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Grouping by Gender, Age, Common Interest and Class.

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1 Grouping by Gender, Age, Common Interest and Class

2 What Principles do People Use to Organize Societies? Besides kinship and marriage, people group themselves by age, common interest, gender, and class or social rank within a society to deal with problems not conveniently handled by marriage, the family and/or household, descent group, or kindred.

3 Grouping by Age  Age Grade: Categories based on age (usually of the same sex)  widely used means of organizing people in societies, including those of Europe and North America. ▪ (i.e. infant, boy, girl, young man, young woman, man, woman, senior, elder) – also- (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior in college.)  A specific time is often ritually established for moving from a younger to an older age grade.  Age Sets—people born around the same time who move through age-grade categories together.  (i.e. Generations are Age Sets. The “baby boomer” generation (Age Set) moved through the age grades of: infants, toddlers, young men/women, men/women, seniors, together.)  (i.e. everyone born in the year “1990” would be an Age Set too, going through similar age grades as above).

4 Age Grouping: Tiriki Ethnographic Example from Nyanza Province, Kenya  Seven named age sets pass through four successive age grades. ◦ Google Map link: ◦ e=&q=Nyanza+Province,+Kenya&sll= , &sspn= , &ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Nyan za+Province,+Kenya&ll= , &spn= , &t=p&z=6 e=&q=Nyanza+Province,+Kenya&sll= , &sspn= , &ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Nyan za+Province,+Kenya&ll= , &spn= , &t=p&z=6  Each age set embraces a 15- year span and opens to accept new initiates every 105 years.  In principle, the system resembles our college classes.

5 Age Grades Ethnographic Ex from Kenya (Serengeti area)  Maasai subclans of western Kenya at the opening parade of the elaborate eunoto ceremony, marking the coming of age of morans (warriors). At the end of the ceremony, these men will be in the next age grade— junior adults—ready to marry and start families.  Also have a 3-day initiation ceremony into an elderhood age grade: (10 min)

6 Maasai: A Warrior’s Rite of Passage Films on Demand -Foothill College Library main page under “General”Foothill College Library main page under “General”

7 Grouping by Gender  Separates men and women to varying degrees in different societies.  Ex: Division of Labor and spheres (from Ch. 8): ▪ Flexible/Integrated ▪ Dual Sex ▪ Segregated  In some societies, they may be together much of the time.  In other societies they may spend much time apart, even to the extreme of eating and sleeping separately.

8 Gender-based Groups Ethnographic Example Gender issues are symbolically worked out in mythologies and ceremonial dances among the Yawalapiti who live on the Tuatuari River in Brazil’s upper Xingu region Ownership of the sacred trumpets, are guarded by the tribesmen and traditionally women were forbidden to see them.

9 Grouping by Common Interest  Common-interest associations are formed to deal with specific challenges or opportunities.  Membership may be voluntary or compulsory.  Common-interest associations have been a feature of human societies since the appearance of the first farming villages (i.e. guilds, philosophical schools) several thousand years ago, but they are now linked with rapid social change and urbanization, with many common interest groups now online. ◦ They increasingly assume roles formerly played by kinship groups we saw in the previous chapter (i.e. providing the social structure for a culture/sub- culture).  What common interest groups do we have in our culture?


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