would
slide over the old one, coming from the west. There would be a wall of
flames, over which the believing Indians would be carried on sacred
dance feathers, or a hurricane would kill the whites and unbelievers.
Again, nothing happened, and the movement came to a sad ending
when those who resisted white expansion died at Wounded Knee.
E. Importation movements
In many revitalization movements there is a desire for a new identity in
which there is a combination of old
and imported riches.
The result is a “
” – a synthesis of two cultures.
Example: The cargo cults of New Guinea illustrate importation
movements. Reported as early as 1893, they have proliferated in great
numbers to the present. An important theme in the more recent cults
is that cargo, defined as Western material goods, such as money,
canned goods, flour, rifles, and jeeps, will arrive by ship or plane for
the people. After the second world war and the abundance of goods
displayed by United States military forces, this theme was associated
with the Americans who mysteriously departed after the war. In some
cases, bamboo control towers, landings strips, and cargo sheds are
constructed, and men stand ready with tin-can microphones to guide
the planes to a safe landing. Those taken to see modern Australian
stores, in hopes they would give up their beliefs, only return more
convinced that God wants to send them the goods, but that white men
have stolen them on the way.
F. Stages in revitalization
1. When a person’s beliefs do not solve his
two choices. He can stick with his beliefs and put up with the stress
of his problems or he can change his beliefs in order to reduce the
stress he faces.
When an individual changes his beliefs in order to minimize stress
it is called
. When a number of people
do so, it is called a revitalization movement.
2. There are five stages through which a revitalization movement must
a. Steady state – This is when there are changes going on in a
culture, but they do not disturb the individual as a rule.
b. Increased individual stress – As things change in the ecology, as
epidemics arise, there are military conflicts, etc. stress in
dealing with these also arises. There is an
in leaving the old and familiar way of life and striking out
on a new and uncertain course.
c. Cultural distortion – When stress is prolonged, people may
change some of their beliefs or behavior to try to cope.
Some people turn to alcoholism, become depressed or lazy,
or drop out of society to avoid the stresses. Others turn to
violence or rejection of the social or sexual norms. This
conflicts between various groups in
d. Revitalization – If the process of deterioration is not stopped, the
society will die or be defeated and absorbed by another
society. Often however, a religious revitalization takes
place that brings a new set of beliefs and ways of coping
with things, thus restoring meaning to existence and the
renewal of culture.
e. New steady state – The acceptance and institutionalization of a
culture order leads to a new steady state, in which people
once again can cope with their stresses and find meaning in
3. While many revolutionary movements
succeed in achieving a cultural transformation. Christianity, Islam,
the Reformation, Communism, and Buddhism were born in
Conclusion: Religious rituals and myths are tied to
as a whole. There is
a great variety in the specific content of religious beliefs, from belief in mana and
inanimate forces to belief in supernatural beings.
When religious beliefs fail to satisfy the needs of the people and reduce the
stresses they face, the culture becomes threatened. As a result, many new
religions appear to meet the
Lecture 20 – “Expressive Culture”
Introduction: People of all culture decorate their pots and baskets, embroider their
clothes, paint their houses, and hang jewelry of all sorts on their bodies. Their
houses follow architectural tastes; their evenings are spent in song and dance;
their lore is full of stories, poetry, proverbs, and riddles. All of these reflect the
human penchant of
I. The Arts
1. Art is an act of
, designed to please the sense.
2. It is an expression of human emotions and ideas.
3. The range of art is
: painting, carving, waving, pottery,
architecture, body decoration, drama, music, dance, story telling,
literature, cake baking, flower raising, and bull fighting, to name a
B. Form and Meaning
1. Art is an example of man’s tendency to proliferate
to express himself.
2. Art forms in any culture are developed in styles that are
by certain classes or the whole society.
3. These styles are handed down through the generations.
forms and styles from other cultures can be accepted,
but not without a long process.
of art is cultural and individual.
These meanings must be understood if the art is to be appreciated.
Example: In classic dances in north India, there are seven
positions of the eyes, seven of the eyebrows, six of the nose, six of
the cheeks, six of the lower lip, and sixty-seven of the hand, each of
which conveys its own specific meaning and feeling.
C. Use and Function
1. Art is used in various ways and that use is usually obvious – the
of an object, or it may be an
such as a painting. It may be used in religious rituals, in
entertainment, or as a tourist commodity.
2. The function of art lies in its
to other parts of the
a. In primitive societies, ritual dances may attract game or produce
b. They may give
to a group or authority to its
c. Art also
messages. This is especially true in nonliterate societies.
d. In complex literate societies, art may communicate values such
and religious beliefs.
D. Arts and Society
1. Art in all societies
the basic values of the people.
2. It is for this reason, that art can be a tool for unity or revolution.
E. Art as a Map of Culture
1. Art is often a
to the world view of people and how they
see their relationships to nature, to one another, and to the
Example: Muslim art prohibited the use of human or divine figures. It
thus developed elaborate and intricate designs, using plants,
geometric figures, and Arabic letters to fill the space. On the other
hand, Indian paintings are full of gods and people in settings that
reflect the world of maya, in which there is no sharp distinction
between the natural and the supernatural or between myth and
2. Changes in the world view of society can often be studied by looking at
a. For the Greeks, aesthetic beauty lay in the imitation or
. Nature was
presented, not as it is, but in its ideal form.
b. With the rise of
, art took on a
religious theme. Natural and visual beauty was avoided and
an elaborate system of symbols was developed to represent
c. Medieval art stressed the
experience, and one
of its highest achievements was the Gothic cathedrals with
their lofty ceilings and stained glass windows, by which the
artist transformed the outer rays of the sun into an inner
illumination of the spirit.
d. The Renaissance with its discoveries of the beauties of
and the joys of this world, led to a
movement in art towards naturalism. The religious was
replaced by attention to people and nature.
e. Much of modern Western art has moved towards a
expression of experience, of the
ways in which the artist feels or perceives the world rather
that what is objectively viewed.
3. How in general does one relate to social complexities?
Example: Alan Lomax found in studying more than 3,500 folksongs
from a number of societies, that songs in simpler societies are
characterized by a great deal of repetition and the use of meaningless
sounds, such as la-la-la. These societies also had fewer explicit
messages, and the pronunciation of words was often slurred. It
appears that music in these societies is associated more with the
expression of feelings than with the communication of ideas. On the
other hand, music in complex societies is characterized by a great deal
of wordiness and an interest in communicating verbal information.
A. Contests and Pastimes
1. Children’s pastimes consist of a great many games, often in
of adult roles. Boys hunt and war, and girls
play with infant dolls, thereby learning and reinforcing the roles
they will be asked to play later in life.
2. Touring and sightseeing are pastimes aimed at
of skill and strength are found in endless variety in
4. Contests and pastimes serve important functions other than
entertainment. They provide people with models for participating
in their culture and for practicing
Example: This is seen in the American game of Monopoly played by
many middle-class children or the game Go played by the Japanese.
5. Some games develop group values while others stress
, and in playing them, participants
learn many of the social rules governing human interaction within
B. American Football
1. Entertainment forms also provide us with a great deal of insight into the
ways a culture views the world. An illustration of this is the
American game of football.
One of the underlying assumptions of this game is that there is a single set of absolute rules that are equally
abiding on both teams and are enforced by referees, who, like little gods, rule from above, punishing with
impartiality and justice those who violate the rules. It would be unthinkable to have different sets of rules
for each team or to give to the team that is ahead the right to change the rules to its own advantage. It is
often charged that the referees are partial in their judgments, but never with approval. The assumption is
that teams must compete on equal terms within a single orderly system.
American football also portrays an explicitly structured social organization, in which the identities and
roles of the members are clearly defined. Each team has its own uniforms and each player his own highly
specialized position and job. On the sidelines, the coach is often calling the plays. He cannot, however,
send in one of his players as a spy, dressed in the opponent’s uniform, nor should he bribe the scorekeepers.
The game is a battle between two opponents. It would be unrecognizable if there were three, four, or a
dozen teams on the field, each trying to win. Moreover, the aim is to defeat the enemy, not to reach a
mutual alliance. Success is measured by conquering territory until a team can enter the heartland of its
opposition. When the battle lines are drawn, no player is allowed into the opponent’s land. These
assumptions are in sharp contrast to European football, known in the United States as soccer, in which the
conquest of territory means nothing, and the enemy is all around.
Finally, there is a time limit after which the judgment is meted out, win or lose, succeed or fail. There may
be a rematch at a later date, but that is another game, and scoring begins anew. There are no handicaps or
rewards for the previous winner.
Despite recent challenges at the lower levels, football remains a game in which men are seen as fighting the
wars and women are encouraging them from the sidelines. The heroes are those who combine physical
strength and agility with mental prowess. Cooperation within the team and a killer instinct towards the
opposition are rewarded.
But to understand the role of football, one must also look at the broader social context of the game: at the
rivalries between neighboring towns, schools, and cities; at the recruitment and training of players;
significance of the football team in the school or city; at the pre-and post-game rituals; and at the
tournaments and bowl games. In this context, the game is a mirror of the American society and culture.
(Taken from “Cultural Anthropology” by Paul G. Hiebert, pages 405 – 408) 21
2. Another “take” on football can be seen in the following article entitled “Freud
and Football” by Childe Herald
…Obviously, football is a syndrome of religious rites symbolizing the struggle to preserve the egg of life
through the rigors of impending winter. The rites begin at the autumn equinox and culminate on the first
day of the New Year with great festivals identified with bowls of plenty; the festivals are associated with
flowers such as roses, fruits such as oranges, farm crops such as cotton, and even sun-worship and
appeasement of great reptiles such as alligators.
In these rites, the egg of life is symbolized by what is called “the oval,” an inflated bladder covered with
hog skin. The convention of the “oval” is repeated in the architectural oval-shape design of the vast outdoor
churches in which the services are held every Sabbath in every town and city, also every Sunday in greater
centers of population where an advanced priesthood performs. These enormous ro ofless churches dominate
every college campus; no other edifice compares in size with them, and they bear witness to the high
spiritual development of the culture that produced them.
Literally millions of worshipers attend the Sabbath services in these en ormous open-air churches.
Subconsciously, these hordes of worshipers are seeking an outlet from sex-frustration in anticipation of
violent masochism and sadism about to be enacted by a highly trained priesthood of young men. Football
obviously arises out of the Oedipus complex. Love of mother dominates the entire ritual. The churches,
without exception, are dedicated to Alma Mater, Dear Mother, (Notre Dame and football are synonymous.)
The rites are performed on a rectangular area of green grass oriented t o the four directions. The grass,
symbolizing summer, is striped with ominous white lines the knifing snows of winter. The white stripes are
repeated in the ceremonial costumes of the four whistling monitors who control the services through a time
period divided into four quarter, symbolizing the four seasons.
The ceremony begins with colorful processions of musicians and semi-nude virgins who move in and out
of ritualized patterns. This excites the thousands of worshippers to rise from their seats, shout frenzied
poetry in unison and chant ecstatic anthems through which runs the Oedipus theme of willingness to die for
love of Mother.
The actual rites, performed by 22 young priests of perfect physique, might appear to the uninitiated as a
chaotic conflict concerned only with hurting the oval by kicking it, then endeavoring to rescue and protect
However, the procedure is highly stylized. On each side there are eleven young men wearing colorful and
protective costumes. The group in son called “possession” of the oval first arrange themselves in an eggshaped “huddle,” as it is called, for a moment of prayerful meditation and whispering of secret numbers to
Then they arrange themselves with relation to the position of the egg. In a typica l “formation” there are
seven priests “on the line,” seven being a mystical number associated not, as Jung purists might contend,
with the “seven last words” but actually, with sublimation of the “seven deadly sins” into the “seven
cardinal principles of education.”
The central priest crouches over the egg, protecting it with his hands while over his back quarters hovers
the “quarterback”… Behind him are three priests representing the male triad.
Paul G. Hiebert, Cultural Anthropology (Baker Publishing Group, 1990), p. 405-408.
At a given signal, the egg is passed by sleight-of-hand to one of the members of the triad who endeavors to
move it by bodily force across the white lines of winter. This procedure, up and down the enclosure,
continues through the four quarters of the ritual.
At the end of the second quarter, implying the summer solstice, the processions of musicians and seminude virgins are resumed. After forming themselves into pictograms, representing alphabetical and animal
fetishes, the virgins perform a most curious rite requiring far more dexterity than the earlier phallic
Maypole rituals form which it seems directed. Each of the virgins carries a want of shiny metal which she
spins on her fingertips, tosses playfully into the air and with which she interweaves her body in most
The virgins perform another important function throughout the entire service. This concerns the mystical
rite of “conversion” following the success of one of the young priests in carrying the oval across the last
white line of winter. As the moment of “conversion” approaches, the virgins kneel at the edge of the grass,
bury their faces in the earth, then raise their arms to heaven in supplication, praying the “uprights will be
split.” “Conversion” is indeed a dedicated ceremony…22
Conclusion: A great deal of human activity is given to the pursuit of
But art and entertainment do more than just contribute to the satisfaction of life.
of a culture and may come to
symbolize the society itself.
The arts and entertainment are means not only for
feelings and ideals, but also for
members of the society.
these ideas to other
Robert R. Sands, Anthropology, Sport, and Culture (Connecticut, Bergin and Garvey, 1999), p. 210.
Lecture 21 – “Sociocultural Change”
Introduction: An obvious fact of life is that it is always
does change begin? How does it occur? How is the order and integration that we
have observed thus far maintained in the face of this constant change? We will seek
to answer these questions in this lecture.
I. Parameters of Change
A. Levels of Analysis
changes when he gets married, moves to a
new location or job, steps into a new social class, or moves to a new
2. Changes within a
take place slowly.
Example: Jan Richardson and A. L. Kroeber made a study of changes
in women’s hemlines in American over 300 years. They found that
hemlines changed almost yearly, going up some years and down others.
But over three centuries, the rise and fall of hemlines followed a cyclic
pattern. They moved from maximum exposure to maximum coverage
and back in roughly 110 years.
3. Changes take place also as a result of
. We have gone
from simple hunting and food gathering societies to the information
1. Time is a key element when studying change.
Example: If Richardson and Kroeber had chosen to study hemlines
over a period of only ten or twenty years, they would not have
discovered the larger cycles with which the yearly variations occurred.
On the other hand, if they had traced the history of Western dress back
to its pre-Greek origins, they would have found more fundamental
changes taking place, such as the shift from draped to tailored clothing.
2. There are two ways of reckoning time:
a. The first is
time – This is simply placing
events in a historical framework and measuring the duration
of time between them. We can measure the changes that have
taken place in the United States between 1700 and the
b. The second is
time – This is the time it takes
to normally complete a given social cycle. We have already
looked at how the individual grows through various stages of
the “life cycle.” Infancy, adolescence, etc. We can use the
beginning and ending points of these cycles as reference
points of study.
C. Emic and Etic Perspectives
1. Change can be described from two vantage points – from that of the
analyst – etic, or from the person on whom the change is taking
place – emic.
2. Early studies of culture were taken from the analyst point of view, but
today there is more interest in the
one on whom the change is taking place.
D. Magnitude of Change
How great does a difference need to be in order to be considered change,
rather than a variation?
Example: Is a shift from horizontal lines to vertical ones on pottery a
significant change? Or from unglazed pots to glazed? What about the
stylistic change in cars from year to year? This depends a lot on the
level of the analysis. A minor change to one may be a major change to
another. The use of “instant replay” in football may be a minor
change to the casual observer, but to the die hard fan, it may be of
great significance to the game.
E. Boundaries of Analysis
It is important when studying change, that the boundaries of study are clearly
defined. What is taking place in one group may not affect all of that society.
II. Anthropological Models of Change
A. Sociocultural Evolution
1. William Robertson, in the late 18th century developed the idea of
. He believed that the world had gone
through three general stages based on technology.
2. Marx and Engels taught an evolution through stages with respect to
a. Property was held by the
as a whole.
b. Property came into the hands of individuals in the form of
c. They believed this would be replaced by
kind of social utopia.
, which would be a
d. They did believe that man could
and move back a stage at some point.
in this process
e. Their whole theory of cultural evolution was based on
factors – specifically the control of
3. Lewis H. Morgan, an American Presbyterian lawyer, and Edward Tylor,
a British educator, proposed a broader scheme of cultural
a. After gathering much data, they determined that the evolution of
human culture was a result of similar
inventions in different societies.
b. Every society was bound to
to the net
stage, because the human mind operates much the same
way in every society.
c. The primary cause of change were subsistence patterns and as
these become more sophisticated, people moved from
savagery to barbarism, and finally to civilization.
B. Historical Diffusion
1. Franz Boas, a German physicist who into turned an anthropologist,
was the cause of cultural
change. He and his students developed the following tests of
the two cultures were geographically and
the greater the flow of information between them, the
greater the likelihood that cultural similarities could be
explained by diffusion.
b. The closer the two cultures were in
, the greater
the likelihood that similar ideas were spread by diffusion.
c. The greater the complexity of traits shared by two cultures,
the less chance there was that these were a product of
d. The probability of diffusion was high if traits in two societies
were similar, not only in form, but also in
2. As a result of these studies they developed the concept of
Example: The American Indians were divided into a number of
tribes, yet culturally speaking they had many things in common.
a. These culture areas are based on
b. Traits would spread out uniformly from a point of origin. As
they spread, they became less complex because some
details would be lost in transmission.
c. The center in an area from which most traits spread was referred
to as the “
1. By the 1930’s a number of anthropologists became interested in
“acculturation studies.” This is a focus on the changes that come
on a people who come in contact with an
Example: In American at this time, the American Indian had been
driven on to reservations. The British were ruling much of the world
through “Colonial Rule.”
a. Because these changes were being
society to another, acculturation was seen as a distinct
process, different from the processes of invention and
2. Acculturation is concerned with how a society adapts to some changes
that are forced on it from another and yet persists as in independent
culture, with an
of its own. The answer was
given in three terms:
This has to do with the receptivity of a culture to new ideas.
Example: The American culture has always been seen as an
“open” culture, because we accept new ideas and aliens
readily. The Hopni Indians however, were considered a
“closed” culture, because they resisted incursions from
b. “Flexibility of internal structures.” This refers to the degree to
which alternatives are allowed within the patterns of the
culture and how closely the traits are linked to each other.
Cultures that allow more alternatives in behavior accept
and adjust to change more easily.
.” These are seen in
every society as people tend to balance the forces of
conflict and crime with the forces of cohesion and
Example: The dilemma of trying to combine the traditional
with the intruding culture into some type of new cultural
synthesis is seen in a series of letters that appeared under the
title “Tell me, Josephine,” the African equivalent of “Dear
Abbey.” Young rural migrants face the dilemmas posed by
Westernized city life, and Josephine tries to bridge the gap, but
on the side of adapting the traditional to the modern world.
Question: During the course of my marriage I find my wife belongs to a tribe which is maternal. When we
divorce or one of us dies our children will belong to our brothers. I rushed into marriage without learning
of this custom.
I am afraid that if we divorce, I shall go to my village quite old and helpless while my wife’s brothers will
get every help possible from my children. So where should I get children to support me? My tribe does not
I find some difficulty in divorcing her now, before the children come, because I love her very much and she
does the same to me. But what about this awful custom? When I mention my fears she tries to bluff me by
saying her brothers will let me get my children, but I don’t believe it. What have you to say before I sadly
Answer: That it would be foolish to break up a happy marriage for fear of an old custom that may no
longer be practiced when you are old. Do not think of divorce, many people live happily together all their
lives. Also, you may die before your wife. If you are good to your children they will not desert you in your
old age. Twenty years from now, these customs may have died out completely.
Question: My uncle who is a charcoal-burner was taken to naïve Court and told to pay 15 pounds for
damaging two virgins.
He has written to me that according to our custom I must get money for him, and send it quickly to the
Northern Province or he will go to prison. This will take all my saving which I had planned to use for
marriage in two years. So much I send him the money?
Answer: If you wish to keep tribal custom, then you are obligated to help your uncle.
If you do not care about tribal custom, any more and do not intend to visit your family in the rural areas
again, then no one can make you pay. Only you can decide.
I presume that according to the same custom you will inherit your uncle’s property when he dies.
3. Integration of new ideas takes place in a number of ways.
a. In some cases, ideas are
the preexisting cultural system.
b. Sometimes the new ideas are
or incorporated into
Example: Snowmobiles have completely replaced dog teams in
c. In some there is a
old and the new into new patterns.
, a combining of the
d. Sometimes people accept a new set of ideas, but keep the new
and the traditional separate by compartmentalizing their
Example: They may work at a factory in the city instead of in
the fields or bush, but may still worship alligators in their
1. “Specific evolutionists” generally see culture as an
process, by which people adjust to their environments, both natural
2. Attention is also given to the
of individuals as
causative factors in the evolutionary process.
Example: In the past, Indonesians practiced two types of cultivation:
slash and burn, and wet-rice paddy farming. The former had low
productivity, with little potential for improvement. The productivity
of the latter was high and could be improved markedly by greater
human effort and care.
When the Dutch came to Indonesia, they turned part of the paddy
land into sugar plantations. The result was an increase in population
on the remaining rice lands. The people responded by increasing the
rice production by more and more intensive planting, weeding, and
harvesting. This continued until the farming practices developed into
a highly ritualized cultivation of the land. A similar elaboration and
ritualization of forms took place in the areas of kinship, politics, and
religion. By contrast, areas under the slash and burn agriculture were
not subjected to the same increases in population pressure. The result
was an evolution of the society into small scale private farms that
lacked the highly ritualized procedures of the wet-land cultivation.
E. Entrepreneurs and Decision Making
1. Changes also take place as a result of certain
result of innovation.
2. Innovation consists essentially of recombining previous ideas into new
Example: Imagine a young boy trying to build a toy car. He has a
problem with the headlights. The boy knows that are round, shiny
things, fixed on front of the car; this is one configuration of ideas. He
remembers that tin cans are also round and shiny; this is another
configuration. By analyzing the two and identifying similarities in
configurations – both are round and both are shiny – he is able to
substitute two empty cans for headlights on a toy car. He does so even
though their original functions were quite different.
3. The three stages of innovation are: “
,” and “
4. People are constantly making
they may not always realize it.
, even though
a. Generally, we make these substitutions in areas that will
b. Not every one uses the same set of values to judge what brings
the most gain. Some chose material comforts, while others
status, power or meaningful lives.
Conclusion: Change is constant, sometimes it is planned, other times forced upon us, and
sometimes it happens without us knowing it. The following humorous article
entitled “One Hundred Percent American” by Ralph Linton, shows how easily we
adapt to other cultures into our own.
There can be no question about the average American’s Americanism or his desire to preserve this precious
heritage at all costs. Nevertheless, some insidious foreign ideas have already wormed their way into his
civilization without his realizing what was going on. Thus dawn finds the unsuspecting patriot garbed in
pajamas, a garment of East Indian origin; lying in a bed built on a pattern which originated in either Persia
or Asia Minor. He is muffled to the ears in un-American materials; cotton, first domesticated in India;
linen, domesticated in the near East; wool from an animal native to Asia Minor; or silk whose uses were
first discovered by the Chinese. All these substances have been transformed into cloth by methods invented
in Southwestern Asia. If the weather is cold enough he may even be sleeping under an eiderdown quilt
invented in Scandinavia.
On awakening he glances at the clock, a medieval European invention, uses one potent Latin word in
appreciated form, rises in haste, and goes to the bathroom. Here, if he stops to think about it, he must feel
himself in the presence of a great American institution; he will have heard stories of both the quality and
frequency of foreign plumbing and will know that in no other country does the average man perform his
ablutions in the midst of such splendor. But the insidious foreign influence pursues him even here. Glass
was invented by the ancient Egyptians, the sue of glazed tiles for floors and walls in the Near East,
porcelain in China, and the art of enameling on metal by Mediterranean artisans of the Bronze Age. Even
his bathtub and toilet are but slightly modified copies of Roman originals. The only purely American
contribution to the ensemble is the steam radiator, against which our patriot very briefly and uninte ntionally
places his posterior.
In this bathroom the American washes with soap invented by the ancient Gauls. Next he cleans his teeth, a
subversive European practice which did not invade America until the latter part of the 18 th century. He then
shaves, a masochistic rite first developed by heathen priests of ancient Egypt and Sumer. The process is
made less of penance by the fact that his razor is of steel, and iron -carbon alloy discovered in either India or
Turkistan. He dries himself on a Turkish towel.
Returning to the bedroom, the unconscious victim of un-American practices removes his clothes from a
chair, invented in the Near East, and proceeds to dress. He puts on close-fitted tailored garments whose
form derives form the skin clothing of the ancient nomads of the Asiatic steppes and fastens them with
buttons whose prototypes appeared in Europe at the close of the Stone Age. Thus costume is appropriate
enough for outdoor exercise in a cold climate, but is quite unsuited to American summers, in thra ll even
when common sense tells him that that the authentically American costume of gee string and moccasins
would be far more comfortable. He puts on his feet stiff coverings made from hide prepared by a process
invented in ancient Egypt and cut to a pattern which can e traced back to ancient Greece, and makes sure
that they are properly polished, also a Greek idea. Lastly, he ties about his neck a strip of bright -colored
cloth which is a vestigial survival of the shoulder shawls worn by 17 th century Croats. He gives himself a
final appraisal in the mirror, and old Mediterranean invention, and goes downstairs for breakfast.
Here a whole new series of foreign things confronts him. His food and drink are placed before him in
pottery vessels, the popular name of which – china – is sufficient evidence of their origin. His fork is a
medieval Italian invention and his spoon a copy of a Roman original. He will usually begin the meal with
coffee, and Abyssinian plant first discovered by the Arabs. The American is q uite likely to need it to dispel
the morning after effects of over-indulgence in fermented drinks, invented in the Near East; or distilled
ones, invented by the alchemists of medieval Europe. Whereas the Arabs took their coffee straight, he will
probably sweeten it with sugar, discovered in India; and dilute it with cream, both the domestication of
cattle and technique of milking have originated in Asia Minor.
If our patriot is old-fashioned enough to adhere to the so-called American breakfast, his coffee will be
accompanied by an orange, domesticated in the Mediterranean region, a cantaloupe domesticated in Persia,
or grapes domesticated in Asia Minor. He will follow this with a bowl of cereal made from grain
domesticated in the Near East and prepared by methods also invented there. From this he will go on to
waffles, a Scandinavian invention, with plenty of butter, originally a Near-Eastern cosmetic. As a side dish
he may have the egg of bird domesticated in Southeastern Asia or strips of the flesh of an a nimal
domesticated in the same region, which have been salted and smoked by a process invented in Northern
Breakfast over, he place upon his head molded piece of felt invented by the nomads of Eastern Asia, and if it
looks like rain, puts on outer shoes of rubber, discovered by the ancient Mexicans, and takes an umbrella,
invented in India. He then sprints for his train – the train, not the sprinting, being an English invention. At the
station he pauses for a moment to buy a newspaper, paying for it with coins invented in ancient Lydia. Once
on board he settles back to inhale the fumes of a cigarette invented in Mexico, or a cigar invented in Brazil.
Meanwhile he reads the news of the day, imprinted in characters invented by the ancient Semites by a process
invented in Germany upon a material invented in China. As he scans the latest editorial pointing out the dire
results to our institutions of accepting foreign ideas, he will not fail to thank a Hebrew God in an Indo European language that he is a one hundred percent (decimal system invented by the Greeks) American! 23
Ralph Linton, When Peoples Meet: A Study in Race and Culture Contacts (Hinds, Hayden and Eldredge,
1946), p. 27.
Lecture 22 – “Culture and the Person”
Introduction: Culture, society, groups, and norms, are
of the human
mind. The relationship between culture and the individual person must be viewed
from two perspectives. We must look at the way the
, and we must see the world from the vantage point of the
and consider the strategies a person uses to chart a course
of action in his or her unique life situations.
I. The Press and Pull of Culture
A. Limits set by Culture
1. Physical environment sets
on the activities of a person.
We are bound by time and space, size and strength, and foods and
diseases. There are things we can imagine doing that we cannot do
because of these limitations.
2. These physical environments also set limits of the culture of a people.
Man can build dams, terrace hillsides, make bows and arrows, build
automobiles, planes, and computers, but there is a limit as to how far
he can go.
3. Other limits are basically
. You can heat or chill
the body, but only to a certain degree before life ceases.
4. Likewise culture sets certain limitations on people. You can walk down the
street backwards or nude, but few people do so. Ignoring limitations
physically or biologically leads to death, so
limitations leads to ostracism or the destruction of a society.
5. The individuals own unique
also limits him.
Being born into a certain class or caste has much to do with the
future of an individual as we have seen previously.
B. The Pull of Culture
a. All children are born
- without language,
culture, or the ability to survive alone.
b. In a very short time, however, (childhood) this person is easily
molded into an American, Chinese, Dutchmen, or member
of one of a thousand societies.
c. The enculturing of a child is done in a variety of ways. It is in
childhood when it is easier to learn because it is all new and
the need to erase some previously learned behavior is not
d. Margaret Mead did some studies on whether traits were natural
Mead asked the question: Are the emotional conflicts and rebellion our adolescents face due to
physiological changes that occur at puberty, or are they culturally induced? Mead lived for nine moths in
Samoa, studying 50 girls in three villages. She found that the adolescent years were not particularly
difficult for Samoan girls.
In later study of three New Guinea tribes, Mead studied the ways different cultures made personality traits
which we call masculine and feminine. She found that Mundugumor men and women were fierce and
aggressive, but among their neighbors, the Arapesh, both men and women were mild and cooperative. In a
third tribe, the Tchambuli, the women were powerful aggressive, and sociable, while the men were
concerned with their hairdos, art, and women. She concluded that man is in large part a product of his
J.W.M. Whiting also did research on child rearing in six societies and the results were compared. It was
found that Gusii mothers of East Africa rarely cuddle or kiss their children and that the children grow up to
be fearful and dependent. In later life, there is a strong hostility between the sexes, and men pride
themselves in their domination over their wives. Quarreling, aggression, rape, and homicide are common in
Gusii society. In contrast to this, small town New England families were found to be cooperative with
members, sharing family mails and other activities. Men and women participated together in work and
recreation, with little open rivalry between them.
development continues through
life. One study found four basic stages in the development
1) Learning to accept things from
2) Learning to actively
3) Learning to
4. Learning to be
what one has.
2. Ideal personality types and national character
a. Every culture holds up certain heroes or role models for its children
to emulate. This tells the child what he
he grows up.
b. Is it true that most Scotsmen are thrifty, most Germans precise, and
most Frenchmen romantic?
c. Francis. L. K. Hsu, an anthropologist in China, suggested that
national characters are formed in partly by the type of
relationship that is central in the
II. Individual Strategies
Society provides an arena within which individuals must determine a
course of action, and his culture provides him the guidelines by which he can
predict what others will do while choosing his own strategies.
A. Each individual is capable of his own
. He formulates his
own goals and ways to achieve them. He has the capacity to love or to
hate, to be a criminal or a saint. He has his own
of the world and how he fits into it.
B. No two individuals are
. Creativity and expression are
meaningful as long as they stay within the boundaries of the society.
C. A person is a “
” in some ways like all other people, in some
ways like others in his society, in some ways like others who share his
roles, and in some ways he is absolutely unique.
III. Anthropology and the Person
Why a study in anthropology? Why have you taken this class?
A. By becoming aware of the press and pull of culture in the lives of others, it
makes us more aware of the effects on
It is difficult to look at ourselves
. We are too
much a part of our own culture to be aware of the values and practices we so
take for granted.
B. None of us can live, think, or operate outside of culture nor live apart from a
society. As we become aware of the ways in which a culture molds us, we
are more able to determine our responses to its pressures, to use its maps to
chart a course of action, and to play a part in shaping its future.
C. Changes always have
. As our understanding of
cultural processes increases, we will be able to plan changes that benefit
people and lack the injurious side effects so common in programs of
D. A study of various cultures forces us to develop a philosophy that can cope with
Conclusion: God loves and Christ died for the entire world. He is not willing that
should perish. We are commanded to preach the Gospel to every
creature. Obviously, we have accepted ways of doing that here in America, which
are generally accepted in our society.
As our own culture in America however, becomes more diverse, and as missionaries
take the Gospel to other cultures, it is imperative that we do not cause people to
the message of salvation, because we
There are similarities in all people as we have seen. One of those is the sense of
. (Food, money, etc.) Man also senses his need for some kind
of belief in the Supreme and his need to answer the question of what happens
It is this common denominator from which we must work. Our food or dress, or
ways of making a living may vary, but the Gospel will solve the most basic need
man has – the Spiritual need of a
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