Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Anthropology and the Concept of Social Class

Anthropology and the Concept of Social Class

Ratings: (0)|Views: 23|Likes:
Published by serginho1974

More info:

Published by: serginho1974 on Jun 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

01/16/2014

pdf

text

original

 
Anthropology and the Concept of Social ClassAuthor(s): Raymond T. SmithReviewed work(s):Source:
Annual Review of Anthropology,
Vol. 13 (1984), pp. 467-494Published by:
Stable URL:
Accessed: 07/06/2012 00:59
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at
.
http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
 Annual Reviews
is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to
 Annual Review of  Anthropology.
http://www.jstor.org
 
Ann.Rev.Anthropol.1984.13:467-94Copyright? 1984byAnnual ReviewsInc. Allrightsreserved
ANTHROPOLOGYAND THECONCEPTOF SOCIAL CLASS
RaymondT.Smith
DepartmentofAnthropology, UniversityofChicago,1126 East59thStreet, Chicago,Illinois60637
INTRODUCTION
Is "class"anappropriateonceptforanthropological nalysis?Toward heendof hislife, LloydFallersconcluded hat"social stratification"whichhe took toincludeclass)doesnot exist(31, p. 3),or atleast the term is soloaded withculturalbias thatit should be abandoned.ThisparallelsNeedham'sdiscoverythatkinshipdoesnot exist(75, p. 5)andSchneider'sapologyforhavingworkedmost of hislifeon the samenontopic(86).OneisremindedofSahlin'srhetoricalquestion:has one hundredyearsofanthropologicalresearchbeennothingbut"agrandintellectualdistraction, bourgeoissociety scratchingtshead"?(83, p. 2).Still,theconceptofsocial class isrelatively new toanthropological theory.Unlike"marriage," "family,""culture," "race,""ethnicity,"oreven"socialclassification,"it has notbeensubjectedtopro-longeddebate andrefinement;usageshavebeenadoptedfromother socialsciences."Class"was usedrarelyinEuropeuntil thelateeighteenthcentury,when itsincreasedcirculation oincidedwiththe socialtransformationsccom-panyingthegrowthofcapitalism 11 1, pp.51-59).Astheexpandingfrontiersofcapitalism (oraworldsystemthatoriginatedincapitalism)enclose anincreasing proportionof theworld'spopulation,classbecomes theuniversalmodeofsocialorganization, accordingtoone view. Butifanthropologyhascontributedanythingo the discussion ofclass,it is arecognitionthatsocietiesaredifferentially"inserted"nto the worldsystem,thatthe culturalorideolo-gicaldimension of class relations(ifthatis whatthey are)ismoreimportantthanisoftenassumed,lesseasytounderstand,and has atransformativecapacitythatcomplementsandoften exceeds thatoftechnological change.Giventhatclass iswidelyusedbyanthropologists,andncreasinglyso,whatdo4670084-6570/84/1015-0467$02.00
 
468 SMITHthey mean byit? To find an answer some recent work isexamined,withouteithersummarizingclasstheory (see 19, 76)orcoveringthe literature.
EARLY ANTHROPOLOGICAL TUDIESOF CLASSSocialStratificationandSocialClass
The ideaof "socialmobility" embodiesabeliefintheconstant movement ofindividualsntogreaterprosperity;ver theirownlifecycle,as onegenerationsucceedsanother,and acrossspaceasnewopportunitiesaresought.IntheUnitedStates "socialmobility"and "social stratification" ave beenpreferredover "class"ordescribing nequality.Inthe 1968 edition ofTheInternationalEncyclopedia oftheSocialSciences,the article on "SocialClass"(65)wasasubcategoryof"Stratification,Social."LloydWarner's studiesandthoseof hisassociates(24, 54, 101-104,109)-justly criticizedbuthardly surpassed-rancounter tothemythof aclassless UnitedStates.Warnerfollowed a tradition ofcommunityculturestudiesthatbeganin1906withJames Williams's AnAmerican Town(110),and includedfieldworkinagriculturalommunitiesdirectedbythe BureauofAgriculturalEconomics(45). However,Warner aised such crucialtheoreticalissuesas whatistheappropriateunit ofstudy,and howare classsymbolsrelated oprocessesofchange?His decision tostudyasmall NewEnglandownaccordedwith theassumptionthat modernindustrialsocieties,likeprimitiveones,areorganizedaroundcommon valuesandsymbolicstructures.Lookingforanintegratingprinciple analogoustokinshipin"primitive"ocieties,hethoughtfirstofmoney,butexperiencenNewburyportpointedfrommoneytoclass, perhapsbecause theupperclass was nolongervery wealthyandthewealthynotyet properlyupperclass. The idea thatclass canintegrate ocietyiscentraltostructuralunctionalstratificationheory.Twoearly papers byGoldschmidt summarizekey aspects of this view ofclassintheUnitedStates(45, 46). Voicingthestandardriticism ofWarner,that ocalcommunitiesarenotaprimaryeferent orrestless Americansanddonot contain thetotalityofAmericanculture,he advocates amore"dynamic"approach,butit istobegained only by fragmentingsocietyintoatoms andrestatingthe traditionalviewofAmericansocietyasopen, restless,frontier-oriented, striving;aviewreflectingtheideologyofunlimitedscopeforachievementandpersonalresponsibilityorone's status.Individualsare said tobemobile,and their interactionpreadoverawidearea,blurringclass bound-aries.Thereisgradationofstatuses butnosharpbreaks,and noagreed-uponclasses. Ina moment ofself-contradiction,heidentifies fourbroad classentities, representinga "classsystem [which is] emerging, thoughitis notyetclearlydefined"(45, p. 494).These "entities"are foundinsubsequentwritingon Americanclass.Aneliteofmoneyandpower, tryingtobeanaristocracy,s

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->