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NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LIBRARY Manuscript Theses
Unpublished theses submitted for the Master®s and Doctor1s degrees and deposited in the Northwestern University Library are open for inspection, but are to be used only with due regard to the rights of the authors. Biblio graphical references may be noted, but passages may be copied only with the permission of the authors, and proper credit must be given in subsequent written or published work. Extensive copying or publication of the thesis in whole or in part requires also the consent of the Dean of the Graduate School of Northwestern University. Theses may be reproduced on microfilm for use in place of the manuscript itself provided the rules listed above are strictly adhered to and the rights of the author are in no way jeopardized. v / ’ p . :/■ -/ This thesis by *, V . . . . . . . . . . . . . has been used by the following persons, whose signatures attest their accept ance of the above restrictions.
A Library which borrows this thesis for use by its patrons is expected to secure the signature of each user.
NAME AND ADDRESS
A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF PATTERNS OF CONSUMPTION AND SYSTEMS OF SOCIAL STRATIFICATION
A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS for the degree DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
by Mubeccel Belik
EVANSTON, ILLINOIS June, 1950
ProQuest Number: 10060899
All rights re s e rv e d INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality o f this re p ro d u c tio n is d e p e n d e n t u p o n t h e quality o f th e c o p y s u b m itte d . In t h e unlikely e v e n t t h a t t h e a u th o r did n o t s e n d a c o m p l e t e m an u scrip t a n d th e r e a r e missing p a g e s , t h e s e will b e n o te d . Also, if m aterial h a d to b e r e m o v e d , a n o te will in d ic a te th e d e letio n .
uest, P roQ uest 10060899 Published by P ro Q u est LLC (2016). C opyright o f t h e Dissertation is held by th e Author. All rights reserved. This work is p r o t e c t e d a g a in s t u n au th orized c o p y in g u n d e r Title 17, United States C o d e Microform Edition © P ro Q u est LLC. P roQ uest LLC. 789 East Eisenhow er Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106 - 1346
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Grateful acknowledgment is made to all those who have inspired and maintained my interest in the social sciences in general and in anthropology in particular:
to Dr* Behice S* Boran, of the University
of Ankara, under whose guidance I first became interested in problems of consumption; to Dr. Melville J. Herskovits, whose wide interest in the field of anthropology, and in primitive economics, led me to choose Northwestern University, and without whose constant interest and in valuable aid this work could not have been accomplished; to Dr* William A* Bascom, whose kind permission to use his field notes on Ponape made the use of this culture as illustrative material possible, and whose interest in the problem lent great encouragement to its completion; to Dr* Francis L* K. Hsu, and Dr* R* A* Waterman for assistance and valuable criticisms on the manuscript; to Genevieve A* Highland for editorial assistance and aid in English phrasing and grammar* Thanks are also given to Northwestern University for a University Fellowship in the academic year 1948-1949, which made it possible for me to continue my research.
N G O N I ............................................
P O N A P E ............................................
A N K A R A .............
G L O S S A R Y .................................................
CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM The phrase "patterns of consumption" as used in this study sig nifies the norms of housing, clothing, food and leisure activities of a people, together with the sanctions related to these.
an aspect of culture which has usually been dealt with only partially in ethnographic literature, the objects themselves being described under the heading of "material culture'1 with little or no attention being given to the manner in which the goods produced by a people are utilized by them*
Even in the works devoted entirely to the economics
of non-literate peoples, the subject of consumption has received little or no mention.
1 2 Firth and Thumwald, for instance, limit their dis
cussions to a treatment of the productive and distributive mechanisms of the non-literate cultures they consider.
The only exception to this,
indeed, is to be found in the work of Herskovits,
where consumption is
noted as one of the factors in primitive economic life and its relation to the relevant aspects of culture is discussed. Yet it should be obvious that the patterns of consumption in a given culture not only depend on the utilization of available natural ^R. Firth, Primitive Polynesian Economy. London, 1940* % . Thurnwald, Economics in Primitive Communities. London, 1932. 3 M. J. Herskovits, The Economic Life of Primitive Peonies. New York, 1940.
2 resources and the status of its technological development, but also on the different customs, traditions and institutions existing in the culture which govern the utilization of the productive and distributive processes*
Thus one cannot expect the Eskimo to eat bananas or use
coconut oil for cooking, living as they do in a natural environment which denies these commodities to them*
However, pork, a forbidden
food in Mohammedan cultures, is not eaten because of religious belief and not because pigs cannot be raised by Mohammedans*
The grubs that
are enjoyed by Australians are available in Europe and America, but they will cause a Westerner to feel revulsion*
Or again, as concerns the
use of clothing, not only must the availability of materials, such as skin, bark-cloth, grass and fibres be taken into account, but also the styles of garments, sex differences in types and amount of clothing worn and those other factors of tradition and taste which affect choice* A comparable selectivity can be observed in any other aspect of con sumption, whether it be housing or recreational activities, or prestige goods* Besides inter-cultural differences in consumption nomas, we must also recognize that within a given culture everyone does not by any means consume goods similarly, whether this has to do with kind or amount*
Differentiation of consumption according to social stratifi
cation or other status orientations is a significant aspect of the mat ter*
Certain types of clothing, certain kinds of food, reflect a cer
tain pattern of consumption expected from members of the different groupings of a stratified society*
The type of woven cloth worn by
3 Ashanti nobles cannot be worn by commoners^ or the potlatch of the Northwest coast Indians— the competitive prestige-giving feast, in which vast quantities of goods are destroyed— serves to raise the sta tus of the clans and families in their system of stratification* Thus the differentiation of consumption patterns within various cultures, considered aside from the question of the availability of natural resources and technological equipment, is a highly important phase of the study of consumption norms*
This is especially the case,
as far as the social aspects of consumption are concerned, when we take into account their function of validating differentiation according to social status, since in this case the patterns assume the role of a status-index, and thus further the regulation of human interrelation ships*
It is, indeed, this characteristic of the consumption patterns
that will constitute the essential problem of this study* Early studies of this problem in Euro-American cultures, which were prosecuted from the point of view of economics and sociology, have not been formulated in the terms in which the present analysis is cast* Despite the paucity of these studies, it is apparent that even in the nineteenth century the subject of consumption was moving to the center of the interest of various students* Changing patterns of consumption perhaps provided one of the principle stimuli that caused this develop ment*
For, in addition to the change in the context of consumption
patterns, as the result of production of new consumption goods with the growth of various kinds of industries, there was another factor that S* Rattray, Ashanti. London, 1929*
4 was at least equally important; the change in the rate and volume of the accumulation of wealth which led to an open system of social stratification*. E. Gilboy, in her study of wages in eighteenth century England, for example, shows that **the phenomenon of the lessening of the rigidity of class barriers was frequently noted by eighteenth century writers*...
It was manifested in the ability of a number of
individuals to rise from the laboring classes to positions of more or 5
less responsibility in the industrial and commercial world.** She, £ using what has come to be called the ethnohistorical method, quotes an example of this from Reverend William McRitehie, who writes that **people are rising every day from nothing to eminence by dint of industrie."
In the diary of this observer, we find, again, that he
tells how, on one occasion, he dressed and went with a friend “to dine at the elegant country seat of Mr. William Shore, a man whose grand father was a common hammerman, and who enjoys a fortune of some thou sands a year.
I was a good deal struck with the elegance and luxury 7 of his table.” As concerns changes in the consumption of clothing after the outset of the industrial revolution, Gilboy states that, **One of the most important developments in the dress of the lower classes was the increasing use of cotton.
Early in the century calico was
^E. Gilboy, Wages in Eighteenth Century England. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Publications, 1936, p. 235.
For the use of ethnohistorical method to reconstruct the his torical condition in cultural problems see M. J. Herskovits, The Myth of the Negro Past. New York, 1941, p* 33. 7 E. Gilboy, o p cit.. p. 213.
5 g imported from India to the detriment of the woolen weavers*"
makes the following significant comment: ”••• along with the growing use of cotton clothes went a lessening of class distinction in dress*” These changes, the importance of which was recognized, were approached in different ways by various scholars*
One group considered
the problem of 11standard of living” or, in more general terms, conditions of living of working people*
Another larger group studied the "luxury”
which had become a part of the consumption patterns of the rising bourgeoisie*
Actually during the nineteenth century those concerned with theories of consumption, who occupied themselves primarily with the problem of luxury, dominated the field*
Students such as Rae in the
United States, Senior in England, Rocher and, much later, Sambart in Germany wrote of luxury in different contexts*
All of them, however,
showed in one way or other that there were more factors involved in the study of different modes of consumption than the mere satisfaction of biological needs*
Rae wrote that the ”essence of vanity” was the
desire for superiority over others**^ tinction, whose source is wealth*”
Senior names the ”love of dis
He goes on:
"To seem more rich,
to keep up better appearances than those within their own sphere of ^Ibid** pp. 33-34-* 9Ibid.. p. 34. ^ E * Gilboy, on* cit*. chs. I and VII, is an example of how luxury and emulation of consumption of the rising bourgeoisie occupied the minds of observers in eighteenth century England* 11 John Rae, Principles of Economy, Hew York, 1873#
comparison is the ruling principle of conduct*
And luxuries in eon12 sumption provide satisfaction of this desire*” Rocher analyzed dif ferent types of luxury in feudal societies and in the urban centers of his period*
He attempted to show that in historical times the use of
luxuries was confined to the aristocracy and consisted of only a few goods, while at the time he wrote luxury included more goods and a I greater range of desires in every part of the population*
These studies provide us with a sense of the background of Veblen's study of class differentiation in consumption found in his Theory of the Leisure Class which, as the first systematic treatment of the topic and as the most important work in setting our problem, will be considered later* Much after Rae, Rocher and Senior, and after Veblen had written his classic work, Werner Sombart considered the place and role of luxury in social and economic setting*
In terms of the idealistic phi
losophy of Germany of his day he defined luxury in the development of European capitalism as ttgoods the use of which goes beyond the point of necessity*11 His analysis indicated the close relationship between 15 changing class structure and increasing lavish consumption in Europe * The second type of study, also made during the nineteenth century, Jconcemed the problem of standards of living.
Studies of this type were
12W. N. Senior, Political Economy. London, 1S72, pp. 11-12* 13 W. Rocher, Die Grundlagen der National Okonomie. Stuttgart, 1S54-, ch. III. ^ S e e below, pp. 10-13* 15 ^Werner Sombart, Luxus and Kanitalismus. Munchen and Leipzig, 1922.
7 and still are mainly concerned with the analysis of amount and variety of goods consumed per capita in given times and places according to income.
In spite of the fact that techniques of measuring and indi
cating levels of living have become greatly elaborated and refined, studies of this type, however, do not go beyond the distribution of con17 sumption goods according to incomes in given places and at given times . Obviously, income is an important index of social stratification; what is lacking in these studies is the failure to recognize that income is not by any means the only factor to be taken into account.
important than this is the fact that these studies, beyond the level of description, fail in giving any dynamic analysis of the principles deriving from the fact of stratification which underlie the differenti ation of consumption norms.
As a result, the statement that consumption
patterns validate status as well as provide for biological needs is quite lost sight of.
The socio-cultural significance of ownership of large
estates by persons who have high incomes as against the fact that per sons in lower income levels live in rooming houses; or the fact that ror a list of the numerous studies done both in earlier period and more recently, see Zimmerman, C. C., Consumption and Standards of Living, New York, 1936, chs. XV and XVI. The terms related to this type of study show a great deal of variation, though essentially they are the refinement or a redefinition of stock terms such as cost of living, level of living, standard of living. See for instance, Waite and Cassady, The Consumer and the Economic Order- 1949, p. 216. 17 See 11What Level of Living Indexes Measure,11 M. J. Hagood and L. J. Ducoff, American Journal of Sociology, v. ix (1942), pp. 78-85. Recent studies in the United States do not only consider the incomes of families but also take into account their place of living, as rural-urban. For example, see W. C. McKain and G. L. Flagg, "Differences between Rural and Urban Level of Living: National Comparisons," Washington, D. C., Bureau of Agricultural Economics, 1948 (mimeographed).
a one group goes to ice cream parlors as a form of recreational activity as against the fact that another has orchestra seats for the ballet, must be greater than is indicated by the simple conclusion which seems to satisfy most students, that the members of one group live in a higher level than those of another*
In a word, it is apparent that such stu
dies fail to yield insight into the critical problem of the sanctions, values and attitudes involved in the differentiation of consumption patterns according to income groups in different sections of the popu18 lation of a given country* In recent years certain studies of social stratification and social structure have tended to throw some slight indirect light on the relationship between consumption and social stratification. the
“Yankee City” series, the location of the house is used as one of
the principal criteria for determining the boundaries of the classes of Yankee City*
“Hill Streeters” or people who “live up on the Hill
Street” are expressions often used as equivalent of “Brahmin" and the rarer "Aristocrat."
“. * ♦ whenever an individual was called a Hill
Streeter, all evidence showed that the person of the hierarchy . . . .
was near or at the top
When a man was said to be a 1River Brooker*
The recent trends in the studies on the economics of con sumption, for instance, the studies on what is termed consumption func tion as the ratio of the expenditures of the consumer to his savings in different income groups, or the studies of elasticity of consumption, are less revealing than studies of levels of living in showing the socio-cultural factors and sanctions in the differentiation of consump tion norms* 19 L. Warner and P. S. Lunt, Social Life in an Urban Community. New Haven, Yale University Publications, 1941* In view of the contro versy over the validity of the methods used in these studies to sepa rate the classes, these researches are cited only to indicate the fact that consumption patterns do enter in the determination*
9 or to live in River Brook, he was felt to be at the bottom of social
This analysis is carried farther where, in employing
materials describing the setting of family life, certain types of homes of members of different classes are described to show the consumption norms in the various social and economic strata of Yankee City#
Data that can be quite satisfactorily employed in analyzing the relation between status and consumption norms is to be found in the works of R* and H. Lynd on the community termed ’’Middletown#*1 This study not only showed how the furnishing of homes or the amount and kind of clothing differed from one class to another in this community, but also gave examples of how leisure time was spent, employing this con sumption differential to discriminate the socio-economic classes into which various families were to be divided.
The Lynds, who were ob
viously influenced by the writings of Veblen, describe the emulation in consumption which, in Middletown, exemplifies one of the primary char acteristics of consumption in Euroamerican cultures of the present time* "Daughters of the families of the working class do what they can to keep up with the procession, and if they fall too far behind frequently leave school (high school).
A working class mother of five children with a
family income of $1,363 complains that their daughter . . . stopped because she was too proud to go to school unless she could have clothes 20Ibld.. p. 84. £*g., PP. 105, 178-179. 22 Robert and Helen Lynd, Middletown, New York, 1929, chs. XII, IX and XIX# See also Middletown in Transition. New York, 1938.
xo 23 like the others*”
Or again, we read, ”a local furniture store centers
its selling talk for its expensive, over-stuffed living room suites about the claim that the home is judged by its living room— the place ■where guests and strangers are received*
In that way, according to the
manager, working class families are persuaded to buy very expensive 9/ living room suites and let the rest of the house slide a bit*” Other sociological analyses of groups such as Zorbaughfs study of different class areas of Chicago describe behavior patterns involv ing consumption norms as critical elements in characterizing the members of the groups with which they are concerned*
However, it Is not neces
sary for the present study to do more than point the existence of this tradition in sociological analysis and to indicate the indirect evidence 25 and function of consumption in the total socio-economic configuration* We may now consider the basic contribution of Thorstein Veblen, who at the turn of the century pointed out that the underlying principle of the phenomenon of how a 11low level of living” and of the irrational or ”luxurious” expenditure of those whose standards are high derives from the functional relationship of consumption and social stratification within a given culture * According to his argument, the ends of consump tion are never exclusively for the satisfaction of biological needs, but in all cultures fulfill the equally important function of indicating ^ % * and H* Lynd, Middletown. New York, 1929, pp. 163-164-* ^ Ib id .. p. 100, footnote 16* ^ H * Zorbaugh, Gold Coast and the Slum. University of Chicago Press, 1929, pp* 56-59*
11 the social status of the consumer.
It was this position which led to
his brilliant analysis of the effect of social stratification on consumption.26 In the evolutionistic terms he employed, his thesis held that "the emergence of a leisure class coincides with the beginning of owner27 ship.”
The accumulation of wealth in the hands of the leisure class
which, in his own words, is a group that has 11the economic characteris28 tics of being non-industrial,” tends to free them from manual occu pations.
To belong to this class, and to possess the wealth that goes
with membership in it, confers honor.
The leisure classes are also in
a position to show their advantageous position by "specialized consump tion of goods” which provides evidence of their pecuniary strength. This was called by Veblen "conspicuous consumption,” which maintains status by the lavish and "wasteful” display of goods and services.
In the light of present ethnographic theory the evolutionary frame of reference adapted by Veblen, though it represented the approved position of his time, today gives his discussion a highly speculative character.
He may also be criticized for his failure adequately to
weight other factors, such as the political power of the leisure class p/L
Thorstein Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class; New York, Mac millan Co., first published 1899, revised ed., 1912. The edition used in this study is The Modern Library edition, New York, 1934. 27 Ibid.. p. 22. 23Ibid.. p. 2. 29 Veblen is oneof thosegeniuses who employed his terms without ever defining them, using them to analyze his data ashe goes along. Chs* I-IV of his work cited give the best exposition of his theoretical position*
12 as against their pecuniary strength, in developing his thesis of the factors making for the status differentials he discusses*
he does not explore the dynamic forces that would be revealed by a study of the variations in the patterns of conspicuous consumption in different cultures where, in different systems of social stratification, various degrees of surplus wealth are found and diversive modes of accumulating wealth exist.
Veblen likewise did not consider what hap
pens to an established pattern of consumption norms under cultural change, either as regards the preexisting forms of socio-economic stratification, or the modes of accumulation of wealth.
Yet even when
we lodge these criticims against his treatment of the problem that lies at the core of his thinking,
we cannot but wonder, in the light of
the poor ethnographic and historical sources that were at his command at the time he wrote, how he gained the insights from them that permitted him to state in such clear terms, generalizations that have held their validity for half a century.
For today it has become a truism that the
lavish consumption of goods for the purpose of gaining and maintaining prestige and status is a most important and consistent economic mechanism in the utilization of available resources. The most fruitful documentation of different modes of conspic uous consumption is to be found in the ethnographic literature of the past four decades, of which a few instances can be indicated here*^ 30Hla other works like The Higher Learning in America. 1918, and Imperial Germany and Industrial Revolution. 1915. also reflect this theory of differentiation of consumption according to social stratification* 31 See M. J. Herskovits, The Economic Life of Primitive Peoples. 1940, and Man and His Works. 1949•
13 The famous petlatch of the Northwest Coast Indians perhaps furnish the most vivid and concrete example of conspicuous consumption— that is, lavish specialized consumption to validate status——that has been reported from any nonliterate society*, Wealth in the forms of blankets, boxes, and copper plates was distributed, where it was not destroyed, in com petitive rituals whereby a chief rose in rank and validated his honor ific titles and privileges, at the same time lessening the status of the 32 other chiefs with whom he was in competition*. From Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, Hogbin has reported another of the many available examples of elaborate display among nonliterate groups*
Here it takes the form of lavish feasts and, in a more perma
nent form, special honorific types of house and clothing for those of high
in Guadalcanal, the position of the head of a sub-clan is
not hereditary, but his authority depends on his "generosity in provid ing feasts and otherwise distributing wealth*"
After a long period of
preparation, during which he receives the help of his relatives, the feast and presentation of food starts.
In the case of one such rite
described by Hogbin, "Bunches of areea nuts and betal pepper were dis tributed to the guests, and the young men busily piled the food into heaps.
First there was a gigantic mass of yam cakes containing between
3000 and 4000; then a pile of meat— 13 pigs had been provided, four of -^Besides Boas* well-known materials on the Kwakiutl, one may consult for a systematic treatment of the potlach as a status index, P. Drucker, "Hank, Wealth and Kinship in North West Coast Society," American Anthropologist. v, 40, 1938, pp# 349-358; H. G* Burnett, "The Nature of the Potlatch,” American Anthropologist, v. 41, 1939$ also G* P« Murdock, "Rank and Potlach among Haida," Yale University Publications in Anthro pology. No. 13, 1936. 3 % # I. Hogbin, "Social Advancement in Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands," Oceania, v. VIII, pp. 289-305*
14 them of enormous size; then 19 large bowls of pudding and last about two hundred weight or more of smoked fish."^
This food was then dis
tributed in generous portions by the host to the guests according to their status, and everyone began to eat*
"We shall eat,” they said,
"till we sicken and vomit," for only this way they could do justice in consuming the lavish repast he had provided*
This process did not end
when he had attained his goal, however, for even after he had estab lished his new status, he would be compelled to sustain his position by a continous flow of gifts and feasts* So obvious is this Melanesians phenomenon of competitive gift giving and display to validate status that Gitlow, despite the fact that in his presentation of the culture of the Mount Hagen natives of New Guinea he is not concerned with integrating the social stratifi cation with their patterns of consumption, does, in describing their desire for prestige, state almost as a matter of course that "its clear manifestation is in the religious feasts such as the Kurfestival and takes form of a conspicuous and wasteful consumption of pork, a con sumption which is on so grand a scale that it is usually followed by a long period of shortage*"
Many other accounts of the operation of
this pattern of attaining status by means of conspicuous consumption and display, which with local variation includes the competitive exhi bition of yams, gift giving and lavish feasting, is to be found in 34 Ibid** pp* 292-293* | consists of 171 people*
The community where the feast occurred
^ A * L* Gitlow, "Economics of Mount Hagen Tribes, New Guinea," American Ethnological Society Monographs * v. XII, p* 64.
15 descriptions of such cultures as those of the Trobriands, or, in Polyneasia, for people as far removed as the Samoans and Maori of New Zealand, where clothing and housing, we are told, are "purely an ex-
36 pression of rank*," In West African kingdoms such as Dahomey, Ashanti, or Nupe, while one does not find the extreme forms of competition in conspicuous consumption existing in the South Seas, there also exists manifest pat terns of lavish display and elaborate consumption*
Among the Ashanti,
chiefs and other members of nobility wear ceremonial silk clothes of exclusive pattern, while commoners most be satisfied with cotton*
Religious ceremonies, funerals and weddings also involve very elaborate, complex display and expenditure of wealth; while the kind of houses lived in and, in the days before European conquest, the number of slaves owned, were regulated by the stratum to which a given individual belonged*^ Yet patterns of the conspicuous consumption of valuable goods to validate status vary enormously with the varying forms of social stratification*
Thus from the Tarascan village of Cheran, in Mexico,
where differentiation in social status is not very sharp, Beals reports that while "in ordinary life there is little to distinguish one Cheran
3^Cf. B. Malinowski, The Argonauts of the Western Pacific. London, 1922; also, Te Rangi Hiroa (Beter H* Buck), "Ethnology of Mangarava," P* B* Bishop Museum Bulletin 157* 37 R* S. Rattray, Ashanti. London, 1929.
J* Herskovits, Dahomey, New York, 1938. Black Bvzantium. London, 1942*
S. F. Nadel, A
16 man or family from other," wealthier people do display their wealth on "stereotyped" occasions*
The wedding cermony, for instance, is one
such, when families spend "conspicuously"; while on other "special occasions" the wives of men of wealth "display more and better jewelry*" The ownership of cattle, trained to be ridden in the town fiesta, is another "socially approved method of ostentation*"
On the other hand,
it is also clear that, in Cheran, too competitive or emulative consump tion is frowned on, this being perhaps a function of the fact that in this community social stratification is little differentiated*. Humphrey gives similar information for another Mexican town. "Possession of money," he states, "seems to mean status. • * • Yet wealth is rarely displayed ostentatiously.
The sort of private fiestas
the rich have in their own homes, the kind of liquor served and the abundance of the food, function as indices of possession or • • • the ostensible grounds for status differentiation are several, one of them is dress*
Upper class persons tend to wear western European or American
Among men, woolen pants and leather shoes are, by and
large, evidence of higher position in rank*
And the outward sign of
lower status are white pantaloons, a red sash and often a blanket or poneho over the shoulders*"^ In this area, indeed, the entire complex of conspicuous con sumption may in some centers be lacking*
Thus Foster has reported that
L. Beals, "Cheran: A Sierra Tarascan Village," Smithsonian Institution of Social Anthropology Publications. No. 2, p. 86* 4 % * p. Humphrey, "Social Stratification in a Mexican Town," Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, v* V, 1949, pp. 75-76.
17 in Popoluca, 11no apparent attempt to humiliate or out-do others through display of fine crops, clothes, or other possessions is found* . . • Spending or destruction of wealth in a conspicuous and excessive manner for purposes of social gain is about as lacking among the Popoluca as in any group which has attained as relatively high a level of material well-being # ^ The variations in form and mode of conspicuous consumption in different localities and at different periods in history would thus seem to be enormous.
And out of this fact, apparent even from the lim
ited number of examples presented here, certain questions arise.
do some people destroy their wealth as in yam feasts, or in the burning of blankets, while others, such as the Zulu,^ keep cattle without ever employing them for any utilitarian ends?
Why should persons of wealth
in some cultures wear jewels only on special occasions, while in others no display of any kind is permitted?
Why in some cultures is display
a matter of sharp and severe competition, manifesting a drive for pres tige which is to be gained through more and more display, while in others those who have prestige do no more than wear their particular kind of clothing, live in their elaborate houses, regarding with con tempt any seeming conspicuous competition in consumption? Questions such as these, together with the points raised during the discussion of Veblenian theory given above, bring into focus the ^ G . M. Foster, ”A Primitive Mexican Economy,” Monographs of the American Ethnological Society. 1942, No. V, pp. 75-76. Y* Krige, Social Organization among Zulu. London, 1936.
18 problem of the dynamic relationship between consumption and social stratification on the institutional level, rather than at the level of the individual's drive for prestige* As Herskovits puts it, "with but rare exceptions we find that to the extent to which the economic system, the technological level of achievement, and natural environment permit some men enjoy more favored 43 position than others. • . *"
in other words, in most cultures, non
literate or industrialized, contemporary or ancient, the population is differentiated into a hierarchy with social stratification of the type described by Young as a "social ladder, a graded ordering of power and prestige • . . (with) . . . differential gradation of groups, including the individuals therein, on a scale of superordination and subordination." It would seem, in these terms, reasonable to assume that, in general, as societies become larger, the distribution of wealth, posses sions, political and military power, education, and prestige come to be differentiated among their members, so that different kinds of groups center around various combinations of these unequal distributions*
most general feature of the resulting specialization in function is that the people of a society are differentiated in terms of gradations of prestige and status*
The degree of gradation, its determinants and the
forms it takes, can change with time, and take on differing forms in different societies*
But if it is to be regarded as social stratification
J. Herskovits, The Economic Life of Primitive Peoples. 1940, pp. 442-443. ^Kimball Young, Sociology: A Study of Society and Culture. 19A9. pp. 511-512.
19 Z.5 the feature of gradation must exist* The second general feature of any system of social stratifi cation— and, it would seem, the more important and effective one— is the degree of vertical movement possible within the system.
has put it, in a system of social stratification, status can be ascribed or achieved, in terms of being bora into a given class whereby one is assigned a given status or, in the second case, where status is attained Z.6 through some kind of competition and individual effort* Yet wherever status is normally not of the ascribed type, the actual chances to achieve a higher status vary from one society to another.
ascribed status is the rule, there will be some channel for recruiting of new personnel from outside into the previously established classes* As a third feature of social stratification, we find a deepseated respect on the part of the lower classes for those of the higher ranks, a respect that extends to their behavior patterns and their system of values* In the preceding discussion, it has been indicated in a general way that lower and upper status groups consumed differently, the norms of the latter having the quality of conspicuous consumption in the Veblenian sense*
This is not the whole story, however.
cation is ascribed, and where vertical mobility is lacking because status can only be had through the circumstance of birth, conspicuous ^ % o r various examples of different forms of social stratifi cation see Robert Lowie, Social Organization. 194-8, pp. 267-29-4* ^ F o r different kinds of status see H. Linton, Study of Man, 1936, p. 115*
20 consumption assumes the function of an "indicator" of status and, more importantly, is non-emulative or non-competitive.
This follows, since
to emulate the consumption-patterns of a closed upper class, even were this permitted or economically possible, would be pointless.
other hand, when status is achieved— that is, where a competitive element enters— consumption is not only the means of attaining high position but, because of this very fact, must be emulative either in a ritualistic fashion or in a more diffused non—structural!zed manner, depending upon the degree to which the system of stratification is crystal!zed. If we carry the Veblenian argument another step, we see that, though the status of an individual is determined by the structure of social stratification of his society, yet unless he conforms to the accepted patterns of behavior required by his role, his place is not fully occupied nor his role adequately played.
In these terms the best
way of validating membership in an upper class is to display valuable goods as a symbol of strength of one*s control of power.
belong to this class validate their status by "wasting" or spending their wealth and time lavishly and for non-utilitarian ends; thus, by a curious turn of human psychology that has to the present not been made a subject for study, gaining the respect of the lower classes.
Herskovits has put it, "the position of those in power is established, continued and constantly strengthened by the prestige that derives from elaborate expenditure and calculated display of economically valuable goods."
In specific situations, however, the inodes of "waste" or
tn M. J. Herskovits, The Ecorom-ir» T.-ife of Primit.i™ Peoples. Hew York, 1940, p. 422.
21 display of goods are determined by the manner of which the wealth is accumulated, this itself being at the same time a determinant and an accompaniment of status in all systems of social stratification* The ceiling of conspicuous consumption, whether it be emulative or non-emulative, can, of course, never be higher than is permitted by the degree of accumulation of wealth and economic surplus possible in a culture*
When wealth is accumulated with difficulty and over a number
of generations, when the economy provides little more than subsistence needs, we find display only on limited occasions*
In everyday life,
people do not appear to be very different from each other.
when wealth consists of agricultural products, let us say, or other perishable goods, we find the conspicuous consumption of this kind of wealth takes the form of periodical ritualized feasts.
Where no rit
ualized patterns for the display of wealth exist or where there seems to be no ceiling for its accumulation, then competition in everyday life, a THnd of diffused emulation in conspicuous consumption between members of the society, is found. In the sections that follow, the relationships considered above will be analyzed as they are found in four cultures, those of Tzintzuntzan, Mexico; of Ponape, Caroline Islands; of the Ngoni, Southeast Africa; and of Ankara, Turkey, in terms of their stratification and the differentiation of consumption patterns* The specific data necessary for the analysis of the particular problem of this discussion has been obtained principally from the
22 reports of ¥. R. Bascom on Ponape,
of G* E. Foster on Tzintzuntzan,
50 and of M. Read on the Ngoni, respectively*
The material on Ankara is
derived from field data collected by the writer during the years 1946194-7 while at the University of Ankara, under the supervision of Dr* Behice Sadik Boran*
Though all the materials employed had shortcomings
arising from the fact that none of them were gathered with the analysis of the social and economic problems of the cultural patterning of con sumption norms in view, it was found to be sufficient for analysis in terms of the frame of reference indicated in the preceding pages* R* Bascom, Ponapes A Pacific Economy in Transition* _ On microfilm in Library of Congress, Washington, D* C., 194-7* ^ G . E* Foster, 11The Children of Empire: Tzintzuntzan," Smith sonian Institution, Institute of Social Anthropology. Publication No. 6, 1949* 50 M* Read, "Native Standards of Living and African Culture Change," Supplement No* 3, Africa, v* XI, 193§*
CHAPTER II TZINTZUNTZAN Tzintzuntzan, once the capitol of the Tarascan empire, is lo cated in the state Michocan, Mexico* a population of about 1,250*^
Today it is a small town, having
Apart from its traditions of past impor
tance, it is typical of a vast number of small Mexican pueblos*
nothing of its former glory, or the importance it had at the time of the arrival of Spaniards, survives, however, despite the fact that in 1930 it was made the cabecera, or governing city, of a new municinio of Tzintzuntzan, which included a number of adjacent villages*
slightly differentiated, simple social stratification and limited wealth derived from agriculture and pottery, it thus offers relatively simple manifestations of the relationship of consumption patterns to social stratification * Today's inhabitants range in appearance from apparently pure Indians to pure Caucasoid types* individuals show Indian admixture*
Extremes are rare, however, and most In language and the general patterns
of its accepted way of life, Tzintzuntzan cannot be called an Indian village, since its inhabitants are well removed from the Tarascan Tndlfln base that contributed to its social and cultural orientation*
Tarascan Indians presumably came from adjoining mountain villages and ■*tJ. Poster, Children of Empire; Tzintzuntzan. Washington, D. C*, 1948, p* 73*
2U settled down in Tzintzuntzan*
Today they live in the same way as the
Mestizos or mixed—bloods, working as farmers, potters, and fishermen, and not being set off from them* The Mestizo group is made up of two sub-groupings, differentiated by two terms— gente de razon (persons of reason) and gente de criolla (creoles)*
There is, however, no consensus of opinion as to the group
into which a given individual is to be placed*
Theoretically, gente de
razon are those who are held to have no Indian ancestry, and who can presumably trace unmixed white descent from much earlier days*
actuality, however, economic status plays a greater part in classifi cation than descent*
The gente de razon live nearer the center of town
than the gente de criolla* never dress in calzpnes, the pajama-like trousers of the country people, or wear the telares of the Indian women. They dress in catrin (elegant, i.e*, Western) trousers, shirts and shoes, or dresses and shoes, depending on sex*
In their occupation 2 they are apt to be storekeepers or well-to-do farmers* The tern gente de criolla* less commonly used, is applied to persons whose features are clearly Indian but speak Spanish*
It may be applied to almost any
one in the village* Actually this classification of racial affiliation has little meaning in terms of social status*
As far as the vertical mobility
within the accepted patterns of the stratification is concerned, any person can achieve any status despite the prevailing pseudo-biological fiction of racial affiliation. 2
Ibid*, p. 36*
But to change one*s status in the very
25 little differentiated system of social stratification found in Tzintzun tzan is almost impossible, since this structure seems to be relatively stable and closed, with very little vertical mobility#
As Foster says,
**Xt is hard to see how a local cacique or Jefe Politico could be pro duced #M^
So little is the amount of differentiation that Tzintzuntzan
today does not have even one outstanding family, as it is so common in other comparable Mexican communities *^ In terms of economic opportunity, the land-owning farmers and storekeepers occupy the best positions, since they have the most adequate means to accumulate wealth and occupy the highest social position#
ters, and peddlers who travel from town to town with mules, came next# Fishermen are on a somewhat lower level, but they are regarded as having a higher position if fishing is combined with fanning or with pottery making#
Day-work for hire on farms or on road construction carries the
As can be seen from the table of occupations given by
Foster, however, practically everyone, certainly when two members of each of the various family groups in the populations are taken into account, is found to engage in a number of types of work.
Thus, as far
as the question of social stratification is concerned, these occupational differentials are obviously of relatively slight importance* The real determinants of status seem to be the wealth of a per son.
This is directly related to occupation, and also influences the
3Ibid.. p. 35. C. Parsons, Mitla. 1936, p. 67? or R# Redfield, Teuotzlan* a Mexican Village. 1936, p# 15*
26 TABLE 1 OCCUPATIONS OF FAMILY HEADS* Occupations of Family Heads
Number in Each Category
Men Potter (full time) • 94. Potter and * # 22 F a r m e r ......... Peddler . ♦ ....... . . . . . . . .................18 Day Laborer • • ............................... 6 . . . . . . 2 M a s o n ........... . . . . Fisherman......... . .......................... 1 Carpenter • 1 Shoemaker 1 Farmer and P e d d l e r ............................ 1 Day Laborer and Peddler.................... . . . 1 T o t a l ..................................... £47 Farmer (full time) . . . . ....... . ........................ Farmer and Day Laborer Peddler ........ Peddler and Day Laborer . • • • • • • • • • . • • . Peddler and Singer . • . . . . Net Weaver • Municipal Employee . • . . .............. . . . . Mason • Day Laborer and Petate Maker** • • • • • . . • • .
4 3 2 1 1 1 1 1
Total .....................................* 32 Fisherman (full time) Fisherman and Farmer . . . . . . . . . . . . . Day Laborer... . . . . .................. . . . Peddler Fhrmer and Petate Maker** ......... Farmer and Day Laborer.................. Farmer and Peddler ................ Day Laborer and Rescaton • • • • • • • • • . • • Total
4 6 3 1 1 1 1 1 18
TABLE 1~Continued Occupations of Ehmily Heads
Number in Each Category
Men Day Laborer (full time).................. • Day Laborer and Mason . . ............... * ............... Petate Maker***............................ T o t a l ................................ Storekeeper (full time) . « » • • . • • . • • • « ......... Storekeeper and Baker • ••.•. Farmer . . .............................. S i n g e r ......... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Total
Peddler (full time) • • • • • • . ......... Peddler and Day Laborer ................................. Total
2 1 17 3 1 1 1 11 11 3_ 14-
Mason (full time) .................... Mason and Carpenter and Petate Maker** • Carpenter, Potter, Barber, and Day Laborer . . . . Carpenter, Potter, Petate Maker,** Farmer and Blacksmith . . . . . . . . . Total. . . • • • • • •
1 1 1 1
Other Occupations: School Teacher .. Municipal Employee ...................... Priest ........... . . . . . . . . . . . . ........... Sacristan • • . . • * . • • • • • . ..................... Baker •
3 2 1 1 1
Total Total Male Heads
TABLE 1— Continued Occupations of Earn, fly Heads
Number in Each Category
Women Housekeeper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Potter . . .................................. . . . . . . Storekeeper • . ............... „ ........................ Domestic Work Seamstress........* ........................... . . . . . Petate Maker** . . ............................ Restaurant Keeper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
19 16 2 l 1 1 1
Total Female H e a d s ......... .
Total Family Heads
• • •
^Abridged from G. M* Foster, ibid.. pp. $4-55, Table 8. **Petate— reed mats* TABLE 2 OCCUPATIONS OF ALL PERSONS 16 YEARS OF AGE AND OVER, EXCLUDING FAMILY HEADS* Men Occupation Potters . * . Day Laborers Fanners . • • Fishermen . . Peddlers . • Scholars . • Hired Help . Tailors • • • Total • •
Potters • • ....... Housewives . . . . . T e a c h e r s ......... Petate Makers** . . . Seamstresses • • • • Scholar ........... M a i d .............
• . • . . • •
Family Heads Grand Total
Family Heads ...
* • • • ...
*Abridged from G. M. Foster, ibid.. p. 58, Table 10. **Reed mats*
29 terms used to classify given individuals ”racially” as gente de razon 5 or gente de criolla* Wealth is largely limited to tangible assets, such as farm land or houses*
Money is used in everyday life, but economic reserves,
particularly in the form of silver money, which long has been the sym bol of wealth, are buried.
It is obvious, however, that in this econ
omy the possibility of accumulating much money and goods is not great, and there is no evidence that any family is to any appreciable degree wealthy*
The fact that their land will not be sold in order to make
more money can be taken as indicating that in the static situation of Tzintzuntzan, resources in the form of money do not have any effective function.
An example may be given as illustrative of the concept of
land as the primary form of investments
In 1930 this man,
11had the good fortune to pick up three hectares of the finest lakeshore land for $1,200* In 1945 he refused an offer of $20,000. What would he do with the money? By itself it was worth nothing. •What would I have done with all that paper?1 he,asks, and that to any Taintzuntzano would be the final answer.” The annuel income of the eight families which Foster gives as a sample of the entire population ranges from $4,000 to $450 with a percapita income that varies from #506to $90.
This would seem to reflect
a significant differentiation in the economic position of the Tzintzun tzan people.
The gradations are soregular that any assumption of
social stratification would seem to be problematical.
clusion in this regard, that, nTzintzuntzan in no sense of the word 5
Foster, op. c i t *. p. 33* Sibid.. p. 169 «
30 TABLE 3 ANNUAL INCOME OF EIGHT TZINTZUNTZAN FAMILIES*
No* of Persons in Family
2 . . . ........
3 ............... 4 5 6 ............... 7 ............... 8
7 5 5 3 2 5
2,150 1,200 825 325 225 425
2,350 1,250 850 325 250 450
336 250 170 108 125 90
930 200 50 25 0 25 25
^Abridged after Foster, Children of Empire, p. 160, Table 32. represents a stratified culture,” would seem to be valid and to carry the conclusion that there is little opportunity at present to achieve any great differentiation on the basis of wealth.
If we turn now to the consumption patterns of Tzintzuntzan, we find, first of all, that most houses cluster around the plaza, the cen ter of the town, and along the highway which cuts the town into two parts*
They are set in a solar or lot, and usually have dirt floors.
The finer houses, which are found around the plaza and along the high way, have a few windows.
Often the kitchen is a separate structure at
the rear of the house, or is built as a separate room adjoining the house, with a raised hearth, constructed of mortar, adobe, and stone, often four meters square, of table height, with a clay griddle set over a fireplace.
The average kitchens are also equipped with other smaller
fireplaces, over which pots can be placed*
Most of the pottery is of
31 local manufacture * Metal spoons for soup and a few case knives are found, as well as small paring-knives and larger cutting knives*
are rare, since most food is eaten either with a spoon or by hand*
of the kitchens have a shelved cupboard or simple wooden shelves set into a wall* kept*
Here the best plates are displayed and spare pottery is
In every kitchen several wooden trays for dish-washing, and
assorted styles of baskets, are to be found* Foster does not provide us with a full account of the furniture to be found in various kinds of houses, but the description he gives as an example shows how simple are their accommodations: A soap box containing a blanket or two and odd bits of clothing, a tattered petate mat rolled in one eomer, to be spread on the floor at night as bed for father, mother, and two children, a small table with a few pieces of crockery, two pottery candlesticks, two glasses, a glass water bottle, an empty brandy bottle, several battered chairs, an orange crate to serve the same purpose, an old image of Christ in one corner, its feet eaten away by termites, a pile of pots in one corner awaiting sale, and several molds* On the walls are pinned spreads of old newspapers, pictures of the Virgin and saints, a framed still-life with mirros on both sides and hook for hats and coats, a school-drawn map of the State, several more hooks from which hang shirts, jackets, and a machete, and a small hanging shelf with dishes*. Homes of persons in better economic circumstances are distin guished by having an additional room or perhaps two rooms, and have tiled floors*
Walls are plastered and painted, and several well-made
and decorated chests take the place of improvised soap-box containers* Electric lights are found in some homes, though wiring usually is lim ited to a single 40-watt bulb which dangles from the ceiling*
homes will have a water tap in the yard— never inside the house— and a
32 wooden privy seat in an inconspicuous corner of the patio. Many houses also have ’‘beds •11 In most cases a nbedM consists of several planks laid across soap boxes, covered with petates and a serape or two.
Some people, however, have real nbeds,11 even if their
springs are usually sagging.
Having a bed does not necessarily mean
that all members of the family enjoy its use.
The parents sleep on
this shelf, but the children, in the manner of the poor, lie on petates placed on the floor. It is commonly and truthfully stated that beans and maize are the staple foods of most Mexicans.
However, in Tzintzuntzan maize is
the single most important item while, even for those families who have most to eat, beans are consumed less than the meat-fish-fowl item of diet.
The lack of fruit and vegetables is more apparent than real,
since actually, considerable quantities of cabbage, tomatoes, onion, and chiles are consumed.
Squash is commonly eaten from August to late
winter. A good deal of nourishment is taken between meals in the form of odd snacks, purchases in the market and the like.
Fruit, for example,
is never part of a meal, yet considerable quantities of oranges, pears, peaches, bananas, capulines, mangoes and capotes are consumed. cane and peanuts are great favorites in many families.
ears, chayote roots, and wheat tortillas are similarly regarded as between-meal nourishment.
Milk also is often drunk between meals,
usually with a piece of bread.
The extent to which these additional
foods are eaten depends, to a large degree, on the economic level of the family concerned.
33 In some cases they represent an insignificant addition to the family diet, but in other instances are of great importance as supple mentary food* The family of Eleuterio Melcho, for example, appears to have very little variety in regular meals, yet the amounts of fruit, and above all, peanuts, eaten between meals, is*truly astonishing. Eleuterio*s wife is simply an unusually busy woman, hard-pressed for time between pot-making and caring for children. She has little time for fancy cooking, so the craving for additional items is taken care of by an unusual amount of between-meals n i b b l i n g . 9 A moderate breakfast in the morning, a heavy meal between one and three o* clock in the afternoon, and a light supper is the prevailing pattern. These hours of mealtime may vary a good deal, however, depending on the activity of different members of the family and also its economic status.
10 The striking fact that comes out of Table 4 is that the
actual number of meals eaten by families having lower incomes is only about half as large as in the case of those families whose incomes are higher.
On the other hand, it must be remembered that the lower number TABLE 4 MEALS OF THE FAMILIES
Total Potential Meals
1 ............................ 2 .......................... . 3 ......... . ................ 4 ............................ 5............................ 5........................... 6 ............................
SI 72 SI SI SI SI SI
^Abridged from G* M. Foster, ibid.« p. 166, Table 35. **Family numbers are the same as for Table 3.
9Xbid.. p. 167. 10See Table 35, ibid.. p. 166.
79 72 77 70 56 54 44
34 of meals eaten by these fam ilies does not necessarily mean that their members are fed half as well, since it is among these families that between—meal nibbling is most prevalent# The basic indigenous dress of men consists in the main of un bleached muslin trousers called calzones*
These are much wider at the
waist than the girth of the man for whom they were intended, and have an open V—shaped buttonless fly#
Two tapes of the same material are
attached, one to the top of each side of the fly, so that when the pal zones are worn, one side of the fly is drawn over the other and the tapes tied at the back#
A bright fuchia—colored wool sash is also
usually worn as a belt#
The legs are narrow at the bottom, tapering to
a width of about 15 centimeters, and are often decorated with a machinestitched edging of blue and red thread*
The shirt is a pullover opening
half-way down the front, with one or two buttons*
This opening is
decorated with the same machine-stitched design that is found on the bottom of the calzones. and often two or three pleats are stitched on each side of it#
The collar is of a standard form with tabs, which may
also carry a simple, machine-stitched design such as flower petals* Guffs are tight, buttoned, and embroidered with the blue and white stitching#
Tails are square and long, worn over the sash in the fashion
of the sport shirt♦ Blue denim overalls, store purchased, are favored for heavy work, such as digging clay for pots, wood cutting, and other occupations in which there is apt to be a good deal of wear and tear#
They are often
worn over the calzones. or over undershirts and shorts, with a muslin
35 or cotton shirt#
Trousers, properly speaking, are blue-jeans made of
cotton in various colors and designs; occasionally they are wool# Jackets may be of blue denim or other cotton or wool materials, and oc casionally a sweater is worn#
For warmth on cold days, however, the
gabin. a small serape which reaches only a little below the waist, is the favored garment#
A few men own complete suits, and most of those
who have store clothing have a necktie or two#
shirts, either made locally or imported, are owned by all except the poorest men, for use on festive occasions. Huaraches come in a variety of patterns, some consisting merely of a few straps fastened to a sole, and others carefully woven of nar row strips of leather in the form of a slipper*
The traditional leather
sole is rapidly being replaced by rubber cut from old tires# socks are often worn with shoes, but never with huaraches#
handkerchiefs are owned by most adult men, regardless of type of cos tume they wear# From early childhood, no male ventures into the street without a hat; one would prefer to be seen without trousers or shirt than to be seen hatless#
Hats are made of palm, sewed in concentric circles rather
than woven, very thick and heavy, and painted white#
The brim is wide,
turned down slightly in front and up slightly at the rear, and the crown is low and narrow so that the hat perches precariously on the top of the wearer*s head#
A red, blue, or black strip of felt usually
passes through apertures in the sides of the crown, and is tied at the front on top, with the other end hanging at the back of the neck* Leather bands, sometimes decorated with silver ornaments on the more
36 expensive hats, are common, and potters and muleteers often put a
20 centimeter steel awl in the band, to be used in sewing up gunny sacks# The wardrobe of a man of average means will consist of the following articles: 3 shirts
2 cotton trousers
3 pair socks
1 silk shirt
1 bandana handkerchief
3 pairs underpants
1 pair huaraches
1 pair shoes (some men) 1 gaban serape*^
The clothing worn by boys of all ages is about the same as that of their fathers, except that there is a tendency to go barefoot or wear huaraches rather than shoes, and to prefer the less expensive cal— zones to store trousers and overalls#
For his first communion a boy
must have white trousers, shirt, and shoes, costing about $10#
of both sexes are clothed in an undershirt and simple cotton dress# Diapers are normally not used# The women*s costume that is characteristic of the Tarascan and nearby regions, in which Tzintzuntzan is also included, consists of a petticoat, blouse, woolen skirt, apron, woolen belt or belts and a rebozo (shawl)#
The petticoat was a tubular garment of unbleached mus
lin or cotton having a circumference several times the girth of the ^Abridged from Foster, ibid., p. 43*
When worn, it was folded in knife pleats across the back so
that about 15 centimeters of its length rose above the waist and fell back in a ruffle to display machine-cross-stitched designs in red, pink, and black thread.
It was held in place by a woolen belt.
In Tzintzuntzan, however, very few, if any, women wear this type of skirt.
If they have not completely abandoned 11indigenous” garb,
their skirts are made of red wool factory-loomed bayeta.
usually is sewn into a tubular form with a few pleats at the back which, however, do not ruffle above the waistline.
Often the top 15 centimeters
is of green satin, while the bottom is decorated with narrow green and blue ribbons.
Occasionally, but not often, this material is sewn to a
tape with a back ruffle and open front in the form of the simple telar. All skirts of this material, regardless of cut, are called bayeta. Another form, the zagale.lo. is the same as the common bayeta except that the cloth is woven with black crossing lines to form squares 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter.
Tubular skirts are also made of cotton prints.
Utilitarian blouses are referredto as camisas to distinguish them from finer ones.
They are made
of muslin orcotton and are pull
overs with short sleeves, sometimes having a small cross-stitched decor ation about the collar. Dress blouses are of brightly colored silk or rayon, and in contrast to those worn
everydayuse, have long sleeves.
The neck opens a short distance down
back andis secured by a single
The cuffs and neck are decorated with white lace, and may also
have additional designs of blue or pink ribbons sewed to the blouse material#
38 Work—aprons are of cotton or muslin*
When possible, however,
women prefer for everyday wear an apron of the same material as a dress blouse*
The bottom has a white lace decoration and the top is fastened
to a draw-string which is tied under the belts* is as necessary as a hat is to a man*
For a woman an apron
One never sees a woman on the
street without one, regardless of what her other dress may be*
pleated wool skirt, the apron is more or less an essential item of dress since it covers the strip of petticoat left exposed in front of the wearer* The woolen belts used with skirts and petticoats are about 6 centimeters wide and of varying lengths up to 1*5 meters*
nations of light and dark blue, light and dark blue and green, pink and green and orange and red are preferred*
The stylized designs are given
names such as nopalitos (little nopoles), rosa de castilla (rose of Castille), and canastita (little basket)* A muslin slip may be worn with the lighter weight baveta. though it is not deemed essential.
With cotton skirts a cotton slip which lacks
a bodice and which probably is an outgrowth of the petticoat is worn, along with a heavy muslin underblouse with short neck, and, though none of it shows, it is more decorated than the blouse worn over it. pants are worn only with cotton dresses*
Most women own cotton stockings,
though they are worn principally by those who wear dresses.
women never wear huaraches; they have the choice of going barefoot or wearing shoes.
Consequently, relatively more women wear shoes than men.
All females own rebozos from the time they can walk.
are the hand—loomed products, of dark blue color with narrow longitudinal ■
39 light blue or white stripes*
The finest are the ieatl or tye-dye
rebozos from Tenaneing, famous all over the country for their intricate, named patterns, for their soft colors of gray, blue, and white, and for their fine texture*
The rebozo may be worn over the head and shoulders,
or it may be worn over the shoulders alone, as a shawl, or as a support for carrying an infant* The following list gives the wardrobe of one wealthier inform ant:
2 bayetas. 1 old, 1 new
2 cotton aprons
2 satin aprons
3 embroidered undershirts
2 dresses of cotton
1 pair of shoes
3 pairs of stockings
2 cloth skirts
1 skirt of chermes Girls from the ages of 2 to 10 usually wear simple dresses, almost to their ankles, with slip or underpants and undershirt*
if owned, are reserved for festive occasions except in a few cases of wealthier persons*
Special clothing is necessary for the npresentation”
40 days after birth, and for first communion*
The former necessitates,
for those that can afford it, a dress of chermes, a calico shirt and shawl, calico diaper, a fajero (swaddling band), cap, woolen shoes, flannel cape, and nechera* For first communion the girl needs a white 12 Abridged from Foster, ibid., p. 45*
AO dress of chermes. veil of tulle, white shoes, and crown of blossoms* If the data of the preceding pages are cast in the conceptual framework of the first chapter, we find, at the outset, that in spite of the rather complicated agricultural economic base of this culture and of the manufacture of pottery for larger markets, and, despite the close trade relations it maintains with the outside, Tzintzuntzan is to be regarded as representing an undifferentiated whole in its social structure, and to have rather simple patterns of consumption.
discussion in preceding pages, it is apparent that the differentiation of consumption follows the lines of economic differentiation, which here are in themselves anything but complex. Status indicators are relatively few in number*
tile floors and which have more than one room, with shelves and cup boards or chests, and which belong to those of more means, can be con sidered as falling in this category.
Beds, privies, electricity and
running water as newly available facilities, as Foster shows, do not follow even the more obvious lines of differences in wealth, but instead are related to the degree of literacy of the family and the location of the house in relation to the availability of the facilities.
As concerns the consumption of food, the situation is less clear.
As far as maize and beans are concerned, the amount of food con
sumed seems to vary with economic resources, but the 11variation of the consumption of meat and fish is much less than might be expected” in view of differences in wealth.^* •^Ibid.. p. 3S. U Ibid.. p. 168.
The differences in the consumption of
AX sweets and fruits likewise does not show great interfamilial variation, at least in the sense of an indicator of status* The bright-colored shirts or finer muslin blouses worn in fiestas, better clothing which is saved for consumption in public, function as an index of status rather than as a mechanism to effect change in position*
The commemorative services, called rosarios. given
after death, or donations to the Church, do not arise from the motive of emulation, but are tokens of esteem for the bereaved family#
is emphasized by the fact that individuals who overdo their level of giving are criticized, while to beg out of malr?wg such expenditures is considered natural and does not bring any shame* Tzintzuntzan today is, in fact, an infinitesimal part of the larger Mexican society*
As such, its people appertain to the lower
strata of the Mexican social hierarchy, where there is little opportun ity to change the status quo* As a result, the patterns of consumption show a definitely non-emulative character.
The economy is directed
toward assuring subsistence, with so little surplus that any lavish dis play of goods to secure more favorable social position is practically out of the question*
As a result, there is no apparent attempt to humil
iate or outdo one*s fellows through the wearing of fine clothes or by living in fine houses*
The desire for a better house or better clothing
arises rather from the need to maintain status than out of competitive ness in emulation as an end to achieving an invidious position in the group as a whole.
CHAPTER III NGONI The Ngoni are a Bantu people of the East African Cattle Area, which covers the eastern portion of the continent from the East Horn to the Cape*
The characteristic mark of the area is the prestige econ
omy based on cattle, which accompanies the subsistence economy that is based on agriculture.
Cattle thus play a most important role in the
lives of these people, validating status and rank, determining marriage and divorce, and figuring in rites of burial, inheritance and the like. As the basis of the prestige economy, cattle thus figure in East African life as do the yams and pit breadfruit of Ponape, as will be discussed in the following chapter.'*' The Ngoni left their homeland in the southeast of Africa nearly 2 120 years ago, during the upheavals of the Ghaka wars. The majority of them settled in the Ngoni Highlands, in what is today the Dedza and Ncheu Districts of Nyassaland.
The terrain, which consists of roek-
^See M. J. Herskovits, ”The Cattle Complex in East Africa,” American Anthropologist, n.s., v. XXVIII, 1936, pp. 230-272, 361-333, 494-528, 633-664.
2 Chaka was the famous king and military organizer of the Zulu who reigned between the years 1817 - 1826 and invaded all the country known today as Zululand and Natal. The far-reaching effects of these various invasions is to be seen in the mass migration of other tribes to the north and west. Cf. E. J. Krige, The Social System of the Zulus, London, 1936, p. 9. Also see W. V. Fintel, Tschaka. der grosse Zulukbnig. Hermansburg, 1929.
43 crowned mountains and bare hillsides, narrow valley, and rich watered grasslands, much resembles the original home in Natal, the southeastern part of what is now the Union of South Africa* Even in i860, the Ngoni were already a heterogeneous people, representing many diverse tribal stocks*
The ruling aristocracy were
of Zulu-Swazi origin, while those next in importance were of Vende and Jina stock of the Zambezi district, the entire group being also mixed 3
with the local tribes of the region when they settled* When these mixed tribes finally established themselves in the highlands near Domwe mountain, the principal village— that of the royal clan— was established.
Around this center were the districts headed by
the recognized chiefs of other clans*
Each of these had about 100 huts,
and was accounted large by the standards of the Ngoni J* Each was organized around the "houses" of mothers and wives of the chief or Mulumuzana*
This "big house" consisted of a principal hut surrounded
by the dwellings of subsidiary wives and slaves and had its own cattle 5 kraal and garden lands* About this central area, the Alumuzuna. were villages of those known as Amilaga. inhabited by the subjects of the chief living in the central hut, men who were liable to be called upon for military service or for labor in the gardens of the chief *s wives Margaret Read, "Native Standards of Living and African Culture Change," Africa, v, XI, 1938, Supplement No* 3, p. 15• ^Tbid,, footnote 1 , p. 16. ^The kraal, a cattle enclosure, is here a circular space vary ing in size according to the number of cattle, fenced in by stakes 10 to 12 feet high. Frequently several kraals are found in one village. See M* Read, "Tradition and Prestige among the Ngoni," Africa, v. IX, 1936,
44 and mothers*
There were no military kraals or cattle posts as in the
earlier Zulu organization, or as are found among Swazi today, but the whole area and its people were divided into districts composed of the subjects of the paramount chief, Alumuzuna. and the Ikanda, or district chiefs, respectively*^ The people of this area may be considered as thus comprising two principal status categories; the aristocrats, the descendants of the conquerors and rulers, and the serfs, offspring of the peoples who had been conquered*
Hank and position in this society were definitely
based on clan descent, so that the system of social stratification lacked mobility, and status was ascribed* To be a member of the Maseko, 7 Nlangein, Nguomayo Ngozoor, Ngwana or a few other clans conferred on the individual an unquestioned right of membership in the aristocracy, the ruling class of the society* When the Ngoni migrated from the south, they brought new tech niques of exploitation of natural resources, which were more effective than those of the aboriginal inhabitants*
They introduced new crops
before the military organization of Zulu broke down, every new ly enrolled regiment had to build their own kraal, in which they spent about six months every year* These military kraals were usually very large, the space between the inner and outer fence being occupied by about a thousand huts* Every military kraal was built on the same lines as the royal kraal, which was also always a military kraal. Regi ments, when they were not fighting, worked on king’s and noble’s fields and gardens. Cf. E* J. Krige, ibid., pp. 233-234 and 264. This may be compared with the fact that Swazi kings today keep their cattle in a cattle-post some three miles away from the royal village under the care of soldiers. See Warwick, The Swazi. London, 1940, p. 23, and also H. Beemer, "The Development of Military Organization in Swaziland," Africa, v. X, 1937, pp* 55-74 and 176-205. 7 M. Read, "Native Standards of Living . . . " Africa, v. XI, 193S, Supplement No. 3, p. 15*
45 and new methods of utilizing the land*
They also brought new ways of
organizing the labor resources by introducing the principle of serfdom, which resulted in Darger-scale production than had previously been pos sible, and allowed the accumulation of large stocks of food and other commodities • They also brought techniques of cattle—herding that facilitated the rearing and care of this essential unit of value in their prestige economy* The fundamental needs of the people for food and shelter were thus satisfied through well-developed agriculture, while their cattle, only a minor element in the subsistence economy, served as the essential indicator of status*
From the subsistence economy they obtained maize,
ground nuts (peanuts), yams and other vegetables* were made by specialists.
Tools and weapons
The labor for cultivating the garden was
drawn from the men and women of the conquered villages, while cattleherding, under the direction of the nobles who were owners of non military, private kraals, was in the hands of the young men and boys who were related to him.
Members of the lower classes who worked their
fields, combining into small kinship units, were not permitted to par ticipate in the system of prestige economics, since the largest domes ticated animals they could own were goats, and these animals carried no honorific significance* Clothing was obtained by trading with Arab traders.
The herd boys regarded themselves as the elite among the chil dren of a village* They had their own leaders, and formed the essential core of the village age groups* Gf. M. Read, "Tradition and Prestige among the Ngoni,u Africa* v* IX, 1936*
46 later be shown, this trade was likewise controlled by chiefs for their own profit, and private trading was severely punished* Read's survey of Ngoni standards of living followed here gives little information about consumption patterns as such,9 since the focus of Read's interest was essentially on the differences in the wealth that marked the classes in Ngoni society, and in ordering these differences, the factor of food consumption does not enter, since status was main tained by the degree to which possessions, especially cattle, clothing and oramanets, were accumulated*
And since most possessions of value
could be owned only by those of high rank, the members of the nobility were because of this fact the wealthy members of the society.
the possession of slaves and cattle, the right to have stores of food, skins, clothing, weapons, ornaments was exclusive by the prerogative of the aristocrats. Thus the higher an individual's social position, the more wealth he was permitted to have, and the paramount chief, the ruler of the Ngoni in terms of this system, was the wealthiest member of the society. He had a monopoly on ivory and controls of the trade of cloth with the Arabs, which he could give as gifts, while he had the pre-emptive
to all booty taken in war, such as slaves and cattle, which he could 9 She does, however, inform us that among the aristocracy, "men eat together with the chief or head man and the women with the 'Big' women of the important houses. The 'Big people' ate first from the food basket or wooden platter; then the rest of the others ate what he left. "Food baskets were used for cereals, wooden platters for meat and cooked blood. Women know how to cook cereals, vegetables and meat, men ate chiefly meat, blood and sour milk curd." M. Read, "Native Standards of Living. . Africa, v. XI, Supplement No. 3, p. 20.
47 grant "bo outstranding warriors when "they did not go to his own wives and relatives*
Prestige, rank and wealth therefore gained added strength
from generosity in gift—giving; a fact which here, as in other cultures, played the economic role of a mechanism for the redistribution of wealth*^ In the case of lower-class individuals, a farther technique of stabilising this socio-economic system was operative.
They did not
dare to accumulate stores of food or skins or cloth for fear not only of being accused of lese majegte, but because they might also be open to the accusation of employing witchcraft*
Read, writing of the present
time when the system of pre-European controls has become attenuated, tells of an old woman of low rank who stated, ”1 should have feared to wear this good black cloth at the chief*s village; he would have beaten me for making myself like his wives. Note that although the gift-giving of the Ngoni functions as in Oceania, here it does not have the appearance of Oceania as far as reciprocal giving is concerned* The rigid class structure and the presence of serf labor obviously cause this. In a sense, however, one might say that gifts are returned in the form of serf labor and agri cultural products transferred by nobles to chiefs. See H. I* Hogbin, Ceremonial Polynesian Gift Exchanges,” Oceania, v. Ill, 1932, pp. 1339* Also W. R* Bascom, Ponaoe: A Pacific Economy in Transition. p. 140* **■%. Read, ”Native Standards of Living. . . . ” Africa, v. XI, 193S, Supplement No. 3, p. 19. Marwick also informs us that among the Swazi (with whom the Ngoni are mixed) the accumulation of too much wealth in earlier times also led to a suspicion of witchcraft. The Swazi, p* 74* Herskovits gives an example similar to the Ngoni case from Uganda where the aristocracy own most of the herds, though here the peasants may also own a few head of cattle* However, if a peasant obtained too many cattle, he was liable to attract the envy of his chief, who would take away his surplus. ”The Cattle Complex in East Africa,” American Anthropologist, v* XXVIII, 1926, pp. 260-261*
If ownership of herds was the indicator of aristocracy, it was ulso the denominator of wealth in the sense of prestige—giving posses* sions.
As one government report phrased it, cattle are "regarded by
their owners as a means of banking their wealth*"*^
Like the precious
metals or gems of other cultures, they are kept to be used only on special occasions, to validate the status of the owner*
funerals and other crisis situations were the times that wealth in every form, but cattle in particular, was displayed*
The number of
13 cows which were given as lobola at the marriage of a Ngoni girl was decided by the rank of her family*
For the daughters of the Ngoni
chiefs lobola was ten to fifteen head of cattle, while for other Ngoni girls it was only one to six beasts*
Both funerals and religious rites
necessitated the slaughter of many animals*
All aristocratic Ngoni were
buried in the skins of beasts killed on the day of the burial* Though Read does not give further specific information concern ing the lavish consumption of wealth, either in the form of cattle or other possessions, it is obvious enough that commoners, by not having the right to own these animals could not display a non-existent wealth on any occasion*
To think of lobola in terms of cattle for the daughter
of a commoner, or that a person of this status would be buried in the •jo Annual Report of Provincial Commissioner* 1935, quoted in M* Read, ibid*, p. 35* 13 Bride-wealth, common to all cattle-keeping people in East Africa, given by the bridegroom to the family of the bride before mar riage can take place* It is eertainly unnecessary to point out that lobola has never had the meaning of sale or barter, as the usual trans lation of the word nbride price11 suggests. A good analysis of lobola among Bantu people can be found in I* Shapera, Married Life in an African Tribe* New York, 1942*
49 skin of a cow killed at his funeral was, in the thinking of the Ngoni, absurd*
Because of this, emulation in any form was equally out of the
Thus it is apparent that lavish consumption of wealth by the
upper classes was non-competitive and had the function of being the indicator of their ascribed status* During recent years, the economic foundations of political power and soGial prestige have been undermined by the abolition of war and slavery, and the migration of men to South Africa to earn money by working in the mines and on farms*
As in Ponape, the influences result
ing from European control created new tastes and new standards, on the basis of money wages and expenditure for European goods*
The most far-
reaching change in Ngoni social organization is that those in the upper social strata no longer exercise control over the mechanisms that govern the distribution of goods.
This has created the tensions that often go
with sudden change in the social and political life of a people, shown here most clearly by the fact that today anyone who can afford to buy cattle may have them*
This means that a new stratification based on
money economy, again not unlike that found in Ponape, is developing* How great is the prestige value of goods acquired in this manner cannot be ascertained from the available material, primarily because the rate of change seems to have been so rapid that adequate analysis has been rendered difficult*
Such a comment from Read*s study of the present
day scene as the following throws some light on the matter, however: "A high clerk," she writes, "living in a ehief's village may possess a large herd of cows, deck out his wives and children in a series of costly clothes and furnish his house with chairs, tables, beds, crockery and lamps* The chief with a government pittance of 24
50 a year and remnants of his father *s herd that m s left to him, has much ado to clothe his wives and dependents and to send his chil dren to school*”14 However, as in Ponape, those who are wealthy in terms of new money economy seem, in most instances, to belong to the aristocracy of pre-European times, even if the topmost of the top strata of the old order have not retained the degree of power they earlier possessed* Thus the only Ngoni men who had as many as 70 beasts when Read made her study m s one who had noble status, but who also "had worked for many years in a European store, thus showing how two stratifications tend to o verlap
Reinterpretations of the new in terms of old patterns of
value are seen in the fact that cattle still hold their place in the current prestige economy as the primary indicator of status*
ing for good mges state that 11they put about half their savings into cattle*”^
We still find that to inherit Gattle confers greater prestige
than to have acquired them through purchase.
It is thus difficult to
state either the degree to which the Ngoni system of stratification has been opened for vertical mobility, even in terms of money wealth, or how much it acquired the competitive characteristics of consumption of the European cultures that have influenced the Ngoni as a result of acculturative forces* Whatever the case, the Ngoni, like other East African peoples,
•^M* Read, nNative Standards of Living* • • •" Africa* v. XI, 1938, Supplement No* 3, p* 22 ^-5Ibid*. p# 26. •^Ibid*, p* 26*
51 afford a good illustration of ascribed status established by the lavish consumption of goods , together with an absence of emulation by the lower of the upper strata, caused by the fact that the former are not permitted to own the prestige goods of the tribe*
This is unlike the case of
Ponape, where everyone has the right to raise as large yams as he can, and can by this means obtain higher status within the prescribed given limits*
However, as cattle are more 11durable" than yams of Ponape and
the ceiling of accumulation of them is not very high, the people display them only on occasions, somewhat in the manner of the old families of Ankara, to be considered in a chapter that follows.
PONAPE Our third culture supplies us with an example of social strati fication in which we observe both ascribed and achieved statuses inte grated with each other as large hereditary strata, which set certain limits above which an individual cannot rise and below which he cannot fall*
Within these limits, which overlap with each other, there are,
however, numerous positions that can be achieved by a man with initia tive and drive.
Consumption patterns, which also seem to be ordered
in accordance with the hypothesis of our first chapter, adapt themselves to the system of stratification.
The Ponapean prestige economy which
is distinct from the subsistence economy has consumption patterns which are indicative and non-emulative with regard to hereditary status, but intensely emulative in connection with the achieved statuses.
latter case the competitive behavior is associated with yams and breadfruit. Ponape is a high volcanic island in the Eastern Carolines, hav ing the largest area of any of the units which make up this geographic grouping*
It is divided into five autonomous political districts, each
of which includes mountains, forests, a coastal plain and shore, and small islands in the adjoining outer reef.
The five districts, named
Kiti, Matalanim, N, Net, and Sokor, are subdivided into sections, each consisting of a number of farmsteads, inhabited by individual households.
53 Each district is ruled by two parallel sots oi* twelve main chief's, at the head of which are the Nanmariki and the Naniken, sometime spoken of as “number One” chief or king and “Number Two" chief*
account is followed in this chapter, refers to them as T,A^" and "B^" respectively, since they are the head of “Set" A and “Set“ B*1
is actually a close parallel to the “talking chief" of Samoa, and for merly was the actual administrator of all district affairs*
is higher in rank, was so restricted by the ritual of respect that he could not really rule* There are 23 clans or matrilineal sibs on Ponape, two or more of which constitute the “noble" or “ruling" clan in each district* From one of the noble clans the “A" set of chiefs are chosen, and the Nanmariki himself must belong to a particular subclan within it*
the other noble clan or clans the “B“ set of chiefs are chosen, and in some districts the Naniken must also belong to a particular subclan. Only if all the members of these subclans died out could other members of the clan become flA^“ or "B^“, or unless the noble clans proper be come too small to fill all the "A" and “B“ titles, in which case some 2 members of another clan could hold them* "Hf* R* Bascom, Ponape; A Pacific Economy in Transition. On micro film at the Library of Congress, p. 39* Page references belong to the mimeographed copy of the manuscript generously made available for this study by Dr* Bascom* Another group recognized by Ponapeans is serioso. which should be considered separately from the main system of stratification* The ser ioso are those whose noble ancestry comes through one parent only, they thus being the children of marriages between nobles and commoners* They are sometimes known as iso nanmariki or iso naniken. depending upon whether their noble ancestry came from the clans out of which “A" chiefs or "B“ chiefs are chosen* However, they are also considered noble as
54 The members of the remaining clans were commoners.
various posts which conferred higher status were open to these commoners, the attainment of which raised them above their hereditary rank.
stewards of the chiefs who hold individual titles were chosen from commoners as well as from the nobles.
Commoners were particularly
chosen as section chiefs, or could hold some of the numerous minor dis trict titles below ”A-jp” and "B-^p" which would give them wan. Indeed, no discussion of Ponapean status and rank can be ethnologically intelligible without a consideration of the concept of wau. which is frequently translated by the Ponapeans as "holiness” and can also, in terms of its functional and psychological implications, be effectively translated as "honor” or "respect.” This "holiness” or "honor"
is considered an inherited quality.
It is associated with the
clan, and is handed primarily in the maternal line.
On the other hand,
when a nobleman is given the title of ”A^" the amount of his wau is in creased, while commoners who are appointed section chiefs likewise acquire this quality.
Once acquired, the degree of wau a person possesses
far as the right to hold titles was concerned. It is very possible also that in earlier times the limits of the two main groups— nobles and com moners— may have been more clearly delimited than at present, and the group of individuals to be called serioso was very small or non-existent. See Bascom, op. cit.. p. 59. ^Bascom points out that except for the fact that informants dis agree as to whether or not It has supernatural sanctions, wau is cant* parable to the Polynesian concept of mana. Some informants said that there were no supernatural sanctions which prevented a commoner from touching nA1n; he would simply be executed for showing disrespect. On the other hand, other informants explained that a person who would rej main on a tree when "A^" passed below it would fall 111, regardless of whether the individual or the chief were aware of the violation of the ’ taboo* Cf. W. R. Bascom, op. cit., pp. 53-54*
55 is relative to the title he holds; conversely, individual rank depends on whether the bearer has more or less wau than others. There is a difference of opinion, however, as to whether a com moner who holds a district title is or is not a member of the nobility and whether his rank is the equivalent of those bora nobles*
more likely that achieved status has always been more important in determining, for instance, seating arrangements at feasts and other rites, and other forms of displaying deference and respect, than the class into which one may have been born*
In other words, it is more accurate to
picture the stratification of Ponapean society as a kind of pyramid, within which the position of the individual derives both from his heredi tary as well as achieved status, than to think of it as a series of clearly separated hereditary classes whose relative position determines the ranking of all their members, as is usual in many cultures where there are hereditary classes*
Birth into a given class in Ponape, that
is, sets certain limits above which an individual cannot rise in the social scale, and below which he cannot fall*
But within these limits—
and these limits obviously overlap— one can, with individual initiative, better his position in society* Before analyzing the consumption patterns of Ponape, something should be said of other aspects of their economy.
The present economic
system of Ponape is based on a combination of fanning, fishing, animal husbandry, gathering and hunting activities, that are supplemented by the purchase of important goods with the money gained through the sale of the cash crops, and earned from various forms of wage labor.
56 can thus be said that there are three aspects of native economy which may be spoken of as the subsistence economy, prestige economy and com mercial economy•
The distinction between subsistence and prestige
economies has been drawn by Herskovits.^ Bascom suggests the additional third category, which has proved to be equally useful in acculturation 5 studies* The products of farming and fishing that form the basis of the first of these three economies, are primarily for local consumption* They are consumed by the members of the producer*s family and seldom enter into local trade* little commercial value*
Many of these subsistence commodities have However, their importance cannot be questioned,
since they still constitute the basic wealth of the people*
tige economy, a very important part of the general economic system, is the one whereby advancement in social status is achieved through the exercise of social privileges of rank, and consists primarily of the display and conspicuous consumption of the surplus of goods*
of the economy will later be dealt with to show its integration with the social stratification and various characteristics it assumes as inde pendent of the stratification* If we now turn to the second source of wealth which forms the basis of the third aspect of the economic system of Ponape, we find that from 1870 to 1940 the sale of cash crops was almost completely limited ^M* H* Herskovits, The Economic Life of Primitive Peoples, ch* XV* 5 W* R* Bascom, op* cit** p. 304* And also "Ponapean Prestige Economy,1* Southwestern Journal of Anthropology„ v* 4> 194^, p* 220*
57 to copra*
During the Second World War, however, fibres
surpassed copra in total sales*
In any case, the cash income earned
through the sale of export products has become more important with time* Wages, another source of income, are likewise definitely related to the commercial economy.
Wages are paid to natives who work as field hands
on the plantations owned by non-natives and native farmers, or work as dock hands for the trading companies, or as domestic servants*
ever, Ponapeans do not like to work for wages and are reluctant to devote more than one day a week to it* rejection is revealing*
The underlying cause for their
If one is a full—time wage—earner, his earnings
are not great enough to allow him to amass the wealth necessary to gain for him a higher place in the newly developing system of stratification based on wealth in the form of money*
At the same time, if he works
for wages, he has little opportunity to produce yams and other agricul tural products that permit him to participate in the prestige economy, based as it is on competition for higher status and title by growing larger yams, and furnishing aged pit breadfruit* The general patterns of both old and new consumption patterns can now be summarized*
A number of different types of native houses
were formerly built in Ponape, all of which were rectangular in shape and had thatched gabled roofs*
These were erected on stone platforms
which were four feet high and carefully constructed of black basalt rocks*
The houses of the two highest chiefs (“A^” and
special form in which posts, walls, floor and other wooden parts were
6W* R* Bascom, **Ponapean Prestige Economy," Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, v. U, 194-8, p* 212*
58 completely wrapped with sennit to protect them from a kind of native bee which bores holes in the hibiscus wood of which they were constructed* The houses of major district chiefs O’Aj" - ”A^n, nB]_" - "B^M) and sec tion chiefs were permitted to have four sections, while houses of com moners m
early times had only two or three sections*
dwellings consist of simple, neat cottage—type houses, usually with verandas*
All dwelling houses now have corrugated metal roofs, though
thatched roofs are still used for cooking houses, which are small struc tures made as an addition to the dwelling house, entirely out of local material* The furnishings of the house have also changed*
Mats used as
mattresses and pillows, coconut shells and leaves which served as table sets have given way to Western furniture, china dishes, metal forks, spoons and knives, iron pots, lamps, phonographs and iceboxes* The basic item in the diet of the Ponapeans is a starchy fruit or vegetable, which constitutes the bulk of each meal*
But no meal is
considered complete without sali, a term used to indicate a protein dish of meat, fowl, fish or other kind of sea food; when none of these pro teins is available, a sauce of chili-peppers and salt may be vised in their place*
Starch and protein dishes are never mixed; they are eooked
separately and served on separate leaves or plates*
Fruits and green
vegetables supplement this diet, but such foods are not served with the main dishes*. Yams and breadfruit are the most important starchy foodstuffs* With the fertile soil on the island, taro, arrowroot, pandanus and
59 similar crops of the other Micronesian atolls have taken a secondary 7 position* The coconut is used mainly as a cooking ingredient, the xm.lk obtained from the grated meat being squeezed over starchy or pro tein dishes, while coconut—oil is used in frying*
Pigs are raised,
but consumed only rarely, principally at feasts or when guests are entertained* In Ponape, the traditional form of men’s clothing was the wgrass” skirt of coconut, hibiscus, banana fibre, or pandanus fibre, or, in the case of chiefs, a special skirt made from coconut leaves*
special occasions, such as war dances, chiefs and old men wore about the waist finely woven banana-fibre belts, decorated with pendants of the pinkish shell of the rock oyster*
These two items constituted the com
plete wardrobe of a man; most of the time only the grass skirt was worn* Grass skirts, however, seem to have disappeared from ordinary use fifty or sixty years ago, and today there are no women who know how to make the old belts*
At the end of the Spanish period, the younger men already
wore trousers and shirts introduced by missionaries in the pre-Spanish g
By the time of Japanese control, grass skirts had completely
disappeared, except when the Ponapeans were called upon to perform their ^For a detailed analysis of agricultural products which are the part of subsistence econony of Ponape, cf* W* R. Bascom, "Subsis tence Fanning on Ponape," Hew Zealand Geographer. v* 5, 1949, pp. 116— 129. g
Although Ponape was discovered during the sixteenth century, the native period of isolation continued until 1827, and its independence lasted for another sixty years. Despite the attempts of American mission aries and German traders to interest their respective countries in estab| lishing colonial rule over the island, Ponape was claimed, by the right of discovery by Spanish explorers three centuries earlier, by two Spanish warships which arrived in 1886* Ponape*s history falls into six easily
60 old songs and dances for the Japanese.
Western style shirt and trousers
were worn with a belt of pandanus leaves*
Men’s shorts and trousers
are generally of white drill; khaki drill was sometimes used for long trousers, while shirts were made of blue denim* two pairs of shorts or trousers, and two shirts.
A tnan usually owns The most a man has is
four or five5 others, who purchased one of each in order to save their money were ridiculed as being stingy*
When imports were cut off by the
war, there was a great shortage of clothing*
When clothes could no
longer be purchased, the men first wore women’s wraparounds, but later had recourse to the earlier grass skirt. The basic item of women’s clothing was a wraparound of bark cloth, made from the bark of the breadfruit tree*
Today this material
has been completely replaced by imported cloth, but the garment is made at home from three or four yards of material* cloth has also been forgotten*
The art of making bark
Women also wear chemises, with lace
decorations on both the chemise and the dress under which it is worn* At home and on the farm, women usually wear only the wraparound, but dresses and chemises were always worn in public all over the island* Dresses and chemises were introduced, at the same time as the shirts and trousers of the men, by missionaries in the pre-Spanish period.
the war, dresses were also difficult to obtain, and wraparounds were the only available clothing*
Toward the end of the war, since their cloth
ing had all worn out and could not be replaced, the women remained at recognizable periods: the native period (before 1827); the pre-Spanish j period (1827-1886); the Spanish period (1886-1899); the German period (1899-1914) ? the Japanese period (1914-194-5); and the American period (since 194-5)* W. R* Bascom, “Ponape: The Cycle of Empire,” The Scientific | Monthly * v* IiXX, 1950, p* 141*
61 their farms, going without clothing rather than use the grass skirt, which was a znants garment# At present, face—powder and particularly lipstick are essential items of women's consumption goods, while local ly made perfumes are highly prized* Shoes are worn by almost everyone, but only on special occasions. These shoes are low—heeled, rubber—soled, and made of black canvas. More rarely, white sneakers or leather oxfords are worn.
hats are used, and men wear a visor for protection from the sun when fishing.
In the very early days fine straw hats were imported from the
nearby islands, which were regarded as luxury items* When this general pattern of consumption is analyzed, it shows a clear differentiation according to the stratification of this society* The most obvious differentiation is to be found in the kinds and styles of goods used for housing, dressing and food, which are restricted to the chiefs, though some of these have changed in the process of accul turation.
These functioned as indicators of the status of their owners
or users, and served to mark the ascribed— that is, the hereditary— status of the nobility in Ponapean social structure. As has been mentioned before, the two highest chiefs (MAjfl and MB^n) were entitled to special houses, whose hibiscus parts were wrapped with sennit, a trait that entails conspicuous consumption.
sides these highest officials, the major district chiefs and the section chiefs were permitted to have houses of four sections.
chiefs, as has been indicated, also wore a special form of coconut skirt forbidden to commoners in which each strand was carefully crimped with
62 a shall (kfrpil) , giving it a distinctive fluffy appearance*
these honorific types of houses and clothes, which are no longer found, sea turtles, certain kinds of the largest fishes (tep, marar mauth) and a large variety of yarns (kapin namon pwetepwet) is taboo to commoners and other members of nobility, and even today may be eaten only by !lA^n and ,lB^n to whom they must be taken* The consumption modes thus far mentioned besides being means of conspicuous consumption through the lavish display of wealth, also carry the function of being indicators of status, and, as such, are not sub ject to competition or emulation, since the status of ”A^M and not achieved but ascribed.
The most interesting and revealing part of
Ponapean patterns of consumption in relation to social stratification that has been merely touched on to this point in our discussion is the ritualized consumption of yams and pit breadfruit and, to a lesser ex tent, kava, the narcotic drink of the South Seas, and pigs, as a means of achieving higher status*
This involves the lavish display of agri
cultural products which, as has been indicated, comprise the only sur plus wealth of the island, and are the currency of the almost indepen dent prestige economy*of the island*
Competition for prestige and sta
tus involving the consumption of these goods centers about the feast called kamatipw. a rite in some ways comparable to the potlatch of the TWHflrifl of the Northwest Coast of North America with yams and pit bread fruit functioning in a manner not unlike that of the Northwest Coast ncoppers*tt This feast occurs principally during the harvest season, and is given by the families of an entire section.
The head of each household
63 or farmstead contributes yams and other food to it.
exam ines the size and quality of the yams given by each contributor* comparing them with the contributions of others, and each going to the man who, in his opinion, has brought the best yam, to tell him that he is Mnumber one#11 They praise him for his skill and ability as a farmer while the chief singles him out for special praise for his loyalty and generosity.
The section chief notes which men consistently bring the
largest yams, and chooses them to fill subsidiary section titles which fall vacant, or promotes them to higher rank if they already have titles# When a section chief cannot be present at a feast, his people inform him as to whose yam was largest# Success in competition is thus a means of winning an advance in status, as well as of gaining prestige#
The reasoning behind this
derives from the feeling of the Ponapeans that success in competition of this kind is evidence not only of a man’s ability and generosity, but also of his respect for his superiors and his loyalty to them#
the latter is most important as a qualification for holding a title in the eyes of the section chiefs and of "A^11 and
who appoint and
promote those beneath them, it is easy to see why these feasts are so important, and why competition in them is so keen# A large feast demands the slaughter of at least one pig, and the preparation of much kava*
The hose, who contributes these, receives the
credit for his generosity and prestige for his hospitality accrues to him#
When a district chief is accorded a feast by a section, all its
members share the credit, including the section chief, who must provide the first pig and the plant from which the kava is prepared#
64 feast is to be a large one, the members of the section discuss the matter beforehand, each offering what he can afford.
If more than one
pig and kava plant are needed, members of the section who are most able donate them, and this likewise does not go without notice.
The size of
the pig or pigs, particularly the length of the tusks of an animal, and the number of kava plants consumed, are all factors in bringing prestige to the host and other donors.
Contributions of this kind, however, seem
to be subsidiary in the prestige economy, for the primary consumption good in the formalized competition for prestige is the yam, and, as an associated item, pit breadfruit* Pit breadfruit (m&r) is prepared by leaving ripened breadfruit in a large pit for several years.
Most pits hold between 3,000 to
10,000 breadfruits, each of which may be four feet thick and six feet in diameter.
Though not as commonly presented at feasts as yams, which
seem to be the basis of active and continuing competition, they also count appreciably when they are given*
Pit breadfruit is made from about
the middle of July through the end of August.
It can be eaten after it
has been left in the ground for one week, but has a sour taste.
persons, however, do not eat it until three or four years later, which entails additional labor, since each year the entire m&r must be removed from the pit and rewrapped in fresh leaves, fresh breadfruit being added at this time to replace portions consumed during the year.
however, does not affect its age for competition purposes, since the date of the m&r brought to a feast for the purpose of competition is taken or determined from the age of the oldest portion.
There is appar
ently no limit to the length of time pit breadfruit will keep and, like
65 cheese, its flavor improves with age.
Breadfruit pits are, of course,
one of the prize possessions inherited by a man’s heirs. Since the age of pit breadfruit is more important than its size, these would not be offered at a feast until they were at least ten years old.
When it arrives, everyone asks the donor its age, and praises him
for having kept it so long without having used it, though it is apparent that its ”age,f is a fiction, since portions of the m&r may have been taken out of the pit and used for subsistence*
In order to have the
breadfruit count in competition, the pit in which it was aged must have been completely emptied. For purposes of competition, it is the size of the yam offered and not the quantity of yams a man brings that is important.
large number of small yams will do nothing to raise the status of a donor.
Yams are classified as to size by the number of men it takes to
A yam which can be carried by one man is k&ptawan. and is
good for nothing but subsistence.
If two men are required, it is of the
size called k&r. The name of the largest yam is taken from the sling (jB&s) suspended between two poles in which it is carried by four to twelve men.
Some of the yams grown by the Ponapeans are enormous; one
weighing 100 kilograms having been sold to a Japanese, for it was not 9 regarded as big enough for the competition. Moreover, to be counted in competition, each yam may have only one vine; if there are two vines, the root is adjudged the equivalent of two separate yams.
So fixed are the
^W. K. Bascom, Ponape: A Pacific Economy in Transition. 1947, p.
66 rules governing competition that in the case of a variety of yam which grows in bunches, attached at the top below the single vine, the entire complex counts as one large plant, while in the case of other types which have a single vine, but which form groups of small round unattached roots, each root counts only as a separate yam. Contributions of fresh breadfruit, taro, bananas, pineapple, drinking coconut and other foods, though brought to feed those who at tend, do not count in the competition. The etiquette of competition is a significant element in the pat tern of conspicuous consumption with which we are concerned.
ever much a man may enjoy being the center of attention, and however much pleasure and personal satisfaction he may derive from the priase he receives when he produces a very large yam or contributes a very old breadfruit, or when he is given credit for having introduced a new variety of yam,
he must conform to the Ponapean canons of modesty demanded
by this situation*
He may not show his pleasure at the praise accorded
him, exhibit his pride, or boast openly about his achievement*
who openly displays his pride will be deemed pretentious; he will be gos siped about and people will laugh at him, and the prestige that he has won will be turned to shame.
A nan will rather pretend not to listen to
the comments that are being made about the size of his yam or the age of
breadfruit, and when others come to tell him that his yam is the
largest, he will usually protest that it really is not too large, and will point to the next largest yam, claiming it is of greater size than
^*°See below, p. 75*
He will tell the owner of this yam that he
is "number one,” a
statement which the latter must likewise protest* This pattern of modesty is enforced not only by fear of ridicule,, but
also because the winner maynot continue to holdhis place* The man
who is acclaimed "number one" does not dare gloat over his close com petitors or even over those whose yams are small, for fear that one of them may best him with a larger tuber than his at the next feast.
it is an accepted principle in this competition that no one ever brings his largest yam or oldest breadfruit to a feast, but keeps it in reserve so that, in the event someone bests him later, he will not be without a means of retaliation. This competition in the conspicuous consumption of yams and pit breadfruit as a means of achieving status is a fundamental factor in the understanding of the Ponapean1s motivations, and of his attitudes toward work, since his economic behavior, obviously cannot be explained only in terms of a desire to purchase certain important luxury items or even to produce enough subsistence goods to keep himself and his family from hunger.
For it is pointed out that families frequently go hungry at
home when they have large yams in their farm; large yams, that is, are never used for subsistence, but are saved until there is a feast, when they can be displayed and the social credit to be derived from their size can be utilized to attain prestige and position* We may follow the complex still further.
It is worthy of note
^“Sfote the fact that in the satisfaction of social need, bio logical needs are obviously neglected* This saving of yams thus func tions in the same way as the money savings of Euroamerican cultures for the improvement of a family^ position. it
6a ‘ that yams are grown, in secret#
A Poziapean may speak openly about the
number of coconut trees he has or the amount of money he possesses, and even boast about these; but his answers to questions about the number and the kind of yams he has planted will be evasive where they are not deliberately falsified*
The reason for concealing this information is
clear; it is done so that others with whom he is in competition will not know how large a yam he may exhibit at the next feast, and he will thus have the advantage of surprise on his side.
If he is asked about his
yams and gives any answersat all, the chances are that he will say that he has planted only afew, or that this year he has none at all. It is impolite even to look at another man's yams, and one who does this will be shamed by open ridicule, while there will be gossip about what he has done.
When visiting another man's farmstead, the Ponapean pre
tends to ignore even the yams growing nearest the house, although yams planted thus in the open are patently for subsistence purposes rather than for the status competition.
The best and largest yams, that is,
are grown in parts of a man's farmstead which are as far away from the house and any path as possible, and which are often heavily overgrown with bush.
Even the request of a foreigner to inspect a man's farmstead
is awkward and embarrassing, while a Ponapean caught trespassing on this part of a man's land would
be held guilty of the severest breach ofac
cepted codes of conduct. A man also conceals as best he can the number and age of his pits of breadfruit, or he may say that only a few hundred breadfruit have been used to fill a given pit when actually the number may be a thousand or more. !
Breadfruit pits, like yam gardens, are in remote and inaccessible
69 parts of the farmstead.
But while members of the household or clan,
male and female, cooperate in making pit breadfruit, the growing of the yams is an individual affair, which a man does by himself. The social importance of yams is reflected not only in the care lavished on their cultivation and the skill with which this is done, but also in the interest the people manifest in the varieties of yams and the knowledge they have of the characteristics and even histories of each variety*
Fertilizers are used in the cultivation of taro
throughout most of Micronesia, but on Ponape they are used only for growing yams.
As concerns knowledge of yams, Bascom remarks
informant was able to tell him the names of ninety native varieties without a pause, while, without exhausting the subject, one hundred and fifty-six native varieties of yams were designated, together with details of their size, shape, color, and the period when they had first been in troduced into Ponape.
Informants were able to name the man who had first
planted many of the varieties, and the district and section in which this was done. In the light of this, it is not surprising that the appearance of a new variety of yam is an important event.
When one is brought to
a feast for the first time, there is great excitement.
about it, examining its shape and color, the texture of its skin, and its size, the last with the hope they may be able later to raise a larger one of the same variety. 12
They also question the man who raised it as
R. Bascom, Ponape: A Pacific Economy in Transitionr 1947,
70 to the name of the yam, the kind of vine it yields, its taste, when he planted it, and how long it takes to grow*
The owner, in turn, is
proud because of the interest shown in his yam, and because others wish to grow it, while his prestige is greater than that of those who may have happened to bring larger yams of established varieties to the feast*
As the news spreads, people from all parts of the island come
to him, to ask for cuttings, hoping to be able to be the first to intro duce it to their own districts* The man who introduces a new variety of yam has the privilege of naming it*
If it is a good variety, of which he can be proud, he
usually gives it his own name*
Whatever he may decide to name it, he
is known, wherever he goes as the man who introduced it, and when he is a guest at a feast in which the largest yam is one of his own variety, he receives more praise and derives more personal satisfaction than the man who actually grew it. A new variety of yam, however, is not immediately presented.
is planted in the most secret parts of the farmstead of the one who is developing it; but though no one may see it, he may let word of his dis covery leak out, so that the people may speculate about it*
News of this
kind spreads very rapidly over the whole island, so that character of the new yam is discussed years before it is exhibited*
Bascom states that,
"In one case of a variety which had been given to chief A^ of Kiti by Mr. Grey, an American missionary, in the early part of the German period, was not introduced publicly until the Japanese period, at the very least 13 seven years later*n This documents the statements of Ponapeans that a 13W . p. 64*
Bascom, Ponaoe: A Pacific Economy in Transition. 194*7,
71 man who develops or introduces a new variety waits several years to display it, until he has grown about a hundred plants from it, for he would be ashamed if he did not have enough cuttings to satisfy the demand of all those who might ask for cuttings* In addition to the major feasts, feasts are given to a visitor by his clansmen*
Though a feast of this sort may freely be given as a
gesture of friendship, a host is actually under an obligation to prof fer one to his guest, since Ponapeans feel it is very bad form if a vis itor is allowed to leave without one having been given in his honor* Yams, breadfruit and other food may be contributed by neighbors tives, but the host must provide at least one pig, and some kava.
attention, however, places on the recipient a definite obligation to give a return feast when in his tuna the host comes to visit the guest* Such an occasion must not be less elaborate than the first, and general ly calls for the use of twice as many yams and pigs if not more, since to give less than this in such a reciprocal feast is a cause for shame* j/ At the end of the second feast, however, all obligations are wiped out* Feasts are also given by a family at marriages, during pregnancy, at the birth of a child, after someone has been buried, when a man re ceives a new title, when a new house is built and when leaving for or returning from a journey*
None of these feasts, however, involves a
reciprocal feast for the host* ^Today, as older customs are losing their intensity, feasting frap become one of the most discussed problems, particularly when certain people make of this a means of obtaining pigs and yams, since it is the right of a guest to ask to take home alive the pig which is intended for the feast* For details of this development see W* R* Bascom, Ponape: A Pacific Economy in Transition, pp. 14-5-14-6*
72 The largest feast remembered in Ponape, it seems, is the one given when a statue was erected in the memory of Henry Nanipei, the old Nanipei (A^) of Kiti district, who became wealthy as the first proprie tor of the first native-owned store.
Though the situation was not typi
cal, people from all over the island, the government and the traders contributed to this feast.
Ten cows and many pigs were killed, and a
thousand large yams were distributed, each district contributing two 15 hundred of these. Some of the patterns of gift-giving found in Ponape, such as those which characterize the feasts, also reveal the importance in the thinking of the Ponapeans of the reputation and status of one*s family. The seven forms of "gift” exchange on Ponape are called Pfrain. Kis&kis. Is&is, Sawa, Kating, Pwais&is. and Hat. In connection with these forms, which are in reality mechanisms of economic distribution, a consistent anxiety seems to arise from the fear that one will give less than is expected of him.
Hot all of those forms of gift exchange are directly
related to the prestige economy*
The one called Pftain or Nat, for
instance, covers purchases, barter, and payment of services.
kind of transaction involves an obligation on the part of an individual who receives the goods or services to return goods or services
in recent times, money in exchange, in terms of a definite relationship in value or price of the goods, articles or services exchanged. Kis&kis, on the other hand, has a closer meaning to the English word "gift,” in the sense of that they do not carry an obligation for 15Ibid.. p. 66.
73 any immediate return, and that the goods returned need have no relation— ship in the value to the goods received#
Gifts in this sense are
received from friends when an individual is married, during a woman1s pregnancy, when she bears a child, when an individual goes on a voyage or returns from one, or when a husband or wife dies*
Such gifts may
consist of a piece of cloth, a bottle of perfume, a shirt, trousers, a dress, a sponge, a hat, a net or perhaps money*
In addition, clan-
members may bring bananas, yarns, pineapple, a pig, a chicken or some other gift*
Though in theory these presents are neither given in repay
ment of previously received gifts, nor imply an obligation for repayment at a future date, in practice they are repaid when the social circum stances are reversed with gifts of at least equal quality*
validates the argument advanced by Mauss that in primitive societies gifts are a form of exchange, carrying with them an obligation to accept 17 the proffered present and to make a return at the appropriate time* Although the gift exchanges of Ponape show neither the complexity of the 18 gift exchanges at wedding and funerals reported for Tikopia, nor the 19 highly ritualized prestige-exchanges of the Trobriand kula ring, these are nonetheless very important in the life of the Ponapeans as a mode of conspicuous consumption to aid in snaking certain the social position of For a detailed analysis of gift exchange as an agency of dis tribution in Ponape see Bascom, op* cit*« pp 140 Qt ,seq* i7Marcel Mauss, "Essai sur le Don,” L 1Annee Sociologique* n.s.I, 1925. ^Raymond Firth, A Polynesian Economy* 1940, p* 320* See also H* I. Hogbin, "Polynesian Ceremonial Gift Exchange," Oceaniaf v. Ill, 19321933, pp/l3-4XV
*^B* Malinowski, Argonauts of Western Pacific* 1923.
74 their families.
A new mode of wealth in the form of money or cash
crops, resultant on contact with pecuniary cultures,20 and a new type of stratification which does not follow traditional lines based on the ownership of this wealth have developed.
Wealth in the form of money
could most naturally be employed to acquire European houses, European clothing, furniture, dishes, books, and other means of display.
goods become the "counters” or "chips" used in this new system of stratification in place of yams and pit breadfruit or even of clan af filiation and hereditary rank.
In these terms, to have better dresses,
larger sets of china, or nicer furniture has become a desideratum, a means of achieving the new status based on wealth in the form of money earned from larger enterprises than the earlier forms of simple agri culture. The implications of this development in consumption patterns cannot at this time be explored further.
Bascom, whose account of Ponape
has been followed in this discussion as the only available source, was in Ponape in 1946, six months after the Japanese surrender, when there was neither money nor enough of these new items to permit the people to compete for status or even to satisfy the generally accepted needs for the
basic non-competitive forms of clothing.
Yet, though we have few details
| concerning the new stratification, it would seem that the acculturative process has involved a series of reinterpretations which have given it a particular flavor because of the force of the preceding patterns of
20 Pp. 56-57.
75 behavior in shaping the innovations.
A fine house, a good set of
china, good furniture, a good canoe or motorboat, nice clothes, sweetsmelling perfumes, do indeed bring prestige and praise5 but the owner must, as in the case of the yam competition, conceal his pride gM protest when compliments are offered.
If one remarks on the attractions
of a house, the owner will modestly deny that it is anything out of the ordinary#
Should someone compliment the perfume a woman has used, she
will insist that it is really nothing extraordinary#
And though the
best furniture is placed in the front room where visitors cannot miss it, when the owner is complimented on it, he protests that these compliments are undeserved.
How much the social stratification of the old order corresponds or overlaps with the new one is difficult to say.
Bascom points out
that, "It may not be directly related to social status system in terms of chieftainship as in feasting, but the wealthiest individuals generally 23 hold titles today.”
The best example of this is the case of the
Nanipei famil y, already mentioned, who own more than a third of the island’s coconut trees.
Oliver, the present head, holds the title of
Nanipei of the Kiti district, while a brother holds a similar title in the Matalamin district.
Yet this is one of the most acculturated
families in their consumption patterns; thus they show the initiative ^^For the mechanism of reinterpretation in culture change see M. J# Herskovits, ”The Processes of Culture Change,” in Linton (ed.), The Science of Man in the World Crisis.
22W. R. Bascom, Ponapes A Pacific Economy in Transition, p. 28. ^ Ib id .. p.* 65.
76 to change the items used in new modes of consumption*24. From our survey of Ponapean social stratification as related to the consumption patterns of the island, it can be concluded that there are two distinct types of these for the two different types of social stratification.
The hereditary titles are distinguished by the fact
that they carry the exclusive right to have certain types of houses, distinctive dress, and particular kinds of goods, not only as items of conspicuous consumption items, but also as 11indicatorsn of status.
the same time nobles and commoners are alike in that they can only achieve such status as is open to them by competitive conspicuous con sumption expressed in the ritualized feasts, with their competition in the display of large yams and old pit breadfruit.
Feasts of hospitality
and gift exchange also reveal the same competitive characteristics of conspicuous consumption which obtain prestige and status for Ponapean families#
The intense competition, with its pattern of secrecy woven
about yeans and breadfruit, makes of the Ponapean prestige economy one of the best examples that has been reported of the interrelation between an open system of social stratification and the process of emulative con spicuous consumption. Finally, the new forms of wealth, in their effect on patterns of social stratification and consumption, though not as yet clearly indi cated by the available material, does hint that Euroamerican modes of conspicuous consumption such as are expressed in fine clothes and special types of houses, are gaining importance as means of displaying 2^Tbid.. p. 65.
77 the wealth in the form of money a family possesses*
That it also
seems to be the case that these wealthier native families in terms of the new money economy tend to belong to the higher status of the old order would suggest that they have served as an agency in bring ing on the acceptance of these new forms of consumption, though re interpreted in terms of the earlier patterns based on yam and bread fruit competition#
GHAPTER V ANKARA The last culture in our survey, Ankara, differs from the earlier ones in its more complex structure, its machine technology, and its mon ey economy#
However, its system of social stratification can be ana
lyzed in exactly the same terms as have been applied to the preceding groups, in terms of its vertical mobility, resulting in emulative con spicuous consumption*
It must be stressed, however, that the machine
technology of Ankara and its money economy afford the members of this society a much higher ceiling for the accumulation of wealth than is true of the groups previously considered, factors which are of signifi cance in the analysis of our problem, since this ceiling gives people the opportunity of being lavishly conspicuous in all aspects of their patterns of consumption* Under the Ottoman Empire, Ankara was a small town in the middle of Turkey*
It was an isolated self-sufficient community, unfavorably-
situated to play a role of a center for the aristocracy of the empire or an important trade center* agriculture*
The main concern of the town was with
As in any non-mechanized, agricultural society, wealth in
this agrarian community had to be accumulated by diligence, and by the exercise of care over a long period of time.
Social status was not
inherited in the simple stratification of the town, which was differ entiated into the poor, the rich "old" families of large landholders,
79 and a large middle class of artisans, small tradesmen and small land owners,
There was little opportunity for the inhabitants to change
their status, since the social life of the community was very closely interwoven, and in consequence the place of everybody in the society was well known. Today, however, Ankara is the capital of the Republic of Turkey, a community that has experienced the sudden changes of becoming a 11great Western city,”
The feudal agriculturalists have lost their
place in the life of the city, since the new growing commercial rela tions with the Western countries have created a strong group of newly rich business men,^
With the new administrative and commercial popula
tion, new interests developed and, after the manner of large urban centers, relationships became impersonal*
Opportunities were offered
for people to rise from lower to higher strata, to belong to the one which became the most important by display as indicated in the appear2 ance presented by an individual* Since the "old families,11 who were only "upper class” in the small town of feudal days, were really of middle class position in the larger stratification of the Ottoman Empire, its aristocracy occupying the upper stratum of the country as a whole, these local privileged groups lost their importance in the changing scene* The present stratification of Ankara is difficult to describe in less general terms than those of ”poorn and "rich,” though it shows a ^The population of Ankara increased from 20,078 in 1927 to 166 538 in 19355 in 1945 it was 226,712, See Istatistik Umum Mtidtirltigh Yavmlari. v. I, Ankara, 1945, 2For a good analysis of this change see B. S* Boran, "Cumhuriyet Inkilabimizin Sosyal Manasi,” Adimlar, v* X, No* 7, p* 210*
so more gradual and more widespread gradation in degrees of poorness and richness than in the old days*
It would almost seem that the stratifi
cation of the city was being crystallized, first on the basis of economic resources, and later in terms of political and social position*
in actuality, the groups to be distinguished are still the upper, mid dle and lower classes, though the lines to be drawn between them are far less sharp than before Ankara became the capital city*
to-do middle—class families, for example, closely resemble the lowerclass in their modes of life, while on the other hand, as middle-class families rise higher in the scale, they take on the characteristics of the upper class*
These present-day "intermediary” groups, as they may
be termed, may almost be envisaged as transitional classes, lying between the two principal categories* Today, then, in Ankara, the highest government officials with private incomes, and the owners of the larger import-export firms and other business men, constitute the upper stratum of society*
middle—class consists of some professional men, less important entre preneurs and managers, and smaller government officials*
In the middle-
class proper are found members of occupational groups ranging from work ers and unimportant government officials to artisans and small business men#
The majority of the lower middle-class is made up of skilled work
ers, artisans and less-well-paid petty officials*
Finally, the lower
class comprehends unskilled workers, peddlers, small traders and the unemployed*
With these classes in mind, we may now turn to a descrip
tion of their consumption patterns* Most lower-class families live in squatter*s houses, built
81 illegally and thrown up overnight in the districts which constitute a continuous area to the north of the city and the hill on which the Citadel stands#
This area, though within the city limits, was not even
planned when the city reached its boom times after 1930.
poor, after spending some time in the rooming houses and tenements of the slums of the center of the city, would discover that if a house consisting of at least four walls and a roof were put up, the law would prevent its being t o m down unless it was bought by the city.
would therefore sell it as unoccupied site, and erect a shack before measures to prevent this could be taken.
This mushroom district, thus
developed, today constitutes one third of the entire city.^
finds no regular streets or pavements, since the houses were built at night in a haphazard fashion.
Nevertheless, since the locality is hilly
and the houses of one story, the streets, or rather the spaces between the houses are not very small, so that all have adequate light and air* Almost all the families in this class live in one room structures, or in multi-roomed rooming-houses.
Most of these dwellings have dirt
floors, though some exceptions in the way of wood or concrete floors are also met with.
None of these structures have running water or gas;
quite a large proportion of them, however, have electricity. Cooking is done in the single room, or at a little opening in front of the room, separated from it, equipped with a fireplace and a couple of shelves.
In the houses where there is no cooking-place, food
^B. S. Boran, "Mantar Evler Mahallelri,11 Yurt ve Dtlnya. No. 14, 521-530.
82 is cooked in the summer time in front of the house, in winter indoors, over a charcoal burner, the fire that cooks the food also heating the room*
Usually a group of houses have a common privy somewhere in the
middle of a cluster of houses*
There is no sewer system, and no flush
toilets in this part of the city*
Furnishings usually consist of a
couple of quilts, a bench, one or two pieces of small kilinA on the floor, and some mattresses*
Sometimes one comes across a couch or an
armchair, its upholstery worn and its springs protruding*
saucepans, enamel and copper utensils constitute kitchen and table ware* Very few of the people who inhabit this district have water or tea glasses, or china coffee eups*
As a matter of fact, coffee and tea
are either a great luxury or are indulged in as a kind of drug-habit* Families in this category spend almost all their income, which rarely reaches a figure of more than T& 150 ($60) per month for food* Their diet has a minimum of meat; some persons say they have no meat 5 except on Sacrifice Holiday when mutton is distributed to the poor* Sugar, a prized item, is rarely bought* Such sweets as are eaten consist of several kinds of dried or cooked fruit juices, particularly of grapes, called pekmez. or bulamac pestil* However, these are delicacies, and are not often available; when they can be had, they are consumed im mediately, after which all must be satisfied with the bread, which with \ wool blanket which resembles the blankets woven by Indians of the Americas. They are much cheaper than regular carpets. 5A Muslim family holiday celebrated by sacrificing sheep* At least half of the animal killed by a given family is supposed to be distributed to the poor*
S3 one hot dish of low quality characteristically forms their one prin cipal daily meal*
In this, the poorest type of shortening, consisting
of melted mutton fat, is used and even this can be afforded only in extremely small amounts* As concerns clothing, a woman will be fortunate to have one dress (yabanlik) in good condition to be worn on special occasions* The material even of such a r,goodH dress, however, is never anything better than a cotton mixed with wool or a cheap silk; most often, if new, it will be made of cotton*
Most of the time women wear faded, patched,
out—of—style dresses, while many times one also comes on women whose dresses are of the long and loose village style*
Perhaps it is possible
to buy a dress or two annually, but by the time a new one can be bought, the old one is almost unwearable.
Coats are generally simple, faded
and out-of-style, most often bought from second-hand stores*
many women do not even have a coat, a wool knitted sweater serving as their warmest garment*
When these women go to the city, it is nothing
to be ashamed of to borrow shoes, coat, and a scarf to cover the head, this latter being mandatory for lower-class women, but something to be qcaViam^ of in the upper classes*
Shoes are one of the most valuable and
rarest items of clothing and one of the most conspicuous characteristics of the dress of those living in these districts is the absence of shoes on the feet of women and children*
Children, indeed, go barefoot, while
most often the women use wooden slippers, called nalen* Men always own work clothes, shoes and caps, but very seldom have suits. clothes will mo3t often consist of a woraout suit* seen.
Neckties are rarely
Nevertheless, in general, men of this lowest socio-economic stratum
84 are better dressed than their women* The men leave home at six o Tclock in the morning and return after seven at night*
The women, however, visit their neighbors, in
formally, quite unlike the conventional socially regulated visits of the middle classes*
Women stop to chat ”on their way to bring •water”
or f,on their way from bringing water,” Since such visits are not sub ject to the ceremony as they are in the homes of those in better cir cumstances, no one is asked to be seated, and nothing is served the visitor*
The problems of living faced by all are so difficult that
privacy, so highly prized by the middle classes, is meaningless here* Besides these visits, the recreation activities consist merely of visits to the parks for picnics now and then, or, very infrequently, attendance at motion pictures# These families live under such straitened conditions that they sense very little possibility of improving their social and economic status*
They thank God for what they have even when complaining of their
difficulties, since they fear they may lose even the minimum resources they command*
Thus the consumption patterns of this lowest stratum are
essentially subsistence patterns, where the need to achieve minimum sup port rules out any form of emulative wastefulness* i
At the other
of the social scale, among groups having the
most advantageous socio-economic position, the patterns of consumption are characterized by emphasis on the continuous display of wealth to validate status#
Obviously, among persons of such means only a small
proportion of income will be used for the satisfaction of those biologi cal needs which, in the case of the lowest socio-economic group, is
85 the matter of greatest concern and which requires the expenditure of all available resources* Upper class families live in the sections of the city considered most desirable, on the southern hills, or about the Ataturk Bulvari, the principal thoroughfare. rooms*
Their houses have from five to fourteen
Some are single family residences, some are apartments*
rooms are large, separated by removable doors or by curtains that, when necessary can be opened to constitute large halls for entertaining. Furniture is elaborate, and each piece is carefully selected, since suites of furniture are regarded as characteristic of the middle class. These rooms have polished paraquat or linoleum floors, and the walls are either painted, wood-paneled, or hung with draperies.
All houses of this
class have central heating, several bathrooms, a kitchen, gas tricity.
All are equipped with items ranging from radios to refrigera
tors which, contrary to the patterns of families moving up in the social scale, are used as a matter of course and not, as in middle-class homes, placed in the living rooms for visitors to admire.
drapes, bedcovers and other similar things tend to be of heavy material, most often silk.
The quality of table linen and bed clothing is impor
tant, and is a primary subject for discussion by housewives of this class, constituting a kind of indirect method of individual display. Dinner sets, drinking vessels and other items of this nature are of silver, gold, old china and porcelain, or hand-cut glass.
families possess full sets of silver dinnerware; they may use these even when guests are not entertained.
Some of the china dinner sets are so
old and ornamented that they are said to be more valuable than silver..
In this stratum, women *s clothing is a primary indication of* conspicuous consumption and emulative competition, whether as regards amount, variety, and value.
An upper-class woman will herself be un
able to tell the number of dresses and shoes she may own at a given time*
When a dress is thought to have been worn enough times, it is
given to a servant*
The materials of housecoats and dresses are more
11luxurious,w and the style more rfimpractical”— to employ the terminology of lower strata— than street clothes*
The most outstanding character
istic of the dress of women of this class, however, is its very precise differentiation of function*
Each article worn, whether morning, after
noon, street, house, or various kinds of evening gowns, dresses for various kinds of sports and for various seasons, all these specialized types of garments will be found in the wardrobe of these women*
are also very important, mink, persian lamb, silver fox and blue fox coats and wraps being recognized as excellent indices of status and prestige, which offer many opportunities for display.
Jewelry is simi
larly an object of conspicuous consumption, after the manner of European upper-class usage— diamonds and emeralds being the most favored stones* Women of this class are much concerned to preserve their beauty* Some take milk baths, some go on a fresh orange juice diet for twenty days before a great formal ball* weight*
Massage is used to get rid of excess
The cosmetics used in the complicated ritual of make-up are
imported, this being an important way in which their modes of consumption are different from those of the strata of society that lie beneath them* Thus creams, perfumes and lotions, which even in the upper middle class stand on dressing tables and are used only on special occasions, are
87 available in bathrooms for everyday use in the homes of the wealthy* One most have "ivory colored" hands and well-trimmed, polished finger nails, no matter what the time of the day*
Both hands and hair are
cared for at beauty parlors; and since it costs more, it is more desir able to go twice to the hairdresser's where one visit might suffice, the pretext being that the automatic hairdryer makes the head ache, so that one visit is needed to "set" the hair and a later one to allow it to be combed* In this way women are, as in European and American upper-class groups generally as Veblen demonstrated, the vehicle which permits the members of this stratum of Ankara society to show ostentatiously that time and money are available to them to be spent in accordance with a the canons of conspicuous consumption*
For while men also must be care
ful of their dress, and see to it that there is the proper differentia tion of style and materials for different occasions and different times of the day, the opportunities offered by the clothing of men for emulat ive consumption is in the nature of the case less than in the instance of women* Leisure time activities of this group show characteristic forms* In the case of the women, these activities function not only as means of recreation, but become obligations which must be fulfilled if status is to be maintained.
The round of formal calls and visits, important
for upper-class folk of the Ottoman Empire, are still important.
rounds of bridge, bezique, poker, cocktail and tea parties are contin uous.
Formal balls are of great importance, especially the larger formal
occasions, such as the Presidential Ball on the Anniversary of the
Republic, the annual Red Crescent Ball (Kigil Ay), held to benefit the Turkish equivalent of the European Red Cross, and the annual Press Ball* Persons of high position spend much time preparing for these affairs; not
only because it is a
be invited, but also because if
them there is danger that he will
be dropped 'from the small circle of "select11 families*
Soirees at which
attendance may range from a hundred to a hundred and twenty-five are held in private homes for friends and acquaintances of proper status, and these occasions help to stabilize the position of the host*
seen at the theatre, opera, concerts and in night clubs and restaurants is essential*
Moreover, everyone in this group must travel*
it is customary to go to various resorts on the Bosphorous and islands in Istanbul, while travel in Europe during the winter Is regaining its prewar popularity* A few of
the families in this stratum belong to the "old" fami
lies of the city, though this is
true only of those who have been able
to adjust themselves to changing condition, especially as concerns the acquisition of new means of obtaining wealth.
The ownership of the
three largest export-import firms of the city is in the hands of persons in this category.
Another such individual, elected as deputy to the
national parliament, is the owner of an important real estate agency, since he happened to own the large area in the new section of the city, where government buildings have been erected.
Persons who have thus
kept abreast of new developments have been able to keep up with the newly rich in their ability to spend in conformity with the prevailing
89 upper-class patterns of conspicuous consumption*
However, since they
still retain the ties that bind them to the closed circles of the older aristocracy, the force of the pre—republican traditions is also strong among than*
Thus the patterns of consumption of this group are of im
portance for us to take into account, since they exemplify the contra dictions and conflicts between the earlier and later systems of upperclass norms under the process of cultural change* Families who have this dual affiliation, for example, will be £ found to have an extra room, furnished in the old style with a sedir and precious old Oriental rugs, next to rooms furnished with modem davenports and armchairs upholstered in silk and having polished par quet floors.
They receive their old fashioned friends in the first kind
of room, and their 11modem11 friends in the latter. these two categories of guests will also differ. fered fruits and tea, the latter cocktails.
The entertainment of The first will be of
In their bedrooms, on modern
dressing tables, old-fashioned gas lamps and incense burners stand sideby side with expensive new and modish cut-glass atomizers.
women in the families having this dual social position may buy their dresses from the same first-class dressmakers as do the other upperclass women, and use the same quality of materials, they do not wear short sleeves, and a few of them even refuse to wear hats, but cover their heads with scarfs after the older fashion.
Such women also refuse
to participate at gatherings where there is drinking, in deference to kind of couch made from a mattress placed on wooden planks supported by wooden horses. It is covered either with carpeting or cloth and is backed by hard straw-filled pillows, upholstered with the same material as the couch cover.
90 now outmoded Mohammedan custom} or at the very most, if they do attend, they themselves refuse to drink.
They likewise do not frequent night
clubs or go to the races; this is left to the older men after the ^ of earlier times, and to young people of both sexes in accordance with present day custom* As might be expected, variations in the consumption patterns of the large middle class are greater than those of the extremes of the scale.
The families whose position is closer to that of the upper
strata strive to emulate the patterns of that group, so as to attain a place there, while those near the lower end make every effort not to descend in the scale*
This is why, as has been stated, the middle class
itself actually comprehends two extremes that are in the manner of sub classes in the system of social stratification, the real middle class, still large but more stable than the transitional extremes, maintaining itself between them* The first group, the lower of these middle groupings, consti tutes a considerable proportion of the population of Ankara.
distributed equally about the city, in the areas of lower and middle class concentration*
They live mostly in two, and sometimes three room
houses, most of which have wood or concrete floors.
Most, if not all
of them have kitchens, electricity, either pumps or running water; but they rarely have gas*
Their furniture, though not as sparse or of as
poor quality as that of lower class households, is far from being the best quality or design.
A cloth covered sedir, a wool kilim. a simple
table and a few chairs, enough mattresses and quilts to provide for
91 each member of the family will comprise the furnishings of their houses, though one can sometimes see a carpet—covered sedir. or studio couch, or cane armchairs.
Radios and sewing machines, when they are owned,
stand in the most conspicuous places and are among the most precious possessions♦ At this level life in general is better regulated than among families of the lowest socio-economic position*
An attempt is made to
hide poverty, even though they, like the lower class, rarely can afford more than one hot dish at meals, and fruit, meat and sugar are deli cacies seldom available to them*
Breakfast, however, is a better meal
than among the lowest stratum, since most lower middle-class families can afford the standard Turkish menu of cheese or olives with tea. Within this class the effort not to descend the social scale reflects itself in the relatively conspicuous consumption to be seen that may be designated as consumption in private and consumption in public.
Thus, a family that owns both china and glass cups, glasses,
plates, as well as enamel or copper utensils, will use the china and glass when there is a guest, the more common types when no outsider is present*
Coffee may be served visitors, and some families, though
rarely, also serve inexpensive candy and fruits, the latter usually from their own gardens*
In this stratum people invited for dinner must be
served two courses, even though the dishes are not the best quality food available in the city. An effort to gain and maintain prestige and status by according particular attention to clothing becomes apparent.
All the women have
at least one "good” dress to wear on special occasions*
92 sxe better styled end less worn out when compared to similar apparel among the lowest class, some persons even possessing two coats , one new and one old, the latter used to go shopping or for errands within the neighborhood, the new one being worn for more important visits, or on holidays. occasions*
Here we also find women using purses on these special
Some jewelry— silver or gold bracelets and rings or gold—
money necklaces— are frequently encountered*
Another consumption item
that differentiates this group from the lower one is the gifts offered at weddings, birth and circumcision ceremonies« Families in this class try, to the degree they are able, to give gifts on such occasions*
if they had to refrain from going to the motion pictures or from eating fruit for a time, they would feel obliged to give a few yards of cotton cloth or a bottle of cologne as a wedding gift to a neighbor !s daughter* The recreational activities of these people are understandably limited*
Besides visits to one another and attendance at motion pictures,
they, like the lower-class families, go to the parks for picnics*
younger members of the families, and the men, spend more time at the movies and other entertainments*
Such travel as they indulge in, per
haps once in three or four years, is for the purpose of visiting their home towns or villages to see their relatives, which is the least expen sive way of living away from home* Thus in this sub-class we find a simple, restricted type of the emulation of those of higher status*
Attempts to be like the people on
higher levels, at least in their public consumption, are apparent*
theless, the low level of income, which restricts the amount of wealth they are able to spend, limits their attempts almost entirely to the
93 very simple activities, such as dinner parties, small gifts and some extra clothing that have been described. The central group that makes up the core of the middle class is very largeo
Except for the poorest northern districts and richest
south hills they are predominant in all parts of the city.
in their patterns of expenditure there is a large degree of variation from family to family of this grouping the underlying characteristics of this phenomenon manifests a degree of homogeneity that permits their description. The dwelling of the members of this sub class vary from two to seven rooms which in the main have wood floors except those built after Ankara became the capital.
In this case such buildings, particularly
apartment houses, almost always have concrete floors.
There is no house
inhabited by persons in this category which does not have a kitchen* Almost all the dwellings have electricity, some have running water, some have hand pumps; some have gas; and a small number of them have central heating systems.
Furniture exceeds minimum needs to varying degrees;
one encounters extra beds, carefully arranged parlors, net or embroidered curtains on windows, extra armchair, couehes, or sedir.
houses that are most poorly furnished will have a carpet-covered sedir. chairs, tables, chests of drawers.
While those deemed to be best fur
nished will have moderate priced drawing, dining and bedroom suites, carpets, bookshelves and books, extra chests of drawers, cupboards and other articles of furniture.
In general the conspicuous aspects of
middle-class consumption find expression. ticularly important place.
The parlor occupies a par
Very often it will be furnished with matching
94 sets of furniture.
It will not only be furnished with the best pieces
of furniture, the radio or a walnut buffet or an attractive desk or a sewing machine, but also with the best carpet of the house, the best lampshade, and the best curtains* found in the parlor.
At times even dressing tables are
Or if some member of the family must sleep in the
parlor the bed will be adorned with a silk cover, whereas the beds not seen by visitors will have cotton covers.
In these houses dining rooms
separated from the parlor with an open arch are also reserved for spe cial use, since the family will consume their ordinary meals in the kitchen.
The room furnished as a dining room thus serves as a place
where guests can see more of the resources of the family.
the families of this stratum, particularly in the generation which is not yet above 30-35 years of age, the bedroom or the bed itself is more important than the dining room because of two factors.
furnishings are the most important parts of the trousseau of a young woman.
Secondly, the birth of a child or a minor illness creates one of
the better chances for conspicuous display of resources, since at such times, this room becomes a place in which guests are received.
In this stratum the radio is a well established piece of furni ture.
On the other hand, telephones and refrigerators are stiU very
However, table sets start to show varieties.
enamel utensils at the table.
Here nobody uses
Instead of sets of dishes— which are the
most desired— non-matching pieces of china are encountered more fre quently.
When matching sets of dishes are owned, they are saved for
guests and not used every day. common.
Here, two or three course dinners are
However, salads and fruit are frequently omitted, particularly
95 in winter*
These families can afford both cheese and olives together
with tea for their breakfast* also jam*
Sometimes they have milk or butter and
In spite of the fact that breakfast is not as restricted as
the, menu of the lower middle classes , the presence of guests makes this meal different*
Jam, which is obtainable in limited amounts, is saved
for guests, "for the good reputation of the family.”
Even if members
of the family do not eat cookies and cakes by themselves, they serve these to their guests*
A more easily noticeable thing than any of the
above is that, where there is a guest for dinner, both the quality and the quantity of the food change greatly*
Informants say that a dinner
for guests will cost as much as several days* food for the family in the ordinary way*
The choice of foods for visitors in the afternoons is
another important question. coffee are the main features*
Tea, cookies, some candy and ever-ready The importance of the visiting guest
determines the quality of the refreshments* In this group the division of consumption intoprivate and pub lic varieties, and the attempt to keep up with the upper classes, at least in appearance, is accepted as a matter of fact*
The families who
do not conform to this pattern of behavior are discriminated against and gossiped about as being "peculiar people."
Among the middle classes,
for instance, to wander into any room of the house one is visiting ex cept the ones that guests are to be received in, or to come at meal times and watch the family eat, are considered to be in extremelybad taste* One is supposed to see only what is prepared to be seen* In this stratum the consumption items in which the differentia tion of "in public” and "in private" appears most strikingly is the
96 women1s clothing.
Among the fair sex the difference between the types of
the clothing worn at home and on the street or when visiting is great* At home these women wear simply designed dresses made from simple, wash able materials such as cotton*
These dresses cannot be kept very clean
as women of this class do their own housework; their hands and hair, likewise, because of this fact, tend to be not very well cared for* Stoekings in various stages of disrepair, and older shoes, are worn at home.
When these women go out, however, they appear with orderly hair,
manicured hands, makeup on their faces, girdles and corsets, high heels, and dresses made put of materials that would not bear the brunt of hard ■usage, thus appearing as nearly as possible like women of the upper strata. For the younger women, everyday clothes are tailored, while "dress-up" clothes are fancier dress items*
The older people have only
garments that are old or those that are newer*
The second sets are
usually better things both from the point of view of price and quality of material, and also style and workmanship*
Also, it is required that
accessory items like purses, hats and shoes should be in black, white, brown or dark blue so that it will be possible to use these with accesgories for several dresses*
Recently, smee it has been accepted that
red and green leather goods can be used both in summer and in winter, these colors also have come into use*
Even in the lowest parts of this
group, at least for the younger girls, it has become a necessity to have their hair curled and cared for.
Attempts are also made to match dif
ferent parts of their clothing as it is done in the prestige-carrying
97 upper classes*
This necessity is secured most economically by selecting
garments in neutral colors and in so-called ”classical” tailored styles o The material of the better dresses is just better than cotton in qualityRecently invented rayon—linen materials, though never used as more than morning or sport dresses in the upper strata, here serve for dress—up clothes*
Particularly wool or inexpensive silk prints are considered
the best possible materials*
In contrast, for women in the upper strata,
unless a dress ”had come from Europe” and particularly if its style is not ”dressy,” to wear a dress made out of such materials for an after noon visit is a serious mar on their social station* It is rather widely accepted that one should wear silk ”dressy” dresses and high heels for a wedding celebration or for some other special occasion*
It is not necessarily incorrect, however, to wear
tailored or sport clothes to a five o 1clock visit or holiday party, par ticularly if the garments are new*
Private and public consumption can
also be differentiated in makeup material.
Women use better and more
expensive perfumes, lipsticks, and nail polishes when they dress up for particular occasions, than when they stay at home*
Even something as
personal as underwear is affected in the same way.
People remark upon
the possession of one silk slip, to be worn when going to the dressmaker or doctor.
Silk underwear in this class is not very frequently found,
but everybody tries to have at least one or two sets. of simple ornamental pieces.
Gold bracelets, simple pins with small
diamonds and other precious and semi-precious stones, or strings of small pearls are worn for special occasions by the women* Hotion pictures and the theatre, but not night clubs, occupy a
98 considerable place in "their recreation activities#
However, the most
favored kind of festivities are parties at home, this being a very well established middle class recreation.
Many families in this class go to
the movies for birthday or Hew Year's Eve as a special treat*
celebrations, or on holidays
The attendance at the theatre and other stage
productions is directly affected by the background and education of the families* These activities in middle-class families lack the emulative character that is found in the higher classes*
The reason for this is
the conflict between mixed gatherings at which alcoholic drinks are served and the old religious values of the Moslem culture*
these values the tastes which grew out of them and were established through generations play an important role in determining recreational activities* In the large middle class of today, the families who were the highest ranking "old rich families" of the city deserve special consider ation*
Taking Ankara as a whole, they no longer retain their old status
outside their own small circle*
These families, unlike those "old rich
families" discussed before, did not adjust themselves to present-day con ditions*
They kept their wealth "bound to the earth," that is, it re
mained based on land ownership.
The main part of their living still
comes from agriculture and from the real estate they own in the old part of the city, which, as a matter of fact, has lost its value in recent years. Under this scarcity economy* they keep their old way of consump tion which corresponds to the rhythm of their way of accumulation of wealth*
To give a general idea of their pattern of consumption one family
u^«v*rel^ Uttrary 99 will bo described in full. This family has kept its ancestral home, frame building of two stories, in the old part of the city*
On the first floor there is a
kitchen, a bathroom in old Turkish style, without a tub* floor there is a parlor, a living room and bedrooms*
On the second
In location the
best room is the parlor, the floor of which is covered with a carpet* Along the side of the two walls are the sedir, covered with carpets and backed with carpet-covered, straw-filled pillows* also adorned with a silk rug*
One of the walls is
Some chairs, two stands, a wood-burning
stove, and a metal electric fixture suspended from the ceiling complete the furnishing of this room* not kaffir made*
They prefer wood-burning stoves as these are
The living room is similarly furnished*
the parents, grandmother and a daughter have a sedir* a wooden trunk, and large closets in which their clothing and their beds, consisting of rolled up mattresses, which are placed on the floor every night and cov ered with a sheet, a cotton filled pillow, which is as long as the length of the mattress, and cotton lined quilts, are kept*
However, the bedroom
of tfie son has a bedstead with similar bedding and also a desk*
are eaten on the floor of the living room on a linen cloth spread in the center of the room*
A round copper tray, the size of which depends upon
the number of persons partaking the meal, is placed on a small stand* is taken for granted that anyone who happens to be present at any meal
time will be asked to share the meal* Breakfast is eaten very early in the morning*
The second meal
is consumed between ten and eleven in the morning and consists of soup and cereal.
The third meal is eaten at sunset and is made up of three
or four different dishes*
Except for their glasses, and tea and coffee
cups, their plates and utensils are of copper*
Silver sets, which are
usually kept out of sight, are used on special occasions*
in fact, was really used only when it was placed on exhibition for three days at the time of a daughters marriage.
To their guests they serve
elaborate breakfasts and fruits or sweets. The father and son wear European clothing. three generations of women differs*
The clothing of the
The grandmother usually wears a
straight, simply designed dress, usually black.
She also wears black
leather slippers, which are covered with a rubber outer slipper when she appears in public* coat*
She wears a charshaf
on the street instead of a
Twenty years ago she should have added a veil, but today this is
forbidden by law* conservative taste*
The mother dresses in Western style also, but with She wears over her head a silken scarf knotted un
der her chin, always covering her head when she appears in public*
eighteen year old daughter of the family, however, dresses in the latest Western dresses, though she still covers her arms according to religious sanction, and she wears a ”babushka” similar to those worn by young girls in the United States.
The materials of the clothing of these
women is always of good quality, but the number of different items of clothing is limited, while the length of time clothing is worn varies. The grandmother*s charshaf and coat were said to be ten years old, but the young girl renews her wardrobe every year.
The women also own a
large and precious amount of jewelry, particularly great clusters of ^A. large piece of cloth wrapped around the body and head*
pearls and diamond brooches* to parties*
Bub this jewelry is worn only when they go
These also will be given to their daughters when they marry*
Their gifts for weddings, births and other occasions will be the best available articles*
They pay special attention to giving large
amounts of money as presents to those who render service to them, as for example, priests*
On Sacrifice holidays, one animal is sacrificed for
every member of the family, and the meat distributed to poor families* It is obvious from this discussion that though these families do not emulate among themselves, as the families in the upper class to day do, in their everyday patterns of consumption, they do lavishly dis play their goods and wealth on occasions to show their status* Among the less Europeanized families, those who belonged to the middle classes in the old order, also have their place in today* s middle classes*
Although their pattern of consumption shows considerable dif
ferences, from the point of view of lavish consumption, they neither emulate nor compete with higher classes*
An example of the consumption
pattern of this type of family is as follows:
The house of the family
is near the Citadel, though the sedir in their drawing room are carpet covered, there is a kilim spread over the floor.
Simple chairs and a
chest of drawers on which are placed old fashioned gas lamps complete the furniture of the room* floor*
They eat on the floor and they sleep on the
They keep their bedding in the closet.
kitchen and on their table*
They use copper in their
Only coffee cups are porcelain and glass*
The women wear dresses of average material, a wool jacket, slippers and rubbers*
The husband, every year when he comes back from his yearly
business trip to Istanbul, brings dress material for each woman of the
family, perhaps a piece of flannel, a piece of cotton or both kinds of material, out of which dresses are made for the ensuing year* each own one better dress and a coat*
She saves this dress with great
care from year to year (the style does not concern her) and uses it for every invitation and for holidays.
However, the young daughter of the
house gets more to wear than these two regularly yearly dresses*
may have printed silk and finer wool dresses, and also high-heeled shoes and silk stockings*
Though they do not own diamonds, there are
Mtwisted11 gold bracelets and earrings which are one of the most standard ized items of consumption of this group* As their children are of school age they have changed their meal times as do more westernized families*
The women do not go anywhere,
except to visits and parties where there are only women, weddings, cir cumcisions, etc.
The man with his friends goes to dinner parties at
tended by men only in his own and in other houses*
Besides this, not in
Ankara but at Istanbul, they will go to the music halls*
tionally oriented families appear to be very much satisfied with their lives and so do not attempt to ascend the social scale*
There is a
mention of a better status only at the time a daughter is to be married. They wish her to marry a person 11richer11 than themselves* The life of the less Europeanized families in general shows lit tle variation and much more similarity within the group than do the more westernized groups.
The latter emulate each other, at least by
changing appearances rather than by spending money and time since they cannot afford to do so.
On the other hand, the old-time traditional
families, because of absence of the desire to emulate, lack of opportunity
103 for vertical movement in the system of social stratification, their limited accumulation of wealth, feel free not only from the classifi cation of consumption into private and public, but also from attempts to be different in consumption from others of their own class* The group of families that occupy the upper stratum of the large middle classes resemble upper classes of today*
their consumption patterns appear to be like those of the upper classes, in order to be able to consume as conspicuously as upper class people in some ways, they must limit themselves in some other areas*
words, they also classify their consumption into items to be consumed in public and in private, which is the main characteristic of the middle class*
In this way they differ from the genuine upper class members* They live mainly in the southern part of the city*
have at least four rooms* linoleum*
The floors are most frequently wood, and
Very rarely one observes paraquet floors*
Of course, all of
these homes are equipped with gas, electricity, and running water and most of them have central heating*
At least two of their rooms w i H be
furnished with selected better suites of furniture*
The majority have
better furniture in all their main rooms, living, dining and bedrooms. This furniture also will be decorated with brie—a—brae, silver and glass plates, vases, etc., but they are very rarely unique, antique pieces. Radios, telephones and refrigerators contribute to the social climbing efforts of this class.
For them they serve as items of conspicuous
consumption, to indicate that the family can afford them, and usually are placed in the dining room or in some other place they can be seen, as are other public consumption items.
For families which have become
104 more established on the upper levels it is just another article for com fort and private consumption and are placed in the home where they can best serve the function for which they were intended* In the pantries of these families there are always sets of china, a set of silverware, and glasses and cups*
There are also occasional
silver plates, bowls and platters* In this stratum, nourishing food is a regular item of consumption. Meals consist of two main dishes and are varied by the presence of fruits and salads*
The quality of the food is also important.
cracked wheat or other staples are superseded by meat, which is served every day, and the quality of the fat they use for cooking is of special concern*
On their breakfast table there are always butter and jam*
their guests, who are quite frequent, they serve very expensive dishes that are difficult to prepare* The clothing of the women is also quite different from middle class proper*
The large proportion of their better dresses will be
11exclusive models” and at least one of their woolen coats will be made by one of the first-class dressmakers, as the upper class does* they have a fur coat of good quality*
Various and matching accessories
such as hats, purses or gloves become essential*
In addition, the mid
dle class differentiation of summer, from winter clothing, or sport, from "dressy” costumes, and the necessity of having correct accessories for a certain suit or dress, became a problem*
These women also use
expensive silk lingerie, but still keep cotton or other washable house coats and bathrobes* to wear if
An informant reported, ”1 save the silk negligee
go on a trip or to a hotel.”
Here also, the jewelry is
105 expensive but quite standardized*
Large one stone set rings constitute
the most necessary kind of jewelry* Their free time is spent in quite a diversified way* visits are one kind of diversion*
Big bridge parties, teas, and cocktail
parties are held, and formal balls occupy the center of their attention* For any kind of party fancy food and fruits, tea, coffee or alcoholic drinks will be served* courtesy callers*
Expensive candies and coffee are served to simple
For their vacations, instead of going to visit some
member of their family in another city, they go to fashionable resort areas, particularly places in and near Istanbul*
Thus, in them we see
a transitional upper-middle stratum that is between middle and upper class*
They carry the characteristics of both classes side by side*
They cannot afford to consume as lavishly as does the real upper class, and they still differentiate between public and private consumption, at least in such items as washable housecoats or the bedroom of the junior member of the family*. Before concluding our discussion of Ankara patterns of consumption the drastic culture change in general that has taken place in Ankara in recent years and its effect on consumption in general must be considered* Just as even the most conservative families reflect swift modernization, so that electricity or western styled dress are in evidence, the most westernized families, however, also retain some past customs, such as the types of food they consume.
The intermediate families keep the norms
of the two different cultures side by side, sometimes in a contradictory way as described above*
The objective observer must see them as more
conservative or more westernized, according to the degree in which they
keep old norms or adopt the new ones*
The families themselves also talk
about other families according to their own position, saying that 11they are more (or less) modem than we are*” Several factors influence this gradation#
In the first place,
the families which still maintain their isolated position, which still are obtaining their living in the same manner as they did 50 years ago— in short, the families which have kept their social stimulus field as narrow as it was 50 years ago— are less changed*
Families in which
some members have a modem education or occupation, in which it is neces sary to come into contact with more modem areas, machines, great cities, sometimes those of Europe, change more rapidly*
with the outside are a very basic factor in change. Secondly, the amount of income and the standard of living of the families play a very important role in the westernization of the norms of consumption*
After all, to buy new furniture, to eat from a table
and change dishes with every course, and to use many cakes of soap in volve expenditure of money*
That is why the old-fashioned norms of con
sumption seem stronger and more widespread through the lower social and economic strata*
The extension of the social stimulus field, and the
increased relations with the outside world, do not mean very much where income is restricted.
Thus, for instance, it is necessary to separate
the families which cannot afford to discard the sedir from those that do not desire to discard it* It is obvious also that among the families which have a larger social stimulus field, and which belong to the higher socio-economic strata, certain consumption items receive greater acceptance than others;
107 some are retained much longer; while still others have their meaning changed in the whole system of norms of consumption*
That is to say,
change or borrowing is not mechanical, but is highly selective*
innovations which are accepted quickly and more widely are those which involve conspicuous consumption, such as street dress, dinner parties or the type of furniture in the more public rooms of the homes*
the other hand, the norms which have most resisted change are those re lated to the Moslem religion, such as head—coverings of women or the consumption of alcoholic drinks* In furnishing the house, the change is most obvious in the sedir and bedstead, essential items of the furniture*
It can be said that
more than half of the families of Ankara have the sedir* But many of them are so poor that they could not replace them even if they wished* Some other families, however, though they have drawing rooms furnished I with arm chairs and other wwestern” furniture, retain the sedir in the living room*
This indicates that the room in which they receive guests
or other persons not of their family, is westernized before their private rooms* Change in bedroom furniture follows change in the drawing room* H«1f of the lower and middle class families still sleep on the floor, sometimes even after removing the sedir* Some of the families who have
i the seel-*** in their living room explained that they bought the bedstead [ for marriage, childbirth, or for the circumcision ceremonies of their I sons; again implying that they change the room when it is to function as I a drawing room— for a public appearance where guests would be received*
I Different parts of the bedding, like the style of quilts and pillows,
retain their old form even where other elements have been changed*
times the families keep one or two sets of bedding, which are more west ern, to be used for guests* Another norm of consumption which is undergoing obvious changes is the manner of eating*
Many families can be found who still eat on
the floor, though most of them again, belong to the extremely poor group* But a number of better-off families, on the other hand, eat on the floor when they do not have guests*
In the presence of guests, they not only
eat at the table but also change plates with each course in accordance with the principle that in consumption in public, they prefer to be "modern*” This change from eating on the floor to eating at a table Is reflected in a consistent change from copper utensils to china dishes* The food is cooked in accordance with the old Turkish patterns, unless the wife desires to show the guests that she can cook western cakes or garnishes*
But in the kitchens of even the most changed families the
old dishes predominate* Different parts of the dress of women have assumed different values in relation to the acculturation process*
The cut of the dress,
the use of coats, the types of head coverings, all have different rates of resistance*
The cut of the dresses and coats, with small difference
in length aru^ fashion, has changed even in the case of the poorest and most conservative families* styles without any change*
Only the oldest generation retains the old As far as street and public appearances are
concerned, there is a succession from the old style of coat to the coat and dark colored scarf, and then to the hat of which only the last is
109 truly western*
As we saw previously, some women would not be seen in
public without both hat and coat, to the hat having been attached the old connotations.
The religious connotations of the old fashioned veil
ouysof have been attached to the western hat, these hats thus being worn in a new reinterpreted way*
It is very obvious and very signi
ficant that the norms showing the most rapid change would seem to be those aspects of the culture which are related to public consumption that serve as a means of obtaining prestige and climing to upper strata, while those which resist change are those most closely related to the religious values of the old culture* If we summarize our discussion of the material on Ankara, the following points may be brought out*
In comparison with olden days
Ankara today presents a kind of social stratification with great possi bilities of vertical mobility.
Together with the impersonal relation
ships of this growing city, modes of conspicuous emulative consumption have gained great importance as status indicates*
Among the upper
class, one observes lavish display of wealth in every aspect of their living*
They also compete with each other for the highest status by
seeking uniqueness— either in style or in the age of their antiques* The stratum Immediately below the upper class, that between the middle class proper and upper class proper, reflects in its consumption pat terns the characteristics of both*
Wealth is still displayed lavishly,
but since incomes are not as high as the upper class incomes, the peo ple have to be less lavish in some of their display.
items in regard to which they prefer to be less conspicuous are always those that members of the middle class clasify as private, such as
bedroom furnishings, house dresses, or eating when guests are not present* The consumption patterns of the middle class proper provide room for a high degree of variation#
However, all varieties of the group are defi
nitely distinguished by differences between their private and public consumption habits*
This points, in dramatic fashion, the emulative
nature of consumption in order to achieve a higher status in limited income groups of the middle classes in Ankara*
In the final intermedi
ary grouping, the lower middle class, the same middle-class character istic of classification of consumption can be followed*
class, however, with the lack of opportunity to change its status, can neither manifest emulation in consumption nor attempt to resemble those of higher status in their modes of life in general. The families who still represent the stratification and consump tion patterns of the old feudal days, the final groups to be distinguished, although they engage in lavish display of goods, do not manifest the emu lative drive of the other groups in Ankara society*
Their display also
is restricted to the limited occasions in accordance with the amount and possibility of accumulation of wealth— which is not very high. Another interesting point for Our problem that rises in the course of study of the westernization of consumption patterns is that the first consumption items selected to be westernized— when they are not in strong conflict with old religious and moral values— are always those to be classified as consumption in-public items, such as drawing room furni ture, street clothing, dinner parties, etc*
CONCLUSIONS In the preceeding chapters we have considered the
between patterns of consumption and the systems of social stratification in Tzintzuntzan, Ponape, Ngoni and Ankara* Ponape and Ngoni are cultures within which two different economic systems, the prestige economy and the subsistence economy, are distinct. On the other hand, Tzintzuntzan and both Old and New Ankara are societies in which the two types of economy can be isolated only with difficulty since both prestige and subsistence values are expressed in terms of money.
Nevertheless, in the degree to which the systems of social
stratification of these cultures are similar to each other, the display of wealth (modes of conspicuous consumption as indices of social status) tends to show similar characteristics and vice versa* In the societies of Tzintzuntzan, Old Ankara and Ngoni systems lack vertical mobility, either because the status is ascribed (Ngoni) or because of rarity of opportunity for change in status (Old Ankara and Tzintzuntzan) consumption, although conspicuous, is not emulative. Social status in Old Ankara was not fixed by birth.
If a person
altered or attempted to alter his status he would not be subject to legal punishments or even censure, as he would in societies with ascrib ed status.
However, in actuality, the chances for change of status,
particularly as compared with contemporary conditions, were extremely limited.
In olden days it was probable that three or Tour generations
of hard work and diligence could still not enable a family to attain the hi^h status which today some individuals may gain by the time they have reached middle age.
The ways of the families who kept their old
standards reflect this static stratification by their lack of desire to change their statuses.
In fact, it is seen that Ankara’s old fash
ioned families who belonged to either the lower or the upper classes in the old system of stratification did not compete with each other.
their consumption patterns also the lower class group had neither the means nor the desire to compete with the lavish display of the upper classes.
Among the Ngoni, where status is ascribed, in well defined
terms, the status of aristocracy is indicated mainly by other types of accumulated wealth.
For a commoner even to look after the cattle is
out of the question, let alone to emulate the general behavior of the aristocrats.
In Tzintzuntzan neither emulation nor a great amount of
lavish consumption is observed, since there the population is not dif ferentiated into a clear social stratification.
The social stratification
system of Ponape ascribes superior status to the top chief and reserves to him the right to wear a coconut fiber skirt, to live in a house cov ered with pandanus, and to eat certain fishes and yams.
all of these societies conspicuous consumption has the function of being the indicator of status, and is non-emulative. In contrast, Ponape society, with the exception of the highest
chief, and New Ankara show an open social stratification.
is to be achieved and there is competition for it; here, consumption not j only assumes the function of being the means of climbing or of being I recruited into the upper ranks of stratification, but also has become intensely emulative*
In Ankara from the lower middle class up, families,
besides trying to have better possessions than their friends, charac teristically classify their consumption as nin—public" and nin-private,M and try to give the appearance of the upper classes whom they respect and imitate very closely*
In the upper stratum, in order to indicate
the status and power they enjoy, families display conspicuously in every aspect of their consumption*
They also compete with each other
for the highest status by striving to be thought unique in terms of conspicuous consumption, by leading in dress-styles, for example, or by collecting expensive antiques*
In Ponape also, people compete to grow
and display on formal occasions the biggest yams, or to have the oldest pit breadfruit, so that they can hold higher titles within the ascribed limits of their clans*
They even go hungry sometimes instead of eating
large yams they intend to display publicly at a feast* However, in any one of these cultures, emulative or non-emulative, the ceiling for the display of wealth is relative to the possible accumu lation of wealth and economic surplus*
Old Ankara families and Ngoni
aristocrats display their silver or cattle on infrequent occasions, since their wealth can be accumulated only with much diligence over a long period of time. occur periodically.
Also, Ponapean feasts in which yams are displayed On the other hand, in the Ankara of today, where,
114 at least theoretically, there is no limit to the possibilities of ac cumulating wealth, any place and any time may function as an occasion for the conspicuous consumption of almost any economic good, particu larly in the lives of members of the upper class* Although the material is not complete enough to permit a definite statement, it seems that, in changing cultures such as Ponape, Ngoni, and New Ankara, the old stratification tends to overlap to a great degree with the new one, so that the Euroamericanized families of these cultures usually spring from the higher classes, if not from the top ranks, of the old order, since the rank does not bother to con form to the change as they are sure of their place*
It is evident also
that the families which maintain their isolated position, which are still obtaining their living in the old ways— in short, the families I which have kept their social stimulus field as narrow as it was before their culture came into contact with others— still belong to the old system of social stratification*
Among the families which have increased
their relationships with outsiders, enlarged their social stimulus fields, and acquired new ways to accumulate wealth, however, certain new con sumption items receive more rapid acceptance*
Some of the old patterns
are retained much longer than others, while still others come to have changed meanings*
In Ankara, for instance, among middle class families
the consumption items which are classified as "in-public" are changed long before the "in-private” consumption items change*
public11 consumption items in strong conflict with old religious and moral values, such as women1s head gear, are reinterpreted, and new goods, such as western hats, have assumed new moral values.
In Ponape, the display
115 of Euroamerican consumption goods such as furniture and dresses during the process of acculturation is modified by the behavior pattern of modesty belonging to the old prestige economy.
Among the Ngoni, on the
other hand, the people who have become wealthy in recent years still prefer to transfer their money to cattle, the old form of wealth. It is apparent from the materials treated in the preceding pages that the patterns of consumption in a given culture are not only a function of the utilization of available natural resources in terms of the technological development of the culture, but also of the dif ferent customs, traditions and institutions existing in the culture. Aside from inter-cultural differences in consumption norms, within a given culture everyone does not, by any means, consume goods similarly, whether this has to do with types or amounts of items consumed.
entiation of consumption according to social stratification or other status orientations is, however, the most significant aspect of this process. At the turn of the century, for the first time, Veblen pointed out that consumption is never exclusively for the satisfaction of bio logical needs, but has another equally important function— to indicate the social status of the consumer.
The group he designated as the
leisure class, who control the wealth and tend to free themselves from ■morvnfli occupations, are in a position to show their advantageous position by "specialized consumption of goods."
This kind of socially important
consumption was called by Veblen "conspicuous consumption," a process whereby status is maintained by the lavish and "wasteful" display of goods and services.
Today it has become a truism that the lavish
116 consumption of goods for the purpose of gaining and maintaining prestige and status is among the most important and consistent economic mecha nisms of most cultures, and the variation in form and mode of conspicu ous consumption in different localities and at different periods in history seems to be enormous. However, until now no attempt has been mad© to explain the dynamic principle involved in these wide variations of conspicuous con sumption or in the relationship between consumption norms and social stratification. Certain features of the various systems of social stratification that have been studied seem to b© responsible for these variations*
most general feature is that the members of a society ar© differentiated in terms of gradation in prestige and status*
The degree of vertical
movement possible within a system is the second characteristic*
in a given society can be ascribed or achieved; in the case of achieved status, however, the actual opportunity to achieve higher status varies from one society to another*
Patterns of consumption in general, and
modes of conspicuous consumption in particular, differ in accordance with these features of social stratification*
When status is ascribed
or where for some other reason, vertical movement is lacking, conspicuous consumption acts as an "indicator” of
status and is non-emulative.
the other hand when status is achieved, where there is competition to enhance status, conspicuous consumption which then functions as the means of climbing to higher status, is emulative. Moreover apparently conspicuous consumption tends to approach the limits set by hebitfltand technology on the accumulation of economic surplus and the amount and intensity of conspicuous consumption whether emulative or non-emulative, depends upon the relative ease
117 and speed with which wealth may be accumulated.
Where wealth is to
be accumulated only with difficulty, and through generations, the display of wealth occurs on limited occasions.
Where wealth consists of
agricultural products that can not be kept for long periods, conspicu ous consumption takes the form of periodic feasts where, as in western cultures wealth can be accumulated quickly and with ease, and where there appear to be no upper limits to this accumulation, conspicuous consumption in every day life and diffused emulation in regard to every item consumed is present.
Thus we observe not only the differentiation
of conspicuous consumption from subsistence consumption in general but also close realtionships between patterns of conspicuous consumption and both social stratification and economic surplus.
w m m r
K£U£aa» A wool blanket which resembles th© blfmkets mr^rmx by Indians
pads. £ & m 4$ mfctsraBS placed on wooden planks
«a^porMl by woo&es* horses.*
It im coverod either with carpet-
etetbE:and £© backed by hard #tm»«£$ixei piXloys* upholstered with Charshaf* Z l b
the same mtti&ML m
th© ©ouch ocnrer*
A large pie©# -of cloth wrapped around bh© body and head. l
xmM. b y imsnm* -
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Gold Coast and the Slum. Chicago: 1929.
M&beeeel B©lik8 b o m February 20, 1923, Tzmir, Turkey. Mueational careers Graduate, Tszmir Eiz Ligesi (secondary education) 1940 Graduate, University of Ankara (degree of licence) 1944 BuS* University ©f Ankara ( in Sociology) 1947 Graduate study in Anthropology, Northwestern University, 1947-1950 Held Northwestern University Fellowship, 1948-1949 Elected at Northwestern to full member of Sigma Xi society.