Process in Social Boundaries
A Study of Processes in the Isolation of Selected Rural and Urban Communities
Christopher D. Freudenberg
University of Sussex
MA Thesis, 1970
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|Table of Contents|
|1.||Introduction: Social Process and Social Form|
|1.1.1.||Usefulness of Contrast|
|1.2.||Criticisms of Redfield Model|
|1.2.1.||Limited Value of Contrast with urban society|
|1.2.2.||Limited Usefulness of Continuum for Prediction|
|1.3.||Sources of Criticism|
|1.3.1.||Miner: Little Utility if no predictive value|
|1.3.2.||F. Barth: use of terms social process and social form|
|2.||Ethnographic Data on European Village Communities|
|2.0.1.||Villagers Conception of the Boundary|
|2.0.2.||Environment in which this conception exists|
|18.104.22.168. Social Isolation|
|22.214.171.124. Geographical Isolation|
|2.1.2.||Villagers Conception of the Boundary|
|2.1.3.||Environment of conception of boundary between village and outside|
|126.96.36.199. Geographical Isolation|
|188.8.131.52. Social Isolation|
|184.108.40.206.1. Communication Facilities|
|220.127.116.11.2. Outside Institutions Operating in the Village|
|18.104.22.168.3. Economic Dependence|
|22.214.171.124.4. Values Contributing towards Isolation|
|2.1.4.||Summary and Conclusion|
|2.2.||Belmonte De Los Caballeros|
|2.2.2.||Villagers Conception of the Boundary between Village and Outside|
|126.96.36.199. Attitudes towards the City|
|188.8.131.52. Outsiders in General|
|2.2.3.||Environment in which the Conception Exists|
|184.108.40.206. Geographical Isolation|
|220.127.116.11. Social Isolation|
|18.104.22.168.1. Specialist Services Used|
|22.214.171.124.2. Government in the Village|
|126.96.36.199.3. Values contributing towards Isolation|
|188.8.131.52.4. Economic Isolation|
|184.108.40.206.5. Generation Conflict|
|2.2.4.||Summary and Conclusion|
|2.3.2.||Villagers Conception of the Boundary between Village and Outside|
|220.127.116.11. Geographical Isolation|
|18.104.22.168. Social Isolation|
|22.214.171.124.1. Marriage Patterns|
|126.96.36.199.2. Outside Institutions in the village|
|188.8.131.52.3. Economic Integration|
|2.4.||Comparisons and Contrasts|
|3.||The Variety of Boundaries|
|3.1.||Correlations and Peculiarities in the Table concluding Section 2|
|3.1.2.||Peculiarities in the Table|
|184.108.40.206. Peyrane transient population|
|220.127.116.11. Integration of Maltese Villagers|
|18.104.22.168. Distrust between Peyranes|
|22.214.171.124. Ambivalence towards outsiders of Belmonte Villagers|
|3.1.3.||The Significance of these peculiarities: The Variety of Boundaries|
|3.2.||The Variety of Boundaries Manifested in the Data|
|126.96.36.199. Village as a Unit|
|188.8.131.52. Family and Individual as Units|
|184.108.40.206. Wider Units|
|220.127.116.11. Village as a unit|
|18.104.22.168. Family or Individual as a Unit|
|22.214.171.124. Wider Unit|
|126.96.36.199. Village as a Unit|
|188.8.131.52. Wider Unit|
|4.||Wider Application of Mode of Analysis Used in 2|
|4.1.2.||Conceptions of Boundaries|
|184.108.40.206. Security and Feeling of Belonging|
|220.127.116.11. The Family|
|4.1.3.||Environment of Conceived Boundaries|
|18.104.22.168. Family Ties|
|22.214.171.124. 'Getting on' and Family Warmth|
|4.2.2.||Conception of Boundaries|
|126.96.36.199. Block and Street Sentiment|
|188.8.131.52. Preference not to Move Away|
|4.2.3.||Environment of Conceived Boundary|
|184.108.40.206. Intimacy of the Family|
|220.127.116.11. Outsiders within Bethnal Green|
|18.104.22.168. Employment Opportunities|
|22.214.171.124. Similar Nature of Jobs|
|126.96.36.199. Speaking to the 'Guv'nor'|
|4.3.2.||Conception of a Boundary|
|188.8.131.52. 'Getting on'|
|4.3.3.||Environment of Conceived Boundaries|
|5.1.||Tautology, dependent and independent Variables|
|5.2.||Structuralists and Post Structuralists|
|5.3.||Relevance of Points in "Ethnic Groups and Boundaries" by F. Barth and Colleagues|
The aim of this thesis is to show how studies in terms of the concept social form are less useful than studies based on the concept of social process. An article by Robert Redfield is taken as an example of a study in terms of social form. The aim is to understand the assumptions of those who use each of the concepts and to assess their significance for the greater understanding of the mechanics of social behaviour.
After discussing Redfield's study in Section 1, I argue for the usefulness of studies based on the concept social process. I decide to concentrate on one aspect of his model: the isolation of the community from other communities and all those things which form part of the environment of that community.
In Section 2 I follow up this primary interest by seeking variables which cause or are caused by isolation in three village communities in Southern Europe. Having found that there are a number of relevant variables I decide to (a) have a main emphasis on one which I think is somewhat logically independent of other variables and (b) observe how this one variable is different in different villages and so in different environments. My discovery of some correlation between variables in the villages examined gives me sufficient confidence to make general statements about how isolation is caused in village communities. It also gives me sufficient confidence to say how inaccurate it often is to talk only of isolation as referring to that of the village.
In Section 3 I discuss how the isolated units in the villages considered are in.fact a variety of entities which exist in some cases within the village and in others include sections of the village and others outside the village, and in yet others include all people from outside as well as all members of the village. There are degrees of boundedness and this depends on the content of the relationships within the entity and may or may not depend on geographical circumstances.
Having realised that the mode of approach I use in Section 3 could be relevant to other kinds of community I proceed in Section 4 to subject data on three British urban community s tudies to the same treatment as was given to the three village studies. I examine the conception of boundaries and their environments in these communities and find that useful similarities and differences between the village and urban data are present and that the mode of approach is useful in revealing this understanding.
Finally in Section 5 I indicate that I am satisfied that I have shown the limits of the mode of approach of Redfield and the usefulness of that recommended by Miner, Barth and also Van Velsen whose argument I describe in this section, and that in fact I have added to the understanding of the isolation of village and urban communities. I also consider points made by Barth in his new book "Ethnic Groups and boundaries".
Redfield in his article "The Folk Society" (M.S. L11 No.4. 1947) concentrates on making contrasts between Folk societies and modern urbanised societies. In this section I try to assess the usefulness of Redfield's Folk-Urban continuum as described in the above mentioned article as a means for the greater understanding of the workings of peasant and urban communities. I criticise Redfield, using as sources for this criticism work by Horace Miner, Oscar Lewis and Frederik Barth. Further argument in the thesis derives from this critique.
The folk-urban continuum must be seen as an early attempt to improve on Max Webers "Ideal Type" model. The poles of the continuum are like two building blocks which must be elaborated into statements about variables in order to account for change and process. It may have been useful ten years ago but not now in the Redfieldian sense. Now we must break dow n the building blocks into their basic variables. In this thesis I try to do this with just a small part of the Redfield model: that which concerns isolation. The first section. which is an ennumeration of Redfield's argument and its critics, provides a contrast to the analysis in subsequent sections which are concerned only with isolation of communities.
The argument in this section goes in the following steps. I describe first the Redfield model presented in his paper "The Folk Society". I then ennumerate criticisms which can be made about the model: the limited value of using contrasts and not similarities; his concentration on the Folk end of the continuum; its limited usefulness for prediction. I then discuss the arguments of the authors of these criticisms. I conclude by saying that the procedures recommended by these critics, that is the concentration on the determinants of social form, content, process and continuities in the society under consideration, increase the usefulness of anthropological studies for making predictions about possible directions of change and for finding some universal characteristics of human social life.
Redfield's article is based on the assumptions that understanding of complex societies can be gained by examining societies which contrast with it, and that peasant societies have features in common which can be regarded as a type which will make this contrast with complex urban societies. Redfield says:
"Understanding of society in general and of our own modern urbanised society in particular, can be gained through consideration of societies least like our own" ... "The further assumption made here is that folk societies have certain features in common which enable us to think of them as a type - a type which contrasts with the society of the modern city."
The article is therefore a presentation of the characteristics which he identifies as making folk societies like each other and different from the modern city.
There follows now an outline of Redfield's description of Folk society. Much of the description is in Redfield's own words.
i) Small: The folk society is a small society. There are no more people in it than can come to know it well and they remain in long association with each other.
ii) Isolated: The folk society is an isolated society. Probably there is no real society whose members are in complete ignorance of the existence of people other than themselves. Nevertheless the folk societies we know are made up of people who have little communication with outsiders, and we may conceive of the ideal folk society as composed of persons having communication with no outsider.
iii) Stable: In building the ideal type we may conceive of the members of the society as remaining always within.the small territory they occupy.
iv) Non-literate: The folk communicate only by word of mouth. Through books people communicate with the minds of other people and other times and an aspect of the isolation of the folk society is the absence of books. Therefore communication upon which understanding is built is only that which takes place among neighbours within the little society itself.
v) Homogeneous: The people who make up a folk society are much alike. Having lived in long intimacy with one another and with no others, they have come to form a single biological type. What one man knows and believes is the same as what all men know and believe. Since the people communicate with one another and with no others. One man's learned ways of thinking are the same as another's.
vi) Strong sense of group solidarity: The members of the folk society have a strong sense of belonging together. Communicating intimately with each other, each has a strong claim on the sympathies of theothers.
vii) No division of labour: There is not much division of labour in the folk society; what one person does is what another does. In the ideal folk society all the tools and ways of production are shared by everybody.
viii) Economic independence: The ideal folk society is, as a group, economically independent of all others. The people produce what'they consume and consume what they produce.
ix) Behaviour is traditional, spontaneous and uncritical: The ways in which the members of the society meet the recurrent problems of life are conventionalized ways; they are the results of long intercommunication within the group in the face of these problems. These conventionalized ways have become interrelated with one another so that they form a coherent and self consistent system. Such a system is what we mean in saying that the folk society is characterised by a "culture". A culture, is an organisation or integration of conventional understandings. The folk society exhibits culture to the greatest conceivable degree. Behaviour is thus strongly patterned. There are fundamental principles which are understood by all. The ends of folk society are taken as given. What is done is done because it seems necessarily to flow from the nature of things. There is no disposition to reflect upon traditional acts and to consider them objectively and critically.
x) No Science. No critical examination of knowledge: Legislation has no part in the law of the ideal folk society, neither has codification, still less jurisprudence. There is common practical knowledge but there is no science. Behaviour in the folk society is highly conventional and knowledge is not critically examined or objectively and systematically formulated.
xi) Personal contact: Behaviour is personal, not impersonal. Many relationships are familial. In so far as the consanguine lines are well defined the folk society may be thought of as composed of families rather than individuals. It is the familial group that act and are acted upon. There is strong solidarity within the kinship group and the individual is responsible to all his kin as they are responsible to him.
xii) Sacred: The value of every traditional act or object or institution is, thus, something which the members of the society are not disposed to call into question; and should the value be called into question, the doing so is resented. This characteristic of the folk society may be briefly referred to by saying that it is a sacred society. In folk society one may not, without calling into effect negative social sanctions, challenge as valueless what has come to be traditional in that society.
Towards the end of the paper Redfield again refers to the usefulness of making contrasts with urban society. He says:
"The conception sketched here takes on meaning if the folk society is seen in contrast to the modern city. The vast, complicated, and rapidly changing world in which the urbanite and even the urbanised country-dweller live today is enormously different from the small, inward-facing folk society, with its well-integrated and little changing moral and religious conceptions. At one time all men lived in these little folk societies. For many thousands of years men must have lived so; urbanised life began only very recently, as the long history of men on earth is considered, and the extreme development of a secularised and swift changing world society is only a few generations old.
The tribal groups that still remain around the edges of expanding civilisation are the small remainders of this primary state of living. Considering them one by one, and in comparison with the literate or semi-literate societies, the industrialized societies and the semi-industrialized societies, we may discover how each has developed forms of social life in accordance with its own special circumstances."
Having outlined the points made in Redfield's paper "The Folk Society" I now consider criticisms which have been levelled against it. From these criticisms I derive the essential argument of the paper in favour of concern with social process rather than social form.
The following criticisms can be made about Redfield's model.
In his article Redfield concentrates on the folk end of the continuum. This is the essence of his argument: that more knowledge can be gained about a phenomenon by studying its opposite. Although one gains understanding of something by finding out what it is not, this does not necessarily tell us what it is. Redfield's study is useful for the understanding of the folk end of the continuum but the continuum is unsatisfactory without greater elaboration on what stands at the other pole. There is only cursory mention of characteristics which are distinctly urban.
Oscar Lewis has argued that this emphasis on the folk end of the continuum is part of an assumption that primitive society is somehow inherently better than complex, urban society. Lewis says that:
"... underlying the folk-urban dichotomy as used by Redfield, is a system of value judgments which contains... the notion of Primitive people as noble savages, and the correlation that with civilisation has come the fall of man ... It is assumed that all folk societies are the great disorganising force." ("Life in a Mexican Village", p.432)
Miner is his article "The folk urban continuum" (A.J.S. Oct. 1952) questions this criticism. He feels that this sort of value judgment is not really inherent in the continuum. I would agree with this but still criticise his concentration on the folk end of the continuum. Whether or nor Lewis is correct in making this criticism, Redfield can for another reason be criticised for his emphasis on the folk end of the continuum.
If one is only interested in the folk end of the continuum this emphasis might be legitimate. However, the usefulness of the continuum is considerably increased. If it can be also used to understand societies which are relatively less near the folk end of the continuum yet not urban. The lack of definition of the urban end of the continuum and the emphasis on contrasts without consideration of similarities means that the usefulness for understanding societies which are less near the folk ideal type is limited.
This criticism that Redfield's continuum has limited usefulness gives perhaps a hint that the essential criticism that I wish to make concerns not the detail of his study but the mode of approach. The criticisms which I have mentioned up till now are really only symptoms of a more pervasive ailment. The usefulness of the continuum for making predictions about what takes place in other societies which have characteristics which can be located on the continuum, or the effect of changes in one or other of the characteristics on the continuum for the society as a whole.
Before going on to elaborate on this criticism, I should point out that I am to some extent doing Redfield an injustice by introducing the criterion that continua, such as that presented by Redfield, should be capable of being used for making predictions. Redfield says himself that his aims were limited:
"The function (of the ideal type which forms one end of the continuum) is to suggest aspects of real societies which deserve study, and especially to suggest hypotheses as to what, under certain defined conditions, may be true about society."
He wanted to suggest hypotheses, not to test them. He thus did not intend to use his analytic framework to make predictions. But he did want to understand "reality":
"The type (folk society contrasted with urban society) is an imagined entity,. created only because, through it we may hope to understand reality".
My claim is that with his framework he will not be able to understand how societies which are similar to his ideal type change or are relatively similar or different.
These criticisms which I now discuss will I hope show how a more useful mode of approach can be used.
I turn now to the sources of my criticism.
Miner in his discussion of the folk end of the continuum points out an important aspect of Redfield's paper which is the essence of my criticism of Redfield and the essence of this section. Miner makes several criticisms of Redfield's framework. One of them is that it has limited theroretic insight. He cites previous criticisms as having already made this point:
"G. R. Murdock has criticised the folk urban concept because it does. not make use of historical, (or) functional theory and method (A.A. 1943 pp 133-136). Melville Herskovitz antedates Lewis in dissatisfaction with the type categories because they emphasise form rather than process." (1948 pp 604-7)
These criticisms point up accurately the basic nature of the continuum. It does deal with the form rather than with the content of culture traits. As a predictive device it is a weak hypothesis. This doubtless accounts for the fact that Redfield does not refer to it as a hypothesis at all.
"It will place the continuum in its proper perspective if we ask what utility remains for it if it provides little ... predictive value and if no theory concerning function and process is involved." (Miner 1952, my underlining)
It is Redfield's concern with form rather than process and content of culture traits which I wish to explain and criticise.
Miner does not explain very clearly what he means by form, content, and process nor does he go sufficiently into the significance of the words. He does not explain in any detail why he thinks that dealing with the content rather than the process of culture traits renders the continuum more useful. I wish in the subsequent part of this paper to explain what I understand these terms to mean and how they can contribute to the greater usefulness of the continuum.
Fredrik Barth uses the words in his paper "On the study of Social Change" (A.A. Vol. 69 No. 6, Dec. 1967). An examination of his arguments and the context in which he uses the words helps to explain how I interpret Miner's criticism of Redfield's folk urban continuum.
Barth feels that if we want to understand social change, we need concepts that allow us to observe and describe the events of change.
"The reason," he says, "for the social anthropologist's impasse when he tries to add change to his traditional description of social systems is found in the basic characteristics of the descriptive concepts we habitually use. We wish to characterise groups, societies or cultures and to do this we have to aggregate individual observations. We generally think of the procedure as one where we aggregate individual cases of behaviour to patterns of behaviour specifying the common features of the individual cases. Such patterns we think of as customs: stereotype forms of behaviour that are required and correct..."
"This kind of morphologocal concept of custom as the minimal element of form has been fundamental to our thinking because it serves a useful purpose. It allows us to aggregate individual cases into a macro system and to maintain the connection between the two levels..."
"But such a concept of custom makes the pattern as a whole unobservable except as exemplified in the stereotyped aspects of each individual case - the aggregate pattern can never be observed by measurement and change in a pattern or change from one pattern to another is even less observable."
"A statistical view of the practice of customs does not provide a way out ... We need rather to use concepts that enable us to depict the pattern itself as a statistical thing; as a set of frequencies and alternatives."
Barth is thus concerned to:
"isolate the underlying determinant of social forms, so as to see how changes in them generate changing social systems...."
Barth's interest in the events of change is stated clearly in the following. He feels that
"It is important for social anthropologists to realise that we further our understanding of social change by using concepts that make the concrete events of change available for observation and systematic description.
"This analytic perspective stands in marked contrast to the anthropological predilections for going from a generalised concept of social form to a list of lprd-requisites' for this general type."
This is the essence of Barth's argument in favour of concern with content rather than form. He says that approaches that rely on typologies of overt social forms (viz Redfield) will not provide as ready insights into the nature of social change.
Barth makes two further points. He argues in favour of
"... the necessity for specification of the nature of the continuity in a sequence of change, and the processual analysis that this entails,"
"... The importance of the study of institutionalisation as an ongoing process."
These two arguments are the basis of Barth's emphasis on the concrete events of change. He says that to speak about change one needs to.be able to specify the nature of the continuity between the situations discussed under the rubric of change.
Barth illustrates his argument by citing material from the Fur. In the example the way in which household organisation changes from one form to another is described.
Fur household organization is one where each adult individual is an economic unit for himself: each man or woman produces essentially what he or she needs for food and cash., and has a separate purse. Husband and wife have certain customary obligations toward each other: among other services, a wife must cook and brew for her husband, and he must provide her with clothes for herself and their children. But each of the two cultivates separate fields and keeps provisions in separate grain stores.
This arrangement can be depicted as a system of allocations (Figure 1). A woman must allocate a considerable amount of her time varying with the season, to agricultural production. By virtue of the marriage contract, she is also constrained to allocate time to cooking and to brewing beer for her husbandi
The husband, on his side, owes it to his wife to allocate some of his cash to consumption goods for her. Such patterns of, allocation are thus one way of describing the structure of Fur family and household.
Some of these Fur couples change their mode of life and become nomadic pastoralists like the surrounding Baggara Arabs (cf. Haaland 1967). Together with this change in subsistence patterns one finds a change in family and household form, in that such couples establish a joint household. Their allocations change, as compared with those of normal Fur villagers (Figure 2). The husband specializes in the activities that have to do with herding and husbandry, while thewoman cultivates some millet, churns butter and markets it, and cooks food. They have a joint grain store and.a joint purse and make up a unit for consumption.
In the anthropological tradition, one might reasonably formulate the hypothesis that what we observe here is a case of acpulturation: as part of the change to a Baggara Arab way of life they also adopt the Arab household form. This manner of describing the course of change implies a very concrete view of household organisation as one of the parts of Arab culture, a set of customs that people can take over.
Fortunately, the ethnographic material provides us with a test case for the acculturation hypothesis: some Fur cultivators in villages where they have no contact with Arab horticultural populations, have recently taken up fruit-growing in irrigated orchards as a specialized form of cash-crop production. Among such Fur too, one finds joint households, but with a slightly different pattern of allocation (Figure 3). Here the conjugal pair make a unit both for production and consumption, jointly cultivating the orchard and sharing the returns.
To maintain the force of the acculturation explanation of the form of the nomad households, one would have to look for similar factors in the case of the orchard cultivators and hypothesize a change in values and acculturation to modern life among them. But it is difficult to see the sources of influence for such acculturation; more importantly, a restatement of the nature of the continuity provides opportunities for other kinds of hypotheses. If we agree that behaviour in households is determined by several kinds of constraints, that all behaviour is "new" in that it constitutes allocations of time, and resources made or renewed in the moment of action and that households persist because their forms are, recreated by behaviour each day, then we need to ask what the other determinants of these allocations are. To explain a changing pattern of activities, we need not hypothesize changed categorizations and values: we can also look at the changed circumstances that may well make other allocations optimal when evaluated by the same standards.
Indeed, the traditional range of behaviour and allocations in a Fur village indicates that the Fur do not subscribe to any kind of prohibition in joint conjugal households - such arrangements are just not very convenient. A fair autonomy of husband and wife is regarded as a good thing, and joint economic pursuits are a potential field for conflict. Moreover, the techniques of millet cultivation are such that persons work individually in any case; and where a person desires help during peak seasons, he or she can mobilize labour in bulk through a beer work party. In the case of irrigated cash crops, on the other hand, the horticultural techniques are such that is may be convenient to cooperate. Persons with neighboring plots often do so; occasionally a husband and wife will also decide to cultivate a joint field because they "like" to work together and because they can partly take turns at irrigation, etc., partly co-operate.
The advantages of this jointness in cultivation are rather limited, only slightly reducing the labour input required for the same result, and few spouses choose to work jointly. But in a situation where one of the spouses can specialise in herding, the other in cultivation and dairying, co-operation offers great advantages. Similarly. when a pooling of labour in specialized arboriculture and fruit-picking gives far greater returns than millet cultivation, it is also clearly to the advantage of both spouses to go together over production and share the product jointly.
One may hypothesize a persistence of values in all these different situations: (a) a preference for husband-wife autonomy, and (b) a preference for the minimization of effort in production. How can spouses further these interests in different situations where environmental constraints change? Where effective production can be pursued individuallyy, persons will be able simultaneously to maximize both interests. Where pooling of labour in orchards gives great returns with limited effort, this allocation on the balance gives the greatest advantage to both spouses. Where they thus have a joint share in the product, it is difficult and meaningless to divide it up when the mutual obligations of cooking and clothing tie the spouses together anyway for certain aspects of consumption - so joint households are generated. Finally, where complementarity and co-operation are not only advantageous but necessary, as in a nomadic setting, the necessary allocations will similarly create a joint household, organized on a slightly different pattern from that of the orchard owners. It is by considering all the factors of continuity in the situation of change - in this case both valuational and technical-economic - that we are in a position to formulate and choose among the full range of relevant hypotheses.
In this example, then, we find that change in household form is generated by changes in one variable: the relative advantage of joint production over separate production. This is hardly a surprising conclusion. But if we attack the problem in terms of a typology of household forms, we might be led to classify household type I (individual households for each persons) and household type II (joint conjugal households) as very different forms and to worry about how type I changes into type II, which is like worrying about how the fish changes into the crab. Yet the situation is clearly not one where one household body changes into another household body; it is one where husband-wife sets, under different circumstances, choose to arrange their life differently. By being forced to specify the nature of the continuity we are forced to specify the processes that generate a household form. We see the same two people making allocations and judging results in two different situations, or we see a population of spouses performing allocations in a pattern that generates predominantly individual households in one opportunity situation, joint households in another. We are led to seek the explanations for change in the determinants of form, and the mechanisms of change in the processes that generate form.
In our efforts to understand social change, this general viewpoint shifts our attention from innovation to institutionalization as the critical phase of change. People make allocations in terms of the pay-offs that they hope to obtain, and their most adequate bases for predicting these pay-offs are found in their previous experience or in that of others in their community. The kinds of new ideas that occur can no more determine the direction of social change than mutation rates can determine the direction of physical change. Whatever ideas people may have, only those that constitute a practicable allocation in a concrete situation will be effected. And if you have a system of allocations going - as you always must where you can speak of change - it will be the rates and kinds of pay-offs of alternative allocations within that system that determine whether they will be adopted, that is, institutionalized. The main constraints on change will thus be found in the system, not in the range of ideas for innovation, and these constraints are effective in the phase of institutionalization. (from A.A. Vol. 69, No. 6, Dec. 1967, my underlining).
Thus the essence of Barth's stress on interest in continuity and institutionalisation rather than innovation is that in, order to understand change one must examine what is old as well as what is new. The essential constraints of the whole system that is changing are: the events of change and the continuities.
I mentioned earlier Miner's criticism that the s tudy of society in terms of content or culture traits and process would be more useful than in terms of social form which lacked predictive ability. I criticised him for not explaining satisfactorily why such method would be more useful. It is because it helps to understand continuities in the culture traits and to assess how the process of change takes place. Understanding continuities is useful because change derives from the existing social and ecological system and not just from innovation.
Max Gluckman has pointed out the dilemma that is the anthropologist
"... presents all the data, we cannot see the structure within it; if he emphasised the structure he loses much of the process of actual social life on which he has gathered voluminous data. The dilemma is aggravated when we come to consider changes of various kinds; for the more we describe change of all kinds in detail, the less we can analyse the structure of what we are seeing; the more accurately and carefully we delineate the structural relations within the data, the more we lose the movement and change." Vol. 20, No. 2, 1968)
I hope that in this section I have hinted that the dilemma is not insuperable. The method of approach which I have discussed, concentrating on content and process rather than forms, taking an example from the Fur that is: specifying the nature of the continuity between husband-wife sets who under different circumstances choose to arrange their life differently, so specifying the processes that generate a household form,) offers a means by which we can concentrate on certain aspects of the society. It also helps us to make more useful studies: to make predictions with an awareness of continuities and processes present in the society concerned. In Redfield's model it is impossible to do this because he is concerned with the behaviour not of individuals but of patterns of individuals, with social forms rather than their determinants. His model includes too many variables to be able to make reliable assessments of the mechanisms of social life. In the remainder of this thesis, by concentrating on a small part of Redfield's elaborate model. I wish to show how, by examining this in great detail in the mode suggested, information which is more useful for making predictions can be obtained.
The major conclusion from the previous section is that Redfield's model is too comprehensive to be useful. I wish to concentrate on one of his variables: the isolation of the community from other communities and all those things which might be part of the environment of that community. I thus deal with just one of Redfield's many variables.
There are a number of variables which relate to the isolation of a rural community. I select one which I think is logically independent of the other variables and observe its variation in different villages. I examine the villagers conception of a boundary between the village and the outside and the environment in which this exists. First I explain the variables which I have used in the following analysis.
By conception of boundary I mean values and beliefs which show how villagers see a geographical limit to affairs which are their direct concern. This includes especially what villagers say about outsiders. By examining the conception of boundaries and their environment we can assess the possible groups in which villagers can participate.
In considering the environment in which this conception exists the following aspects of the village could relate to the presence of a boundary between the village and the outside and are not purely verbal conceptions of this boundary.
184.108.40.206. Social Isolation
Firstly the extent to which the local and the wider systems of organisation are different:
There are a number of factors concerned with the degree of mutual understanding between the local community and the outside, i.e. the extent to which there is imperfect or limited communication between the local community and the outside, the extent to which there are
Also the presence and activity of outside institutions in the village: The state representatives in the village (villagers or outsiders), authority exercised in the village; the church, priests in the village, edicts issued from the different levels of authority affecting the local community; political parties in the form of representatives and activities within the local community.
Also the access to resources of the local community compared with that of outside authorities who might want to exert influence on villagers and village affairs.
Also the extent of exogamy of villagers from the local community.
Also the mobility of members of the local community: visits by villagers to the outside or by outsiders to the village whether permanent or temporary.
220.127.116.11. Geographical Isolation
Secondly the conception of the boundary with the outside by villagers may be determined by the geographical isolation of the community. The size of the village and the dispersal of its population and communication facilities, are important concomiyant factors here.
All these factors in some way or other relate to the autonomy, separation or differentiation of the local community or family from outsiders.
In the following paragraphs I outline the factors which make Peyrane a bounded community, separate from outsiders. I discuss the boundary as the villagers conceive it and then the factors which contribute to there being a separation between the village and the outside which are thus part of the environment in which this conception exists. But first I give an introductory description of the village.
Wylie's book "Village in the Vaucluse" is an account of most aspects of social life in the French village Peyrane as it was in 1950-1. A short section deals with 1960-1. No basic argument is made explicit in the book. It is a, descriptive account and has extensive information on a variety of subjects. It is my impression that interpretation is intended to be left to the reader.
In 1954 Peyrane had a population of 713, a decrease since 1886 when it was 1213. However, since the population is constantly changing this does not signify that a few have left the village and most have stayed. Few residents of Peyrane were born in the commune.
Peyrane is 35 miles east of Avignon and 4 miles from Apt, the nearest market town. By public transport it can take 7 hours to travel from Avignon. From Apt buses travel twice on three days of the week.
Most people need to go to Apt fairly often. They go to visit the market town officials, for professional services (of the doctor, lawyer), to the pharmacy, for the services of various craftsmen (e.g. the blacksmith. or garage mechanic), young people come to court. Saturday is the busiest day in Apt when people from surrounding villages visit Apt to conduct their affairs.
It is not clear how important farming is in Peyrane. Wylie does not give ary statistics on occupation. It is my impression that opportunities for villagers seeking work within the village are limited. In order to make ends meet, it is not uncommon for people to seek supplementary income by doing several jobs at one time. The fact that most Peyranes must visit Apt for specialist services suggests that there are few craftsmen or tradesmen in Peyrane.
Market gardening seems to be the main work of farmers. They grow vegetables and fruit. There is good annual rainfall, but uneven distribution throughout the year and the lack of irrigation facilities means that farmers can be in serious difficulties. Crops are damaged by heavy rainfall in spring and autumn and by the dry winters and summers.
Peyrane is perched on top of a hill surrounded on three sides by 200 ft. red ochre cliffs which stand out against the dull limestone of nearby areas. Ochre has been mined from the cliffs since at least 1901 but output is now diminishing; only about 20 people are employed in the mines now. The production of olives and grapes, all in the past important in Peyrane, is now very limited.
Villagers always say that one must never trust other villagers. But Wylie tells how he and his family were warned not to trust anybody, to lock their house whever they went out and never to leave valuables about when there were strangers in the house. They paid little attentiofi to these warnings and found no justification for this distrust which they were encouraged to have. However, even though people constantly acause each other of being dishonest. when it comes to an overt case of dishonesty with the possibility of an outsid or being involved, then he is at once suspected rather than any of themselves.
Wylie says that there is an unexpressed ideal to which people are expected to conform. This ideal is that one must decide that others don't matter. But everyone is aberrant in some way; no one can avoid being the target of gossip. The people of Peyrane say that the essence of wisdom lies in the injunction: Don't get involved with people. Only a handful of people in Peyrane succeed in following this injunc tion. Most people believe that it is wise to avoid involvement with other villagers insofar as it is possible. At the same time, contact with other people is important for them. By presenting a sociable front to other people while at the same time concealing what one feels to be ones true self, the people of Peyrane try to live with each other yet remain apart from each other.
So these families or individuals who conform to the Peyrane ideal and try to become isolated units within the village are few and have little respect from other villagers. In practice Peyrane villagers interact with each other and distinguish themselves from outsiders.
Villagers often refer to "Ils" when discussing the occurrence of events which are beyond their control. In Peyrane, the concept "ils" is used as a way of describing the "they" that threaten them from beyond the limits of the commune. I have referred to distrust between villagers. Against the outsiders who make up "ils", villagers have little defence. It is these rather than each other whom villagers have most justification for distrust.
The identity of "ils" varies. Usually it refers to the French government in all its manifestations, for it is the government which collects taxes, makes war, controls the wine production and employs impersonal civil servants.
Everyone in Peyrane would agree that it is the duty of the citizen not to co-operate with officials of the government. A man who has power over you, they say, is essentially evil, whatever government officials are supposed to be. For example, except for a few supporters of one party the voters of Peyrane say that the heads of their parties and of all other political parties, are a "Pile of bandits". Even people who are not in politics but in government are tainted by the corrupting force of power, Peyranes say. They become insensitive to the feelings of others.
Although there is this antagonism towards outsiders who have any authority over villagers or village affairs, villagers realise that in many respects they are dependent on them for their livelihood. People recognise the necessity of government, and on a rational level they recognise the necessity of a certain amount of civic spirit. However when they are confronted by the frustrations caused by these outside "ils", they fulminate against them. These outside "ils" are like the weather: they are necessities which one must accept, because that is.the way it is. ("Village in the Vaucluse", p.209). As yet this distrust has not been tempered by the fact that people receive extensive family allowances, sickness and unemployment, old age and many other benefits.
Peyranes, Wylie says, have become extremely sensitive, since the recent years of being pulled one way by the Third Republic and another by the BBC, one way by pro-German posters and another by the pro-American posters, to the fact that the outsiders are trying to manipulate them. In 1946, when Peyrane was liberated along with the rest of France, the chief of the local maguis (underground forces), Raoul Chanon, took over the government of the commune. A few hours afterward he received a telegram from the departmental Comite d'epuration saying: "Arrest the following collaborators - the Notary, the Mayor, the Town Clerk, the owner of the ochre mines, the principal grocer, the owner of the bus and taxi, the baker and several wealthy farmers. When Chanon read the telegram he did not hesitate. He tore it into pieces and said "Nous reglons nos affairs en famille!" Wylie says that no act and no phrase could have more completely captivated the people of Peyrane. Chanon had asserted the right of the people to manage their own affairs.
The successful political must thus seek the image which will give him the most support in the village. Siding with "ils" obviously will not help. He will not attain it by prying into people's affairs or by isolating himself from others, nor by working simply for the sake of the work. Wylie tells us that
"If we make a list of all the candidates - regardless of their party label - who have the reputation of being serieux, who mind their own business and seem indifferent to the affairs of other people, our list will coincide with the list of successful candidates ... The relations of these men with other people are sufficiently warm. But they are the kind of men who are never accused of prying into what does not concern them."
Wylie cites a further example where "ils" in its meaning defined above is used to explain a change over which villagers had no control. A housewife returns from the village store having made some purchases. On telling of an increase in the price of yarn the following comments are made: "So they've done it again, they raise the price first on wool, then on coffee, then on sugar, and now they're starting all over again". ("Village in the Vaucluse", p.272).
Although they are not ignored people are sceptical about radio broadcasts and newspapers. Wall postersare just propaganda and propoganda does not interest them. The cafe is the place for gathering information.
I have identified in Peyrane a strong distrust of outsiders. This is stronger than the distrust which exists between villagers. This in the current discussion represents a conception by villagers of a barrier between themselves and outsiders.
In the following section I consider the environment in which this conception exists.
The presence of the conception which I have described above 6ould.be effected by some or all of the following circumstances.
18.104.22.168. Geographical Isolation
It has already been said that public transportation to Peyrane is poor.
22.214.171.124. Social Isolation
126.96.36.199.1. Communication facilities
Communication facilities apart from by personal contact are far from those expected in our daily lives.
The hours of operation of the telephone are limited. For example, calling the doctor is not a simple matter if it is urgent, there being no doctor living in Peyrane. Between 9 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon he may be reached without difficulty. One has only to place a call from the post office in Peyrane to the village in which the doctor lives. At 5.00 P.m. the switchboards in both villages are closed, but the hotel in Peyrane has a special line that remains open until 11.00 p.m. and the police station has a line open all night. If the doctor is urgently needed one must, ask the police in his village to go to his house and call him on the phone. After 11 you have to go and fetch the doctor personally. ("Village in the Vaucluse", p.188).
Most families have a radio and most adults listen to some news broadcasts regularly. Most people have an opportunity to see a daily newspaper though it is impossible to say how much of the paper and what sort of articles are read. ("Village in the Vaucluse", p.213).
Since so many different kinds of people go to the cafe for different purposes and since few leave without chatting with the cafe owner and his wife, the establishment has naturally become the unofficial information bureau of the town. All the information and misinformation gathered by the extensive network of gossip circles throughout the community is eventually funnelled through the cafe. The doctor often calls in for an aperitif when he comes to town. People from outlying sections of the commune who come to the village only on official business at the town hall, drop into the cafe and leave news of their neighbourhood. Through the cafe owner the postman relays messages with which he is charged on his route. With these and many other sources of information at his disposal the cafe owner usually knows better than anyone else in the village the news of the community. ("Village in the Vaucluse", p.244).
Although films are shown every week, it is very rare that people show any strong feeling in reaction to the films. They react only insofar as they relate to situations in other films or experiences in their lives that are recalled by what they have seen.
At the time the study was carried out there was no television in the region.
188.8.131.52.2. Outside institutions operating in the village
The need for Peyranes to make frequent visits to Apt to conduct their affairs suggests that there are few specialist services within the village, yet villagers are dependent on them. However, it would be wrong to assume that the operation of outside institutions in the village is of minimal importance to the villagers' livelihood.
Many people in Peyrane receive family allowances, sickness, unemployment, old age and many other benefits. These allowances have become an important part of the economy of the village.
Peyranes are unable to execute decisions which concern village matters in all spheres. They are dependent on outside authorities. For example, it was agreed by the mayor and council that a new school should be built, the old one being in great disrepair. It was also agreed by the Ministry of Education and preparatory work went underway. However, just as it seemed certain that Peyrane would soon have a new school, difficulties began to arise. First there was a squabble among the people of the village over where the school be located. This argument was settled in favour of building it on the site of the old school. Then the administration of primary education and the administration of fine art, both sections of the Ministry of Education, could not agree. The administration of fine arts would not approve of the call for a modern building by the administration of primary, education on the grounds that a modern building would destroy the picturesque harmony of Peyrane. At this point everyone interested in the project began to despair. To secure the approval of one government agency for any purpose is difficult enough, but to get two government agencies to settle a difference and agree on a course of action is an almost impossible task. Several years later the new school of Peyrane still reposed in the Ministry of Education.
As well as having a derelict school building, the influence of the Ecole nouvelle, the indigenous progressive school movement developing in France today, had scarcely touched Peyrane. The school of Peyrane represents education in its traditional form as it has trained most French adults; it is not what French educators believe education should be, and it undoubtedly does not represent French education in the future. Parents however are very insistent that their children should attend regularly. Church:
The church seems to play a minor role in village affairs apart from at life crises. OnlY 37 villagers are practising Catholics. There are few communal celebrations. In 1956 the local priest died and the church was closed. Since the flock of Peyrane was not fervent enough to support a full-time priest a priest is sent up from Apt to say Mass on Sundays and on special occasions.
184.108.40.206.3. Economic Dependence
Every family in Peyrane is preoccupied with the question of increasing family resources to cover the cost of living. All people have in common the inevitable problem of supplementing income in order to make ends meet and everyone finds their own particular solution. Exchange of goods and services, gifts, social pressure, government allowances achieve this.
This need to cut corners, however, leaves its impressions on the village. It can be expected that there is distrust of anyone who might reduce ones daily income, especially outsiders whom they know less well and who could and do exercise considerable power over them.
I have already mentioned that there seem to be a lack of employment opportunities for Peyranes. ("Village in the Vaucluse", p.101).
Few resident Peyranes were born in the village. Most are from other towns around Apt and many come from still further away (the poorer regions of France, Italy, Spain, refugees fitom Alsace and Belgium who did not return home after the war). There is a transient population in Peyrane. Wylie estimates that between 1946 and 1959 as many as 3000 people could have lived in Peyrane.
Farmers' investment is affected by their lack of confidence that their children will remain in the village. For example, the market for grapes is almost saturated; the cultivation of apricot orchards would be better, but that means planting trees and waiting for them to bear fruit. Income would be postponed for several years. To plant trees one must have confidence in the future. Most of the farmers had the same reaction when this was discussed: "We know we should plant trees, but what's the use? Who knows if we and our children will be here by the time they start to bear?" In 1890 and 1900 the farmers of Peyrane planted oak orchards which would not bear truffles for six years - if indeed they were to bear anything. This sort of confidence has disappeared. Lucien, whose father was killed in the first world war and who spent five years as a prisoner in Germany during the second world war, spoke more bitterly than most people would, but he expressed a general point of view: "Plant an apricot orchard so the Russians and Americans can use it as a battlefield? Thanks, (I'm) not so dumb."
These latter points imply that the village acts as no barrier to the mobility of farmers today.
There are values and patterns of behaviour which. although not considered by villagers themselves as differentiating them, from outsiders, are distinctive to Peyrane.
Gossip, has some effect on people's behaviour. Although no doubt present in arenas outside the village, outsiders are not personally known to villagers as other villagers are. So any gossip which might take place outside the village about villagers and their affairs, would not come to the ears of villagers and so would not influence their behaviour.
Peyranes like gossiping. They are refreshed by a chance to talk about their problems. Wylie cites a case where a group of people relieved themselves by attacking the Jouvands, a family who to the proper inhabitants of Peyrane symbolised all that was not proper, the Mayor, the town clerk and the vague forces lying beyond the horizon of the vi1lage. They found consolation in talking about former days that were harder and former days that were easier.
No one in Peyrane can avoid being the target of gossip. You get criticised if you do something and you get criticism if you don't do it. This is an important part of the environment in which the beliefs, that mcBt decide that others don't matter and that one must not get involved with others, exists.
One of the things people can gossip about is whether a person is bien or brouille with other people in the village. The concepts embody a set of values which operated within the village and infrequently between persons in and others outside the village. If it does operate in this latter way it is probably with familial and other close ties.
"If you are brouille with someone it means literally that you have been mixed up with him: your mutual relationship has become confused. You have quarrelled and are now 'on the outs'. You have broken off relations...
The opposite of being brouille with someone is being, bien with him. Being bien ensemble means being 'in' with each other; being on friendly terms. You support each other in your brouilles and you may even participate in them. When you need someone to do a favour you can count on the friend with whom you are bien" ("Village in the Vaucluse", p.196).
If you are neither bien nor brouille with someone then you have little to do with him. Wylie says that many people in the village are either bien or brouille with each other. Those who live in a remote part of the commune or others with whom one has little contact do not have feelings of brouille or bien to villagers. There is nothing between them; their relationship is as if they were outsiders. The values bien and brouille are not conceived of as something that defines the boundary between the village and the outsider yet they do define this boundary. Bien and brouille are part of the villagers' conception of a barrier between the village and the outside only to the extent that villagers realise that they are neither bien nor brouille with outsiders. The values bien and brouille do not themselves offer a conception of the outsider.
There is a strong distrust among villagers of any outside authority. However this clear feeling of a barrier around the village exists together with a feeling of distrust which all villagers tend to have of each other, which though not as strong as the distrust of outside authority, is present. Villagers also have no confidence in the future. They are uncertain how long they will remain in the village. This implies that there is a limit to villagers' feeling of attachment to the village.
Villagers are dependent on the outside in several ways. They need and seek outside the village the aid of various persons who give specialist services. They are dependent on the decisions of outside authority, especially the government, in many village matters. They are economically dependent. Although many find work to do within the village most find it difficult to make ends meet. Government allowances of various kinds play an important part in the village economy. The population of the village is also transient.
In several respects the village is different and isolated from surrounding areas. Transport facilities to neighbouring towns, educational facilities and communication facilities are poor. There are values, important to villagers which distinguish Peyrane from surrounding areas.
The above points can be summarised in the following table:
Several unresolved problems remain after the above discussion of Peyrane.
C. Lison-Tolosana in "Belmonte de los Caballeros; A sociological study of a Spanish Town" is concerned to understand the relationship between man, his social institutions and his physical environment. He devotes a large part of the book to describing stratification within the village, the important part played by land ownership in stratification and the values and institutions with which the individual must contend. The book is a descriptive account of these aspects of village life, based on fieldwork carried out in 1958-1960.
Belmonte de los Caballeros, a town of 1300 people, is in a broad plain in which the river Ebro flows, on the main road from Madrid to Barcelona. Belmonte is one of three villages on the bank of the Elbo which have much in common. Arcos and Tores 5 and 3 km away share the canal from which water is taken to irrigate the fields. They have common concern in the obtaining of seeds and fertilizers, in the rise of agricultural prices, and have identical methods of production.
The town lands cover 1717 hectares (1 hectare = 2.471 acres). From these should be deducted (in terms of production) 68 hs which include barren land and highways, 22 hs upon which buildings are erected and 722 hectares of sparto-grass, thyme and poor pastures. The remaining 905 hs are arable land, but 237 hs of this area remains unirrigated and here reaping depends on the rainfall and a good harvest occurs only every 5-6 years. The other 668 hectares of land are irrigated; here production is certain.
Farming is the principle and almost the only source of revenue for the village. The main crops are sugar beet, wheat and some maize and cotton. Vegetables and fruit are grown for consumption at home.
In the village there are a number of artisans and craftsmen. These include 6 grocers, 3 cafe-bars, 3 carpenters, 2 bakers, 4 hairdressers, 2 cinemas, a tobaconist, tailor, stonemason and a messenger who goes to the city several times a day. There is a small flour mill which employs six regular workmen, and five families own a small plaster factory.
Belmonte also orientates towards the city. There is a regular bus service along the main road in both directions every two hours. Villagers visit the city frequently to conduct matters which they are unable to do in the village, (e.g. to visit the bank, buy farm implements, clothes, household goods) and for recreation; visiting ftiends, relatives, theatre, football, etc. The city is also the market town for Belmonte. No exact details are given of how far the city is from Belmonte. Few people have jobs in the city.
The village is also part of two wider units - the state and the church which are formally represented.
220.127.116.11. Attitudes toward the city
Belmonte attitudes about the outside world are amivalent. They criticise, envy and try to imitate urban life. On the one hand they have very little in common with the city dweller, with those who work in banks and offices, with lawyers, doctors and people who have studied. When they have to deal with them they feel like a hen in a strange yard.
Villagers have pride in their own work over that of urban dwellers. They say they work hard because it is the only way of getting their daily bread. They say that only fools work in the country. However, they emphasise that only countrymen know what it is to work. City people, they say, know nothing about this and have little idea of what it is to work.
This sense of inferiority, together with the toughness of the workin the country, the enviable comfort of those who "live without working" in the city., the idea that everyone is exploiting the farmer and that the government dces not concern itself much with agriculture, weighs very heavily on the minds of the villager. Although they have pride in their own life, if the schoolmaster tells them that their son would make a good student, they spare no effort or sacrifice so that he can study and get a position in the city or at least not be of the country. The villager is, thus always anxious to better himself. In order to adjust to, more cosmopolitan, and distinguished ways of life a son.t of the village feels he must remove the shackles of the family. The parents of such a person also consider themselves inferior. In any discussion of topics other than agriculture the father feels he must concede that the son who lives in the city knows more.
18.104.22.168. Outsiders in General
Belmontes have strong feelings about the importance of certain things which they have no alternative but to put up with. They use the expression es vergonzozo (it is shameful) to describe these things. They say "It is shameful what is happening to the light" which means that all the electric light failures take place for no apparent reason. Nobody knows exactly who is to be blamed and that very little or nothing can be done to put an end to it. In other words, it is shameful in equivalent to "It is unjust". The actions of the government or provincial authorities are described as 'shameful' and thus unjust, with regard to tractors, fertilizers, or taxes. The members of the declining generation feel that the ill manners and brazen behaviour that prevail today are shameful. This expression has as its object of reference things which go beyond the community but which directly affect it. It is applied to actions or consequences whose author is unknown or else when nobody in particular can be considered responsible. It thus seems similar to the "ils" of Peyrane.
Villagers thus feel both affinity for and antagonism against outsiders. They admire city dwellers, they have distrust for outsiders and they have pride in their own life.
The presence of the concleption of a boundary between villagers and. outsiders which I have described could be affected by some or all of the following factors.
22.214.171.124. Geographical Isolation
Transport facilities between Belmonte and the city are good. The city is near enough for a messenger to travel several times per day.
126.96.36.199. Social Isolation
188.8.131.52.1. Specialist services used
Belmonte is not dependent on the city for all the specialist services which villagers require. There are some craftsmen and artisans in the village as well and the messenger who travels to the city several times a day. However visits are frequently made for business and recreational purposes.
184.108.40.206.2. Government in the village(1)
The government is represented in the village by a number of institutions: the council, court of justice, brotherhood of farmers and stockbreeders.
Villagers have little say in decisions made by and are thus not very si pathetic towards the government. They feel it does not concern itself with agriculture. They say that they do nothing but rob us of our own. They also say that 'he who robs a robber has a hundred years of indulgence'. They thus feel justified in not co-operating and deceiving the government, though the municipality must not suffer from villagers non co-operation. For example, the council may be lenient when tax duties are to go outside the municipality but when it deals with a collection of funds for the municipality the municipal guard verifies any doubtful case. It is not done to boast about defrauding the municipality, not because it is bad to defraud but because the council does not hold any property and has to collect whatever it needs through taxation. The fraud of one or more resident is a burden on the rest. This behaviour is part of the environment in which the feeling of injustice towards outside authority exists.
220.127.116.11.3. Values contributing towards isolation
There are a number of values which prevail in and are distinctive to Belmonte. For example the words, honra, verguenza, sinverguenza, es vergonzozo, honrado, all imply values which are important in guiding conduct.
As in Peyrane gossip is a widespread activity amongst Belmontes and influences people's behaviour. It is carried out amongst villagers and affects villagers' behaviour. Gossip between outsiders is of little; concern to them. For example:
"In spring and summer during the afternoon and evening, elderly women sit in groups outside the door of one of their houses... While they knit and darn they talk. Everything to do with the pubblo, everything that people do or fail to do finds a place in their conversation... These gatherings are real court sittings which evaluate, approve (though rarely), upbraid, denigrate, sentence, and sometimes absolve. At the same time they are the most effective information bureau on what is happening in the village. Fear of being, as they say, food for conversation in such circles provides a strong incentive to good behaviour. In these discussions the words mentioned above are used in the assessment of people's behaviour."
All Belmontes are concerned with agriculture. Their activity is regulated by the task currently in hand.
"Every set of operations concerned with the cultivation of a particular crop appears in its cycle, year after year, leaving consistent impressions on the mind. So the residents have a, collective consciousness of time, originating from and expressed in terms of campanas (= the climax of hard work of a season which then settles down into a stage of quiet calm in the work of the fields) and other agricultural activities. A period of time known as campana is a common frame of reference for popular thought. An anti-climax is a period of much less agricultural activity and therefore offers less reason for the conceptualizing of time. It is usual to hear such phrases as lit happened at sowing time' or 'threshing time' or 'when the wheat was turning green' etc. ... Phrases such as these suppose a common frame of collective memory." ("Belmonte de los Caballeros", p.33)
This conception of time can be distinguished from that of the town time is not thought of as something stable divided according to the tasks in the field.that occupy the larger part of the day, where daily tasks no longer provides a common enduring framework for its conceptualization.
Religious participation in Belmonte is high. Every new-born child is christened within a few days after its birth; all children receive first communion, all are confirmed, marry in church and receive the last sacraments at death and are buried according to Catholic ritual. More than 50% of the population take regular part in church activities. (295)
There is much participation at the religious festivals of the town's religious patrons when the parish achieves its highest outward expression of community life.
"The patrons themselves are not the objects of special devotion, for other saints receive special attention and prayers. There are few amusements during the week and one Sunday is the same as any other. But the fiestas, especially those of August 14th-18th, are a landmark in the course of each year. Trips to buy clothes, newly whitened houses, newly painted rooms, clean fresh streets, bottles, cakes, garlands, flags and lights announce the proximity of the fiestas, always rich in matrimonial promise. One breathes fiesta in the atmosphere. People eat more and better, they drink a great deal, they shout, sing and dance day and night, and during these days everyone is different, less serious', more friendly. The youthful tone of the festival disguises a deeper reality: the festival is fundamentally an outburst of community spirit bound up in traditional religious motives which penetrate the outer layers of family life and friendship. Dozens of people, whether children of the town who live outside it, or simply friends who have never lived there, come every year to celebrate it. Participation in the festival is not considered complete if a member of the family is absent... Visits to sick relatives or friends are considered an obligation during this period. Visitors call upon their relatives or friends house by house and greet everybody in the street...
This reaffirmation of the bonds of the family and friendship has at the same time a reverse side; the days of the festivals are most likely to revive any latent antagonism of town against town though not of individual against individual."
This feeling of community spirit does not really extend beyond the village. Its ftrthest limits are to friends and relatives who live away from the village who come to celebrate, but it is a village affair.
18.104.22.168.4. Economic Isolation
Farming in Belmonte is the principle and almost the only source of revenue for villagers. However there is a shortage of land. Much land has been bought up by people living outside the village (103 hs of the total of 905 hs of cultivable land). The economically strong can exploit land outside the village. (19) There is thus a pressure especially on the economically weak families to seek other sources of income or to emigrate. The mill, plaster factory, shops and other local services provide a number of ways of supplementing income within the village. Other new professions necessitate working outside or leaving the village. Some work in factories in, the city and even in France. However, assuming that the population is not transient as in Peyrane, it has not fallen. The discrepancy between residents de Facto and de Jure is 42 (1952). Residents who have fixed jobs in the city number "more than a dozen" which is not many. Most people then manage to live carrying on their traditional occupation of farming.
22.214.171.124.5. Generation conflict(2)
Lison-Tolosana talks of the conflict between what he calls the "decliningly", "controlling" and "emerging" generations. The conflict is as follows.
Many have needed to leave home and this has tended toward emancipation from the tutilage and authority of the father. The parent's authority and orientation can count for little with the son whose profession is beyond their understanding. The father's fund of experience cannot guide the son who leaves home. There is a new generation with a fresh stock of interests, attitudes and ideas which are discordant with those that have gone before. Many of this generation have.had better schooling than those of the preceding generations. Newspapers, radio, the cinema, T.V., ease of travel and employment in the cities have put them in touch with the outside world at an age at which the other generations were uninfluenced by such media. The stable of the family cannot provide occupation for many of them. They do not feel any affinity with the conventions that spring from the social structure of the town ... A striking example of discontinuity is provided by the new tone of courtship. The emerging generation has opposed with greatest tenacity any interference in choice of partner. The recommendation of the declining generation never to meddle in politics is a further example. A number of the emerging generation have united to propose their candidate as councillor. Their object was to choose from themselves a councillor who would be on their side and support the cultural, social and recreational programme this group is developing. This generation concerns itself with internal problems of a social and cultural nature. They do not share the conventions of earlier generations because they judge them inadequate for the present day situation.
"The traditional integrating principles of the community are becoming superfluous to those whose work has nothing to do with the land, and a burden to those who remain tied to the soil, because their ... outlook is far from harmonising with the ideas and.attitudes.maintained in the community by, the weight of tradition."
This diversity of values within the village is part of the environment of the ambivalent attitudes of villagers towards outsiders particularly city dwellers; the feeling of pride in themselves and deference towards city dwellers and their envy of the city dweller.
Villagers co-operate with each other and with outsiders. Within the village there is mutual aid between family members, friends and neighbours.
There is some co-operation between neighbouring villages. Belmonte joined the surrounding small towns that use the same canal, to buy the waterfall that should increase the facilities for irrigating the land.
However there is a certain amount of dissidence between neighbouring villagers. For example the residents of a neighbouring village felt humiliated when Belmonte succeeded in arranging with the sugar-beet factory to have a weighing machine built in the village.
Belmonte de Los Caballeros is in different senses isolated from and linked to the outside. Although it is economically fairly self-sufficient (few work outside the village), ther e are good transport facilities to the outside and many use the services of specialists resident outside the village. The conflict between generations is also indicative of this disparity between orientation towards the city and towards the village. These facts are reflected in the attitudes of villagers towards outsiders which compose what I have called the "Villagers conception of a boundary between the village and the outside."
The following table summarises points made about Belmonte:
The book "Hal-Farrug: a village in Malta" by J.F. Boissevain has the following main themes: the way in which the increasing tempo of industrialisation in Malta is affecting its social institutions; the role that the choices and actions of individuals play in generating social forms and patterns of behaviour; and the social position of the church in a most Catholic society.
Hal-Farrug is a very compact village with a population of 1250 which has remained almost constant during the last 20 years. About 15 Farrugin per year emigrate from Malta.
Buses from Hal-Farrug make 27 return trips per day to the urban connurbation around Valletta. The easy journey takes half an hour and enables Farrugin to take part in the economic and social life of the nation which centres on Valletta.
About 74% of the working population of Farrug work outside the village. Only 26% work within the village. Thus Hal-Farrug is not an autonomous or isolated village but is in intimate contact with other activities and parts of Malta.
The Maltese Islands are in the geographical centre of the Mediterranean. Malta, the largest island, is 17 by 9 miles, Gozo is 9 by 5 miles. The islands have a population of 315,000 (1967) with the high density of 2600 per square mile. Slightly over half the population live in an urban connurbation around Valletta and the grand harbour. The other half live in separate villages spread over the islands of Malta and Gozo.
No village is more than an hour's bus ride from Valletta and Gozo is only 30 minutes by ferry from Malta. Separate villages are often no more than a few hundred yards apart.
There are 50 elected regional representatives, who form the parliament. There are no municipal courts or mayor to represent the interests of their respective villages to higher authorities and vice versa. With the exception of the Post Office and Department of Labour and Social Welfare which maintain district offices in some of the larger villages, all government offices are run from Valletta. Formal channels of communication between the administrative departments usually run via the police department, which maintains stations in all of Malta's towns, villages and major hamlets. The district and local committees of the political parties especially the government party, provide informal communication channels. Whereas in the secular domain there are no elected or appointed spokesmen for individual villages and towns, there certainly are in the religious domain.
Parish priests have for centuries been leading local figures.
Only one out of every ten persons in Malta is engaged in agriculture. Malta is a semi-industrialised society.
There is a dichotomy between town and village. This is because of Malta's centralised fortress administration and economy; Valletta and its environs forming the centre of ecclesiastical, economic, political and military power, where the elite worked and lived.
Explicit conception of a boundary between the village and the wider world is limited. However some idea of how they conceive outsiders and distinguish themselves from them, to the extent that they do at all, can be derived from their ideas about prestige.
The people of Farrug are quick to tell you that there are no important distinctions between them., that they are all from the village and hence equal. Subsequent discussion of the environment in which this statement about common membership of the village and its concommitants, will show that in several respects this is true and in others it is false. There are in fact differences of prestige between villagers and there is a concensus of opinion regarding prestige.(3)
The system of prestige operating in the village is derived from and maintained by symbolic objects and behaviour that are associated with the more sophisticated urban way of life.
Education is a source of considerable importance. It provides the key to good employment and upward social mobility. There is considerable difference in the social prestige ascribed to various occupations. Non-manual occupations have the highest prestige, manual the lowest. The professional and farmer represent the two poles in the hierarchy of occupations in the village. Education is an important aspect of this, hierarchy. They also represent the two poles of the continuum town-country, city-village. Wealth is another factor which can give prestige. This also is closely correlated with education and associated with the city. In general the culture of the city has high prestige and that of the country low. Thus to dress, speak and behave the way people from the city do is regarded as more developed and civilised.(4)
The people of Farrug are in constant contact with the towns through work, shopping expeditions and through the radio relay and television. They are thus conscious of the difference between themselves and town dwellers. When the people of Farrug go into the city they put on their best (city style) clothes and accents. They strive to acquire the language, clothing and certain objects which symbolisd the town culture.
The villagers' reverence for the city implies that they are somehow not quite city dwellers and so distinguish themselves from them. But this is far from representing a boundary with the outside. The success which villagers have in emulating, becoming or being closely associated with town dwellers provides evidence for this.
However, although Farrug has no official leader, owns no land or other property and its inhabitants are rarely called upon or choose to work for a common end, villagers are conscious of belonging to a distinct social entity which is distinguished from other villages by a collective nickname and a common subculture. This point is clarified in the following paragraphs.
The limited conception by villagers of a b oundary between the village and the outside which I have.just described could be explained by its existence in the following environment.
126.96.36.199. Geographical Isolation
Villages are separate, even though sometimes only separated by a few hundred yards. They are not linked by strings of houses along the roads. However transport facilities are good. The smallness of the whole country and good transport mean that every inhabited part of the island is easily acessible to all Maltese.
188.8.131.52. Social Isolation
184.108.40.206.1. Marriage Patterns
Until recently marriages tended to be contracted within the village and spouses remained in the village after their marriage. There is still a preference for finding spouses in or near the village. Of the 234 marriages recorded involving native born Farrugin of which one of the parents was still living in the village 172 were either contracted within the village (105) or the neighbouring villages (67). The rest found their spouses outside the district. Thus 7 out of 10 have sought and found their marriage partners within a radius of about one mile or 25 minutes on foot. Villagers explain this preference by quoting the proverb "A good cow is sold at home" which points also to the importance attached to the girl's reputation.
However there is an important connection between place of work and marriage residence. There is importance attached to remaining in one's village of birth after marriage. If a marriage is contracted between persons from two different villages and the man works outside his own village, then he will tend to live in the village of his wife; where the husband works inside his own village then his wife will tend to move there to join him. This can be put differently as follows: Where there are more farmers than industrial labourers, there are also more outside women married into a village; but where there are substantially more industrial labourers than farmers, the number of in-marrying men is greater.
This shift in pattern of marriage residence from the situation where marriage was contracted in the village and spouses remained living in the village to the situation where place of work and other non traditional criteria determine marriage pattern, is evidence of the way in which the increasing industrialisation of Malta is affecting kinship patterns.
220.127.116.11.2. Outside Institutions in the village
Every Maltese villager is in touch with the outside and urban Malta. Government services except the post office and Department of Labour are run from Valletta. Government agencies link Farrug with the rest of Malta; for example, the police and Department of Education who send inspectors regularly to visit the school. Some children (27) even attend schools and colleges outside the village (mostly in Valletta). The lack of local administration means the villagers must make direct contact with government officials and influencial persons in the village and city.
Continually improving transport facilities to the neighbouring village of Luqa and to Valletta have placed the cinemas and bright lights there in direct competition with the entertainment of the village. Arbitrators:
Conflicts which occur within the village are often resolved by outside arbitration.
For example, the relations between brothers and sisters are supposed affectionate. As property is regarded as very important, siblings like to maintain contact with parents so that they will not be forgotten in inheritance arrangements. However, this is often a source of conflict between siblings. In Farrug there are at least four groups of siblings who are not on special terms. In each case the conflict is over inheritance and in each case lawyers had to be called in and they had ended by taking each other to court.
During 1952 and 1953 there was a dispute over an attempt by the St. Rocco Festa procession to pass along a new street over which the rival St. Maitin followers, claimed exclusive rights. When an inexperienced new parish priest backed the St. Rocco claim before the Archbishop he brought violently into the open a dispute over which his predecessors had successfully procrastinated for years. The followers of St. Martin not only refused to celebrate their feast but suce eeded in frightening the unfortunate priest rather badly by exploding an enormous ricket in the drain pipe under his, house. Relations between the church and St. Martin partisans were restored when the Archbishop modified the St. Rocco procession route.
Disputes between the supporters of rival patron saints concern matters which affect their precedence and ability to display devotion to their saints. The course which such disputes take is highly formalised. They usually begin when the secondary supporters (e.g. of St. Rocco) petition for a new privilege. They must do this because of church regulations which are designed to reduce the scale of secondary feasts. St. Martin leaders then try to check their rivals by threatening to cancel their feast. At this point the parish priest passes the dispute up to the Archbishop for judgment.
Some disputes are resolved at the village level however. Villagers have great pride in their parish church. This was not fully realised by the parish priest a number of years ago. He proposed to regild the chancel, and his, parishioners welcomed the idea. They contributed over £500 for the task. When the workmen had completed the decoration and the scaffolding had been removed, the people of Farrug found to their horror that the priest had placed his own personal coat of arms high over the chancel. There was great indignation; but the coat of arms remained in place. A year later this priest was promoted to a larger parish and left the village. People began to ask the new parish priest to have the coat of arms removed. He quite understandably declined to do so. They also unsuccessfully petitioned the Archbishop. One morning, less than two months after the old parish priest had left, the village was startled by the news that the troublesome coat of arms had been hacked away. In its place gleamed the freshly painted coat of arms of Hal-Fartug. The village had taken the law into its own hands to right an affront to its sovereignty that the bishop and his delegates had been unwilling to correct. The old parish priest, notified of what had happened to his arms, called in the police. But the detectives got nowhere. The police still do not know who did it; although everybody in the village does.
This dependence on outside arbitrators is evidence of the activity of outside institutions operating in the village and of the dependence on these institutions, though as has been shown this is not always the case. Malta Labour Party:
The labour supporters of the village look to the members of the village labour party committee for leadership. This committee is in turn linked to the national Labour party executive. About 70% of Farrug supports the labour party.
To a great extent the village as a religious unit is autonomous. The parish is the basic unit of the church. As a congregation and religious corporation, the village seen as a parish possesses a clearly defined territory and legal personality. It has its appointed lead in the parish priest; the inhabitants meet daily for worship, to take part in religious processions, and to carry out other devotional activities. They act together to celebrate the annual feast of the patron saint who symbolises the unity of the secular and religious aspects of the community for he is patron of both village and parish. The church is the showpiece of the village, the centre of social life in the village and pointed out with pride to strangers.
The limits of the parish are fixed by the Bishop.
Villagers vie with each other for the bestowal of honours. Their acquisition is a matter of great concern to the community. Persons and groups try to influence those who make decisions in relation to their bestowal. Through their network of personal relations, leading village figures, including the priests, try to influence the Bishop and other church dignitaries who surround him. The final decisions are made in response to a great many pressures, the Bishop being the final authority.
I have already given examples of situations in which the Archbishop has acted as arbitrator, The competition between the followers of St. Martin and St. Rocco resembles a war game. The action between them takes place within a framework bounded by the decrees of the church, the laws of the state and the appropriate body of custom.
However, in certain respects in which the church maintains its powers over the community, it promotes autonomy and isolation (e.g. encouragement of parish activities, authority of the parish priest). The support given to the labour party is evidence of the limited hold it has on the individual's political alignment as against its hold on the overt religious behaviour of individuals.
18.104.22.168.3. Economic Integration
Villagers work outside Farrug and outsiders work in the village. 219 out of the 296 working men travel outside the village daily. Most travel to the connurbation surrounding the capital where they meet persons from many other villages and towns. Outsiders working in the village include the local police, the parish priest and his family, two street sweepers, the postman and numerous vendors who sell wine., kerosene., fish, pots and pans, vegetables, bread and clothing, all of which are brought from outside the village.
Most of the values and beliefs which are associated with the behaviour of Farrugin are not distinctly local though they may to some extent determine the limits of the community.
For example, mamy values associated with behaviour towards members of one's family are widespread amongst Maltese villagers and town dwellers. When a married daughter has her first child the mother comes to the assistance of the daughter by providing advice, helping with the housekeeping and marketing and later by looking after her, grandchild while her daughter sees to these chores herself. This is the ideal type of relationship between mother and daughter, whether they are from the country oil the city. Of course the degree to which this ideal can be realised varies. Different place of residence of the mother and daughter and son-in-law is significant.
Farrugin also try to copy urban customs. Families in Sliema (in urban connurbation) and some of the larger villages make enormous celebrations out of baptismal and_engagement parties. This has not been the custom in Farrug, though it is rapidly changing.
I talked earlier of the shift in pattern of marriage residence; the tendency, when husband works away from his place of birth, to settle nearer the wife's mother. This is not only a village phenomenon. It also occurs amongst urban white collar workers.
Ties to one's village of origin however are still strongest. It is there that villagers have most of their family. This concentration of relatives in one place is typical for all Maltese. It operates together with the value to maintain good relations with ones fanily to reinforce the barrier between the village and other places where relatives are scarce.
The feast of the patron saint of the village also acts as a reinforcement to attachments towards one's village of origin. Every hamlet, village and town has its own patron saint and celebrates its feast day once a year. Support for alternative patrons in some villages leads to fierce rivalry between supporters. Although causing divisions within the village which may be settled by outside arbitrators, such disputes are very much village affairs and not the concern of outsiders. At the festa each family opens its doors to its relations, especially to those who live in other villages. Grown sons and daughters return to their parental home, married brothers and sisters meet, nephews and nieces call on uncles and aunts. Younger children learn to recognise more distant relations whom they might not see at any other time of the year. In this way they become aware of the network of kin relations that stretches out from their home.
There is some correlation between the limited conception of a boundary by villagers and the environment in which it exists.
"The social horizons of the inhabitants of Farrug are no longer those of the parish. Purely village based activities are being supplemented and sometimes replaced by countrywide activities and associations. The intrusion into the parisharena of national politics is but one example of this. This is an index of the steadily increasing tempo of communication between Farrug and the rest of Maltese society. The line between the village part and the national whole is becoming less and less distinct. The encapsulated rural village is being absorbed into the nation. Elements of the former isolation will continue for many years to engage the attention of large numbers of Farrugin. But the trend towards their greater involvement in the social, economic and political life of the nation is clear."
The following table summarises the discussion on all the villages and shows up various interesting comparisons and contrasts.
In the following section I discuss the correlations and peculiarities in the table and points which arise from these, particularly the significance of these points in showing that there are a variety of boundaries which exist within, and also in a wider setting than, the village.
The reader should study carefully the system of symbols used. The basis of the system is as follows. The essence of the table is that it relates throughout to the isolation of the village frorn the outside; the positive sign (+) means that the factor under discussion contributes to the isolation of the village from the outside, the negative sign (-) means that the factor under consideration does not contribute to the isolation of the village.
I am tempted to say that the negative sign means contributes to the integration of the village. Isolation and integration when used as opposites however discount the possibility of there being degrees of integration; that is, they discount the possibility of the boundary between the inside (family, village or larger unit) and the outside being relative (i.e. being in one place in certain fields of activity and in another place in others). However this is a subject for discussion in a later chapter.
Where in the same horizontal line the numbers (1) and (2) or (1) and (2) and (3) are present. this means as follows:
I discuss below the correlations and peculiarities in the table concluding section 2 and points arising from it.
It has been observed (1) that in Hal-Farrug and Belmonte de los Caballeros there is little distrust between villagers, whereas between Peyranes there is more distrust, and (2) that in Farrug there is no distrust of outsiders, in Belmonte an ambivalent attitude towards outsiders and in Peyrane a strong distrust of outsiders. These facts correlate with the following other variables:
In the following paragraphs I shall try to explain these correlations.
The isolation together with the lack of employment opportunities in Peyrane could explain why people move away from the village though it does not show why people settle in Peyrane(5) unless there is a housing shortage or even greater unemployment in other areas. If this were the case people might come to Peyrane because of cheaper housing. By doing this they may just be able to manage on government allowances. The common difficult position of most Peyranes could explain their attachment to common values and distrust of outsiders and the existence of this with the feeling of distrust of outsiders between villagers Although all have the same problem of survival, they may also realise that they must compete with each other for the few sources of livelihood which exist.
Conversely, in Hal-Farrug the smallness and good transport of the island mean that wherever a Maltese works, it is unnecessary for him to move from his village. Any movement in place of residence takes place for reasons other than being employed outside the village. This together with the fact that most villagers are in direct contact with areas outsidethe village, could explain the lack of distrust by villagers of outsiders.
In Belmonte transport facilities are good but not as good as in Hal-Farrug. The need to find employment outside the village has only recently begun; the village is still relatively autonomous. There is a combination of envy of the comfort of city life and pride in their own working life amongst villagers. These three facts could explain the ambivalent attitude towards outsiders. Villagers trust them because they want to emulate them or because they are in contact with them anyway. They distrust them because only a few people work outside the village; this contact is limited. They have little influence in many decisions which are made outside the village, which affect village affairs.
22.214.171.124. Peyrane transient population
I have already mentioned the peculiarity of Peyrane: its features which suggest that it is an autonomous unit (values which contribute to isolation, poor communication facilities) which exist in a transient population. I have made some suggestions as to how these facts might come about.
126.96.36.199. Integration of Maltese villages
It is curious that the two kinds of dependence which I have isolated, economic dependence and dependence on outside specialist services and decisions, do not correlate with each other. Although Peyrane is the most dependent in both respects, Farrug is not the least dependent in both respects. Farrug is the least dependent on specialist services and decisions because there is considerable direct contact between Parrugin and outside decision makers. This is possibly explained by there being no local government and easy contact because of good transport and the stability of the population, rendering fairly permanent any personal contacts, and (2) there are many Farrugin who offer specialist services in the village. Belmonte is the least dependent economically. In Farrug many work outside the village.
The lack of correlation between dependence on outside specialist services, outside decisions and economic dependence spreads beyond these latter variables. For each village, the variable 'economic dependence, correlates with 'poor communication facilities' , tvalues which contribute to isolationt and 'transient population'.(6) Hal-Farrug is thus the odd one out in the correlation of dependence on outside specialist services and decisions. This suggests that there is something peculiar about it which distinguishes it from other villages discussed.
Malta's size, good transportation and contact between different parts(7) could explain this. There is contact between villagers and other areas in Malta; with specialist services in urban areas; with relatives and friends in other villages, taking part in recreational activities in urban areas and in other villages (e.g. football, cinema, evening stroll on the main street of the capital). The possibility of being able to work anywhere without changing residence is also significant. These facts suggest to me that it is unrealistic to talk only of a boundary around the village. Although in certain respects true, in many respects it gives a completely false impression of life in Malta. The facts cited above suggest that in many activities people operate within a wider entity. In some spheres of activity this entity is the whole island.(8)
This peculiarity is one which raises the question: How realistic is it to talk of a boundary between the village and the outside rather than any other entity, geographical or social. This is to be the topic of the next chapter.
188.8.131.52. Distrust between Peyranes
A third peculiarity in the table is that 'distrust between villagers', seems to correlate inversely with 'distrust of outsiders' and the environmental variables (except 'dependence on specialist services' and 'transient population'). I found it difficult to assess the difference, if any, in the amount of distrust between villagers, between Belmonte and Hal-Farrug. It is thus not possible to assess how the values' for these two villages correlate with values for other variables. But the value for Peyrane for this variable shows an inverse correlation with other variables and suggests that there is something which distinguishes Peyrane from other villages. The instability or fragmentation of Peyrane's population could be significant. During the period 1946 to 1959 only 275 had lived there for the whole time. Of these 137 were not born in the village. Wylie estimates that as many as 3000 people lived there during this time long enough to call it their home. The distrust between villagers suggests that under certain circumstances it is more realistic to talk about a boundary around the individual or the family rather than the village. Here again the question of the empirical justification for saying that boundaries can be around a variety of geographic or social entities, depending on the sphere of activity, is raised.
The correlation of this particular variable shows that there is some correlation between the variety and relative importance of particular boundaries and the presence and nature of the conception of the boundary by villagers.
184.108.40.206. Ambivalence towards outsiders of Belmonte Villagers
Under 'distrust of outsiders' Belmonte is shown as having both distrust and no distrust of outsiders. This is a reflection of the ambivalent attitude of villagers towards city dwellers. Villagers envy city dwellers for the 'comfortable life' which they live. But they have pride in themselves because they know what it really means to work and city dwellers do not. I have also already discussed a conflict between generations in Belmonte. The younger generation do not feel any affinity with the conventions that spring from the social structure of the town. There is here an indication of a variety of boundaries. The formation of new social boundaries based on the content of relationships (e.g. work in the city, the taking up of city values) These exist irrespective of the geographical boundaries of the village; they are to be contrasted with the set of roles traditionally associated with each individual member of the village which entailed very limited social contact outside the geographical boundaries of the village. These points suggest that it is not realistic to talk of a boundary only around the village. Increasing contact with the city and deviation from traditional values and behaviour are leading strong contacts between the city and the village.(9)
The peculiarities discussed in the last section can be represented as a wedge in a crack which I propose to split open now. They suggest that it would be empirically more realistic and more useful to discuss a variety of boundaries and not only that around the village. In the discussion so far the following bounded entities have been revealed:
These discoveries conform the empirical validity of referring to patterns of interaction rather than frequency in assessing the presence of social or geographical units.
In the following paragraphs I discuss how this variety of boundaries manifests itself in the ethnographic data already presented.
When talking of boundaries I have usually been referring to one which might be drawn around the village or commune. I decided to consider at first only boundaries around the village in order to assess the empirical validity for the data under consideration, of assuming this. Closer examination of the spheres of activity in which people operate reveals that boundaries can be around the village in one sphere, the fanily in another, the individual in another, or around a unit wider than the village. I describe now the varieties as they are manifested in Peyrane, Belmonte and Farrug.
220.127.116.11. Village as a unit
I pointed out earlier that in Peyrane, (i) villagers strongly distrust outsiders (remember the example in which there is a theft and the possibility of an outsider being involved, that he is immediately blamed in preference to a villager); (ii) communications are poor if one wishes to contact areas outside the village; (iii) there are values which are restricted to the village and pervasive in the village. Most villagers have relations of bien or brouille with each other, most villagers gossip and the behaviour of most villagers is affected by the gossip of other villagers; (iv) all villagers have the common economic problem of making ends meet. New means of supplementing income are hard to find in Peyrane. These four features suggest that it is the village around which there is a strong barrier.
18.104.22.168. Family and individual as units
It has been pointed out in earlier discussion that (i) families and individuals within the village distrust each other ("you get criticised if you do something and you get criticised if you don't do it. So you have to decide that the others don't matter," says a Peyrane. People are honest insofar as private property is concerned, but they would gleefully destroy the reputation of other people by dishonest means). (ii) It is the problem of each family or individual, whichever forms a household,, to succeed in their struggle to make ends meet economically. Although all villagers have this problem their struggle may mean disregarding other villagers.
22.214.171.124. Wider Unit
(i) Many Peyranes are dependent on employment outside the village or on government allowances. (ii) Most Peyranes use the services of specialists of various kinds. (iii) Some Peyranes have relations of bien or brouille with persons who are resident outside the commune. Such relations would tend to continue with kin who have moved away from the village.
Peyranes thus have ties with the outside which suggest that there may be a boundary around a wider unit. The boundary may also be determined by the context of the relationships involved. For example, the need for specialist service creates single interest ties between villagers and specialists. The geographical distance between the partners to the relationship is limited only by whether the specialist can provide the service.
The above statements about boundaries in Peyrane are summarised in the following table.(10)
126.96.36.199. Village as a unit
(i) There are common values about outsiders: a) villagers criticise actions or consequences whose authors are unknown or when nobody in particular can be considered responsible as unjust. They refer to them using the term ties verguenza" which means "It is shameful". b) Attitudes towards city dwellers include both feelings of envy and of pride in themselves. (ii) All villagers are dependent on the authority of the government in many decisions made by the government which affect the village (e.g. tax collection). (iii) There are values which are restricted to the village and pervasive in the village (as well as those which concern outsiders) e.g. gossip and associated sanctions, common concern with agriculture, verguenza, etc.
These features suggest that it is the village around which there is a strong barrier.
188.8.131.52. Family or individual as a unit
(i) There is a certain amount of competition between families and individuals in the struggle to emulate city people. (ii) This is closely related to the fact that there is a shortage of land in Belmonte which contributes to the need for families to seek employment outside agriculture, probably outside the village.
184.108.40.206. Wider Unit
Communication facilities are good so it is easy for all Belmonte to be in direct contact with persons outside the village. Villagers are in touch with the various specialists whose services they need. Agricultural cooperation takes place between several villages, in the vicinity of Belmonte, which use the same irrigation canal.
The following table summarises the above points:
220.127.116.11. Village as a Unit
(i) In Hal-Farrug there is a preference for finding spouses in or near the village. (ii) Ties to ones village of origin are strong; it is here that villagers have most of their family. (iii) There is a certain amount of competition for prestige between individuals and groups occurring in the village which is restricted to the village (e.g. Festa partiti).
Competition betwee n families or individuals for prestige within the village or for other reasons may sometimes cause antagonism between families or individuals. Often such conflicts occur because of disputes which relate to a wider sphere than the village (e.g. national political conflicts).
18.104.22.168. Wider Unit
Every Maltese villager is in touch with areas outside the village: (i): he uses the services of specialists, (ii) he goes to the town for recreation, (iii) he is subject to the authority of government and church. (iv) he probably has friends and relatives in other parts of the islands.
The above points are summarised in the table below:
I have shown that in order to ascertain the location of boundaries in the spread of social relationships evidence must be sought not only in the limits of village activities but also elsewhere. In some villages it is true to say that in certain respects there is more of a barrier around the village rather than any other unit in some villages; but in other villages this boundary is not so significant. This is what has been revealed by examining the table at the end of Section 2 in detail. It has also been shown that the variety and relative importance of particular boundaries (e.g. village over any other smaller or larger unit) can be assessed by examining certain features of village social organisation, particularly the conception by villagers of boundaries and the social and ecological environments in which these conceptions exist.
My analysis has led to the point where it could be said that I am considering the significance of the degree` of correlati on between the social and geographical boundaries of the village and the effects that contact with the surrounding areas and outside values has on this correlation. The examination of the conceptions of boundaries and their environments has shown up the greater disparity between geographical and social boundaries in the villages where there is greater contact with neighbouring areas.
The significance of the foregoing analysis has a wider relevance than to only village communities which have greater or less contact with the town. It can be usefully applied to urban communities. I have discussed above circumstances in which a village has considerable contact with surrounding areas and where there is considerable disparity between the geographical and social boundaries. In the following paragraphs I wish to show how this same analysis can usefully show the correlations and contrasts which can be made between village and urban communities. As case material I use studies of Madeline Kerr and Willmott and Young.
Using a similar procedure for analysis, the model which I used for studying the processes involved in delimiting the village from any other social entity elicits useful information about how the arena of particular social activities in an urban setting are delimited. A variety of delimited social activities or units can be identified including those in which geographical distance is not a significant variable.
"The People of Ship Stree" by Madeline Kerr (1958) is a study of people living in a Liverpool slum, describing a community which is split up into closely Imit family groups each dominated by a mum. They are of Irish descent but have lived in Liverpool usually for about two generations. Their interests are family interests and because of this they tend to remain somewhat isolated from other types of citizens.
Intensive field work was done on 61 families over a period of five years. A group of children were given tests. From the analysis of both the fieldwork and the test results an attempt is made to formulate hypothese about the social origin of immaturity, violence, some adolescent difficulties and most of all the psychological effects of the tremendous power of the mum. These latter problems are however not my direct concern here.
Ship Street is a nexus of streets all within five minutes walking distance of each other in the middle of Liverpool. I can find several bounded entities of activities in Ship Street in which there is some overlap with a geographical area, others where it is difficult to find any correspondence with a geographically delimited area but where the content of the relationships defines a bounded entity. I proceed now with the analysis of Ship Street.
There is little explicit reference to a conception of a boundary by Ship Street people towards non Ship Street people. The inhabitants of Ship Street are not all familiar with one another. It thus can be difficult to know who is from Ship Street and who is not. However, even though they may not be in intimate contact with many other residents in the area, there are indications that people have pride in their area and distinguish themselves from others.
22.214.171.124. Security and feeling of belonging
Despite the dreary and derelict character of the area, inhabitants with surprising uniformity say they do not want to leave the neighbourhood. ("The People of Ship Street", p.23). Though it seems strange, it is not because of friends or human relations that people wish to remain. The reason seems to be a vague undifferentiated feeling of belonging, and the security of moving around in a well known territory. ("The People of Ship Street", p.24).
Attitudes towards telling the truth are telling. It is said that honesty does not pay. The reasoning behind this is that the world is divided into the individual's own group and the rest. The individual is loyal to members of his own group, but the rest of the world is fair game. The "rest of the wor1d" might even include people who live in Ship Street. For example, the following incident was not described as an anti-social act but as a permissable, rather clever thing to do. Mrs. X went to Z8s January sales this year looking for a coat. She saw a brown one there which fitted her. It was marked £6.10.0d. There was another coat marked £3.6.0d. but not so nice. She changed the two price tickets. Then when she went to pay for the coat she found she was 5/-d short which she had to rush home for, having thrown the coat on the floor in a corner hoping that no-one else would see it. It was still there when she returned with the five shillings. ("The People of Ship Street", p.118).
Disloyalty to ones own group is regarded with strong disapproval. When a boy of 11 was caught for housebreaking and theft and the informer had been his sister, the children's mother said: 'Fancy giving your own brother's name.' Two boys aged 16, who lived in tenement flats and who readily admitted that they had broken open and stolen from gas meters, hastily made this reservation: 'But never from our ownblock.' The block has become the in-group, but not the building. Stealing is considered normal so long as it takes place outside the individual's group. ("The People of Ship Street" p.118-119).
If however we look for conceptions of boundaries, not as we found them in examples from Southern Europe around geographical units but other entities, it is not so difficult to identify bounded entities. The most important ones in Ship Street are families. The most salient feature which all Ship Street people have, whether male or female, is a very strong tie to their mothers. Mum is the centre of every extended family which lives in the area and acts as a strong tie for each inhabitant of Ship Street to the area. Of course there are many such family units in the area. I consider this feature further below where I discuss the environment which helps to explain the lack of conception of a single geographical boundary and the presence of social boundaries such as the latter.
The lack of conception of a single geographical boundary can be explained by the following facts.
50 out of the 61 families studied have been living in the neighbourhood all their lives. Most families have lived in this cluster of streets for two generations ("The People of Ship Street", pp. 23,25,28).
126.96.36.199. Family Ties
People cling together in small groups of blood relatives ("The People of Ship Street", p.28). Their lack of contact with people, other than relatives naturally makes their relations both to the individuals and to social institutions of the surrounding people somewhat tenuous. Ship Street people as a whole have little tie to non Ship Street people. Even within Ship Street ties outside the family are tenuous. This is especially the case after the individual is married. Children take part in activities which lead them into groups.
There is little casual dropping in for a cup of tea in the afternoons. It does take place between some mums but this is the exception rather than the rule. Even where this visiting does take place, personal relations remain on a very superficial level. However, the extent of neighbourliness in times of adversity cannot be over-stressed. ("The People of Ship Street", p.102-3). Formal invitations between non-related people to each other's houses occur rarely. A non-relative goes into the house (as opposed to chatting on the doorstep) only when he has some definite purpose, such as serious courting, in view ("The People of Ship Street", p.105). The nearest approach to social life is a visit to the pub and even here sociality is limited. This lack of sociability between non-relatives contrasts with that between relatives, who visit frequently.
188.8.131.52. 'Getting on' and family warmth
I have already mentioned the strong tie of family members to mum and their family in general. The wish and eff ort to be leaders in a non-related group are lacking. They would always like more money to spend but the desire is not strong enough to make them alter their pattern of existence to get it. Getting on would mean moving out of the warmth of their families and out of the familiar way of life in their streets. It would mean learning new modes of behaviour and having to cope with situations for which they have no previously determined pattern. Therefore educational grants are turned down, jobs and houses in new places refused. Heads will not be turned and the tie to lccality and so to mum remains unbroken. ("The People of Ship Street", p.116-7). Ties to mum and family explain attitudes towards getting on. These ties and attitudes help to explain the lack of any communal feeling of identity with Ship Street. There is a pervasive feeling of belonging amongst the people of Ship Street but this relates to ties with ones family rather than any geographically bounded unit.
Bethnal Green, described in "Family and Kinship in East London" by Peter Willmott and Michael Young, is a borough in East London of 54,000 people (in 1955), most of whom were employed on manual work. The extended family is a very important aspect of social life.
The data was collected over a period of three years by taking samples of people for inter-view as well as by one of the authors living in the borough with his family where he made contact with people through the everyday activities of himself and his family.
As in Ship Street, in Bethnal Green bounded entities or activities are present in which there is some correspondence with a geographic area and others where a wider, not geographically limited, unit is observable.
The same can be said of Bethnal Green as I have said of Ship Street concerning the conception by inhabitants of a boundary between Bethnal Greeners and others. There is little such conception. What there is of such a conception I will describe now.
184.108.40.206. Block and Street sentiment
There is a body of sentiment in each street or block. This sentiment backs a custom of 'Speaking for' (putting in a word for) relatives as opposed to anyone else. This is in a senge placing a very distinct social boundary or limitation on those who may be spoken for or are 'to be helped' and those who are not. Within the borough there are no geographical limitations to this. There may be concentration of relatives in various parts of the borough.
220.127.116.11. Preference not to move away
There is a preference especially by daughters not to move far away from where ones parents live. Fewer would accept offers of moving into better houses than would remain near their parents if the opportunity arose. This behaviour implies feelings about those who are not family members but is not expressed more explicitly than in the implication of this behaviour.
I have spoken of block or street sentiment which can be related to family residence patterns and preferences not to move away from relatives. Kinship plays an important part in determining behaviour in Bathnal Green. By examining kinship patterns one can learn much about boundaries within and around Bethnal Green.
18.104.22.168. Intimacy of the Family
There is intimate contact between family members and especially with mum. As in Ship Street mum is the centre of the family. Willmott and Young cite the result of a sample in which over half the married women saw their mothers within the previous 24 hours and 80% of them within the previous week. Although at some stage in their livnes children are withdrawn from the influence of home (beginning of school and start of work) and especially during courting) when a daughter marries she returns to the womans world and to her mother.
22.214.171.124. Outsiders within Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green is a place of many industries. Inevitably there must be a large number of people involved in these industries who do not live in Bethnal Green and who have a large variety of contacts with people outside Bethnal Green.
126.96.36.199. Employment Opportunities
This variety of industries means that there are sufficient openings to prevent inhabitants of Bethnal Green from having to seek employment elsewhere and so move away from their families.
188.8.131.52. Similar Nature of Jobs
In this wide variety of jobs available there is one similarity. They are mostly manual work.
184.108.40.206. Speaking to the Guv'nor
Since relatives often have the same kind of work they can sometimes help each other to get jobs. A father with a record of being a good workman has a good chance of getting a job for his son.
I have said that people tend not to move away from Bethnal Green, are predominantly employed within the borough, and have many relatives living in the same area. These create a network of local attachment which is much stronger than it would be where one existed without the others. However, this network of local attachment consists of not all (54,000) residents of Bethnal Green but many units of families or neighbours. These are the geographically bounded entities in Bethnal Green. But even with these the boundary is not a rigid one because although there may be concentrations,'of family member s in single blocks or streets others may reside in other streets nearby.
Greenleigh is a new housing estate less than 20 miles away from Bethnal Green. It is one of many estates to which Bethnal Greeners have moved.
It was said earlier that people prefer not to move away from Bethnal Green. Those who did move were attracted by the house.
"Many people value the air and fields even more for their children than for themselves. Greenleigh is generally. thought 'better for the kiddies'". ("Family and Kinship", p.128).
In Greenleigh particular geographic areas delimit only a few roles. It contrasts with Ship Street and Bethnal Green where several different roles may be performed by the same people in a limited area. In breaking outside the nuclear family most people are strangers and roles tend to be associated with a specific content and with different people in each activity. Content rather than place of residence is the most significant in determining whether the relationship takes place.
I have said of Ship Street and Bethnal Green that conceptions of boundedness are only present to a very limited extent for the geographic area of Ship Street or Bethnal Green and to a greater extent for streets and blocks and concentrations of relatives. Other boundaries present do not relate to geographically defined areas and in some casesare limitless (for example, the single interest relationships of non-residents of Bethnal Green with industry in Bethnal Green). In Greenleigh the geographically bounded unit is even smaller. It consists of the family and odd relatives who may be living nearby. Contacts with others are more role specific and less restricted to. any geographical location.
The intimacy and friendliness in the street or block can be contrasted with Greenleigh where neighbours are strangers drawn from every part of the East End, and are treated with reserve. Bethnal Greeners frequently complained of the unfriendliness of the place. They are used to friendliness and their standards in this regard are high. They are all the more censorious about other tenants of the County Council ("Family and Kinship", p.151).
"The prevailing attitude is expressed by Mr. Morrow. 'You can't get away from it, they're not so friendly down here. It's not "Hello Joe", "Hello mate". They pass you with a side glance as though they don't know you." And by Mr. Adams: 'We all come from the slums, not Park Lane, but they don't mix. In Bethnal Green you always used~to have a little laugh on the doorstep. There's none of that in Greenleigh. You're English but you feel like a foreigner here, I don't know why. Up there you'd lived for years, and you knew how to deal with the people there. People here are different.' And by Mr. Pierce: 'The neighbours round here are all very quiet. They all keep themselves to themselves. They all come from the East End but they all seem to change when they come down here." ("Family and Kinship", p.147)
"Of the forty-one couples, twenty-three considered that other people were unfriendly, eight were undecided one way or another, and ten considered theip friendly. ... How does this majority who consider their fellow residents unfriendly feel about themselves ... they mostly reveal that their own behaviour is the same as they resent in others; that (since others are unfriendly) to withdraw will avoid trouble and keep the peace; that co-existence is safer, because more realistic. than co-operation. 'The policy here is don't have a lot to do with each other, then there won't be any trouble,' says Mr. Chortle succinctly.
This attitude is supported by reference to the skirmishes and backbiting which have resulted from being 'too friendly' in the past. 'It's better if you just talk to your neighbours and don't get too friendly' concludes Mr. Sandeman from his past experience. 'You stop friends if you don't get to know them too well. When you get to know them you're always getting little troubles breaking out. I've had too much of that and so I'm not getting too friendly now."' ("Family and Kinship", p.148).
220.127.116.11. Getting On
There is more concern in Greenleigh with getting on. Willmott and Young argue that the possession of a new house sharpens the desire for other material goods and striving for them becomes a competitive affair. But the desire to get on is also explained by the nature of the contact which people have with those outside the intimate family nucleus.
"In Bethnal Green people commonly belong to a close network of personal relationships. They know intimately dozens of other local people living near at hand, their school-friends, their work-mates, their pub-friends, and above all, their relatives. They know them well because they have known them over a long period of time. Common family residence since childhood is the matrix of friendship. In this situation, Bethnal Greeners are not, as we see it, concerned to any marked extent with what is usually thought of as 'status'. It is true, of course, that people have different incomes, different kinds of jobs, different kinds of houses - in this respect there is much less uniformity than at Greenleigh - even different standards of education. But these attributes are not so important in evaluating others. It is personal characteristics which matter. The first thing they think about is not that he has a 'fridge' and a car. They see him as bad-tempered, or a real good sport, or the man with a way with women, or one of the best boxers of the Repton Club, or the person who got married to Ada last year. In a community of long standing, status, insofar as it is determined by job and income and education, is more or less irrelevant to a person's worth. He is judged instead, if he is judged at all, more in the round., as a person with the usual mixture of all kinds of qualities,, some good, some bad, many indefinable. He is more a life portrait than a figure on a scale. ...
How different is Greenleigh we have already seen. Where nearly everyone is a stranger there is no means of uncovering personality. People cannot be judged by their personal characteristics ... judgement must therefore rest on the trappings of the man rather than on the man himself. ... In Bethnal Green it is not easy to give a man a status because he has so many. ... In Greenleigh, he has something much more nearly approaching one status because something much more nearly approaching one criterion is used: his possessions. ... The comparative isolation of the family at Greenleigh encourages the kind of simplified judgement of which we have been speaking." ("Family and Kinship", p.161-3).
When people decide they might leave Bethnal Green the choice is difficult because to leave the borough is to leave relatives as well. As has been suggested already this affects life in Greenleigh.
The members of a family who do move to Greenleigh probably see more of others who have also moved to the estate than they did in Bethnal Green. People have fewer relatives in Greenleigh. In emergency they no longer send for mum. At Greenleigh, being deprived of relatives, they have to make do as best they can sometimes with the aid of neighbours, but usually by their own devices. Children and husbands do more. The family is more self-contained in bad times and in good. Husband and wife work together and a closer partnership can make isolation more bearable. The relatives of Bethnal Green have not been replaced by the neighbours of Greenleigh. The newcomers are surrounded by strangers instead of kin. Their lives outside the family are no longer centred on people; their lives are centred on the house.
Many of the husbands have continued to work in London.
I have observed in Greenleigh the small intimate nuclear family in which a variety of relationships take place. Links outside this group are much more role specific. The small strongly bounded group exists together with units which can extend an infinite distance where thus geography is not a variable.
It is difficult to make a table, as I did for the village communities, which assesses what contributes to isolation and what does not because the geographical unit (the village in the rural studies) is difficult to demarcate in the urban studies considered. The areas which are isolated by there being a commonly held conception of a boundary and those in which other social factors delimit boundaries are not easily defined geographically. However I make some attempt below to tabulate the statements made in this section about urban communities.
So the socially bounded units which can be founded in Ship Street are Ship Street, the family, the street or block. The boundedness is determined by social factors rather than geography.
In Bethnal Green I have observed the following bounded entities:
So, the boundaries present are the family, those more specific relationships in which geographical location is less important. The geographical isolation of Greenleigh does not correspond with any social boundary for Bethnal Greeners except that relatives do not see each other as often as they used to in Bethnal Green.
Using a similar procedure for analysis, the model which I used for studying the processes involved.in delimiting the village from any other social activity elicits useful information about how the arena of particular social activities in an urban setting are delimited.
A variety of delimited social activities or units can be identified including those in which geographical distance is not a significant variable:
Greenleigh can be distinguished from the other two areas by its different influence of the family on other social activities. Only a few members of one family tend to live on the same estate. Since friendship between neighbours is very limited and the inhabitants of the same estate work in a variety of places, the individual spends more time in contact with members of his nuclear family. Other members of the family live too far away for more than limited contact to take place other than at times when special visits are made. Workmates are seen only at work.
In Ship Street and Bethnal Green extended family members and workmates live., if not in the same street or block, then within Bethnal Green. Many members of the same extended family live in the same street or block. The same set of people are in contact in different situations: at work, in the neighbourhood, in the family. In Greenleigh different sets of people are in contact in these three activities.
The question might now be asked: What does this procedure of analysis, which I have used reveal about the nature of urban and village communities? Similar procedures of analysis can clarify similarities and contacts between rural and urban communities. Ship Street and Bethnal Green are most like village communities because there is consideable overlap in the different roles which people perform. However they are not isolated units. Extended families tend to live near each other. Each street or block has some common sentiment.
But extended families may be spread over several streets. Although all in the borough do the same kind of work (manual) and, where the opportunity arises, father will have a word with the "Guv'nor" for his son, members of the same family may work for several different firms. The diagram gives a rough illustration of these points. Bethnal Green and Ship Street are therefore most like the least isolated village communities such as Belmonte de Los Caballeros and Hal-Farrug. Greenleigh is in a sense more like Peyrane than Bethnal Green and Ship Street because of the isolation of the family in each and the distrust of everyone who is not a family member. However I did point out earlier that in other respects all Peyranes feel they are friends and have a lot in common. This is not a characteristic of Greenleigh.
I think I have shown that the mode of analysis of field data which I have used above is useful for gaining understanding of the determinants and maintenance of isolation of rural and urban communities, more useful than Reelfield's approach.
The reader will have been wondering whether what I have said about the variables involved is not a tautology. I now discuss this. I have been discussing geographical and social boundaries. At the end of Section 3 on the variety of boundaries I pointed out that I was studying the significance of the degree of correlation between the social and geographical boundaries of the community and the effects that contact with surrounding areas and outside values has on this correlation. It is possible to deduce from my discussion of such contact in urban and rural communities that where there is less contact with surrounding areas and outside values there is greater correlation between the geographic and social boundaries present in and around the community. Having less contact with the outside is almost the same as having less variety of boundaries or more overlap of roles being performed by the same people. [The] correlation between social and geographical boundaries is the same as saying that there is an overlap between the social boundaries, i.e. the arena of particular social roles, and a particular spatially defined area, i.e. that the performance of various role s is restricted to a limited area where a limited number of, people reside. Correlation between geographical and social boundaries is thus almost the same as little communication with the outside as far as the data above is concerned.
It can also be asked how independent a variable is the 'conceptions of boundaries by community members' from the environment in which it exists. In each of the cases examined, I have had difficulty in distinguishing aspects of the social environment, particularly values and behaviour associated with them, which relate to the isolation of the community from people's conceptions of boundaries.
Having been studying a collection of variables none of which is really independent there has been a tendency sometimes for my argument to be tautological. However, I do not think this means that the analysis is not useful. Something has been learnt about the processes in which boundaries are determined and maintained. I have been making comparisons and contrasts between behaviour observed in several different communities. This study which is based on concrete events themsbIves is more useful than one based on patterns of events.
Van Velsen in "The Extended Case Method and Situational Analysis" in "The Craft of Social Anthropology" ed. A.L. Epstein expresses clearly the contrasting modes of analysis which I have tried to exemplify in this thesis; that between what he calls the structuralist and the post structuralist anthropologists.
Van Velsen contrasts the structuralists with their emphasis on social morphology with the post structuralists who aim at analysing the interrelations of structural (universal) regularities, on the one hand, and the actual (unique) behaviour of individuals, on the other. Van Velsen cites Fortes as a structuralist.
"The 'structural frame of reference', according to Fortes ("The Structure of Unilineal Descent Groups", American Anthropologist, 58, 1953, p.39) 'gives us procedures for investigation and analysis by which a social system can be apprehended as a unity made up of parts and processes that are linked to one another by a limited number of principles of wide validity in homogeneous and relatively stable societies.' This passage sums up the salient features of the structuralist approach. Structural analyses are primarily concerned with relations between social position or statuses rather than with the 'actual relations of Tom, Dick or Harry...' (Radcliffe-Brown's "Structure and Function in Primitive Society", 1952, p.192). There is clearly a preference for abstractions as against the particular on which these abstractions must necessarily be based..."
Van Velsen continues:
"For the present the important point is that actions of individuals become submerged in general principles which may be the anthropologist's abstractions or informants statements; these latter, of course, may be abstractions themselves. This type of analysis does not allow for the fact that individuals are often faced by a choice between alternative norms. ... Individuals are often faced by a choice or even conflict...
In any society, then, the individual may at times have to make a choice between a variety of mutually contradtictory norms. Thus the norms relating to a man's status as son, husband, father prime minister or chief are unlikely to be mutually compatible in all respects. Though ethnographic accounts with a structural frame of reference may mention or imply such inherent contradiction, they do not treat them as datum that has to be analysed just as, and with reference to, other observed data. Instead the emphasis is on consistency and contradictions between various sets of norms in different fields of action are a feature of all societies, To live with these inconsistencies by manipulating the norms in such a way that people can continue to stay together in social order is a problem that members of any society have to solve. It is therefore also a problem worth studying for the anthropologist."
Van Velsen then proceeds to describe the mode of approach of the post structuralists.
"... Schapera ("Contact between European and Native in S. Africa" in Methods of Study of Culture Contact, International African Institute Memorandum 15, 1938, p.29) has pointed out that: 'culture is not merely a system of formal practices and beliefs. It is made up essentially of individual reactions to and variations from a traditional standardised pattern; and indeed no culture can ever be understood unless special attention is paid to this range of individual manifestations. 1 In other words, norms, general rules of conduct., are translated into practice; they are ultimately manipulated by individuals in particular situations to serve particular ends... The structural frame of reference is unsuitable for the analysis of conflicts of norms and of the resultant choice of action open to individuals...
Such considerations have prompted a reaction among some anthropologists against the structuralists over-emphasis on consistency and on the formal and ideal norm. There has been an ever increasing interest in the problem of conflicting norms, including norm conflicts resulting from foreign cultural influences... Consequently they are becoming more aware of the contradiction between the observable realities of wage employment, labour migration, cash crop production etc., and the older assumptions of consistency, homogeneity, and relative stability. Moreover, the isolation, for analytical purposes, of the units of study is becoming increasingly complicated...
One aspect, then, of the reaction to structuralism... has been a growing desire among anthropologists to understand how people actually live with their - often conflicting - norms; how they operate these norms and manipulate the choices open to them."
Van Velsen argues that what he calls 'situational analysis,' in which
"records of actual situations and particular behaviour have found their way from the fieldworkers notebooks into his analytical descriptions, not as 'apt' illustrations (Gluckman. Ethnographic Data on British Social Anthropology. Sociological Review 9, p.7. 1961), of the author's abstract formulations but as a constituent part of the analysis."
"... offers better opportunities for integrating the accidental and exceptional with the general than does structural analysis ...When the agents in the system are not clearly structured, enduring corporate groups but rather individuals interlinked through continually changing alignments in small and often ephemeral groups, one cannot talk meaningfully about exceptions.
"... the statics of the structure, 'the permanent edifice in which social relations and activities are congealed' as Fortes put it (1945, "The Dynamics of Clanship among the Tallensi", p.232) should be supplemented and enlivened by an account of the actions - both Inormalt and 'exceptional' - of the individuals who operate the structure, i.e. the processes going on within the structure. We seek to relate the deviations form the structural regularities to regularities of a different order, namely the interpretation of a social system in terms of conflicting norms ... A situational analysis pays more attention to the integration of case material in order to facilitate the description of social processes." (My underlining).
The latter (underlined) is what I have tried to do in discussing the isolation and determinant factors of six specific communities.
Frederik Barth in "Models of Social Organisation" (Royal Anthropological Institute Occasional Paper No. 23) argues how certain kinds of models are more useful than others. Van Velsen and Barth seem in the two articles to agree that in their criticisms of structural-functionalist techniques of investigation.
Barth stresses the need to concentrate on concrete social forms:
"Logical operations," he says, "whereby forms are generated should mirror actual, empirical processes which can be identified in the reality which is being analysed. This limitation is necessary to make the model building activity subservient to the objectives of an empirical science" ("Models of Social Organisation", p. v.).
He goes on:
"To study form it may be sufficient to describe it. To explain form one needs to discover and describe the processes that generate the forms. (Models) provide the means to describe and study change in social forms as changes in the basic variables that generate the forms ... they facilitate comparative analysis as a methodological equivalent of experiement. Models descriptive of form merely permit one to lay out typological series and point to difference and similarities. ... The adequacy of a generative model, on the other hand, is tested by its success or failure in generating the observed forms; it contains implicit hypotheses about "possible" and "impossible" systems which may be falsified by comparative data" ("Models of Social Organisation", p. v and vi).
"Explanation is not achieved by a description of the patterns of regularity, no matter how meticulous and adequate, nor by replacing this description by other abstractions congruent with it, but by exhibiting what makes the pattern, i.e. certain processes. To study social forms, it is certainly necessary but hardly sufficient to be able to describe them. To give an explanation of social forms, it is sufficient to describe the processes that generate the form." ("Models of Social Organisation", p.3)
My discussion of the variety of boundaries which can exist within and around village communities can be considered in the context, of that of Frederik Barth and others in "Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organisation of Cultural Difference" (1969). In it the nature and maintenance of such boundaries are discussed.
The book discounts the view that boundaries between ethnic groups are maintained by neighbours ignorance about what lies on the other side. The book shows that boundaries persist despite a flow of personnel across them. Social boundaries are not necessarily determined by geographical boundaries. He says that:
"Categorical ethnic distinctions do not depend on an absence of mobility, contact and information but do entail processes of exclusion and incorporation whereby discrete categories are maintained despite changing participation and membership in the course of individual life histories" ("Ethnic Groups and Boundaries", p.9-10).
So in fact some aspects of social boundaries can be determined by other aspects or exist despite an unfavourable environment. Examples of this can be found in the ethnographic data presented above. Social faotbrs can determine other social factors. Thus the conception of a boundary can be determined by other social factors independently of the geographical environment. For example, Belmonte is relatively economically independent whilst being within easy reach of nearby urban areas.
On the other hand evidence can be found in the examples described above showing that correlations can be made between the location of social boundaries and the conducive social and geographical environment. For example, Belmontes have ambivalent attitudes towards city dwellers; they dislike them and also try to emulate them. The good transport facilities and economic independence of Belmonte encourage and discourage respectively contact with the city. Peyranes dislike any outsiders. This is encouraged by their dependence on outsiders economically and for decisions which affect their daily lives and by poor communication facilities to outside the village. In Hal-Farrug there are positive attitudes to the city and a strong feeling of belonging to the local community. Ease of travel about the island, its smallness and the fact that 70% of Farrugin work in the city encourage these attitudes.(11)
So there is good evidence that one can correlate social and geographical boundaries though this is not saying that they are determined by geographical boundaries. But Barth is doing more than assessing the relation between social and geographical boundaries. He says that there is an aspect of boundaries which is independent of geographical boundaries and the movements of people and objects; boundaries are believed to exist and people base their behaviour on these beliefs. This aspect of boundaries is said to exist in some way in its own right. In the book the authors
"give primary emphasis to the fact that ethnic groups are categories of ascription and identification by the actors themselves, and thus have the characteristic of organising interaction between people." ("Ethnic Groups and Boundaries", p.10).
This aspect of boundaries can influence the location and presence of social boundaries. So either the conceptions of the boundaries and the environment in which they exist can be determinant of'aspects of the other.
So boundaries are maintained by more than ignorance of neighbours about what lies on the other side.
Contributors to "Ethnic Groups and Boundaries" cite case histories which show that ideology and other social and geographical factors can determine ethnic boundaries. Strong feelings of inferiority of Lapps amongst both Lapps and Norwegians as well as linguistic and behavioural differences determine constant efforts of Lapps to conceal their identity yet prevent the possibility that they might succeed in doing this because of their constant awareness that they are different.
This discussion poses the question: Does the conception of a boundary exist in its own right in any of my examples? I have already pointed out the difficulty I have had in finding conceptions of boundaries in the urban communities. In the rural communities I have found conceptions of boundaries but have not been able to state that they are determinants of boundaries. But I did not really set out to assess especially whether boundaries existed in their own right and were determinants of other social phenomena. I have tried to make correlafi ons between variovs variables treating conceptions of boundaries as independent variables. The causal relationship may be either way.
I have shown the usefulness of examining concrete events other than patterns of events, of using the concept social process rather than social form. I have done this by applying this approach to data on several communities. I have shown that Redfield's approach is unsatisfactory. In examining one of the many features with which he defines his ideal "folk society" - isolation - I have found that this variable has constituent variables which he does not consider. Because he does not consider the actual constituents of particular communities the usefulness of Redfield's model as a predictive device is limited.
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1) In my paragraph on dependence on the government (p.33) much of what I say is behavioural manifestation of the villagers concept of the boundary rather than part of the environment.
2) I discuss under a separate heading "Generation conflict". It becomes apparent here that there are values and employment opportunities which conflict with those which make for a bounded community. It is not altogether clear how widespread these are.
3) It is significant that these are opinions. If there were not such opinions, i.e. they were only facts which villagers did not conceptualise, then I would not be justified in regarding them as part of the villagers conception of the boundary with the outside.
4) It is not absolutely clear that this is something that villagers conceive rather than Maltese in general.
5) I cannot solve this difficulty here since no explanation is offered by recourse to the source of the data. I can offer only a few ideas on possible explanations.
6) There is also some correlation with the tconception of boundary' variables. This is discussed next.
7) Significant here is the claim of Boissevain, in Man, Vol. 13, No. 4, p.547 that within 24 hours, using no more than three intermediary links he could arrange a personal introduction to any Maltese adult selected at random out of the total population of 314,000.
8) In other spheres of activity the entity might be one which includes some people from within the village and some from others, i.e. it might be difficult to draw a geographical boundary around a particular set of relationships.
9) Lapps' conception of boundaries and the environment in which they exist. Eidheim, discusses an area of mixed Norwegian and coast Lappish population inhabiting the fjords and inlets of West Finnmark in Northern Norway.
There is a conspicuous lack of contrasting cultural traits between Lapps and Norwegians, but these ethnic labels are attached to communities as well as families and individual persons and are in daily use. The consistent though not public use of such labels indicates that an ethnic identity is a topic of importance in the relations between persons carrying contrasting as well as similar identities. The language of symbols which bear on an identity cleavage is rich and finely shaded (p.40).
In certain spheres Lapps refuse to concede that there is a boundary between them and other Norwegians. Geographical and social boundaries are not relevant in the context of public behaviour. The limits to this sphere of activity, if it can at all be called this, are very difficult to define. In other spheres Lapps regard themselves as very separate from Norwegians. The efforts they make to conceal their identity in the presence of Norwegians is evidence for this. Norwegians, however, are wise to this double identity that Lapps try to carry off. To them Lapps are always Lapps, even if in certain spheres Lapps don't regard themselves as different from other Norwegians. Reference to the following paragrphs will show tbat there are these various boundaries.
Eidheim argues that ethnic groups are social categories which provide a basis for status ascription, and consequently that inter-ethnic relations are organised with reference to such statuses. He describes a situation where one ethnic status is illegitimate. Behaviour is strongly influenced by this inthat it is not acted out in inter-ethnic relations.
Eidheim descibes the behaviour within, and between two ethnic groups resident in the same area in N. Norway. I outline briefly that nature of this behaviour. The essential point is that one must understand the values of each group in order to understand the relations between them. Observing only the behaviour which occurs between members of the two groups does not reveal the details of inter-ethnic behaviour.
Under the disability of a stigmatised ethnic identity, members of the coast Lappish population in question seek to qualify themselves as full participants in the Norwegian society. In order to obtain this membership they have to develop techniques to avoid or tolerate sanctions from the local Norwegian population. The behavioural forms which are displayed under such constraints are organised in distinct spheres of action which articulate, and maintain an identity economy.
An outsider paying a casual and short visit in the area will most likely notice no signs of ethnic diversity, let alone ethnic borders. This is probably because an outsider only meets local people in the public sphere of activity when ethnic identity is if possible not revealed.
Some facts are however at odds with this facade which people present as long as they regard one as an outsider or just an ordinary Norwegian: people in the area have a good knowledge of each other and can classify each other very precisely as either Lapp or Norwegian. In the fjord community under discussion, Lappish is the language used at home in about 40 of the 50 households; outside the households Lappish is a medium of communication within the wider district, but language behaviour is such that Lappish must be regarded as a secret language or code, regularly used only in situations where trusted Lappish identities are involved. These facts indicate that contrary to superficial impressions, Lappish identity is a topic of general concern. Norwegians regard Lapps as inferior. Lapps have the dilemma that in order to share the opportunities available in the society, people have to get rid of or cover up these characteristics which Norwegians take as signs of Lappishness. Behaviour between the two groups is influenced not only by overt differences but by the attitudes of Norwegians to Lapps and, the concommitant feelings Lapps have about Norwegians and their wish to overcome difficulties caused by their identity. Both parties at first seem to behave as if ethnicity does not count. Paradoxically ethnic status underlies and delimits relations.
"... inter-ethnic relations are not organised with reference to the respective ethnic status directly, but ... nevertheless are shaped by them. ...The behavioural forms which have classifactory significance for the actors can only be understood by uncovering and systematising local values and sanctions."
Comparisons can be made between the position of the Lapps with respect to Norwegians and the position of Belmonte villagers with respect to city dwellers.
Belmonte villagers are aware of the attitudes of city people which depict them as "country people" and therefore inferior. They counter these attitudes with the claim that only country people really know what it means to work. Despite this pride in themselves, Belmontes are envious of the comfort of those who "live without working" in the city. Their desire to emulate city people reflects this envy.
Similar comparison can be made with Farrugin with respect to people from the city. It will be remembered that Farrugin desire to be like city people. They dress up in their city clothes and put on their best accents when they visit the city.
So Eidheim's argument is very similar to mine: that in order to understand overt behaviour between groups and overt attitudes towards each other, one must understand the environment in which this behaviour exists (i.e. for Eidheim; that Lappish identity is illegal and that they wish to live like Norwegians). Belmontes and Farrugin, like Lapps, feel part of or at least desire to be part of a world which is wider than the village. This world includes values and patterns of behaviour which some villagers already practise. Under certain circumstances, like Lapps, Belmontes and Farrugin discard their village roles and act in roles for which the geographical limits, of the village are irrelevant. The integration of Lapps into Norwegian society puts great pressure on Lapps who desire nevertheless to maintain in their own culture because it is stigmatised by Norwegians. Their desire to behave like Norwegians must exist with the need to live a secret life of being Lappish if they wish to succeed as Norwegians. (A result of this is that Lapps have great contact with the world outside their own but few Norwegians have any contact with the Lappish world. There is a one way relationship.)
10) Distinction can also be made between the village and the commune as bounded units. The commune as a unit can be distinguished by the following points:
11) Jan Peter Blom supports this view that correlations can be made between the social and geographical environment. Blom argues that cultural diversification of a peasant population within a national state is shown to reflect continuous processes of adaptation to shifting circumstances in the natural and social environment.
To explain this Blom describes the relations between a mountain area and the surrounding lowland areas in southern Norway.
In opportunities for farming there is a marked ecological barrier between the two areas. The mountain peasants depend on livestock and fields which produce hay. The area is above the boundary for guaranteed ripening of grain or root crops. They exploit large areas. This can, be contrasted with the lowland peasant for whom a greater variety of farming is possible. Resources of pasture and hay in the mountain areas are limited only by a shortage of manpower. There is no source of seasonal labour which could be used for harvesting fodder which could enable a larger flock to be supported in the winter.
In order to increase the utilisation of unlimited pastures the mountain peasants have started to import livestock from the lowlands for the summer and letting pasture areas. A symbiotic relationship thus has been started between the highland and lowland areas.
The resultant pattern of utilisation of resources contributes to make the mountain farmers culturally distinctive in regard to both the type of work they do and to the specilic organisational solutions which are embraced by individual households and local communities. This contributes to the development of a characteristic mountaineer style of life which correlates on the level of attitude and world view.
Blom then points out however that there is no empirical evidence to support an assumption that interaction between these mountain farms and the lowlands is based on dichotomisation of such generalised, ethnic character. He finds that cultural differentiation is under-communicated. Cultural differentiation is at most limited to role specific behaviour.
In one sense cultural difference is explained by the dichotomy between the highlands and the lowlands, but only in role specific relations. In another sense cultural difference is not explained since it is under-communicated. Blom proposes an answer to this difficulty.
"(The difficulty) ... suggests an analytical dichotomy between culture in the sense of standards of evaluation and their codifications in social categories and statuses, and culture in the sense of the manifest forms generated by such values under specific ecological and social conditions."
That is, as I understand it, one can distinguish between the codification and the ecological environment of social conditions.
Blom's argument is that the ecological environment in each of the societies, which is correlated with their symbiosis, does not necessarily cause or correlate with differences in other aspects of the society. Other factors (e.g. values, codification or statuses) might determine dichotomy.
The cultural differences between mountain and lowland areas are played down in communications between the two societies. The differences which provide a basis for complementarity and ample material for regional stereotypes are distinctions do not in themselves entail a social organisation based on ethnic units. On the contrary this co-operation with the lowland areas, which involves specialisation of their agricultural activities and under-communication of differences in other respects between lowlanders and highlanders, operated against the systemisation and maintenance of cultural differences in the form of ethnic boundaries.
Blom suggests that one must add a further dimension to understand behaviour between highlanders and lowlanders: the social codification of some of these differences. But he does not follow this up except by pointing out a disparity between that part of culture which is a set of codifications and that part which is an expression of the ecological environment. He does not explain what is codified and how this relates to other aspects of the society.
However Blom does make an important point about the study of social process:
"... ethnic boundaries do not depend on cultural differences on the level of form, but rather on culture at a more fundamental level, i.e. specific codification of these differences into complementary statuses which differentiate a population into reference groups, supported by a charter of distinctive origins for each. The reason for the existence of such organisations must therefore be sought in the social processes which allow an initial and natural fear and suspicion against strangers to be systematised into ethnic statuses. These are social categories which provide obligatory standards for judging the behaviour of self and others and which, consequently organise a whole range of activities into stereotyped clusters of meaning.
Blom seems to argue in favour of correlation between the conceived positions of boundaries and factors in their environment. For example, individual participation in certain spheres of activity with areas outside the village causes a discontinuity in the boundary around the village. But this discontinuity does not necessarily correspond to boundaries in other spheres of activity. This point arises from Blom's discussion of the distinction between different types of culture which in my terminology are different aspects of the environment in which boundaries and conceptions thereof exist.