ANTH Chapter 8 & 9


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ULTURAL A NTHROPOLOGY C HAPTER 8 Social Stratification: Class, Ethnicity, and Racism Socially Stratified: societies that contain social groups such as classes, families, or ethnic groups that have unequal access to important advantages such as economic resources, power and prestige. Until about 10,000 years ago all human societies depended on food they hunted, gathered and fished. Before 10,000 years ago most societies were probably egalitarian. Egalitarian societies have disappeared. Variation in Degree of Social Inequality Societies vary in the extent to which social groups as well as individuals have equal access to advantages. We are concerned with differential or unequal access to three types of advantages: 1. Wealth or economic resources, 2. Power, and 3. Prestige. Economic Resources are things that have value in a culture; they include land, tools, and other technology, goods, and money. Power , a second but related advantage, is the ability to make others do what they do not want to do; power is influence on the threat of force. Prestige is that someone or some group is accorded respect or particular honor. But there are social groups that have no social groups with unequal access to prestige. Three types of society in terms of the degree to which social groups have unequal access to advantages: egalitarian, rank and class societies . Egalitarian societies contain no social groups with greater or lesser access to economic resources, power, or prestige. Rank societies do not have very unequal access to economic resources or to power, but they do contain social groups with unequal access to prestige. Class Societies have unequal access to all three advantages’, economic, power, and prestige. Pg. 136 Egalitarian Societies Can be found among foragers such as the !Kung, Mbuti, Australian aborigines, Inuit, and Ache. And horticulturalists such as the Yanomamo and pastoralists such as the Lapps. Morton Fried: egalitarian means that within a given society there are as many positions of prestige in any given age sex grade as there are persons capable of filling them. There is equal access to status positions for people of the same ability. Depend heavily on sharing which ensures equal access. Christopher Boehm suggests that dominance comes naturally to humans. They work hard to reverse that tendency. There is controversy whether pastoral societies are egalitarian. Rank Societies Most practice agriculture or herding. But not all agricultural or pastoral societies are ranked. Ranking is social groups with unequal access to prestige or status but not significantly unequal access to economic resources or power. Unequal access is reflected in the position of chief. Unusual rank societies was the native Americans, the Nimpkish, a Kwakiutl group. Had potlaches. The chief position was hereditary, in Polynesian societies was genealogical. Sahlins says a chiefs storehouses contain temporary accumulations for feasts. Trobriand islanders. Laura Betzig studied patterns of food sharing and labor on Ifaluk.
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This note was uploaded on 09/12/2011 for the course ANTHRO 100 taught by Professor Drover during the Spring '11 term at Golden West College.

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