Group 7 Bonvillian Chapter 4 &5

Bovilliain Ch. 4 &5


Stratified Societies

  1. In societies characterized by system if social stratification, relations among individuals and kinship groups are founded not on egalitarian principles but rather on hierarchal ranking of people.
  2. In some chiefdoms, egalitarian ethics continue to organize relationships among people; in others, inequality and differentiation dominate social interactions

-Strengths of the hierarchy vary from culture to culture.

The Haidi and Tlingit of the Canadian Pacific Coast

  1. Native people inhabiting the Canadian Pacific Coastal region economics were based on foraging, lived in large stable villages and had complex systems of social ranking founded on individual and class differences.
    1. Economic activities were allocated according to gender

i.     Men: Fishing and hunting salmon, seals, beaver, deer, moose

ii.     Women: Gathering wild plants, fruits, seaweed and nuts

iii.     Women are also in charge of storage and preservation of fish and meat

  1. Tlingit and Haida society was organized through matrilinealclans.
    1. Clans were corporate groups
    2. Clans owned social property in the form of hereditary titles and chieftainship
    3. Houses inhabited by man, nuclear family, sister’s sons, and their families
    4. Boys could live with mother’s brothers at the age of puberty/could not move back until marriage
    5. Households headed by senior men
    6. Lineages/ clans led by chiefs
    7. House Chief= man with highest title in the house
    8. When given a new title man hosts a communal feast (potlatch)
    9. Chiefs, used hard work and manipulation to gain wealth

10. Social order was ranked, based on kinship, membership in social settings, individual prestige

11. Three groups: Nobles, Commoners, Slaves

12. Haida did not respect commoners

13. Nobles outnumbered commoners

14. Slaves owned by nobles

15. Women sometimes became chiefs, when no men were left in the lineage

16. Women own property

17. Divorce was fairly common, initiated by either spouse

18. Specific subsistence activities were allocated by gender in pacific coast cultures

19. Women were responsible for collecting gifts for the potlatch

20. Women also participated in trade

21. Women were often violent to their husbands when trade relations did not end well

22. In some cases sexual services of women were exploited by male relatives

23. There was an imbalance of the people who had titles to the people who were qualified for them

24. In pacific regions, women workers were negatively affected when economic problems arose

25. Canning facilities closed



  1. Definition- A public communal feast sponsored by a man who assumes a new title or chieftainship
  2. Some potlatches accompany rites of passage (rituals performed after birth, marriage, and death)
  3. Both men and women benefitted from potlatches
    1. Received Gifts
    2. Gender equality in the pot latching system was demonstrated by the fact that sons and daughters were equally recognized through feasts given by their parents
    3. Women owned property and had recognized rights to dispose of it as they choose
      1. Does not merge after marriage
      2. At potlatches the chief would invite people from rival clans where he and his linage mates displayed their wealth and distributed gifts of food and utilitarian and ceremonial objects to assembled guests
      3. Potlatches were competitive and served both to raise the status of a host and demean the position of the guests
      4. Tlingit and Haida people were identified according to three social groupings, generally referred to in English as “nobles”, “commoners”, and “slaves”.
      5. The nobility consisted of chiefs, their matrilineal kin, and their own sons and daughters. Nobles were said own houses, and to be holders of the most prestigious hereditary titles. Nobles and their families were all well respected and had respect for themselves.

10. Commoners were not respected and, among the Haida, were outnumbered by the nobles. They owned fewer possessions than the nobles. Commoners were said to be lazy and careless about their speech and demeanor.

11. The slave class consisted of war captives or people purchased as slaves for other Pacific Coast or inland groups. Their descendents were also in this class. Nobles who benefited from their labor owned slaves.

Roles Women Played

  1. Maternal uncles had decisive roles in their nephews’ and nieces’ lives. They were involved in arranging marriages for these kin.
  2. Among the Haida, the boy’s maternal uncle made marriage proposals.
  3. Maternal uncles are also bequeathed property to their nephews and were instrumental in selecting an heir to their own titles.
  4. A woman’s property remained their own after marriage and did not merge with that of her husband.
  5. Because men owned the houses in which they and their families lived, after a divorce, the woman has to return to her father’s or her brother’s residence.
  6. A widow was expected to marry a man of her husband’s lineage, preferable a younger brother or nephew.
  7. If a widow did not remarry quickly, she was obliged to leave her deceased husband’s house.
  8. Although widowers tended to remarry, often marrying a sister of their deceased wife, they had more latitude in choosing a spouse, and in any case, had no fears of being forced to leave their homes.
  9. Rights of Tlingit women to “dictate terms” extended from household and community distribution to market exchanges.

10. Although most traders were men, women frequently participated in expeditions. A woman often accompanied men to assure that the male traders got a good return for their goods. She set the prices.

11. Pacific Coast peoples became engaged in the Euro- American fur trade beginning in the eighteenth century.

12. They were exchanging animal furs for manufactured goods.

13. Their trade negatively affected women’s status with the Europeans.

14. Women sometimes prostituted themselves voluntarily; in other cases, male relatives exploited their sexual services.

15. Venereal disease evidently spread rapidly and caused many illnesses and deaths.

16. Population decline among Pacific peoples resulted directly from syphilis and also from frequent infertility among survivors.

17. Canadian laws came in a changed everything; a system of elected leaders replaced hereditary chiefs. The government also implemented policies that ended in dividing lands traditionally held by lineages into individual allotments assigned to men as head of the households.

18. They tired to eradicate potlatching which they saw was a wasteful pagan ceremony. The pacific coast people continued to potlatch privately in their households. They started potlatching women things like china, silverware, and tablecloths.

19. By the early twentieth century, commercial fishing replaced the fur trade as a major source of income for indigenous people. Men readily shifted from providing fish for domestic and ceremonial consumption to working for commercial fisheries.

20. The changes in the fishing industry altered women’s opportunities.

The Kpelle of Liberia

  1. In contrast to Pacific Coast societies, male dominance may be expressed ideological construct in some stratified societies
    1. Support the belief in the formal superiority of men over women
    2. Economy based on farming (rice is more important)
    3. Women work on land allocated to their husbands
    4. Divorce benefits both wife and husband in an unhappy marriage.
      1. A wife who seeks a divorce is given her freedom and thus is personally satisfied.
      2.  A husband receives the return of brideswealth that he had initially transferred to his wife’s kin, and he retains rights as father to his children
      3.  If a woman is a full legal wife- that is, in a standard marriage with a patrilineages. If a woman’s legal status is in transition that is, during the period of bride service, her children belong to her patrilineages and cannot be claimed by her husband.
      4. Economy based on farming
        1. Surplus crops sold for money
        2. Main crop was rice
        3. Both men and women are involved in faming; men cut down trees in fields in preparation for planting, and then women and men clear the fields of undergrowth.
      5. Land said to be owned by paramount chiefs
        1. Land broken down then to towns and run by town chiefs
        2. Usufruct rights: Rights of individuals to use the land and other resources held in common by their kinship group
        3. Men receive land through patrilineage and their wives work on their land
        4. Women control what plants are planted
      6. Kpelle households consist of nuclear families residing of patrilineal descent and affiliation.
        1. Houses headed by men close to their fathers and brothers.
      7. Affines: relatives by marriage
      8. Full legal wife means her child belongs to her husband’s patrilineage.
      9. If the wife’s legal status is in transition the child belongs to her patrilineage
      10.  Divorce rates are moderately high
        1. The woman usually takes the blame for the failed marriage so the males are not publicly criticized

10. The women’s roles are not just domestic they sell crops and crafts they make


Types of marriages

  1. Male Concubine– Definition:  Union between poor man and one of the wives of a chief or wealthy man
    1. It entails a union between a poor man and one of the wives of a chief or wealthy man. Such a marriage provided benefits for two kinds of men. First, a poor man who would otherwise have few marital prospects can marry and ally himself with a wealthy person.
    2. Another form of marriage involves performance of bride service rather than payment of bridewealth. In this type of marriage, the couple lives with the wife’s family for a fixed period of time agreed upon by the parties concerned. During this period the husband performs labor for his affine.  Children born to a couple during the years of service, belongs to the wife’s lineage rather than to the husband’s
    3. The deal form of marriage involves transfer of bridewealth from a husband’s patrilineages to that of his wife.
    4. Towns are divided into sections administered by section elders
    5. Elders divide their sections into acreage for each patrilineages resident within them
    6. Although men are the olders of land use rights, women have a greaet deal of control over the produce of the land. They make decisions about which crops to grow and in what amount.
    7. The Kpelle do not participate in large regional’s markets, but many woman sell a portion of their crops to people in their villages or to travelers who stop by to purchase food from displays in front of a woman’s house.
    8. Kpelle households consist of nuclear families residing in proximity to kin based on principles of patrilineal descent and affiliation.
    9. Chiefs are selected by councils of elders from among members of the Kpelle upper class, called “upright persons.”

10. Wealthy families enjoy some slight benefits in standards of living relative to close to common people, but differences are minimal

11. The major advantage to wealth is the social prestige and influence associated with it Two additional classes comprise the majority of Kpelle society. The middle class consists of ordinary people who have use rights to land and territory allotted to their patrilineages.

12. The lowest class consists of poor people who for various reasons have little or no land and therefore must work for others either in paid service or through patron-client relations.

The Mpondo of the Transkel

  1. Illustrates patterns of marked social stratification and male dominance
  2. Land owned by chiefs in turn allocates use rights to portions of land to other men who are heads of lineages and households
  3. Wealth in Mpondo society is measured by individual ownership of cattle, owned exclusively by men.
  4. Women’s roles are restricted to direct subsistence production
    1. Produce crops under husbands control
    2. Women cannot walk too close to an elderly man
      1. She cannot drink milk from her husband’s cow during the first year of marriage
      2. Women have no direct roles in this vital system of exchange. They do not own cattle
      3. Women’s roles are restricted to direct subsistence production
      4. They produce crops grown on land under their husband’s control
      5. Women’s labor therefore benefits the patrilineages into which they marry. But the labor is for household consumption only with the birth of children, they visibly reflect and reinforce a wife’s isolation in her husband’s community
      6. Land is owned by paramount and district chiefs
        1. Chiefs in turn allocate use rights to portions of land to other men who are heads of lineages and households
      7. Wealth is measured on ownership of cattle
        1. They are owned by men
        2. Cattle are given to a women’s kin in a marriage
        3. Cattle are used as payment
        4. Cattle are important not only as the source of subsistence such as milk and meat, but also as tokens in economic, social and political exchanges
        5. Cattle are given in bridewealth transactions by men in a husband’s lineage to those in a wife’s kin group
        6. Cattle are also received by men as a payment of services rendered.
        7. Chiefs distribute cattle from their herd to men who give them loyalty and political support.
      8. Divorce
        1. Either a husband or wife may initiate divorce
        2. Adultery is not legitimate ground for divorce. That is a husband who divorces his wife because of her affair cannot claim a return of bridewealth from her kin.
        3. If a divorce is considered legitimate that is, for dereliction of a wife’s duty the woman’s kin must return bridewealth to her husband
        4. Even if a wife initiates a divorce, bridewealth is returned by her family if she is deemed to be at fault.
        5. A woman defers to her husband’s relatives
        6. Sisters who reside in their natal family compound can demand labor from their brother’s wife and can even demand she obtain goods from her own kin.
        7. Women sometimes refer to their husband’s sister as “female-husband”


The Tongo of the South Pacific

  1. As class segmentation intensifies, gender roles become more rigid because societies more complex, hierarchical politics, and gender inequality.
  2. Historically the society was based on a system of ranking in which no two individuals we equal.
    1. 3 Factors

i.     Seniority

ii.     Men over Women

iii.     Sisters over brothers

  1. 2 primary social strata
    1. Chiefs
    2. Non-chiefs
    3. Chiefs handed down land to heads of patrileneages
    4. Chief title is passed down by primogeniture (eldest child)
    5. Economy entailed strict division of labor.
      1. Women’s products: “Koloa” or “valuables, Wealth”
      2. Used in potlatches
      3. Worth more than men’s products
      4. Men’s products: “Ngane” or “Work”
      5. Commoners or non-chiefs provided for the chiefs
      6. Two intermediary groups between chiefs and non-chiefs
        1. “Matapules”: Artisans, warriors, administrators and attendants to chiefs
        2. “Mu’as”; Watched over young members of the chief’s family
      7. Tongan marriages were monogamous for non-chiefly people, but chiefly men often had several wives

10. Many Tongans divorced

  1. Divorce carried no social stigma

11. Fahu: Women have rights to their Uncle and cousin’s labor and products

12. 1800’s trade took off with Europeans

  1. Women often participated in trade
  2. Trade caused shifts in gender roles and division of labor
  3. Trade caused more violence and a shift from a chiefdom to a kingdom
  4. Wesleyans played a large role in the shift also
  5. Tongans first encountered European traders and explorers in the seventeenth century, but trade and whaling in the South Pacific became more frequent and sustained.
  6. Through trade they obtained metal goods such as axes, nails, and knives. They also procured beads and cotton and wool cloth
  7. In exchange, they brought native resources such as fish, coconuts, yams, bark cloth, and other crafts.
  8. Women, especially no chiefly women, offered sexual services in exchange for manufactured goods from traders and sailors.
  9. Chiefs were keenly interested in trade with the British. They especially wanted to obtain firearms.
  10. At first, coconut oil, processed by women, was an important trade item. It was employed by Europeans to light lamps and manufacture soap. As a result of its use, women’s production of coconut oil intensified. Women’s importance in commerce enhanced their status.

13. Wesleyans caused 4 major societal shifts

  1. Use rights to land were granted individually to men
  2. Domestic economic tasks were shifted by assigning the responsibility of cooking to the women
  3. Inheritance of chiefly titles changed
  4. Sexual changes (Women were harshly punished for affairs)

14. People of non-elite groups are considered subordinate

15. Chiefs did not participate in work, obtained food others collected


Non-chiefly People

  1. Non-chiefly men carried out farming tasks, producing crops such as yams, coconuts, and a variety of vegetables. They supplied their families with fish and turtles obtained in the open seas.
  2. Non-chiefly women collected shellfish in shallow waters and reefs and also fished in lagoons. They extracted oil from coconuts and blended it with flowers to be used as a slave to protect their skin.
  3. Men were responsible for cooking.
  4. Other household tasks were not lined to gender but were performed by both men and women. They included child care and building houses.
  5. Non-chiefly men made canoes and weapons.
  6. Non-chiefly women made mats, bark cloth (called tapa), bedding, and net bags.
  7. Although lower-ranking people certainly preferred to marry someone of higher rank, those of high rank looked upon such unions as disadvantages to their own status.
  8. Premarital sex was common in both boys and girls
  9. Only among the chiefly strata were restrictions placed on girl’s behavior. High ranking daughters were watched closely to assure their chastity.

10. Marriages were monogamous for non-chiefly people, but chiefly men often had several wives



  1. The highest ranking men had concubines. Concubines were not legal wives, but lived in the chief’s household.
  2. In Tongan marriages, husband and wives were expected to show respect toward each other.
  3. A wife’s behavior was customarily deferential toward her husband, but if a wife’ outranked her husband, he often deferred to her.
  4. Ideally, both husband and wife should be faithful, but Tongans recognized that his ideal was not always fulfilled. If adultery became public knowledge, divorce often ensued.
  5. Structures against adultery were stronger among chiefly people.
  6. If a man cheated with a chiefly wife, he was in danger of being killed, either on the orders of the chief or by one of his own relatives who took the action to forestall the chief’s revenge against the entire kin group
  7. The Majority of Tongan marriages ended in divorce


  1. Divorces were initiated only by the husbands, but no social stigma was borne by either party.
  2. Divorced people of either gender were expected to remarry, but many did not
  3. A divorced woman could always receive material support from her brothers and their wives and children through her fahu claims to their labor
  4. A widow of a primary paramount chief might commit suicide or be killed at his funeral.
  5. Violence against women in the form of beatings and rape was extremely are. A wife might be beaten by her husband as punishment for adultery, but otherwise such behavior was considered reprehensible
  6. A man who chronically or severally beat his wife might be killed by her relatives.

Chapter 5 (Agricultural Studies)

Inca of Peru

  1. Castes=Classes
  2. Degrees of inequality differ amongst states
  3. State societies intensify gender hierarchy as another means of segmenting the populace
  4. Members of two dominate lineages
  5. Pre-Incan Andean cultures contained egalitarian principles related to land ownership and access to resources
  6. Stratification usually based on a caste system
  7. Inequalities change people’s opportunity to obtain goods and means of production
  8. Elites had the ability to own resources and permit access to others only if goods equal the same price as rent or money
  9. Higher Social Class (Curacas)- Similar to chiefdom state societies are characterized by castes that differ in economic resources, social prestige, and political power

10. State societies often develop gender constructs- male over female

11. Inca- hierarchical state society. Certain people have social prestige over others

12. Incan society was extremely controlled

13. Localized kinship groups called ayllus- endogamous communities

14. Strict system of redistribution so that no one family obtains more wealth or power than another, unless they have been chosen to do so.

15. Land in the empire was separated into 3 divisions: “Land of the Incas”- elite, state bureaucrats and military, “Land of the Sun”- official state religion. Ordinary peasants farmed of the land.

16. Mita System- people worked to construct palaces etc (only married people as mita services were assigned to households as units)

17. Administrative power was exclusively a male domain and held by one male emperor and his wife (coya) who was his sister. Select individuals would serve under him, chosen from the family

18. Trial marriages between peasant and middle class were common, but not in the elite.

19. There was major control over women and consumed by the men

20. Women couldn’t attend male schools, had significantly less power and were controlled in every aspect

21. Spanish settlers and the use of curacas further exploited and abused women.


  1. Most people reside in rural villages, little to no education, no contact with national government, and lived by age-old traditions
  2. Economic tasks allocated according to gender. Women’s work is mainly food prep
  3. Male dominance is accepted in India as result of tradition and history but women in Vedic society were not totally subordinated, mothers had some authority in the house and daughters were treated well by their parents.
  4. Oppression of women towards end of Vedic society became more intense and more so when India came under Muslim rule in 12th century
  5. Preference to sons, female infanticide. Witness accounts of midwifes killing babies
  6. More than 70% of Kallar sons are boys under the age of 10
  7. Less attention to daughters- insufficient feeding, not paying attention to illnesses as if they are disposable and unimportant— to cut short lives of their daughters
  8. Abortions are also extremely common
  9. Child marriage controls females

10. Wife beating is high, estimation that over 50 % of married women have experienced some sort of abuse from their husbands

11. Often the family is aware but does nothing to aid or support their daughter

12. Rural areas display more male dominance than those areas in cities


  1. Most people reside in rural villages, little to no education, no contact with national government, and lived by age-old traditions.
  2. Economic tasks allocated according to gender. Women’s work is mainly food prep
  3. Modern day have tried to improve amount of women’s rights
  4. China has outlawed foodbinding, infanticide, and child marriage, which were culturally accepted in the past
  5. Rural areas still have trouble with illegal practices.
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