primitive culture

primitive culture


      in the lexicon of early anthropologists, any of numerous societies characterized by features that may include lack of a written language, relative isolation, small population, relatively simple social institutions and technology, and a generally slow rate of sociocultural change. In some of these cultures history and beliefs are passed on through an oral tradition and may be the province of a person or group especially trained for the purpose.

      Culture is discussed in a number of other articles. For an overview of the concept of human culture, see culture; urban culture. For a discussion of prehistoric societies, see Anatolia: Ancient Anatolia (Anatolia); Middle East, ancient; Pacific Islands, history of: Prehistoric times and the proliferation of culture (Pacific Islands); Stone Age; the history sections of various other regional articles. For a cross-cultural discussion of kinship systems, the basic means of social organization in most nonindustrial societies, use such keywords as family; kinship; and so on. For treatment of religious systems, institutions, and practices associated with nonliterate cultures worldwide, see nature worship; pantheism; polytheism; shamanism; totemism. For a discussion of nonindustrial technology, see agriculture, history of (agriculture, origins of); technology, history of; hand tool. For an account of economic systems characteristic of nonliterate societies, see economic system: Historical development of economic systems (economic systems).

      So great are the variations in ways of life, past and present, that comparisons among them are difficult. Any simple classification of human societies and cultures can only be viewed as arbitrary. From a modern urban point of view, nevertheless, there is the obvious distinction between the primitive and the civilized: between simple and complex societies; between tiny and huge social agglomerations; between scattered and dense populations; and, above all, between prestate societies and societies that have developed states. In general, civilization involves the rise of legal institutions and the acquisition of a legal monopoly of force by a government. Those developments made possible the cities and empires of classical times and the growth of dense populations. Thus “civilized” is nearly synonymous with “urban.”

      The varieties of nonurban, or primitive, societies may be further classified. One way is by the methods they use to get food. Those who hunt and gather (hunting and gathering culture) behave quite differently, as societies, from herdsmen and mounted predator-warriors, the pastoralists, who in turn live quite differently from the various kinds of agriculturalists. These distinctions are not sharp, for of course there are societies that combine foraging with some agriculture, others, some agriculture and some herding; and, in a few cases, a class of herders may live in the same society with a class or caste of agriculturalists. A continuum of societies may be constructed, ranging from tiny, simple bands of hunter-gatherers in poor environments to large, dense populations of irrigation agriculturalists—that is, from the entirely nomadic to the fully sedentary. The degree to which societies approach the sedentary deserves prominence in any classification since sedentary ways are accompanied by many other cultural traits and institutions.

Nomadic societies (nomadism)
      Throughout 99 percent of the time that Homo sapiens has been on Earth, or until about 8,000 years ago, all peoples were foragers of wild food. There were great differences among them; some specialized in hunting big game, fishing, and shellfish gathering, while others were almost completely dependent on the gathering of wild plants. Broadly speaking, however, they probably shared many features of social and political organization, as well as of religions and other ideologies (in form though not in specific content). The hunting-gathering societies declined with the growth of agricultural societies, which either drove them from their territories or assimilated or converted them.

      The later rise of the nation-states, especially after the Industrial Revolution in Europe, resulted in the near extermination of hunting-gathering societies. Today, the remaining ones are confined to desert, mountain, jungle, or Arctic wastelands. Some have been studied and described by anthropologists: the central and northern Australians, the Bushmen of the Kalahari in southern Africa, the Pygmies of the central African forests, the Pygmies of the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, the Ona and Yahgan Indians of southern South America, the “Digger” Indians of Nevada, the Indians of the northern Canadian forests, and the Canadian, Alaskan, and Greenland Eskimos.

      All of these peoples inhabit areas representing almost every extreme in climate and environment, but they have one thing in common: their marginality to, or relative isolation from, modern economic systems. Their techniques and forms of acquiring food vary greatly. The Eskimos, for example, are entirely dependent on hunting and fishing; the African San (Bushmen), the Australian Aborigines, and the Nevada Indians are chiefly dependent on the gathering of seeds, nuts, and tubers.

      The significance of nomadism to the student of primitive cultures may be suggested by a comparison of the Ona and Yámana (Yahgan) of Tierra del Fuego. The Ona inhabit the interior forests and depend heavily on hunting guanaco (a small New World camel). The Yámana are canoe-using fishermen and shellfish gatherers. Yet, despite their utterly different ecological adaptation, the two Indian societies have cultures that are so similar that anthropologists conventionally group them with the neighbouring Chono and Alakaluf (Alacaluf) of Chile into one “Fuegian culture area.” They are all nomadic, though the Ona are “foot Indians” and the others are “canoe Indians”; they are all relatively sparsely scattered over the landscape and poor in material culture, and they have similar social, political, ceremonial, and ideological customs and institutions.

      All of the nomads so far mentioned share important general characteristics. The first and most obvious is that their nomadism severely restricts the amount of their “baggage,” or material culture. Bows and arrows (except in Australia, where the unique boomerang is used instead) and perhaps a simple spear javelin, or in some areas throwing sticks or clubs, are the usual hunting and fighting weapons. In warmer zones shelter is a simple lean-to or small beehive hut of sticks, twigs, and leaves. In Arctic zones there are the caribou-skin tent and the famous Eskimo igloo—or, in more permanent or revisited places, the stone hut.

      Camps are small and impermanent. The nuclear family likes to camp near related families (family) when possible. Usually this group forms the patrilineally extended family consisting of brothers with their own nuclear families and perhaps a few dependent elders. But the size of the camp depends on the season: in times of easily gathered plant food, large groups may come together for ceremonies such as puberty rites. At other times, the constituent families may scatter widely because food and water are scarce. Patrilineally related men and their families, scattered or not, commonly regard themselves as a group with rights over a particular territory and may be distinguished from neighbours on a territorial basis as well. Marriages (marriage) are often arranged among territorial groups so that contiguous groups tend to be related, or at least certain members of different groups are related. But this is the only organizing principle that extends beyond the territorial band. Each band may be thought of as part of a larger society composed of distant as well as close relatives—a “ tribe” in one of the original meanings of the word.

      The social (social structure) organization looks as though it had been built up from within, so to speak. Family-like statuses (social status) and roles, alliances by marriage, and systems of “social distance” based on family relationships are the bones and connective tissues of the society. These are all ingredients of the family itself, however extended or metaphorically construed; it is as though these societies were simply the result of the growth of individual families. But this is only appearance; such societies also grow by accretion. But inasmuch as alliances and the compounding of different groups normally are brought about by arranged marriages, the familistic appearance of the whole is therefore maintained.

      Almost all status positions rest upon the same criteria of age, sex, and kinship distance. The only achieved status is that of the magical curer, the shaman (shamanism). Again, with the exception of the shaman, the only division of labour in these societies is on the basis of age and sex—just as in the individual nuclear family unit. Among adults, the hunting of big game is confined to men, whereas the gathering of vegetable foods or small animals, birds' eggs, and so on are women's tasks. This division of labour seems obviously related to men's relative ability to range far from camp, women being too burdened with the tasks of motherhood to track animals wherever they may lead. But the separation of tasks is usually more rigid and confining than the physical and circumstantial differences between men and women dictate, since these would vary among individuals and from society to society—and for that matter, from day to day. Domestic tasks are strictly defined as female and are undertaken only by women even when they seem exceptionally taxing, as attest the following remarks by Lewis Garrard, who traveled with a Cheyenne Indian camp in 1846:

After a ride of two hours, we stopped, and the chiefs, fastening their horses, collected in circles, to smoke the pipe and talk, letting their squaws unpack the animals, pitch the lodges, build fires, arrange the robes, and when all was ready, these “lords of creation” dispersed to their several homes, to wait until their patient and enduring spouses prepared some food. I was provoked, nay, angry, to see the lazy, overgrown men, do nothing to help their wives; and, when the young women pulled off their bracelets and finery, to chop wood, the cup of my wrath was full to overflowing, and, in a fit of honest indignation, I pronounced them ungallant, and indeed savage in the true sense of the word.
(Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail; University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Okla., 1966)

      Status within the family is based on age, sex, relationships by blood, or marriageability. Males are regarded as superior to women in most activities; the elders are respected as repositories of both secular and spiritual wisdom; and people, such as cousins who may be of the same genealogical distance, are frequently divided into “marriageable” and “nonmarriageable” groups, with consequent differences in their interpersonal behaviour. But in all other respects hunting-gathering societies are profoundly egalitarian, especially in intergroup relations.

      Outside the family there is no system of coercive authority. Some persons may, by their wisdom, physical ability, and so on, rise to positions of leadership in some particular endeavour, such as a raiding party or a hunt. But these are temporary and variable positions, not posts or offices within a hierarchical structure. Social order is maintained by emphasizing correctness in conduct—etiquette—and ritual and ceremony. Ceremonies bring together the scattered members of the society to celebrate birth, puberty, marriage, and death. Such ceremonies have the effect of minimizing social dangers (or the perception of them) and also of adjusting persons to each other under controlled emotional conditions. (It may very well be true that “the family that prays together, stays together.”)

      The passage rites (rite of passage) at birth, marriage, and death are universal in human society, though puberty celebrations are less common in the modern world, except for such survivals as the Jewish Bar Mitzvah. In most hunting-gathering societies, however, male puberty rituals take up more social time and engage more people than do the other three ritual occasions. They may last as long as a month, food supplies permitting. Almost universally, puberty rites include a period of instruction in adult responsibilities, rituals dramatizing the removal of boys from the mothers' care and signalizing the changed social relations between boys and girls of the same generation, and physical ordeals, including scarification or some other mark that will permanently demonstrate the successful passage to manhood.

The Plains Indians (Plains Indian)
      The mounted buffalo hunters of the North American Great Plains, common in popular literature and cowboy movies, constituted a type of nomadic hunting society. But they represented a brief and very special development: an interaction and amalgamation of elements of Indian culture with Spanish horses (horse) and the training of them, as well as with metal and guns. The Indians, once mounted, could follow, surround, and kill tremendous numbers of buffalo, where previously the Indians had found the buffalo herds nearly impregnable. So productive was mounted buffalo hunting that tribes of diverse languages and customs were quickly drawn into the Great Plains from all directions. A distinctive, picturesque culture arose among them, reaching its peak about 1800. But from 1850 through the 1870s the tide of white settlers virtually wiped out the buffalo. By that time most of the Indians had been defeated in battle and confined to reservations.

      Equestrian Indians can be regarded as a special form of nomadic hunters rather than as a form of pastoralists. Pastoral culture is dominated by the requirements of domesticated livestock and by the relation of herds to pasture. The Plains Indians' nomadism, however, was determined by the habits of the wild buffalo herds. The natural cycle of the buffalo was to concentrate in huge herds in summer and disperse into smaller groups in winter and spring. The Indians accordingly traveled in small camps of a few related families in winter and formed huge encampments in summer and fall for tribal ceremonies and organized cooperative hunts. The summer camps sometimes numbered several thousand people.

      The continual intrusion of new groups into the Plains—first Indians, then whites—and the introduction of new weapons constantly altered the balance of power and kept the region in a state of belligerent turmoil. Equestrian bow-and-arrow Indians were superior militarily to those on foot; Indians with guns, of course, were superior to bow-and-arrow Indians; but Indians with both guns and horses—as happened in the Central Plains first—were vastly superior to the others. But the supply of horses and guns and especially ammunition continued to fluctuate wildly as access to sources varied greatly from place to place and time to time.

      Nomadism places limitations on property and material technology, and the Plains Indians consequently manufactured no pottery, cloth, or basketry, although leatherwork and beadwork were highly developed. On the other hand, being equestrian, they could carry far more goods than nomadic hunters on foot. Perhaps the most notable thing they carried was the large conical tent (tepee) of decorated buffalo hide.

      Sociopolitical organization was informal, probably because of the fluidity of the population. On the other hand, some tribal cohesion and systems of alliance were required because of the constant raiding. Consequently, a large number of pan-tribal associations arose, especially military societies and male age-graded societies.

      Religion among the Plains Indians reflected the varying sources of the original religions of the pre-horse tribes. Some elements, however, became widespread in the Plains. The folk hero of a great many myths was the trickster Old Man Coyote. There was a widespread concept of manitou, the pervasive spirit. Most notable was the nearly universal importance attached to the Sun—but without the notion of the Sun as a supreme deity. Ordeals and self-torture and mass ritual self-torture were common Plains religious practices. The Indian tortured himself and fasted in order to suffer hallucinations that would reveal a personal guardian spirit for his protection in the hunt and in battle.

      As in other nomadic hunting-gathering societies, principal ceremonies were related to the life cycle, with special prominence given to male puberty rites to instill bravery, endurance, and hunting and raiding skills.

Settled hunting and gathering societies
      Outstanding examples of the settled hunters and gatherers were the peoples of the North Pacific Coast (Northwest Coast Indian) of North America, roughly from Oregon to southern Alaska. The resources of the sea and inlets and rivers were of astonishing variety, and some, like the salmon during their runs, were so easy to catch that the word “harvesting” seems more appropriate than “fishing” for this activity. In central and northern California there were numerous sedentary Indian groups, such as the Pomo, Wintun, and Yurok. Their basic food was the acorn, which was ground and stored as flour. Many of the streams had salmon, and the Indians also gathered roots and berries and hunted wild fowl and deer. Other sedentary hunter-gatherer societies are rare and scattered. The most prominent of these are in southwestern New Guinea, as represented by the Asmat. These groups rely on the sago palm, whose starchy pith is easily reduced to flour. Fish, wild birds, and semidomesticated pigs supplement the basic sago.

      The basic foods of these sedentary peoples had two common characteristics: they were reliable and they could be stored, much as can the products of agriculture. Salmon were smoke-dried and stored in wooden boxes by the Northwest Coast Indians, and acorn flour obviously could be stored just as can grain flour. Sago flour can also be stored, but it has no season; a palm can be cut at any time the food is required. So abundant and reliable are these resources that such peoples are said to practice a “natural agriculture.”

      Sedentary life makes possible many improvements in material culture. Houses become larger and more elaborate and are improved over time. The Asmat of New Guinea and the Northwest Coast Indians make huge houses of planks and are among the best wood-carvers of the primitive world.

      Permanent villages and a consistent abundance of food make possible high population densities. The California tribes are estimated to have reached 11 or 12 persons per square mile, as did those of the Northwest Coast. The Asmat of New Guinea have villages ranging up to 2,000 people, which is from 10 to 20 times the size of the average hunting-gathering settlement. Usually such large villages remain politically independent. Intermarriages occur, of course, and some local cohesion is achieved by secret societies and other clublike associations. But such integration is only incidental.

      The Northwest Coast Indians elaborated a hierarchical form of organization, or chiefdom (chief). They were the only hunter-gatherers to have done so. Chiefs or nobles occupied positions of high status (social status) that were inherited in a single descent line by primogeniture. Secondary lines of descent, collateral to the above, were of lesser status. Finally, there were the commoners.

      Along with chiefly status went the socioeconomic institution of redistribution. Surplus products of family production were passed on to the chief, who in turn gave a large feast (or “ potlatch”), during which he distributed gifts to those who needed them. This process of redistribution had the economic function of encouraging specialization and division of labour. The potlatch in late times on the Northwest Coast became famous for its competitiveness. A chief of a lineage or longhouse, for example, would amass as much food and material goods as he could in order to lay on a feast and give presents lavishly in hopes that the guest lineage would be unable to reciprocate on the same scale. One lineage, house, or perhaps village thus might “defeat” the others.

      The Northwest Coast Indian type of chiefdom is primarily social and economic. It can be called political only to the extent that a certain amount of personal authority for decision making may reside in a high social status. This authority can serve a purpose, however. The egalitarian nature of hunting-gathering bands tends toward anarchy, which becomes perilous in populous societies. Quarrels can turn into feuds for lack of a higher authority to settle them.

Horticultural societies
      Primitive agriculture (agriculture, origins of) is called horticulture by anthropologists rather than farming because it is carried on like simple gardening, supplementary to hunting and gathering (hunting and gathering culture). It differs from farming also in its relatively more primitive technology. It is typically practiced in forests, where the loose soil is easily broken up with a simple stick, rather than on grassy plains with heavy sod. Nor do horticulturalists use fertilizer intensively or crop rotation, terracing, or irrigation. Horticulture is therefore much less productive than agriculture. The villages are small—some no larger than many hunting-gathering settlements—and the overall population density is low compared with farming regions.

      Forest horticulturists use fallowing techniques variously called “slash-and-burn (slash-and-burn agriculture),” “shifting cultivation,” and “swidden cultivation” (a northern English term now widely used by anthropologists). After about two years of cropping a plot is left fallow for some years and allowed to revert to secondary forest or bush. Before resuming cultivation the bush may be cut, left to dry, and then burned. The ashes bestow some fertilization, but the foremost benefit of this procedure is that the plot will be relatively weed free at first.

      Since the fallowing periods of the plots are much longer than the planted periods, the swidden horticulturalists must gradually encroach on more distant land. Sometimes this results in semisedentary villages when the newly arable plots finally are so distant that a few horticulturalists must start to build huts near the newer fields, to be joined later by others. Such a land-hungry system, in a region of competing populations, greatly increases the chances of conflict. Population dispersal thus becomes a grave threat in horticultural regions. Land for expansion inevitably must be found at the expense of neighbours or by shortening the fallowing periods—which eventually results in lower production.

      Many forest tribes—typical are the horticulturalists of the South American tropical forest—constantly maintain a military posture. Large-scale warfare (war) is not usual (because of the lack of political leadership) but raids, cannibalism, torturing of captives, and other forms of belligerence are.

      Horticulturalists have more material goods than most hunter-gatherers, though not more than such societies as the Indians of the Northwest Coast. This suggests that the accumulation of domestic goods is related not so much to the higher productivity of the horticulturalists as to their greater stability of settlement.

      The most highly developed of aboriginal slash-and-burn horticulturalists were undoubtedly the Maya of Guatemala and Yucatán, who had a chiefdom or primitive state. But this was most exceptional, for almost all other primitive horticulturalists did not go beyond simple tribes with egalitarian and nearly autonomous communities. Any regional confederation was likely to be only on the basis of intermarriage and clanship. Sometimes an ephemeral sort of near-chiefdom arises, founded on the capabilities of a charismatic leader. In Melanesia (Melanesian culture), where a well-established form of personal politics thrives, the leader is called Big Man or Centre Man.

      The Big Man in Melanesia is big because he has a following. He begins with his own family and near relatives and friends, who provide goods that he, on behalf of his group, gives away to other groups at a feast on some ceremonial occasion. He and his faction are feasted reciprocally by others at other times. His ability to redistribute on an increasingly lavish scale to larger groups expands his following. He thus amasses what the anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski (Malinowski, Bronisław), in reporting on the Trobriand Islanders, called a “fund of power.” With the public esteem gained in this economic contest, the Big Man is sought out for giving advice, adjudicating quarrels, planning ceremonies, and admonishing and conciliating. But this is influence, not the true authority that inheres in a status or office in an established hierarchy. A really big Big Man may succeed in integrating a region of several villages, but when he loses to a rival or dies, the unity of the region dissolves until some other unusually influential man unites it again.

      In many respects the religion of horticultural peoples resembles that of hunting-gathering peoples. Shamans, life-crisis ceremonies (rite of passage)—especially puberty rites—totemism (ceremonies for plant or animal species believed to be ancestral to particular human groups like clans or lineages), and the worship of animistic spirits are common in the religion of many kinds of primitive societies. The egalitarian society does not usually practice ancestor worship as does the hierarchical society. Among horticultural peoples with chiefdoms, the chief's ancestors, in time, become gods. The most remote ancestors, the founders of the chiefly lineage, are the most important gods; more recent ancestors and those of related but collateral lines have a lesser status. The result is a hierarchy of gods resembling the political hierarchy on Earth. Furthermore, the chiefdoms tend to be theocracies, with the hierarchy of priests closely and functionally related to the political hierarchy.

Herding societies
      Herding societies are in many respects the direct opposite of forest horticulturalists. They are usually the most nomadic of primitive societies, they occupy arid grasslands rather than rainforests, they have a nearly total commitment to their animals, and their sociopolitical system is nearly always that of a true hierarchical chiefdom rather than of egalitarian villages and tribal segments.

      A society largely committed to herding has military advantages that a settled agricultural society does not have. If military power is important to survival, it will increase the commitment to the herding specialization, mainly because of the advantage conferred by mobility. This increased commitment, however, will result in the gradual loss of certain previously acquired material developments such as weaving, metalworking, pottery, substantial housing and furniture, and, of course, variety in the diet. Wealth is a burden in such societies. Successful nomadic pastoralists normally have some kind of symbiotic relationship to a settled society in order to acquire goods they cannot produce themselves. The symbiosis may be through peaceful trade. But often the military advantage of the pastoralists has led to raiding rather than exchange.

      The best known and purest pastoral nomads are found in the enormous arid belt from Morocco to Manchuria, passing through North Africa, Arabia, Iran, Turkistan, Tibet, and Mongolia. They include peoples as diverse as the Arabized North Africans and the Mongol hordes. Other less specialized and successful pastoralists include the Siberian reindeer herders, cattle herders of the grasslands of north-central Africa, and the Khoekhoe and Herero of southern Africa.

      Classic, full pastoralism with its powerful equestrian warriors seems to have developed around 1500 to 1000 BC in inner Asia. This relatively late full-scale pastoralist specialization may have resulted from population pressure. Horticulture mixed with domestication of animals seems to have predominated until even the least cultivable zones were filled. When warfare became endemic in such zones, many groups were forced to become fully nomadic in the arid grasslands. They might have been the losers, pushed out of their homelands, only to discover later the military power that accrued to the pastoral way of life. Thus, the victims became victors.

      The full pastoralism of inner Asia requires the care of animals—including varying combinations of horses, cattle, camels, sheep, and goats—kept in ecological balance with grazing conditions over an enormous area. In some regions, however, the people may depend on a single animal species. In Arabia it is the camel (although most tribes in Arabia or North Africa also keep horses), and in east-central Africa some peoples specialize exclusively in cattle. Among these there is sometimes found a complete symbiosis between a tribe of herders and an adjacent tribe of horticulturalists to the point that they resemble a single society composed of two specialized castes (caste), the herders occupying the superior position.

      There are many part-time herding societies and many that have merely borrowed herding techniques. The reindeer breeders of the Siberian (Siberia) tundra have learned to apply to reindeer some of the methods of the horsemen farther south, but hunting remains their main subsistential activity. In the Argentine pampas, Indians learned to domesticate and ride the Spanish horse, which they used to hunt the rhea bird and the wild herds of Spanish cattle. The Navajo and other Indians of the American Southwest (Southwest Indian) have exploited the sheep brought in originally by Spaniards, but mostly as a source of wool for blanket and rug weaving. Llamas and alpacas were domesticated in the South American Andes, but no independent pastoral society ever emerged there.

      Fully committed pastoralists manifest a considerable degree of cultural uniformity. In economics, social organization, political order, and even in religion, their livelihood with its functional requirements has ironed out what must have been considerable cultural differentiation among such disparate peoples as Mongols, Arabs, and African Negroes.

      The wanderings (transhumance) imposed on pastoralists by the necessities of forage and water tend to be cyclical and to follow long-established routes. The cycles are usually seasonal: to the lowlands in winter, to highlands in summer in temperate zones, to more arid areas in the wet season, to more watered regions in the dry season, and so on. Frequently the seasonal moves are accompanied by cultural and organizational changes. For example, a large group may draw together to pass through hostile territory and disperse later when in their own land; frequently the lush (normally wet) season brings the pastoralists together for ceremonies, trade, and fun, while the dry season requires dispersion and arduous work (as in digging deep wells to water the animals). Anthropologists call such established cyclical movements “transhumance orbits.”

      Since pastoralists live in so many different environments and since even the same society varies from season to season and in response to wider spaced drought cycles, it is reasonable to expect great variations in population density. These factors, of course, affect political organization. Nomadic pastoralism lends itself to wide fluctuations in the size of political units, political cohesion, and degree of centralization.

      The elementary unit of organization is the patrilineally extended family, frequently an elder patriarch and his sons and their families. In addition, if some degree of primogeniture (primogeniture and ultimogeniture) (i.e., the eldest son inheriting most of the decision-making power for the group) prevails, and if it is extended to include other groups in terms of putative birth order and patrilineal descent, the basis of the pastoral social organization is established. This social structure has been called the “conical clan” (for its hierarchical shape). It is a characteristic social organization of chiefdoms everywhere. Its capacity for waxing and waning, fusion and fission, has obvious advantages, especially when a brief makeshift political ordering of a very large horde is militarily necessary. But the large organizations cannot maintain themselves for very long, since they easily split into their parts.

      It has been noted that herders are likely to raid settled villages. But herders frequently raid each other as well. livestock is wealth and can be exchanged for other forms of wealth—including wives. Stock raiding, like most forms of aggression, has two facets: one seems to be to replenish one's wealth at a stranger's expense; the other is to warn strangers against encroachment. But a raid frequently leads to retaliation and then to counterretaliation, until such raiding societies gradually become hereditary enemies.

      The militarism of herding societies has played a major role in history. As wealthy agricultural civilizations developed in the Fertile Crescent of the ancient Middle East, in the Indus River Valley, and at the middle bend of the Huang Ho in China, they became easy prey for nomads. Indeed, it is likely that urbanization was stimulated for defensive reasons because of the dangers posed by nomads. These dangers may also have stimulated the formation of legal and governmental institutions in sedentary societies threatened by the pastoral raiders.

      To the extent that pastoral nomadic societies achieve wealth (social status) and success in herding and in war, they tend to solidify and extend their chiefdom structure. They also add to their religious organization a hierarchical principle together with the content known as ancestor worship. Much of the mythology by which a primitive people explains itself and its customs comes in this way to have an ingredient familiar to readers of the Old Testament—the lengthy story of who begat whom and in what order.

      Increased dependence on herds, particularly dependence on one particular species, such as cattle, horses, or camels, is reflected in much of the ideological and ritual content of religion. Sometimes the significance of herding leads not only to the glorification of herds and herding but even to a religious taboo against planting. Some Mongols, so quintessentially pastoral, believe that plowing and planting defile the earth spirit. Among the Nuer, as among other African cattle herders, horticulture may be practiced in time of need, but it is considered degrading toil whereas herding is a very prideful occupation. The ethnologist of the Nuer, E.E. Evans-Pritchard (Evans-Pritchard, Sir Edward), wrote:

They are always talking about their beasts. I used sometimes to despair that I never discussed anything with the young men but livestock and girls, and even the subject of girls led inevitably to that of cattle.
(From E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer; Oxford University Press, London, 1940)

Elman R. Service

peasant societies
      The one remaining category of nonurban society is that of the peasantry. Peasants are not nomadic but sedentary (thus distinguishable from both hunting-gathering societies and pastoralists); they are not horticultural tribal societies but more intensively and fully agricultural; and neither are they urban, like populations who lived in the centres of the classic civilizations.

      Although writers on peasantry have not agreed on a precise definition, accounts of peasant cultures are likely to include these characteristics: peasant communities tend to be small, tradition bound, and resistant to change. Moreover, and perhaps most significantly, peasant societies are “part-societies” or “part-cultures” in relation to some larger civilization, colony, urban centre, state, or elite class. In this relationship the peasant occupies the inferior position because rural isolation tends to make him ignorant and no match for the sophisticated urbanite, and poverty keeps him dependent generation after generation. It is not simply that the peasant is somehow “exploited” (a difficult point to determine in most cases) but that his village is normally small, poor, ignorant, and backward compared with the urban centre. Horticultural tribes, by contrast, though living in even smaller villages and greater poverty and ignorance, possess in some sense a complete culture. What seems universal is the peasant's low status, with its concomitant ascription of poverty and ignorance, in contrast to other parts of the same culture.

Historical and geographic survey
      Peasantries emerged with the urban revolution by about 4000 BC in Mesopotamia and about 1000 BC in Middle America. Some agricultural villages by then had begun to become cities, thereby initiating the process that gradually led to the formation of the empires of classical civilization.

      One major significance of the classical empire was that it could protect and thus politically incorporate, at least in some areas, scattered villages of simple cultivators. These outlying agricultural villages could not have survived without internal pacification (in the law-and-order sense) and without some kind of frontier militia. In exchange for such protection the rulers of the urban centre exacted heavy tribute from the peasantry. They soon realized that the price of the protection they extended to the peasants could easily be increased to the point of virtual expropriation. As a result, the peasants were reduced to the barest subsistence level. The urban rulers, by contrast, steadily advanced toward a literate culture, thereby widening the gulf between the city elite and peasantry.

      In the course of time the preindustrial urban centre, with its statelike protection and intervention in the lives of peasants, made it possible to extend agricultural domains, usually as peasant holdings, into pastoral or other “wild” territory. An enormous part of the world's population became peasants as primitive peoples and nomads were dominated and displaced or transformed.

      In the 20th century, with the rise of modern science and industry, peasants are being rapidly displaced in all of the so-called developing or modernizing parts of the world. To understand what peasants are, it is helpful to contrast them with what they are not—farmers in an industrialized world. The modern farmer, operating on a cost-accounting basis, has little in common with the peasant family or villager, to whom the tilling of the soil is a traditional way of life rather than a large-scale enterprise.

      Peasants could not simply turn into farmers primarily because they lacked the capital. In some parts of the industrialized world, such as Great Britain, central France, and the Low Countries, peasant villages managed to survive by maintaining a low standard of living and long working hours and often by developing some special handicraft for sale as folk art. More often, however, peasants became hired workers in the fields, or they migrated to the cities or overseas to the Americas.

      Although there are no peasants in the United States and Canada, except for a few widely scattered villages of French Canadians, Appalachian mountaineers, Southern sharecroppers, and perhaps Pueblo and Navajo Indians, peasantries are still extant in large numbers in Europe, the Middle East, West Africa, southern and eastern Asia, and Latin America. Peasant cultures in these disparate regions vary considerably, depending on both ecological and historical factors.

Elman R. Service Ed.

Types of peasant societies
The community of self-serving households
      Though peasants are usually thought of as living in small, close-knit communities huddled against outside danger, they sometimes are so well-protected in mountainous or insular isolation that they feel secure enough to live more independently. In such circumstances, they dwell in scattered households in close proximity to the land they cultivate. They require a market centre of some sort where they may exchange goods and services. The Irish countryman, the isolated fermier of the French Massif Central, the Scottish crofter, the Paraguayan campesino, and the Brazilian caboclo are examples of such independent peasants. Occasionally the same people will be found living in close communities and also in scattered, more self-sufficient households. In the state of Michoacán in Mexico, for example, some of the tightest and closest knit communities to be found anywhere on Earth ring Lake Pátzcuaro, in immediate proximity to the large modern market town and tourist centre of Pátzcuaro. These are the fishing-, agricultural-, and handicraft-specialist villages of the Tarascan (Tarasco) Indians. But many more thousands of Tarascans also live scattered in the adjacent mountains, making only infrequent visits to the market centres.

The village with internal specialization and exchange
      In certain times and places peasant villages have been able to develop considerable self-sufficiency by creating part-time specialists and even full-time professional occupations. Such a development, however, presupposes an intensive agriculture in support of a fairly large population in order that the specialists may be kept fully occupied. The best examples of this kind of village are found in India, in the European medieval manor, and in some Latin-American haciendas.

      The most distinctive, as well as the most clear-cut, specialization occurs in Hindu India, where a typical village may contain as many as 2,500 people. The professional specialties are pottery manufacturing, stone working, barbering, trading, weaving, laundering, and herding. All of these occupations are carried on by separate castes (caste), to which should be added the “twice-born” caste, the Brahman, or wise-man priest, though this is more of a status (social status) than an occupation.

      The specialized services of the various castes often are rendered without any immediate payment or return service. The occupational castes all have an obligation to provide their services. The full-time peasant agriculturalist, for example, expects a new plow or hoe from the carpenter, a pot from the potter, haircuts from the barber, and so on. After the semiannual harvest the peasant distributes appropriate shares of produce to those who have served him.

      The caste system of occupations largely determines the status of individuals, but there are ways to attain higher status by acquiring wealth or political office. A wealthy landowner of low caste will continue to observe all the traditional attitudes of deference to those of higher caste; yet his opinion may be important and his power considerable in other than direct interpersonal dealings. And, of course, high and low status may be earned within a given caste depending on individual skill and personality.

      Land ownership and tenure patterns are variable and complex. There are owners of large holdings who hire labour by wage or by shares. The majority are family-owners and workers of small plots, but large numbers of agricultural workers are landless, working only for others. Many families (family) own some land and at the same time work other plots by shares or for wages. The usual peasant holding is worked jointly by a father and his sons. When the father dies, the land, stock, and implements are distributed equally among the sons. This practice is the major cause of the small size of the individual peasant holdings.

      Many Indian peasant villages are exogamous (exogamy) (marrying outside), which results in ties among several villages as a consequence of giving and receiving wives. In such cases, every person participates in a social network outside his village to a greater extent than he associates with persons of other castes within his own village. These regional relationships are the means by which a common culture is diffused over a wide area. Hindu peasant villages are less alike the farther they are from each other, yet vast areas of rural India are remarkably homogeneous in culture.

European peasant society
      The European (Europe, history of) feudal (feudalism) estate also tended toward economic self-sufficiency in its local specialized occupations but was unlike the Hindu peasant village in several respects. For one thing, there were no castes. The aristocrats considered both their own and the peasant class to be permanent, God-given arrangements of hereditary status. Thus, to the extent that membership was in fact static, these classes were like Hindu castes (which have frequently been defined as “frozen classes”). But the other occupational classes of medieval times were not so castelike, although a tendency existed for son to succeed father. The occupational guilds resembled, to a certain extent, the wide geographic relationships of the Hindu castes. At the time of greatest stability in the European system, the social and political differences from Hindu practice were perhaps largely those of degree.

      Other differences were enormous. Whereas India is overcrowded, medieval Europe, between the 11th and 15th centuries, was almost a wasteland by comparison. In fact, the existence of vast tracts of forest lands gave urgency to the problem of law and order; large groups of outlaws and predators could easily hide out. The essentials of the feudal system were master-client relationships: between kings and nobility and between the nobility. The superior individual gave protection to his clients, who in turn provided crops or services (especially labour and military duty).

      The institution most typical of medieval society was the local seigneury (manorialism), which may be defined as an estate comprising a group of people subjected to a single master. The land in such a system was of two kinds. One was the large home-farm, cultivated under the immediate direction of the seigneur or his supervisors. The other part of the seigneury consisted of various small-to-middle-sized holdings whose tenants occupied and cultivated them freely under the seigneur's protection in return for helping him in the cultivation of his demesne.

      There were essentially three kinds of labourers: (1) the tenure holders (serfdom), who owed regular services to the demesne; (2) wage labourers, normally paid in kind, unless they were imported labour to help out at specific occasions such as the grape harvest; and (3) workers housed and provisioned by the demesne. These workers are called prebendal in English (French provendiers) because they were provisioned and housed at the master's expense. The only difference between a prebendal worker and a slave was the freedom of the prebendal worker to leave if he was dissatisfied.

      The tenure holder, or peasant, owed the seigneur two basic obligations, rent and services. Rents were highly variable, but services were usually still the greater burden. The basic services were agricultural labour on the demesne land, military duty, and craftwork. Agricultural labour, for example, might be calculated as three man-days a week per tenure holding. Since a family on a holding might be quite large, the three days could be divided among several men. Military duty would be highly variable because it would be a simple response to emergency—ordinarily an “all hands” response.

      Craftwork was divided among peasants who had some skill passed on from father to son, especially metalworking. Spinning and weaving, wine making, carpentry, and sometimes milling and baking were duties divided among certain, but not all, peasant families. Probably most craftsmen worked at these tasks only part of the time in addition to the basic form of work.

      The crafted products did not pass from peasant to peasant or between different specialists but were usually paid to the seigneur who reassigned them to others. This kind of indirect passage of goods from producer to centre and thence to ultimate consumer is the essence of the redistributional system described earlier as characteristic of chiefdoms. It is a way by which a holder of power can muster goods and serve his people at the same time. In political as well as economic structure, the resemblance of the seigneury to a primitive chiefdom is remarkable.

      The seigneur was thus not simply a landowner or an exploiter of labour. He was a leader of men whose political-military status was highly direct and personal. He had command over his tenants, and the system would not have worked unless his subjects generally believed in and accepted him. His protective function gave rise to the seignorial court, which was the recognized place for a hearing of pleas and complaints. All in all, the seigneur served his people in many necessary ways, and they served him in others.

      Naturally, the asymmetrical power relationship between seigneur and peasant sometimes resulted in attempts by seigneurs to multiply the services or benefits due them. On the other hand, the peasants, if numerous enough, often found ways to resist. But the power of the seigneurs presumably lay originally in their ability to allow or prevent the occupation by peasants of land under their military power. Similarly, peasants at certain early and insecure epochs might want the security of hereditary tenure; at other more secure and prosperous times, they might want freedom to leave.

      By the 12th and 13th centuries in France every tenant was either free or a serf. The norm among free tenants was to be bound to the seigneur only because of their occupation of the land. If the tenant left, all obligations both ways were broken. On the other hand, the serf was not free to leave the land. Otherwise mutual dues and obligations were the same.

Latin American peasant societies
      Another form of agricultural self-sufficiency is exemplified by the hacienda. In the early colonial period of Latin America the hacienda combined the Iberian and American Indian systems of land use. Pre-Columbian Indians in large areas of Latin America (from Chile north through the Andes and in Middle America) were densely settled on communal village holdings under the suzerainty of absentee aristocratic Indians. Other areas of Latin America were inhabited by more primitive tribes of slash-and-burn horticulturalists and nomadic hunter-gatherers. During colonial times in the areas of densely settled Indian population, the leading Spaniards were granted political control over designated villages. They were allowed to tax the Indian families and in return were supposed to protect them and educate them in the Roman Catholic faith. Sometimes Spaniards were rewarded by the crown with enormous tracts of land, latifundios (latifundium), usually in areas of lesser population where large-scale herding would be the primary economic resource. Indian labour was also exploited in gold and silver mining and in workshops (obrajes).

      The economy based on the exploitation of unskilled Indian labour was eventually disrupted by disease. Indians had no immunity to several commonplace European afflictions such as smallpox, typhoid fever, measles, and malaria. Numerous disastrous epidemics occurred, and by about 1600 both Spain and its richest New World possessions were in rapid economic decline.

      Meanwhile, a new form of rural estate came into being as the economy of town and city, workshops, mines, and commerce was depressed. A large, privately owned estate could withstand monetary and commercial crises by becoming increasingly self-sufficient. The estate was manned by impoverished Indian workers who needed security and protection. The workers were usually paid in kind, enough for bare subsistence and given credit (against the promise of future labour) for the purchase of other necessities. This debt peonage was the foundation of a permanent labour supply, resembling the serfdom of medieval Europe.

      The hacienda had a permanent group of peons settled on its lands, allowed to farm small plots for themselves. There were also house servants, some of whom might reside in the master's home. Other Indians might be residents of neighbouring villages but dependent on the hacienda for protection and often for grazing rights on fallowed rangeland claimed by the hacienda. A hacienda with numerous dependent villages on its periphery could muster a large labour force when needed and not employ it when not needed. The permanent debt peons, however, were more closely bound up in the everyday life of the hacienda. Like the European serf, the peon in difficult times probably welcomed the security of such an arrangement.

      The hacienda probably was never completely self-sufficient, but it could take care of its own people in many ways. Large haciendas, some with thousands of peons, could afford numerous specialists, such as metalworkers and leatherworkers, weavers, bakers, masons, carpenters, and sometimes even a resident priest. There might also be a jail and a whipping post. And just as in European seignorial law, the master adjudicated disputes and meted out punishment. The economy of the specialized crafts resembled the European redistributional system insofar as the planning, commissioning, and delivery of all benefits were centralized under the hacienda master and his agents.

      Although debt bondage no longer exists in Latin America, the tenant worker on the remaining large haciendas in some of the Andean areas seems as closely bound to the soil as peasants ever were. The Chilean (Chile) tenant is legally free to move as he pleases, but he cannot, in fact, usually do so. He works his ancestral land, which he understands belongs to the hacienda, whose owner he has been conditioned all his life to regard as his master and protector. Were the worker and his family to leave, the other haciendas would not accept him. And since there is no vacant fertile land he could not become a squatter. Most peasants fear the city, which is already filled with the unemployed younger sons of peasants.

      In Mexico, it was not until well into the 20th century that the hacienda system began to yield to modernism and more liberal laws, and the hacienda became increasingly commercialized. But earlier the peasant could not improve his position, legally or economically. By the end of the regime of Porfirio Díaz in 1911, the concentration of ownership of land in the hands of a few hacendados was greater than in any other Latin-American country. But the payment for agricultural labour had not risen appreciably since 1792. Over the same period the price of maize had increased 179 percent and that of beans 565 percent.

The closed regional market system
      A kind of regional self-sufficiency may be seen among peasants in the Middle American highlands and the Andes, in parts of Indonesia, and in West Africa. These are nearly self-sufficient regions embracing peasant hamlets and villages that trade with each other, usually on a periodic market day or fair. These villages are typically cohesive and tend to be self-governing through ritual and religion. The relations of peasants with the outside world are usually mediated by the community (or its officials), except in the peasant market, where frequently some kind of middleman or representative of a store sells items not produced in the region itself.

      The highland Indian communities, especially in Mexico and Guatemala, are quintessentially of this type. The inhabitants of the region are Indians (although there is a heavy overlap of Old Spanish custom, dress, and a folkish variant of Spanish Roman Catholicism). They all speak the same Indian regional dialect. They occupy such a distinctly inferior and helpless position in relation to the outer society that intermediaries of some sort are needed, and as a consequence of the felt inferiority they act toward outsiders in an extremely withdrawn manner. This withdrawal trait of the Indian peasantry has been appropriately labeled the “encogido syndrome,” meaning a nearly utter lack of self-confidence.

      The Indian communities that have legal ejidos (ejido) (communal holdings) as well as small family properties are not usually subject to outside landowners. Thus, the encogido syndrome derives not from any inferior position of the peasantry to a resident owner (as in the hacienda system) but from the simple fact of ethnic stratification. These Indians feel themselves in an inferior position to everyone else in the whole outside world, that is, inferior to everybody except others designated as Indians. And they are usually also inferior in visible ways: extremely poor, uneducated, and ignorant of the manners and customs of the nation's urban citizenry. They have responded by withdrawing into their own community, which only serves to continue or to exacerbate the inferior condition, since much of it is caused simply by economic and social isolation from the main currents of national life.

      Within the community of Indians extreme egalitarianism prevails. Prestige is won only in community service, which means giving more than receiving—a pattern very much like that of general reciprocity of primitive society. Giving (gift exchange) takes the form of subsidizing one of the traditional fiestas of the community, an obligation that may be expensive in food, liquor, candles, and fireworks. Families work for years to get up the capital to sponsor a magnificent festival, at which they not only spend their savings but go into considerable debt. Lavishness in money and labour equals love (of the community); the poverty of an individual family may be accompanied by the highest prestige. This bears a resemblance to the Big Man system of Melanesia, where prestige is also linked with lavish giving.

 The economic egalitarianism of the village does not rule the periodic regional market. There the family, or its agent, tries to maximize its gains. Outsiders who see more of the marketing behaviour than of the more pervasive social economy within the individual villages are often misled by the ferocious haggling and cheating. Many regional markets are held in a smallish city of the national, non-Indian sort. The economically important market is the one in which the Indians exchange their own products with each other, yet it may be overshadowed by the market in which Indian handicrafts (see photograph—>) are sold to outsiders. Town stores may display their own wares in stalls at the market, and the carrier-middlemen may have brought materials from a considerable distance to sell where such items are rare and will bring a better price. And the same middleman (often simply the owner of a pickup truck) may buy materials that are abundant at one market for sale in another. In Mexico, the weekly Tarascan market in Pátzcuaro or the Otomí at Ixmiquilpan or, in Guatemala, the Mayan markets at Chichicastenango or Panajachel are large and complex, incorporating all of the above elements.

Other peasant societies
      Close-knit peasant communities do change, of course; but it is their resistance to change that commands attention in modern times, when virtually all other institutions are committed to rapid change. Because the peasant community is a rigid structure, the individuals who want change and have the means or capacity to carry it out simply leave the village to find their place in some mixed community. In some peasant communities this is not possible. Thus, in densely settled central Java opportunities for the surplus peasant population to adapt to other modes of life were few. As population increased, putting stress on the traditional network of communal villages, the community tried to fit more people into the traditional system. The social patterns grew more elaborate but remained traditional; cooperative labour and tenancy institutions became more intricate but otherwise did not change. Just as in the Latin-American Indian commune, egalitarianism continued on a basis of what has been called shared poverty.

      In West Africa (Western Africa) peasant society is based on full-time intensive agriculture, with a considerable amount of craft specialization and a large amount of trade carried on in great markets. In ancient times the more populated areas were organized as chiefdoms and primitive states, which exacted a tribute or tax from the agriculturalists in exchange for their protection and regulation. Intensive cultivators produce mainly for their own consumption, but with a frequent surplus or specialized handicraft to trade in the market. In modern times, they may produce surpluses to trade with a middleman representing an exporter. African villagers traditionally have been politically dependent on some hierarchical chieftains or patrimonial retainers. But they do not, like peasants elsewhere, feel themselves to be different from or inferior to any other class or culture. Nor are they so regarded by the urbanites with whom they come in contact.

General characteristics of the peasant economy
      One characteristic of the peasant economy is that the production unit is normally the family. But this does not mean that families are all the same size. Mainly, technical and economic requirements tend to govern the size of the family, which ranges from large three-generational extended families down to the nuclear unit of one set of parents and their unmarried children. Inheritance patterns tend to reflect the requirements of the agricultural operation. Whether the land (real and personal property) is split equally among the heirs or passed on as a single unit (commonly through the eldest son) depends on whether farming requires large holdings or whether a small, intensively farmed area is sufficient. In some historical instances, the ecological determinant of the size of holdings has been contravened by ideology or law. For example, the Code Napoléon (Napoleonic Code) required that agricultural (agriculture, origins of) holdings be inherited equally, with the result that when the fragments of land were obviously becoming too small the French peasants responded with one of the most drastic reductions in the birthrate in all of recorded demographic history.

      Some villages, notably among Latin-American Indians, are quite communalized. Individual families (family) work plots of land, but it is the community as a whole that makes the important decisions. Other peasant societies with more independent households find numerous occasions for cooperation and labour exchanges among families. One widespread means of establishing a network of reciprocal obligations and trust within a peasant community is through ritualized ties of fictive kinship, such as the godparenthood (godparent) common throughout most of peasant Europe and Latin America (in Spanish it is co-parenthood—compadrazgo). Other forms of fictive kinship are the familiar blood brotherhood of Balkan Europe, the mit of Nepal, and the oyabun-kobun of rural Japan.

Elman R. Service

Additional Reading
For information on nomadic hunting-gathering societies, see Elman R. Service, The Hunters, 2nd ed. (1979); Richard B. Lee and Irven Devore (eds.), Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers: Studies of the !Kung San and Their Neighbors (1976), and Man the Hunter (1969); Lewis H. Garrard, Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail (1850, reprinted 1982), an account of Plains Indian life; E. Adamson Hoebel, The Cheyennes, 2nd ed. (1978); F.R. Secoy, Changing Military Patterns on the Great Plains (17th Century Through Early 19th Century) (1953, reprinted 1971), an analysis of the rise of Plains Indian nomadic equestrian societies; and Philip Drucker, Cultures of the North Pacific Coast (1965), an account of sedentary fishing societies. An analysis of the forms of economic exchange among those societies is Helen Codere, Fighting with Property: A Study of Kwakiutl Potlatching and Warfare, 1792–1930 (1950, reprinted 1970). Pastoral societies are depicted by Owen Lattimore, Inner Asian Frontiers of China, 2nd ed. (1951, reissued 1967); Lawrence Krader, “Ecology of Central Asian Pastoralism,” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 11(4):301–326 (Winter 1955); and E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer (1940, reprinted 1974). The consequences of plant and animal domestication is discussed in Robert J. Braidwood and Gordon R. Willey (eds.), Courses Toward Urban Life: Archeological Considerations of Some Cultural Alternates (1962); and modern horticulturalists are analyzed by Marshall D. Sahlins, Tribesmen (1968).Important general works on peasant societies are Robert Redfield, Peasant Society and Culture (1956, reprinted with The Little Community, 1973); Eric R. Wolf, Peasants (1966); Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, “Peasants,” in The New Cambridge Modern History, vol. 12, Companion Volume, edited by Peter Burke (1979), pp. 115–163; and two valuable essay collections: Jack M. Potter, May N. Diaz, and George M. Foster (eds.), Peasant Society (1967); and Teodor Shanin (ed.), Peasants and Peasant Societies (1971, reprinted 1984). Peasantry in medieval Europe is described and analyzed by Barbara A. Hanawalt, The Ties That Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England (1986); and Georges Duby, Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West (1968, reprinted 1976; originally published in French, 2 vol., 1962).Studies of peasantries have generated important theoretical arguments. Perhaps most notable is the “dual society” concept proposed by J.H. Boeke, Economics and Economic Policy of Dual Societies, as Exemplified by Indonesia (1953, reprinted 1978). See also J.S. Furnivall, Netherlands India: A Study of Plural Economy (1939, reprinted 1983); and Clifford Geertz, Agricultural Involution: The Process of Ecological Change in Indonesia (1963, reprinted 1968). With regard to Latin-American studies, Robert Redfield was an innovator in comparative field studies, introducing a conception of historical stages in The Folk Culture of Yucatan (1941, reprinted 1968). Other important analyses of Latin-American Indian peasantries are George M. Foster, Tzintzuntzan: Mexican Peasants in a Changing World, rev. ed. (1979); George McCutchen McBride, Chile: Land and Society (1936, reprinted 1971); and Charles Wagley, The Latin American Tradition: Essays on the Unity and the Diversity of Latin American Culture (1968). Conrad M. Arensberg initiated anthropological study of Irish peasantry in The Irish Countryman (1937, reissued 1968). On Asia and the Far East, see Hsiao-tung Fei, Peasant Life in China: A Field Study of Country Life in the Yangtze Valley (1939, reprinted 1980); S.C. Dube, India's Changing Villages (1958, reissued 1967); and Thomas C. Smith, Agrarian Origins of Modern Japan (1959, reissued 1966). See also David Brokensha and Marion Pearsall (eds.), The Anthropology of Development in Sub-Saharan Africa (1969); and George Dalton, Economic Anthropology and Development: Essays on Tribal and Peasant Economies (1970). On the rise of peasantry in relation to urban centres see Walter Goldschmidt, Man's Way: A Preface to the Understanding of Human Society (1959, reprinted 1966).Elman R. Service Ed.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Primitive culture — In older anthropology texts and discussions, a primitive culture is one that lacks major signs of economic development or modernity. For instance, it might lack a written language or advanced technology and have a limited and isolated population …   Wikipedia

  • Culture of Saskatchewan — views the patterns of human activity in the central prairie province of Canada examing the way people live in the geography, climate, and social context of Saskatchewan. Cultural activities involve technology, science, as well as moral systems… …   Wikipedia

  • Primitive — is a subjective label used to imply that one thing is less sophisticated or less advanced than some other thing. Being a comparative word it is also relative in nature.Indigenous peoples and their beliefs and practices are sometimes described as… …   Wikipedia

  • culture — /kul cheuhr/, n., v., cultured, culturing. n. 1. the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc. 2. that which is excellent in the arts, manners,… …   Universalium

  • Culture — For other uses, see Culture (disambiguation). Petroglyphs in modern day Gobustan, Azerbaijan, dating back to 10 000 BCE indicating a thriving culture …   Wikipedia

  • Primitive communism — is: [] ), and referring to the collective right to basic resources, egalitarianism in social relationships, and absence of authoritarian rule and hierarchy that is supposed to have preceded stratification and exploitation in human history. Both… …   Wikipedia

  • primitive — [prim′i tiv] adj. [ME primitif < MFr < L primitivus < primus, first: see PRIME] 1. of or existing in the beginning or the earliest times or ages; ancient; original 2. a) characteristic or imitative of the earliest ages b) crude, simple,… …   English World dictionary

  • Culture De La Suisse — Lanceur de drapeau à Nidwald …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Culture de la suisse — Lanceur de drapeau à Nidwald …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Culture ecossaise — Culture de l Écosse Statue du poète Robert Burns à Dumfries. La culture de l Écosse forme une synthèse des différentes cultures, celtes, pictes et anglaises principalement, ayant baigné le pays. Les reliefs naturels, délimitant géographiquement… …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”