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Journal of European Ethnology

25:2 MusEUM TuscuLANUM PREss 1995

Ethnologia Editorial Board

Europaea Carla Bianco (Italy), Jeremy Boissevain (Netherlands), Nils-Arvid

Bringeus (Sweden), Joaquim Pais de Brito (Portugal), Wolfgang
Journal of Bruckner (Germany), Kiril V. Cistov (Russia), John W. Cole (USA),
Esteva Fabreget (Spain), Alexander Fenton (Scotland), Ueli Gyr
European Ethnology (Switzerland), Tamas Hofer (Hungary), Lauri Honko (Finland),
Orvar Lofgren (Sweden), Jan Podolak (Slovakia), Holger Rasmus­
Editor sen (Denmark), Klaus Roth (Germany), Lucienne A. Roubin
Professor Bjarne Stoklund (France), Bjarne Rogan (Norway), Martine Segalen (France), Zofia
Institute of Archaeology Sokolewicz (Poland), Bjarne Stoklund (Denmark), Nils Storii (Fin­
and Ethnology land), George Thompson (Northern Ireland),Ants Viires (Estonia),
Vandkunsten 5 Gunter Wiegelmann (Germany).
DK-1467 Copenhagen
Denmark Editorial assistant
Margareta Tellenbach, Box 65, S-237 22 Bjii.rred, Sweden.

Cover motif from a woodcut in Olaus Magnus: Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (1555).

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Female Worlds

The majority ofthe contributions to thi s issue of especially celebrated by the socalled "Cathc­
Ethnologia E uropaea is about women's lives rinettes", i.e. single girls in their mid-twentieth
and female worlds . among workers and employees in Paris .
Based on extensive fieldwork in the extreme The last two articles have totally diffe re n t
northeast of Portugal, Brian Juan O'Neill, de­ topics . The contribution by Harald Kleinschmidt
scribes the life cycles oftwo women, living in the is a study of bodily movements as a category o f
same village within a distance of a few hundred social action. Through a detailed study o f con­
meters . Their actual lives, however, are so dif­ temporary sources he tries to prove, that the re
ferent that one may ask, do they have anything are parallel changes in the military field and in
in common at all? Brit Berggreen in an explor­ dancing in two periods: The 15th and the 18th
ative paper goes behind the modern stereotypes century. These changes can not be explained by
about the female roles. In Scandinavian tradi­ internal factors but must be considered as a
tion and in a Greek field material she finds form of social action, which were "subjected to
examples of female strength and power and wider behavioural norms". Finally, Andrei A.
"arenas of women's authority". The independ­ Znamenski in his paper discusses the role played
ent role of the married women in Greece is also by the US pioneer in ethnology, Lewis Henry
the subject of Ulrike Krasberg in her article on Morgan ( 18 1 8-188 1), in Soviet anthropology of
the role of the dowry and the situation of the the 20th century.
women in the island of Lesbos . She shows that
in spite offeminist critique in the 70s the dowry In October 1995 a conference on "European
in the form of a house is today becoming more Ethnology in Changing Europe" was held in
and more important, as a symbol of economical Pecsvarad, Hungary, arranged by the journal in
success and female authority. The article by cooperation with Janus Pannonius University
Anne Monjaret deals with the feast of Saint in Pees. The papers and the discussion together
Catherine's Day as it was celebrated in Paris in with a report on the conference will be pub­
the "roaring 20s" and the role the press had in lished in the next volume of Ethnologia Euro­
the development of urban festivities. It is, how­ paea.
ever, also a study offemale roles, as this day was

Diverging Biographies: Two Portuguese
Peasant Women
Brian Juan O'Neill

O'Neill, Brian Juan 1995: Diverging Biographies: 'I\vo Portuguese Peasant Wom­
en. - Ethnologia Europaea 25: 97 -1 1 8.

Life-histories and biographical portraits frequently fall into the trap of "the
typical" - the narrator is presumed to represent key elements supposedly common
to most or all other members of a culture. Avoiding this path, we focus on the life
courses of two women in a Portuguese hamlet pertaining to the upper and lower
extremes of a manifold social hierarchy. These two villagers' individual life-cycle::;,
their marital and familial universes, and their total social worlds are indeed sn
divergent that we are led inexorably to the question - despite their common place
of residence, do they have anything in common at all?
Three major phases of the two women's life paths are sketched - childhood and
adolescence, adulthood and marriage, old age and death - highlighting the Central
European features ofthis community in Tras-os-Montes province, and stressing its
profound dissimilarity from the Mediterranean culture area. A number of theoret­
ical stances within the field of biographical studies hover in the background:
classic anthropological texts recited by one ego, more sociological angles on social
mobility and group trajectories, philosophically oriented hermeneutical portraits,
and recent forays into post-modernist schemes focused on the dialogic relation
between the observer and the observed. This paper falls clearly into the second of
these trends. Might there not be at least two or even three "typical" life courses
within European villages of this kind?

Professor Brian Juan O'Neill, Department of Anthropology, ISCTE (lnstituto

Superior de Ciencias do Trabalho e da Empresa), Avenida das Fon;as Armadas,
1 600 Lisboa, Portugal.

What is it really like to be a peasant woman in jectivity. Can we come as near as possible to
a tiny hamlet in the extreme Northeast of Por­ reproducing some ofthe feelings and experienc­
tugal? What is the nature of the social world es of real farming women1 without dissolving
around her, and how is it perceived and inter­ hundreds of them into a larger statistical mass?
preted by her? What is the character ofthe sequence of overall
Let us glance closely at one specific case: a phases oflife through which these women pass?
rural community of some 200 inhabitants in the
province of Tras-os-Montes. Focusing on the
Childhood and adolescence
life-cycles of various women who were born and
raised, and who lived and died, within the Let us briefly trace the life courses of two
confines of this small hamlet will allow us to women from rather different social origins .
arrive close to the point of an imaginative leap Immediately, w e note that the ritual moment of
into the subjectivity and consciousness of these birth is actually a false start. That is, one's life
peasant women. This kind of portrait follows, does not begin abruptly at the moment ofbirth:
therefore, less closely a path of objective, dis­ in social terms, an entire series of patterns ,
tant, or descriptive anthropology and more the habits, and orientations2 are already prepared
course of a humanistic exercise in quasi-liter­ and set in motion by the total family world
ary identification, although our aim will fall revolving around the infant. This will be clear
short of actually taking this leap into full sub- when we grasp the almost diametrically oppo-

s i te l i fe paths of Jul i a (a fa i rly w ell-to-do- peas­
ani, with two celi bate a n d one married d a ugh­
ters) a n d Caroli n a (an u n m arried m oth e r o f
fo u r ba ::; i ard :;) : the "card::;" i n play in e a c h o f
ihe:;e l i fe cyc l e :; h ad a l ready been t o a l arge

exieni si acked w ith greater or lesser advantage

fo r each of the women i nvolved . One of o u r
ap pa rent p a r ad oxe s o f an alys i s i s th i s very fact
- ho w c a n w e e x p l a i n the coexi:;tence within the
same minuscule hamlet of two so divergent
biographical paths?
Carolina is c u rrently 64 y e ar s o f age, a n d
Julia would be 9 4 . Both w ere baptised i n the
tiny C a thol ic c hapel of Fontela s" , alth o u gh i n
Juli a's case the space oftim e between birth and
b apt i s m was merely a fo r tnight wh ile in Caro­
lina's it was almost three months .4 Upon ba p ­
tism, they entered not only the consecrated
worl d of ecclesi asti cal regi sters but th e social
world of family ritual and ceaseless festivals of
commemoration, which incl ude C h r ist mas ,
Easter, patron saints' days, first communion,
and a whole array of lesser religious holidays.
At the actual baptismal ceremony, however, we
can already detect some disparate details: al­
though all the ritualised steps carried out dur­ Fig. 1 . Baptismal ceremony inside Fontelas' chapel.
The priest prepares holy water which will be sprin­
ing the occasion appear identical, in the social
kled over the child's head shortly, above the stone font
realm we find a wider circle of relatives around (pia bapti.�mal). Note the age of the child: in cases
Julia, different modes of physical poise and such as this, emigrant parents resident in France
dress around Carolina, but almost identical may decide to wait up to three or four years to baptise
their children within this village setting during their
ways of cooking the baptismal feast in the
summer return visits in August.
infant's home (although the quantities of food
and kinds of socialisation between the guests
show subtle differences). standing but also for literally dozens of others
On this day, both babies will acquire a pa­ from the lower peasant strata in outlying vil­
drinho (godfather) and a madrinha (godmoth­ lages of the area, thus spreading their prestige
er) to look after them in the event of their outwards and downwards from their own fam­
parents' premature deaths and, in general, also ily and social station.
to provide a parallel source of informal educa­ Also on this day, Julia's and Carolina's par­
tion and parentage. But who precisely are these ents become the co-sponsors (compadre and
padrinhos and madrinhas in each case? While comadre ) of each of their respectively chosen
Julia acquires a highly respected landowner or ;sodfathers a:ld godmothers, thus establishing
local political figure and a well regarded school­ a strong social, economic, and festive tie be­
teacher as her godfather and godmother, Caro­ tween various households which will continue
lina will obtain a day-labourer or middling to be reinforced via multiple occasions of coop­
farmer and a peasant woman of no particular eration and reciprocity. But almost no one at
social distinction. While Carolina's godparents Carolina's baptism is a relative of Julia's , and
occupy this position perhaps for the first time , very few of the guests at one of the ceremonies
Julia's godfather and godmother play their roles are involved in regular agricultural or social
not only for children of their own high social relations with the guests at the other: they

constitu te vi rtually two separate worlds. In this Carolin a's h ouse provides a truly stark con­
sense, apart from the 30 or 40 re l atives and a trast (Fig. 2). Located at the Eastern extreme o f
few friend:; present at each baptism, through the hamlet, i n a section (bairro) composed o f
the forgi ng of godparental ti e:;, both Julia and three other tiny inhabited houses and a few
C arolina become immediately absorbed into haylofts , the aggregate spaces comprising thi:;
two compl ex and highly d i ssimilar social fields household total merely about one-fifth ofthat of
of interrel ationships . Julia. Indeed, all of Carolina's domestic life
How, then, do the two women pass through takes place in one single room: her own and two
their years of childhood in the village? What can smaller beds are crowded onto one side, and a
we see as common or divergent in their daily few thin poles extend above her wooden floo r­
domestic and agricultural activities as each of boards and open hearth (lareira) to smoke-dry
them grows up? sausages in the winter. The stone walls are
Firstly, let us glance at the houses in which pitch-black with soot, accumulated over dec­
Julia and Carolina were raised . At the South­ ades of natural fireside heating and cooking.
ern end of the hamlet, directly next to the There are no windows anywhere in the room .
resident priest's enormous h ouse, we find Julia's On the other side of the street, and immediately
(Fig. 7) - a large building with a spacious behind this minuscule house-room, extend some
veranda facing South overlooking a large thresh­ kitchen-gardens belonging to other villagers ;
ing-floor or eira. A stairway here in back, hid­ Carolina does not own a private threshing-floor,
den from the public eye, leads directly into the but merely a share in part of the space compos­
priest's kitchen, allowing any and all of the ing one ofthe eleven corporate threshing-floors
members of these two connected households to pertaining to groups of families in the hamlet
pass from one to the other in complete privacy. (in her case, there are another six co-owning
In fact, both contiguous houses were originally households). The furniture and miscellaneous
one huge casa- in Julia's childhood - as Julia is objects exposed inside Carolina's room are pal­
the priest's maternal aunt. The two houses try, and the entrance doorway opening directly
were divided upon the death of the priest's onto the street exhibits her room instantly to
mother (Julia's sister) when a general inherit­ any passing villager. There is no veranda, no
ance division was effected. The bedrooms (quar­ patio, and, indeed, upon inviting the anthropol­
tos), kitchen (cozinha), and living room (sala) ogist inside, Carolina herself presented her
where visitors are received are large, ample living quarters with an emphatic note of shame.
divisions, permitting a wide variety of furniture We must not lose sight, however, of the di­
and decorative objects to be displayed. mension of time - born in 1902, Julia grew up
Immediately opposite the door opening onto within her current household with her sister
the narrow village street or caminho on the and two brothers, whereas Carolina, born in
North side, only three or four metres distant, 1932, grew up in another one with her four
lives a niece of Julia's, while about 20 metres to sisters and two brothers. While the former, as a
the West reside seven other families of peasants child and adolescent, will have heard much of
(lauradores) and former day-labourers (jornal­ the Monarchist Revolt5 led by Paiva Couceiro in
eiros), with whom the members ofJulia's family this region between 1910 and 1912, and have
maintain an absolute minimum of contact. Di­ lived through the inception of the First Repub­
rectly South, the terrain extending outwards lic and the First World War, the latter will recall
from Julia's house blends with a series ofkitch­ the Second World War and, a few years earlier,
en-gardens (cortinhas) used to grow vegetables the presence in the hamlet of fugitives from the
and fertile meadows (lameiros) for the house­ Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. Rarely travel­
hold's cows and oxen. Spatially situated in this ling outside the confines of the circumference of
manner, therefore, we can see that the house­ twenty or so small hamlets in the environs, or of
hold is almost hermetically sealed off on all four the four Spanish hamlets between five and ten
sides from the view of people passing along the kilometres distant on the other side of the
nearest street. border, both women possess the common fate of

Fig. 2. View of the central sections (bairros) of the hamlet., showing t.he crowding of houses which in some cases
are connected by the same stone wall. In the foreground lie half-a-dozen highly fertile kitchen-gardens
(cortinhas), each pertaining to different owners. At centre-right, to the left of the small house with the white wall
and just behind the chimney, the roof of Carolina's tiny house is visible.

rural lives circumscribed almost totally within very early age, almost all of Julia's activities
the bounds of their own families and natal within her family's social world were confined
village. Without ignoring such external or in­ strictly to the household: rarely would she par­
ternational events as those mentioned above, ticipate in farming chores which involved long
our focus must continue along these lines of distances from the house, and even her brief
family and village: it is within these two con­ visits to the nearby family kitchen-gardens
texts - not so much in their links with the outer allowed only the most fleeting of verbal ex­
world, or in the temporal epoch in which the two changes with other villagers. The sphere of
girls grew up - that we can trace the main relatives around her - including her siblings as
divergences in these two lives. Family and vil­ well as an array of first and second cousins in
lage constitute two forms ofsocial filters, through adjacent households in the centre of the hamlet
which all outside events and processes are trans­ - is relatively small, thus tending to limit her
formed. Let us continue to examine why these instances of play and recreation to a narrow
two women obtained such differing experiences circle of two or three other households. Rarely
through this same social filtering process. will she be seen playing with a larger group of
During the first years of infancy and child­ children in the public streets or open spaces of
hood, perhaps the most striking divergence in the hamlet: careful and conscious social train­
Julia's and Carolina's lives can be perceived via ing will avoid this sort of indiscriminate min­
a simple opposition between an inner, domestic gling of children, viewed by the wealthier strata
field (stressing the confines of the rural house) as distinctively chaotic. Dress patterns, the
and an outdoor, agricultural sphere. From a learning of social etiquette, forms of speech and

formal l i n guistic address, her first religious
confession11 and holy comm u n ion, her entry into
school, first menstruation, and the contours of
her overall personality and femininity will all
be gently but forcefully sh aped by her immedi­
ate domestic context; her mother, sisters, aunts,
and madrinha will play decisive roles in the
process .
Caroli n a's upbringing will clearly evince a
number of parallel patterns - true, she will also
have her first confession at around the age of 7
or 8 and fi rst communion around the age of 14,
enter school at the same age as Julia had
earlier, and acquire her own distinctive person­
ality via the influence of her own mother, sis­
ters, and other women. But here we catch the
difference : the outdoor world and the roles of
childhood friends and neighbours will stand out
strikingly. Why should thi s be so? Firstly,
throughout these years Carolina will spend an
enormous amount of time outside her home in
agricultural tasks with other women. The re­
treat from open places, the almost introverted
Fig. 3. Girl aged 9 helps her parents, grandparents,
escape from the public eye that characterises
and celibate uncle (not visible) reap rye grain in late
Julia's family's form of social comportment, and June with a sickle (fouce). Small fields such as this
the avoidance of socialisation with the other one are reaped with family labour in a few hours,
village children are all perfectly inverted in while larger ones may take an entire day or more and
require work-parties of up to 10 or 1 5 villagers. All
Carolina's case. From the minor tasks of her
labour is highly valued, however slow or untrained,
household such as ploughing rye fields, cutting regardless of sex.
hay, planting potatoes, and irrigating their gar­
dens to the more large-scale events such as the in the ownership of land and, secondly, the role
enormous threshings (mal has) uniting up to 50 of domestic servants . At the end of the 1970s,
or 60 villagers or the annual pig-slaughter Julia's household owned a total landholding of
(matanr;a do porco) and its Pantagruelian feasts, 35 hectares , the fourth largest in the hamlet. Of
Carolina from a very early age began to work, this total, 5 hectares were rented out to other
eat, speak, cooperate, play, and joke alongside a poorer villagers, the rent being paid each year
wide array of female villagers, incessantly ex­ not in money but in a fixed amount of bushels
changing agricultural labour tasks throughout (alqueires) of rye grain. The large size of this
the four seasons of the year. In contrast to farm implied, necessarily, the continual hiring
JUlia's primarily domestic activities, Carolina's of day-labourers to execute the myriad agricul­
have included a much greater portion of time tural tasks needed for the farm's upkeep. Many
outside the household in the fields , either at of these labourers came either from Carolina's
work with implements or carrying meals to and own family or wider kindred group, or from
from the plots to serve the large teams or work­ households of similar socio-economic standing.
parties joined for each occasion. This is not to Virtually all of Julia's land was inherited: she
say, obviously, that the same activities do not has never needed to purchase, rent, or swap
occur in Julia's household, but ratherthat Julia's plots of land in order to subsist.
social visibility as an active participant in them In contrast, Carolina's landholding - total­
has been radically more restricted and mute. ling little more than 1 . 5 hectares, of which the
Two reasons for this are, firstly, differences major proportion of tiny parcels were either

10 1
ren ted or lent to her for cultivation - is one of h i red servan ts consistently duri n g preced ing
the te n smal le:;t i n the 60 or so hou:;eholds generation :; . ln fact, some servan ts ended up
comprising the hamlet as a whole. Carolina is worki ng for the same family their moth e r or
barely able t o provide meal:; for her:;elf and her father had served in many years earlie r.
two resident sons, and depends u pon frequent But our key point here is perhaps the f(Jllow­
don ations offood from her brothers, s i sters , and i ng: in Julia's case, a whole series of fem a le
friends during peri ods of festivity and abun­ servants (as many as three or four at the s ame
dance. Thi s scenario with respect to l an d has ti me) were con stantly aroun d the h ouse and
meant that Carolina, just as her siblings , has capable of carrying out cooking and cleaning
had to work for wages or payment in kind tasks as well as the rearing ofchildren, whereas
(grain, bread, meat, fruit, and wine) on a daily in Carolina's case, a larger sector of her l i fe was
basi :; throughout every year for other more spent working for others and in continual d a i ly
well-to-do families . During her childhood and contact with women of a higher economic stand­
adolescent years , this fact became gradually ing and, indeed, diflering social values than her
clearer, as Carolina herselfparticipated in such ow n . O n e outsta n d ing ch aracteri s t i c o f
paid labour. However, parallel with this kind of Carolina's adolescence, therefore, i n relation to
work, there have also been a multiplicity of Julia's relative immobility and permanen ce,
tasks carried out for her own family and kin: at was an exceedingly mobile and flexibl e series of
these, the type of festivity and the atmosphere abodes. She shifted residence between a pl eth­
ofmutual aid was markedly different. We should ora of households in different parts of the ham­
bear in mind, though, that precisely those short­ let, never really settling down in any one of
comings that Julia avoided (due to her high them, and never accumulating any considera­
social status from the start) were all problemat­ ble fortune or capital in land, animals, a house,
ic realities for Carolina: the size and nature of furniture, or financial assets . Although not a
the key resource of land thu s conditioned from perpetual servant, Carolina provides a model
a very early stage two entirely different orien­ for most poorer and middling women who h ave
tations to work and general economic wealth. spent some portion (however brief) oftheir lives
Servants provide another significant factor. working for others . 7
By tracing backwards a number of families via Finally, courtship reveals another point of
genealogies and parish documents , we can con­ contrast which, again, indicates differences rath­
clude that the half-dozen wealthiest house­ er than any universal local feminine norm.
holds have nearly always had resident servants Girls ofJulia's status, for example, rarely court
(criadas I criados) . These would be both female more than once . There may be quite a lot of talk
as well as male, the former ideally aiding in concerning boy A from Fontelas or boy B from a
domestic chores and the care of children and the neighbouring hamlet, but real and fully defined
latter in the heavier outdoor tasks in the fields courtship (namoro) tends to occur as a prepar­
and with the animals. But who were these atory phase for marriage (casamento). There
servants, and what were their social origins? are a number of prescribed stages involved
Usually they were villagers from the very poor­ among upper level families: the parents must
est offamilies, whose subsistence in their moth­ have intimate knowledge of their daughter's
ers' households was precarious . At a very early future groom and his family context. Very little
age (as young as 8 or 9) they would be taken on contact is actually made between the two fian­
as servants in aproprietario or lavrador house­ ces apart from ritually controlled visits and
hold, remaining there for a long period of years . some occasions of joint family festivities (reli­
Once married, however, they would depart; we gious or lay) or at public dances (bailes). One
will see nevertheless that a large proportion of key aspect is the status of a girl in Julia's social
servants remain unmarried for the rest of their class: once a noiva (fiancee) linked in betrothal
lives. Carolina herselfwas a servant in a number to a specific noivo, if the courtship relation
of households in the hamlet for a span of a few breaks off, establishing a second one is ex­
years at a time, while Julia's household had tremely difficult and can lead to total blockage

Fig. 4. Proprietdria (large
landowner), ca 187 1 (repro­
duction of old photograph).
Patterns of dress, hair­
styles, and social poise
among the wealthy, and
even the spatial location of
the person photographed -
always indoors, and usually
alone - demarcated them
quite clearly from the rest
of the peasantry.

for the girl involved. The stakes are high, and cases are not the biological fathers of all oftheir
virtually everyone in the hamlet at any one partner's children. Other women may marry at
moment knows exactly who is pledged to whom. as late an age as 60 or 70. Courtship, in these
Girls in C arolina's situation confront a rad­ cases, barely exists at all. This is not to say,
ically different social and sexual world. In the however, that there are not a prescribed series
social groups of day-labourers, cottagers (caba­ of phases or steps through which a girl and boy
neiros), and artisans (carpenters, blacksmiths, pass in their personal sexual or romantic ties .
shoemakers, masons, and tailors) there exists a On the contrary, the latter ties proliferate - but
tacit rule that courtship does not necessarily they simply do not in the vast majority of cases
lead directly to marriage. Many women in these lead immediately on to marriage. Carolina her­
groups never marry at all, but bear children self had several partners and married none of
nonetheless; some establish common-law "mar­ them. But there is a price to be paid for this
riages" of cohabitation with men, who in some semblance of free love or at least free choice -

Fig. f>. You n g w o m e n :twn it­
i n g i n v i tations to dunce :.1t a

local baile follow i n g a reli­

gi o u s fe.�ta in honour or a
patron saint. Althoul-(h a n
occasional outs id e r :1 rela­

tive or friend irom a nen rLy

tow n or city - m ay atte n d
the se dances (woman a t fitr
left), they arc predominant­
ly composed of rural yo u ths
from the host village unci a
dozen or so neigh bo u r i ng
h am lets . These local fcRtive
ev e n ts constitute cr u cia l
moments of social encounter
between prospective mar­
riage partners: the summer
months can provide a maxi­
mum of up to 20 or :.10 such
dances in the area compris­
ing Fontelas and its sur-
rounding hamlets.

when we analyse the social statuses of girls and another father does not constitute an obstacle
women with multiple or sequential courtships to cohabitation or later marriage. The existence
or lovers, they systematically turn out to occupy oftwo distinct spheres suggests that the respec­
the lower and middle rungs of the social ladder. tive weight of factors such as property, social
Many sexual encounters in Fontelas are ex­ prestige, and the family name vary drastically
tremely brief and take place, curiously, in out­ in relation to each of these socio-economic lev­
door contexts far from intimate bedroom els . Clearly, individual characteristics such as
spheres: in fields, meadows, thickets, and hay­ beauty and general physical appearance, health,
lofts. There appears to be no pressing repres­ a reputation for hard work, and the subtle
sion of sexuality or indeed of reserved social emotional and psychological attractions between
demanour when women speak ofthese relation­ two specific personalities play their roles: but
ships. Only in cases of outright rape (uiolat;ao I what we note with particular attention is the
estupro) or the exploitation of servants or maids absence of one, and only one structured path
by their male employers (frequently, these men from courtship directly to marriage . Some other
are married) does a note of bitterness enter the and quite complex mechanisms must be opera­
discussion. Otherwise, the entire topic of court­ tive within these women's lives, in order to
ship seems to remain quite remote from the explain such divergent life paths with respect
conversation and preoccupations of these fam­ to courting and early liaisons .
ilies. Marriage is a simple matter-of-fact affair
- sex and love are quite another thing.
Adulthood and marriage
This absence of a well-defined set of norms
and restrictions on adolescent and youthful In July of 1932 in the small chapel of Fontelas,
relationships suggests that for women (and the at the age of29, Julia married a Customs Guard
same holds for men) there are two worlds of (guarda-fiscal) from a neighbouring parish (aged
courtship: one, strictly formalised and carefully 3 1 ) . Although Julia was listed as a proprietaria
controlled in the case of a small group ofwealth­ (landowner, or wealthy peasant) little addition­
ier families, and another, much more flexible al information contained in the brief entry in
and lax, among the poorer and middle-level the Parish Register tells us any more about the
families. Virginity is simply not a crucial factor social context of this wedding. The youngest of
in these women's lives: even a bastard child by four siblings, Julia married third in order: one

brother a n d one sister had both married in cases there is no new household at all : th e
1923, the eldest brother marrying much later in groom usually takes up residence in his w i fe's
1943 at the age of 46 (his bride was 38). Of parents' household thus maintaining the over­
Julia's th ree daughters, the two eldest remained all number ofhouses in the hamlet unchange d .
celibate and the youngest married a spouse That i s t o say, marriage i s disconnected with th e
from another hamlet in the area, later moving construction of new homes: each married cou ­
out: this couple had a son and a daughter, who ple is absorbed by one of their parents' family
are now Julia's only grandchildren. lines (usually the wife's).
Carolina has never married and, at the age of Four further factors are also crucial . Occa­
64, will probably not marry any of the four sionally, the newly married couple may reside
fathers of her four illegitimate children (two of separately in each of their parents' households
these fathers married other women, the two for up to 10 or 15 years after their marriages . I n
others remaining unmarried and residing with anthropological terminology, this i s called na­
their married sisters). Carolina gave birth to tolocal residence, because both bride and groom
these four sons between 1958 and 1966 - she continue to work and take meals in their natal
was respectively aged 26, 28, 3 1 , and 34 at the households. They have merely a room in the
time of each ofthe births. In each case, the child bride's parents' household to which they retire
was baptised subsequently in the chapel sys­ in the evenings. The next morning, the husband
tematically registering an unknown father (pai will eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as
incognito). Although these baptismal ceremo­ work the entire day with his own parents . The
nies all involved family celebrations, there were children are brought up in their maternal grand­
no marriages and no weddings. To all appear­ parents' household with their mother, granting
ances, Carolina produced a matrifocal kinship the father the distant, nocturnal role of a visit­
group of mother-and-children with socially ab­ ing husband. Eleven couples studied resided in
sent and legally invisible fathers . this fashion (22 spouses) for between one and 1 5
How can we interpret these cases in the light years, but historical documents and genealo­
of the overall life-cycle phases of marriage and gies indicate additional examples in former
adulthood in this rural society? Let us first decades. The key point to stress here is that
glimpse at the general picture before returning within this form of marriage, the bride and
to the cases of Julia and Carolina. groom are as it were preserved as if they were
Not everyone - and we refer here equally to still unmarried children. In other words, they
men and women - necessarily marries. At the are treated only as semi-adults living in a kind
end of the 1970s, for example, only 32 of 76 of extended or prolonged adolescence. Marriage
women over the age of 15 were married (35 were changed virtually nothing in their life courses.
single and 9 were widows). Of the women aged Or, in more precise terms, the long-term social
40 or more, 19 were married but 20 were still implications of marriage only take effect dec­
unwed. The age at which women marry is also ades later, when their children are already well
significant: if we compare all 105 marriages in into their own life-cycles. We can well ponder:
the hamlet between 1870 and just before 1980, why did they marry at all?
the average age ofbrides has been 3 1 .0 and that The significance of this form of residence
of grooms 33.2. It is extremely rare for women may not seem clear at first sight, even for
to marry in their teens or even in their early anthropologists . There are very few cases re­
twenties. Another factor is the total absence of ported in the ethnographic literature indicat­
any form of dowry (dote). When a woman mar­ ing, firstly, that the phenomenon is relatively
ries, she can expect virtually nothing from her rare and, secondly, that ethnologists themselves
parents or groom apart from a trousseau (enx­ may not have granted it due attention. The first
oval) ofbed linens, towels, and other fabrics. No possibility appears most probable: in fact, the
land, animals, houses, or large sums of money only detailed analyses available of natolocal
are donated to the bride or even for that matter residence ( also termed by some duolocal resi­
to the newlyweds as a couple. In fact, in most dence) are those by Robin Fox ( 1978) for Tory

cates the n ewlyweds' subj u gation to a h i ghly
authoritarian gran d parental gen eration: it is
the maternal grandparents who bring up the
grandchildren (the children ofthe bride and her
visiting husband), while the paternal grand­
parents maintain control of their married son's
labour and time. The possibilities of con struct­
ing a totally independent house are m i n i m a l or
indeed nonexistent: the new husband and wife
must simply wait for a future period of domestic
independence. During these years , each n atal
household (that of each pair of grandparents)
prevails over the conjugal pair who reside sep­
arately. Why is this situation accepted at all?
Firstly, there are no direct means of access to
financial capital (at least not until the l ate
1980s); secondly, the semi-communitari an so­
cial organization of the hamlet limits the total
number of houses composing the comm unity
(each of which maintains at least some form of
use rights on communal land), thus avoiding an
imbalance between scarce communal resources
and an excess of households or population.
Thirdly, each grandparental household admits
that they "need the labour oftheir children even
Fig. 6. Bride (noiua) a few moments prior to her
wedding (boda). As is common in these Northern
when married"; fourthly, the grandparents are
Portuguese villages, this bride was some months themselves psychologically dependent upon
pregnant at the time. A schoolteacher in another their children, thus favouring an extremely
nearby hamlet, her husband was aguarda-republica­ slow process of the latter's leaving home . All of
na (a municipal o fficial concerned with the mainte­
these constitute reasons explaining, at least
nance of "law and order" in local towns and villages).
The wedding will also be followed by a dance. partially, the existence of this form of post­
marital residence .
But there is a fifth explanation, which re­
Island in Northern Ireland, Carmelo Lis6n­ sides within the structure of the society as a
Tolosana ( 1971) for the province of Orense in whole, within its system of property transmis­
Spain's Northwestern region of Galicia, and sion. As no form of property is inherited until
Meyer Fortes ( 1970) for the Ashanti in West the death of a parent, adults in their 40s or 50s
Mrica. Other briefer descriptions have men­ still do not have access to large quantities of
tioned natolocal residence in Northeastern Por­ capital . This constitutes a sort of biographical
tugal near Bragan\(a (Rio de On or) and in neigh­ social fact with repercussions for our analysis of
bouring regions of Spain, namely Leon and women's life courses: both women as well as
Salamanca (Pais de Brito 1989). This overall men pass through prolonged phases of econom­
geographical rarity, along with repeated cases ic and psychological dependence on their paren­
registered in the Northwestern areas of Portu­ tal and grandparental generations . We found
gal and Spain, is simultaneously curious and that many cases of natolocal residence termi­
perplexing, and suggests the need for further nate precisely at the moment that one (or two)
comparative research. of the parents of one of the spouses dies . At that
One of the most striking aspects of this type date, they take up joint residence. This means
of conjugal residence is the almost hidden na­ that, rooted within the system of reproduction
ture of the married couple. Everything indi- of the rural houshold, lies a seat of domestic

power which grants a high degree of control to thers , as well as mothers and grandmothe r::;
the elde rly and a subaltern role to younger who were themselves illegitimate. We sho u l d
adults res i ding natolocally. The latter live a however note that none o f these relationsh ip�:�
kind of nocturnal married life, a form of semi­ are ever referred to (even by the women them­
matrimony, akin to Caribbean styles ofmatrifo­ selves) as remotely resembling any kind o f
cal family structures in which the figure of the prostitution: n o money circulates, and none o f
absent (or visiting) husband is preponderant. the persons involved conceptualises the liai ­
Clearly, a husband and wife who reside na­ sons in such fashion.
tolocally lor some 5 or 10 years will always end In other words, there are various diflering
up living together at some later date - but legal and social statuses linked to the figure of
during tho�:�e years they will have lived within a the illegitimate child . For example, the parents
form of semi-permanent matrimony with a note of a bastard may later marry each other, th u �:�
of repression. The husband is termed pai (fa­ legitimating the child completely. I n these cas­
ther) and the wife mae (mother) by the children, es, the biological father may legally recognise
but the term for the wife's father, for example, his natural child (this process is termed perfil­
will be an extension of the word "father" - pai hac;ao) but not marry the mother. In this case,
Andre. Similarly, the maternal grandmother the illegitimate child remains partially re­
will be termed mae Amelia, etc. The paternal deemed and financially protected via the j udi­
grandparents, in contrast, have no special term cial (but not matrimonial) link established be­
ofaddress- here the standard Portuguese words tween the father and mother. But a larger
for grandfather and grandmother are used (avo I number of cases follow a more pitiful path:
av6). These linguistic usages afford proof of the these are cases of zorros (the word derives from
virtual social obliteration of the parental gener­ the Portuguese for fox - raposa and suggests

ation (the husband and wife residing separate­ mischievous and/or malicious activities), whose
ly). The grandparental generation, as it were, natural parents never marry nor recognize them
jumps past the parents directly to the grand­ juridically. This category of bastard is the most
children's generation, leaving aside the biolog­ shameful of all, because the child remains en­
ical mother and father. It is important to stress tirely divorced from all possible links to the
that there is a strict gender equality within this biological father. Neither in legal nor in social
phenomenon: both husband and wife are re­ terms are they ever assisted by the latter. This
stricted in their conjugal life - neither the explains the pejorative connotation of the word
masculine nor the feminine lines are favoured. zorro I zorra - these bastards are marginalized
That is, there appears to be no special emphasis out to a virtually sub-human level. Linguisti­
on male dominance or on female precedence. cally and symbolically, they represent savages
Although neither Carolina nor Julia resided (raposas) within a natural world, shunted away
nato locally, each of them has siblings, who, at from cultural and domestic spheres. This is an
one moment or another, resided for a number important point for our analysis of Carolina: all
of years separately from their respective spous­ four of her bastard children by four different
es. fathers are zorros.
But three further elements complicate the Secondly, couples occasionally live together
issue of marriage: firstly, bastardy is wide­ out of wedlock - they are termed amancebados
spread in Fontelas and its neighbouring ham­ or amantizados by the Church or simply viewed
lets - since 1870 a total of 4 7% of all infants as juntos (living jointly) by other villagers . The
baptised have been illegitimate. Some women children need not be the children of the resident
bear up to four or five natural children (jilhos male, and we must note that local priests toler­
naturais) of the same father, later marrying ate all of these practices . Particularly among
him, while others have serial liaisons and serial the lower social groups, children (legitimate or
bastards. The vast majority of jornaleiras (day­ not) are a key resource as labour, wage-earners,
labouring women) and domesticas ("women and domestic company. The fact that such cou­
engaged in housework") also had unknown fa- ples are not strongly ostracised by the rest of

the com m u n i ty �mggesis that there arc not age, while their brothers and sisters arc s u bile­
merely one but two patterns of "m arried" li fe ly pushed aside i n to the realm of tem porary
which can be followed. The technical term con­ unions, concubinage, and bastardy. Thai i s , one
cubinage is applicable here, although it tends to heir obtains the greater portion of a house and
place greater stress on the concubine as a lesser the parents' land, while the other brothers and
or secondary spouse in relation to a husband; sisters acquire much less. Few paths are open to
the unwed mother is the key pivot, around these - either they emigrate, marry into anoth­
wh ich mul tiple men revolve. The pattern ap­ er village, or remain celibate in their brothe r's
pears almost polyandrous or mairifocal, as re­ or sister's household, in social roles somew hat
ported for the Caribbean area, with women suggestive of that of domestic servants . This is
collecting a siring of relationships with differ­ why so few people actually marry: the key to
ent men, some of whose children they bear and high social standing is not marriage, but rather
retain as future domestic aid. inherited wealth.
How can we explain these differing marital Very few women marry up strategically into
models? One means is via analysis of the inher­ the higher social groups, while a great number
itance system - a few heirs are favoured by marry husbands of equal rank or marry down
their parents and marry at a relatively young via relationships of sex and co-residence out-

Fig. 7. Julia (second from left) on the veranda of her large house. At the time the photograph was taken , Juli a
was aged 74 an d her eldest daughter (far left) aged 43 and celibate. To the right, Julia's son-in-law and youngest
daug hter with their three c hildren and a neighbour. At the far right, part of the priest's house can be seen
connected to Julia's kitchen. Note that the open space in the foreground, where brush and firewood are stacked ,
is spatially removed from the hamlet's streets.

- one with an aunt, and another as a servant i n
a laurador household. However, there i s a price
to be paid. This price is exclusion, or relative
removal, from high social status. This is where
Julia's example takes over. By retaining a cen ­
tral role in a wealthy household, she has main­
tained high status both as aproprietaria as w e l l
a s her feminine role a s a married woman. But
it is not marriage per se that has granted her
this, but rather an entire family legacy of social
prestige and high respect. When both Julia and
Carolina - mature and in their twenties or
thirties - confront the question Who am I?, they
face the entire patrimonial and matrimonial
history of their kindred groups (Bourdieu
1980:249-70). On the one hand, in Julia's gene­
alogy we find schoolteachers, aldermen who sat
on local councils , priests, landowners, Customs
Guards, police officers, and even (back in the
eighteenth century) an informer or familiar of
the Portuguese Inquisition resident in Fonte­
las. Carolina, on the other hand, has an im­
Fig. 8. Carolina (right) dressed in black, in mourning mense array of relatives with less prestigious
following the death of an elder sister, with a neigh­ occupations populating her genealogy: day-la­
bour whose four children emigrated to France. At the
bourers above all, cottagers, servants, shep­
time the photograph was taken ( 1988), C arolina was
aged 56. herds, artisans, and some middling peasant
lauradores. All of her eight siblings (sisters as
side wedlock. In this fashion, the landholdings well as brothers) have had one or more bastard
and social status of the upper groups are in no children at some point in their lives, and many
way threatened by this parallel world of second­ of these have also lived in temporary unions .
ary unions : their property is not divided (or, Only two of them married.
more exactly, it is divided between fewer heirs) This is not to say that some people do not
and the presence in the village ofa large number move up the social scale at some moments, but
of bastards with little or no claims to landed simply that the relative position of any specific
wealth only serves to uphold and reinforce the woman within her social group is very clearly
status of the proprietario group. Many of these established early on in her life-cycle. The mar­
bastards - particularly the girls - pass through gins or limits of each individual woman's ef­
a phase of servanthood for these very families. forts , skill, and personal inventiveness will vary
The inheritance system, thus, affords a clue to and, of course, affect each one's own life path to
the internal logic of the dual marriage pattern. varying degrees, but always within the general
Marriage, then, is not immediately coinci­ confines of her social group. Thus, a celibate
dent with adulthood. This is quite clear in woman of 45 years of age - exemplified by both
Carolina's case - never passing through the of Julia's daughters - maintains a highly re­
formal ritual phases of ecclesiastical wedlock, spected social role in the hamlet despite her
she nevertheless has managed to participate in idiosyncratic femininity as an unmarried wom­
a whole field of other social relations and expe­ an without children. Carolina's social status,
riences including the rearing of children and however, remains quite low and her only hope of
membership in a large kindred group. The con­ aid in old age are her sons' future assistance
tact between her sons and their many cousins is and the sporadic support and reciprocity avail­
constant: indeed, two ofher sons live elsewhere able via her larger group of siblings. Thus,

Fig. 9. Middle-level lavradora woman (left) preparing sausages with the aid of two neighbours. This kitchen is
typical of many r ece ntly refurbished houses: note the new chimney and roof. Hanging above the table and hearth
(lareira) are smoke d hams (presuntos) and two of the variety of local sausages.

instead of marriage, the key nexus of female Women are tireless toilers , accumulating this
adulthood is social status and its derivation wide variety of essentially outdoor tasks above
from landed wealth. and beyond their domestic chores of cooking,
A final element concerns labour and produc­ washing, shopping, childcare, and the feeding
tion. One of the factors contributing to social and tending of household animals. Physical
status among all but the very wealthiest wom­ labour, in this sense, tends to create an entire
en is a reputation for hard physical work. This sphere of social evaluations within which indi­
applies to all women of the middle and lower vidual women are closely watched and judged
groups. There are only half a dozen or so truly by other women (and men) as particularly skill­
heavy and difficult agricultural chores which ful, patient, and dedicated to their family's
even the strongest women must leave for men to farming rhythms . The slightest lapse in this
do . Thus, women can be seen occasionally cycle of work is immediately noticed, and can
ploughing, they will assist in the shearing of contribute to negative gossip and even mali­
sheep (tosquia), guide water along irrigation cious slander.
ditches into their meadows and gardens, rake Work, then, and more specifically highly
and collect hay (feno), cut rye grain in the fields visible outdoor work, constitutes a constant
with sickles during the June reapings (sega­ field of activity and mutual vigilance between
das), collect straw in enormous bundles at the women. While in the case of women of the
August threshings (malhas), gather fruit and highest social status, any kind of agricultural
chestnuts in the autumn, cut firewood in the work becomes demeaning (they simply avoid
winter, and orient virtually all of the tasks being seen working outdoors), for all the re­
comprising the December pig-slaughter except maining women in the hamlet one of the keys to
the actual killing and butchering of the swine. generalized social respect and prestige is the

1 10
mainte n a nce of a good reputation for healthy
and con s i::;ten t travai l .
Even th e personalities o f the two women
exhibit feature::; linked to thel:ie working pat­
terns: that of the reclusive and excessively shy
Julia contrasts sharply with the more expan­
sive, humorous, and extroverted character of
C arolin a . There is no end to this rhythm of work
in temporal terms: young girls are socialised
rapidly into agricultural tasks, adult women
continue heavy labour endlessly, and elderly
women ca rry on working oudoors into their 70s
or 80s at lighter tasks until the onset in infirmi­
ty or old age.

Old age and death

A glance at patterns of old age and death will
now allow us to conclude our comparison of
Julia and Carolina. Death, unlike marriage,
constitutes the major fulcrum around which
much offamily life revolves . It is at death and
not marriage that major readjustments of prop­
erty and emotional relations take place - both
between brothers and sisters or children and
parents as well as between other relatives such Fig. 10. Corpse ofa woman who died ( aged 66) in 1977,
as uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces, grand­ exposed in the living room (sala) of her house on the
day following her death. This night, villagers will
parents and grandchildren. Virtually noone in visit the deceased, sprinkle holy water over the corpse,
any social group inherits any property at mar­ and remain for some period between approximately
riage, which means that extremely long life­ 2 1 :00 and 02:00 at the vigil (mort6riol I vigilia), talk­
cycles store up property partitions until very ing, praying, and accompanying the close relatives of
the deceased. Each ofthe hamlet's 60 or so households
late in villagers' lives . Many mature adults only
should send at least one person to this vigil. The
really inherit legal titles to land when they are burial (enterro) and funeral service follow on the next
in their 40s or 50s: until then they must depend day, normally in the late afternoon.
exclusively upon the resources of their parents
or upon slow and cumulative purchases or trades Hence the importance for poorer women of
of small plots . Indeed, many villagers only marry having some descendants, even if these are
precisely at the point in their biographical tra­ bastards. This will imply that the elderly al­
jectories when one set of their parents has died, ways have someone from among their kin to
thus in a sense liberating them from fiercely assist them as they age; and we recall that they
dependent obligations upon their close natal preserve their legal titles to land, literally until
kin. their dying day. Mortuary ritual and mourning
The significance of this is, partly, that upon indicate an openly expressive attitude towards
reaching old age and later senility, elderly vil­ death, reminiscent ofPhilippeAries' category of
lagers have a guaranteed source of protection mort apprivoisee ( 1976). Into the nineteenth
and care via their children, whether the latter century, corpses were buried in the earth under
are married or not. In anthropological terms , the chapel's floorboards. Afterwards, they were
this kind o f kinship system appears t o place a buried in the churchyard (adro) immediately
much stronger stress on descent or consanguin­ outside the church walls, until 1957 when the
eal relations than upon marital or affinal ones. hamlet's cemetery was constructed. Death is

co n fron ted i n an extremely n a t u ra l , m atter-of� Mediterranean Societies:
fact way, a n d the m e m o ry o f decea ::; e d rel atives
is con::;tuntly re freshed ann uully d u r i ng masses birth -? I marriage 1---? ldeathJ
fo r their :; o u t :; an d o n 2 N ovember when 11owers 1
and peta l s arc s p read on e a rthen or (more birth --,)- Jmarriage J -7 JdeathJ
recently) marble gravestones. Vi l lagers know 1
e x a ctl y who is b u ried i n each grave of th e birth --,)- J marriage J-7J deathJ
cemetery, a n d i n many cases who was buried
d i r e c tly u n d ern e a th as w e l l . 3 cycles I 6 moments of transfer
Upon arr i v i n g c l ose t o old age , even with
ailments and a g r a d u a l retreat fro m p hysical Fontelas:
task:;, m os t e l derly v i l l agers ( l i v i n g together or
as widows) can be re la t i v e l y sure that their kin a) birth --,)- celibacy --,)- JdeathJ
will p rovid e ample support. The agricultural
and festive cycles also assure that even isolated b) birth -----7 parallel union JdeathJ
ind i v i du als rar ely enter deep depressive phas­ 1 /'
es of introversion or hopelessness . There are bastard birth
always some family members nearby with whom
one can share and coll abo rate. However, even at c) birth -----? marriage
the moment of death, we find gradations of 1
social status constantly apparent: while the legitimate birth
funerals of women of Carolina's social standing
may comprise some 50 or so odd persons, those 3 cycles I 3 mome nts of transfer
of wealthy proprietarias such as Julia draw up
to a few hundred, and usually include villagers trian Alps (Burns 1963) - is that in typically
from many kilometres away. We should be care­ Mediterranean life-cycles property and social
ful therefore, when discussing wide-ranging status are transferred twice in every person's
models such as those of Aries concerning men­ life-cycle8, first at marriage via dowries and
talities or attitudes towards death, not to re­ again later at death. Further, each marriage
main blind to the subtle local differences in real leads to legitimate births and, because of the
peasants' practices and social comportment at high value placed upon marriage, there is a
such mortuary occasions. very low incidence of celibacy. Life-cycles are
One way ofvisualising the life-cycle of wom­ short, and marriage takes place (for women at
en in this case is to step back slightly and least) at a very young age.
compose an overall regional comparison be­ Fontelas, in contrast, affords an example of
tween Fontelas and the Mediterranean cultur­ an extreme stress removed from marriage and
al area to the South. We can construct the shifted to death as the key moment oftransmis­
following simple diagram, which will bring us sion. There are not one or two, but actually
back in the end to our two feminine examples. three common female life paths : (a) celibacy, (b)
In the first part, we have a schematisation of parallel liaisons or unions (brief or permanent)
the basic pattern ofthe life-cycle in the Mediter­ such as concubinage or popular marriage, and
ranean societies of Southern Europe, whereas (c) formal marriage. Reproduction can occur in
the second part depicts the three possible life two of these paths (b & c) while high social
courses of women (and, in fact, of men as well) status can be achieved also in two of them (a &
in Fontelas and other communities within the c). In the Mediterranean, through the course of
circum-Alpine region. three women's life-cycles there are normally six
The key difference in these systems - in moments at which the transfer of property and
which that which characterises Fontelas re­ social status take place. In contrast, in Fontelas
sembles the mountain areas ofNorthern Spain, there are only three - all delayed until death.
the Pyrenees, and the French, Swiss , and Aus- This is the crucial distinction. Furthermore,

1 12
Fig. 11. Woma n p l a c i n g flow­
ers on the s i m p l e earthen
grave ofa re lative on All Sou i R'
Day (2 November). Note the
marble gravestone;; of anoth ­
er fa m i l y t o t h e r i ght, w ith
res pec tive d ates, verHes, a n d
oval photogra p h of t h e de·
ceased. These m arble v a u l ts
(jazigos) a re now p rogressive­
ly ubiq u i tous, t h us displac­
i n g and antiquating the m o re
primiti ve buri a l mo u n d s of
earlier ti mes.

many people in the Portuguese case only marry Play were but incipient ethnographic works
after the deaths of their parents. Marriage is (0'Neill 1994). Even demographic studies con­
thus practically dissolved as a key biographical firm the pattern as well (Rowland 1984). Emilio
moment. Willems ( 1955) pointed to patterns of matrilo­
In other words, the entire life-cycle (and here calismo (matriarchality?/matrilocality?), and
the model applies to all social groups) is an three modern anthropologists all note the per­
extended, prolonged, and severely delayed pro­ vasive roles of women in rural communities of
cess in which marriage and conjugal relations the Minho province in Northwestern Portugal,
are subordinated to the firm links between although this region has been characterised for
consanguineal kin, particularly elderly parents. a long time by intense male emigration (Callier­
Bastards and single mothers simply reinforce Boisvert 1966; Brettell 1986; Pina-Cabral 1986).
this pattern. Thus, unlike the Mediterranean, In other words, there are indications that the
in any one life-cycle, there is only one point (not striking matrifocality of Northern Portuguese
two) at which major rearrangements occur - rural society (particularly in the Minho) is a
this is at death. Control of rural households by very old pattern, but we do not yet know exactly
chefes de familia (household heads), the divi­ how old or precisely to what degree (and when)
sion of land parcels, and the redefinition of the process of male emigration has contributed
agricultural labour roles all tend to take place to this state of affairs as a primary or unique
only following a death, not before. This creates conditioning factor in the Northeast region of
a tendency toward an excessive postponement Tras-os-Montes.
of crucial biographical decisions to a very late But in the Alentejo and Estremadura prov­
phase in the cycle. inces of the South, we find a much more radical
But what is the meaning of this contrast for subordination of women to men particularly in
our two specific cases? The first conclusion we the public and political spheres (Cutileiro 197 1;
can reach is that this part of the North of Lawrence 1982; Riegelhaupt 1967). We have
Portugal presents a radically different femi· not focused closely, for deliberate reasons, on
nine world from that of the South. Our major the roles of women as reflected by the roles of
anthropological studies confirm this: as early men. For instance, Fontelas simply exhibits a
as 1935 Paul Descamps noted the distinctive­ rather calm and relaxed relationship between
ness of certain Northern regions, although his the sexes, quite the opposite of the tensions and
family monographs in the style of Frederic Le conflicts described for Mediterranean Portugal.

Su l ly Cole's recen t stu dy o f' P o rt u g u ese fis h i ng exchanges between individual men or co l l ective
women i n a Northern coasta l v i l l age ( 1 99 1 ) i s f�t m il ies or l i n eages (Goody 1 990). Th i s i s w hy
particularly i n teresti n g fo r i ts d i scussion of the social system exemplified by thi s ham l ei is
women's roles in r·el ation io men. F u rthermore , so radically distinct from villages thai bel o n g to
illegi t i m acy seems io be pervasive also in other the Mediterranean world: this kind of beh av­
rura l commun ities of the North, as noted al­ iour and the social statuses of women we h a ve
ready by Livi Bacci ( 1 97 1 ) u n ci more recently by been examining would be almost tota l a n a t h e­
Alb i n o ( 1 986) in Braganc;:a, Hurra ( 1 987) in ma in Southern Portugal , Southern Italy, An d a­
Bei ra Alia, Callier- Boisvert ( 1 988) in ihe Alia lusian Spain, Greece, Sicily and S ardinia, or
Minho, and Godinho ( 1995) in 6 municipalities the Maghreb. Women in Fontelas simply live on
ofAiio Tn1s-os-Mon tes. T h e theme as presented a different planet.
here for merely one ham lei a ffords o n l y the iip
of the iceberg: patterns of parallel family and
sex u a l life, i l l egi tima cy, and alternative forms
of marri age consti tute one of the particular Returning to Julia and Carolina, we arc aware
fasci n ations of early modern a n d contemporary that a large series of questions hover unan­
Portuguese history. swered. We have not constructed a truly bio­
Finally, we cannot ignore a micro-regional graphical profile of either of these two women,
component: preci sely as repo rted for the collec­ but rather simply a prelude to the inner d imen­
tive, communitarian village of Rio de Onor in sions of subjectivity, feelings , emotions, and
Northeast P or t u ga l (Dias 1953; Pais de Brito overall socio-psychological orientations. We have
1989), the socio-political status of women in no doubt that the two cases constitute little
many of the hamlets in Tras-os-Montes is ex­ more than illustrative case-studies . But we
ceedingly high. In Fontclas as well, widows and have tried to deconstruct the presupposition, or
unwed mothers retain a voice and even votes on assumption, that there must necessarily be
the village council (conselho de vizinhos), and only one model of the female life-cycle in a small
they are consulted whenever an overall deci­ rural Portuguese village . We have stressed that
sion affecting the entire village must be taken. there are at least two very different extremes of
In wider geographical and cultural terms, then, personal trajectories . 9
we confront an example of the substantially Neither Julia nor Carolina rose socially in
high social status of women in European rural the course of their life paths10, nor did either of
societies (a point already very convincingly made them descend or fall dramatically in the social
by Goody in 1976 and again in 1983), in contrast scale. Each remained almost exactly within the
to the extensive Mediterranean case of relative same socio-economic niche occupied by their
female subordination. respective parents. Neither upward nor down­
That is to say, we find in the rural villages of ward mobility characterises their social life­
Northern Portugal a form of kinship organiza­ cycles. Instead, they provide crystalline models
tion along bilateral or cognatic lines: all broth­ of the maintenance or even somewhat hegem­
ers and sisters inherit property and social sta­ onic holding of specific role positions within a
tus on an equal legal footing. Primogeniture is concrete hierarchy of social ranks . This is why
rare, and we have no reason to affirm that there their biographies are so diverging: born and
are any forms of overriding or glaring male brought up within the same apparently com­
dominance. Women are simply not repressed, mon cultural context, their individual trajecto­
devalued, subordinated or exploited by men or ries exhibit totally different paths. We could in
indeed by the overall society (note that in the fact pose the question - what do they have in
situations of natolocal residence we have re­ common at all?
ferred to, it is the married couple and not just But the topic may be complicated yet further.
the wife who is suppressed). Women are cer­ Why not propose the coexistence of three femi­
tainly not used as pawns in a game of chess, nine life-cycles? While stressing the upper and
through complex circulations and marriage lower extremes of the social ladder, we have

1 14
perha ps lo::;i ::; i ghi of the m i ddle-l evel grou ps. total ly n o r predominantly mascu l ine, th u s p re­
These, i n deed , s h i ft more flexibly between rel ­ clud i n g a s i tuation i n the v i l l age resem b l i n g
atively mobi l e n i ches in the middle rungs : the that described for the Minho, o f mobile m a l e
social gro u p o f' la umdores, o r "pca::;ani plo ugh­ m igrant::; a n d res ident female villager::; ( Brei­
ers", partake both of aspects specific to the tell 1 986). This migratory element surely com­
upper ru ngs as wel l as clements ofthose lower plicates any form of analysis of women's l i fe
down. Thi s makes them even more difficult to courses.
analyse. For instance, it is among the lower and But another angle on the problem o f the
middle group::; th ai we veri(y the highest rates middle social groups is also pertinent: how
of emigration to the more developed Western closely do Julia's and Carolina's biographical
counirie::; ::; i n ce the 1960::; - villagers left mostly paths resemble those of these middling laura ­
for France, but also Germ any, Switzerl a n d , and dora women? Unl i ke wealthy proprietarias or
Luxembourg. This wave of emigration was not near-destitute jornaleiras, women in this mid-

Fig. 12. The inner emotion­

al world, the subjective per­
ceptions and feelings of ru­
ral Portuguese women, re­
main relatively out of the
reach of classic anthropo­
logical monographic models
drawn in objectivist, de­
scriptive tones. Brief case­
studies only give us a fleet­
ing glimpse of these highly
personal, intimate dimen­
sions. Long, detailed indi­
vidual life-histories, narra­
ted orally by these women
themselves, constitute a
task of another order.

1 15
d i e gro u p tend to ach ieve a re ason a b l e m od i c u m Notes
o f s c l f � s u f fi c i c n cy based u pon a m i n i m a l l a n d ­
Al l p h otographs by H r i u n J u a n O' N e i l l 1 976-78,
ho l d i n g , a l a rge d o m estic gro u p or m any ch i l­ except fi g. 4.
dre n , a n d 1:10me ( i f n o t exCCl:l l:l i v e ) �:�oc i a l pre::;­
tige . 1 1 Arc we con f'ron tccl , therefore, rathcr th un 1. We h a v e not adopted h ere any f i1rm o f t h eoreti­

w i t h a series o r g r a datio n �; or the same basi c cal analys i s d e r i v i ng from femi n i st a n th ro p o l og­
i c a l schoo l s or t h e t opi c of "gender re l a t i o n s" ,
fem a l e trajectory, w i t h th ree d iverge n t l i fe pa ths
a l t hough s u c h approaches cou l d offe r eq u a l ly
in es�;cnce, or m e re l y two oppos i n g ends of an sti m u l a t i n g res u l ts . O u r m aj o r stress - as re­
o ventl l py ram icl w i th upper and lower extremes? fl e cte d in the contours of our origi n a l re::;ea rch ­
Most of our m ateri a l see m s to go a gain st the has been placed upon stratification and c;ocial
h i erarchy rather th an on m asculi ne/fe m i n i ne
idea of a h a rmon i o u s , u n d i rrc re n t i atecl , i dy lli c ,
d i fferences. Wh i c h f�1ctor deserves u l t i m a te p ri­
and n ostal g i c r u ra l Arca d i a - even a m o n g 200 o r i ty (ge n d e r or h i e ra rchy?) re m a i n s a pa radox.
or so v i ll agers , the a nthr o p o l o gic a l lens can 2 . P. Bo urd i e u ( 1980:87-109) w o u l d cal l t h i s con­
focus on enorm o u �; social ch asms between wom­ g lo mera te of patterns, habits, and orientations

en l i v ing in houses a few dozen metres away habitu.s, or a set of durable dispositions i n c u l ca­
ted s l o w l y but forcefully over t i m e w i th i n the
from e a c h other. Th i l:l analysis p rovid es , t h en , beh a v i our an d men tal i ty of vi llagers v i a c o m p lex
in a sense, a ba c kdro p for further and more processes of education and soci alisation .
detailed biogra p h ic a l analyses. Life-histories , 3. "Fontelas" is a pseudonym for a hamlet l ocated in
bi o g ra p hic a l portrait�;, and the u se o f local doc­ the district of Bragan((a in 'l'ras-os -Montes p rov­
ince. It is one of four hamlets comprising ihe
uments such as diaries and letters could carry
parish and is approximately 4 kilom e tres from
on fro m here and lead u s m u c h d e epe r into the the Spanish border (Orense province, Ga l i c i a ).
subjectivity and inner worlds of specific indi­ 4. We have access to these dates via the Parish
vidual women. 1 2 Register of baptisms, m arri age s , and b u r i a l H for
all men and women in the four hamlets of the
Our aim, however, will have been achieved in
parish for the period 1870-1990. Innumerable
part if we have, firstly, suggested with clarity other forms of information on demograph i c and
that there is no single programmed life course social patterns such as intervals between b i rt h s ,
for rural women , no one form offemale personal ages of single and married mothers, kinship tics,
ages at marriage and death, etc., are contained
development, and perhaps even no simple ex­
within these very detailed ecclesiastical sources,
pression in any patrticular village context of and are susceptible to sophisticated historical
any hypothetical feminine norm of"Portuguese and anthropological analysis.
culture" carried within the minds or hearts of 5. This Monarchist Revolt was a kind of small­
real peasant women. 1 '3 Secondly, should our scale, modern Portuguese counter-revolution re­
sembling the Vendee in Western France at the
materials have provoked even the slightest
end of the eighteenth century.
note of doubt, confusion, query, and perplexity, 6. At the age of 7, children normally make their
then we will have succeeded in highlighting first confession in the church and appear listed
some of Portugal's intense fascination. In delv­ in the priest's Confessional Roll (Rol dos Confes­
sados), which is another rich archival document
ing briefly into the lives of two women, we have
for the study of social and familial relations. All
merely scratched the surface of one of the most residents of the parish's four hamlets over the
complex rural corners of Europe. age of 7 are listed, with their full names, ages,
other co-residents in the household, marital sta­
tus, occupation, and an annotation indicating
"confession" and (when taken) "communion".
7. Until recent national legislation in Portugal fol­
lowing the political and social transformations
inaugurated in 197 4, the legal status of domestic
servants was extremely precarious. In remote
villages such as this, their contracts were almost
exclusively arranged by word ofmouth via direct
personal accords between servant and employer.
Payment could follow any form: goods, clothing,
food, wine, grain, or money - or, of course, any
combination of these.

1 16
8. The a n t h ropologica l l i teratu re on M ed i t errrl ne­ p a rt icu l a rly w i t h reference to a rti sts) and l i fe­
an soc iet ies is hy now q u i te va st.. Fo r a gen e r a l h i st o r i es of w orkers (Maga l hf.ies, Fe r n a n des &
ove rv iew o n w o m e n a n d p ropert y i n M ed i t e r ra­ O l i ve i ra 1 99 1 ) . P u b l i s hed memo i rs a n d a u to b i ­
nean l� u ropc, see the co l l ect i o n of elol�ay� ed i ted ogra p h ic� i n Portugal a rc more a b u n d a n t L h a n i s
by Rav i s-G io rd a n i ( 1 !J!:l7). La�lutt's m a p of fi1 u r common l y n�� umcd ( Pa lma Ferrei ra 1 98 1 ; H.o­
broad s u b- regio n s o f E u rope ( ] 98:.1 : 526-7), i f c h a 1 992).
somcw hat q uc�tionablc i n a n t h ropological terms , 1 �! . Along thc:;c l i nes, sec the magn i fi ca n t study o f
is neve rth e l ess h i gh ly p rovocative i n h i gh l ight­ women i n a l l o f t h u regi ons of Portu ga l by M n r i r1
in g the contra�t between a Southern M e d i terra­ Lamas ( 1 948 ) , s u p erbly documented w i th h u n ­
n e a n fiun i ly a rea a n d a more Northerly, Centra l d reds of e t h n ogra p h i c p hotogra ph s . This <: l a s s i e
E u ropean o n e . Sue a l �o D i a � · c l a��ic b u t �ti l l w o r k o n w o m e n l eave� no :;bred of doubt a� t o t h e
hi gh l y perti n e n t poi n t s o n the c u l t u ral h i story o f w ide v a ri e ty of social co n texts throug hout t h e
the Suevi i n Nort hern Pnr·tu ga I (Din s 1 97 4 ) . cou n try sh a p i n g the l i fe cou rses o f r u r a l w o nw n .
9. We have a q�ucd e l sew h e re ( 1 987b), fo l l ow i n g
Ed m u nd Leac h 's h e ret i c a l theoretical propos i ­
ti on � ( ] 96 1 ), that not me re ly one but two :;y:;tcms
of i n h e r itance cocxi � t in t h i � h a m l et. Th i s i s o u r
maj o r point, w h ich h a :; :;tro n gcr i m p l i cati on s lor
biogra p h i ca l stud ius of a �nc i o l ogical natu ru ( B e • ·­ Al b i n o , Tc rc�a 1 986: M ii.cs S o l tei ras numa Altl c i a
tau x 1 98 1 ; B o u r d i c u 1 986; M i n tz 1 960) th a n fo r Tran smo n ta n a . I n : And.lise Social 92-93:68:.1-69fi.
either classic anthropological life-histories (Sim­ Aries, Philippe 1976 ( 1974): Western Attitudes To­
mon:; 1942; Smith 1954) centred on one narrator, ward Death: From the Middle Ages to the Presen t.
mo re recent po:; t-motl e rni:;t bi ogr a phi c al por­ Lond o n : Marion Boyars.
traits focusing on the ob:;erver/observed dia­ Bertaux, Daniel 1978 ( 1977): Destinos Pessoais e
logue relation (C r apa n za n o 1 985), or more phil­ Estrutura de Classe. Lisbon : Moraes.
os o p h i cally oriented hermeneutical analyses Bertaux, Daniel (ed.) 198 1: Biography and Society:
(Watson & Watson-Franke 1985). One of the The Life History Approach in the Social Sciences.
most fascinating a n d ch al l en gi n g questions for London: Sage.
future research resides in the potential for fus­ Bertaux, Daniel & Isabel Bertaux-Wiame 1988: Le
ing or combining two or more of these four gen­ Patrimoine et sa Lignee: Transmissions et Mobilite
eral trends, as Catani ( 1 982; 1 989) has shown . Sociale sur Cinq Generations . In: Life Stories I
10. The concept of life path is derived here from Recits de Vie 4:8-26.
Giddens' discussion of the dimensions of time Bourdieu, Pierre 1980: Le Sens Pratique. Paris: Mi­
and space developed in the work of the geogra­ nuit.
pher T. Hiigerstrand (Giddens 1984: 110-119). Bourdieu, Pierre 1986: L'Illusion Biographique. I n :
Clearly, the term suggests other kinds of concep­ Actes de [a Recherche en Sciences Sociales 62/63:69-
tualisation ofthe biographical life course, whether 72.
in the form oflife-histories narrated orally (Smith Brettell, Caroline 1978: Ja Chorei Muitas Lagrimas
1981) or of trajectories or the social mobility of (Hist6ria de Vida): Cr6nica de uma Mulher Portu­
individuals (Bertaux 1978; Bertaux & Bertaux­ guesa Imigrada em Fran1;a. Lisbon: Universidade
Wiame 1988). Nova de Lisboa/Ciencias Humanas e Sociais: Serie
11. Curiously, women in the lavrador group almost Investigaf<iio - 7.
always marry and bear large numbers of chil­ Brettell, Caroline 1986: Men Who Migrate, Women
dren, practically never hire servants, and very Who Wait: Population and History in a Portuguese
rarely give birth to bastard children. We have Parish. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
dealt elsewhere (O'Neill 1987a : 173-259) with Burns, Robert K. 1963: The Circum-Alpine Culture
the complexities of these differences between Area. In: Anthropological Quarterly 36, 3: 130-155.
upper, middle, and lower level women with re­ Callier-Boisvert, Colette 1966: Soajo: Une Commu­
gard to marriage, celibacy, and illegitimacy. naute Feminine de !'Alto Minho. In: Bulletin des
12. Unfortunately, no such written records (diaries/ Etudes Portugaises XXVII:237-278.
autobiographies) were found in Fontelas for ei­ Callier-Boisvert, Colette 1988: L'Illegitimite en Ques­
ther women or men; our earlier study ( 1987 a) did tion: Les Enfants Naturels et leurs Meres d'apres
not entail a full-scale search for documents of les Registres Paroissiaux d'une Freguesia de !'Alto
this nature. In other villages and towns of the Minho. In: Meridies: Revue d'Anthropologie et de
area, future searches might well yield fertile Sociologie Rurale de l'Europe du Sud 7/8:907-940.
materials in the form of letters, diaries, and Catani, Maurizio 1982: Tante Suzanne: Une Histoire
memoirs. Anthropologists have not to date re­ de Vie Sociale . Paris: Librairie des Meridiens.
corded any truly exhaustive oral life-histories of Catani, Maurizio 1989: La Invenci6n de las Hul"(les:
peasants in Portugal, despite Brettell's brieftext Una Sociedad Centrada en si Misma (1 & 2). Bada­
( 1978), although recently more attention has joz: Editora Regional de Extremadura/Cuadernos
been granted to biography (Conde 199 1 ; 1993, Populares 27/28.

C o l e , Sa l ly 1 99 1 : Womt•n o/' t h e Pra i a : WonH•n a n d M :.l l-(a l h :1es , M a ri a Jose de S o u sa , Maria La u ra F'on­
Worh in a Portll!-[tu•se Ma ri t i t t l l• Com m u n i ty. P r i n ce ­ seca F e r n a n des & O l ga G u edes de O l i v e i ra .1. 99 1 :
t o n : P r i n cet o n U n i v e n; i ty P res� . I-listnria. d e Vi da d e u m a Opera.ria d a In
Conde, ld a l i n u 1 99 1 : A l v a r e � : A m b il-(u i d udes n a B i o- Cortice i m : Con stm(:iio ld.en ti d. ndl's Fem i n i n as
1-(ru fin de u n 1 P i n t u r. I n : Sociolol{ia : Problt•ttws e Atra. ves de Di(ercn tes Processus Educa.ti vos. Lis­
Prritims 9:207-2 2 5 . bo n : O rgn n i Y-a.;: o e s Nfio Govern amentais do Con scl­
C o n d e , I d a l i n a 1 99:.1 : P rob l e m a s e V i rt udes n a Defusa ho C o n s u l t ivo da Comissao Para a Ig u a ld ud e e
d a B i ogra fi a . In: Su ci o logi a. : Problem a s e Prri t ims Para os D i re i to s das M u l h eres.
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C ra p:.1 n w n o , Vin cen t I 9 8 5 ( 1 980): 1'u lw m i : Port ra i t Pu e rto Rican Li/'e History. New York : W.W. N o rt on.
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C ut i l e i ro , Jose 1 97 1 : A Port u!-[tll'-''' Rural Society. tuguese Ham let: Land, Late Marriage, and Ba s t a rdy
Oxf(Jrd : C l aren d o n Press. 1870- 1.97R. C a mb ri d ge : C a mb ri d ge Univ. Press .
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1 18
Societies of Married Women
Forums for Identity Building and Female Discourse

Brit Berggreen

Brit Berggreen 1995: Societies of Married Women. Forums for Identity Build i n g­
and Female Discourse. - Ethnologia Europaea 25: 119-129.

Du ring the 1 9th century and i nto the 20ih the general attitude towards worncn
wa::; that they should be obliging and submissive. Contesting notions thai t h i s
pattern should b e a historical universal this paper suggests that there have been
associations ofmarried women as collective standard setters. Serving as collective
authority units such associations have supported and directed patterns of female
authority within household circles. Exploring this view circumstantial evidence
has been found in folklore and observations of Norwegian folk life. Continuing a
discussion started by the Finn Uno Harva ( 1 944) additional material has been
provided from communities in contemporary Greece where annual celebrations
take place among married women to celebrate fertility with the midwife as ihe
centre of the festival. Finally a guild model for married women's societies is
proposed, suggesting that their main product - vital for the well-being of the
community as a whole - is the offspring, not at the moment of birth, but nurtured
and shaped into the approved standard.

Dr.philos. Brit Berggreen, Professor ofEthnology, University ofBergen, IKK, Olaf

Ryes vei 19, N-5007 Bergen, Norway.

and feel guilty when expressing anger. Moder­

nity has introduced an image of womanhood
When Iraqui leader Saddam Hussein was at his based on the tender and loving female paragons
hottest in the news surrounding the Gulf War of popular educators . Postmodemity seeks the
1990-9 1, I was watching a CNN interview with pre-modern, and may find alternative paragons
a 6-7 year-old boy. He was upset at the report of varying according to time, place and social
Saddam's actions, and I heard his serious and belonging.
indignant voice: "Why can't anybody tell his In this paper I shall go back in time, search­
mom what he's up to. " This has struck me as ing for the authority of married women as indi­
having to do with another episode which in­ viduals and as members of women's societies in
volved a woman, whose son, when reaching the close knit communities. The standards ofhouse­
age of about 13, confided in her that "frankly'' he wives have been much noticed and discussed,
was a little scared ofher. Very upset she told her and gradually and increasingly studied in the
husband, and was calmed down by the answer: context of housewives' own agreements. Such
"All boys are afraid of their mothers . " I choose standards are factual, but need investigation to
to see these episodes as reminders of Mother as be culturally visible. There have been closed
an authority, perhaps the ultimate authority in societies of women, to which men have been
the minds and lives not only ofboys, but of girls, denied access. Such societies have been more or
and of adults as well. I see it also as a reminder less formalized, ranging from women of specific
of the often blurred borders between love and neighbourhoods to networks offriends or kin ( cf.
respect, and between respect and fear. Modem Smith-Rosenberg 197 5 ). There have been fields,
women in western urban societies have been which have been the sole domain of women,
socialized into being loved as the obvious aim, where men have been denied the right to inter-

fore . I n t.radition : d r u r a l N o rway h o u sew ives My research has convinced me that ther e
h a d the i r a r e a :-; o f re :-; pon s i b i l i t y, u n ti l modern huve been con ventions or codes between w o men
not i o n s of u w o m a n :-; p l ace, and of the m u l e us re ga rdi n g what kind of behaviour was or w as
h e r :-; u pc rv i :;o r penetrated all :;ociul c l us::;e::; . not acceptable, whether among them::;clves,
Except us u set of norm::; t he c u l t u r a l pro c e ::; s i s their daughters, sons or husbands . These codes
h u rd to p i n dow n . S u ch not i o n ::; be�an w i th the and conventions were not necessarily fixed , but
bureaucratic bou rge o i s i e in E u r o pe 's l ead i n g cons tan tl y renegotiated through commen ts and
nati ons duri ng th e l ust h u l f o f the l 8th century. discussion s. It is worthwhile to consider a "soci­
In N o r w ay it took h o l d l ate r, a ro u n d 1 830-40. e ty of married women" as comparable to a
Real au thor ity is more e a s i l y concealed than crafts-guild, where the behaviour is strictly
form ul i zed h i e ru rch i es w i th a u tho r i ty a s ::; u med con tro ll e d to secure the survival and welline of
th r o u gh con venti o n s . People conce a l be h av i o u r g u i l d members (Berggree n 1973). Let us leave
w h i c h d e vi ate s fro m c u l t u r a l p rescr ipti on (Berg­ the common view of women as vigilant narrow­
green 1990). What s h o u l d interest us is women's minded and mean gossips and rather see them
acceptance of male s u prem acy and the powerful as bosses, indeed as workshop masters, with a
vehicles fo r s p re ad i n g the no ti o n . 'T'hat males rational approach to the management and allo­
grasp the notion is less intriguing. ln Norway cation of time and resources . Among (tradition­
there was a noticeable change in attitudes and al) married women the main product was the
practices, l i ke barring women from the vote, child, not just the newborn, but the child devel­
which was liberally granted to men in 18 14, and oped into a responsible adult person. Just as the
explici tly barri ng women from university edu ­ dabbler (No. fusker, Ger. Pf'uscher) was a threat
cation in 1836 (Hernes 1982). In several ways to the guild members, irresponsible offspring
the Zeitgeist expe ct e d women to keep a low so­ producing illegitimate children upset not only
cial profile except in the ballrooms and at the the individual household to which he or she
teapot. This period lasted until ca 1880 when belonged, but the whole community of neigh­
women openly were organized to fight for the bours, who were depending on each other in the
vote (obtained in 1913). They were granted ac­ daily toil and on social occasions . It was a social
cess to the University in 1882. During this time convention that children belonged within the
span, from ca 1830 to ca 1880 external authori­ setting of marriage.
ties also contributed to breaking up traditional Resource management and behaviour ac­
patterns of domestic management and neigh­ cording to rules were of vital importance for a
bourhood organizations in the local communi­ community of neighbours. For men and women
ties. The .modern notions of womanhood - with alike marriage was the entrance ticket to full
the man as the superior -was preached from the membership in the community. To give birth
pulpits and entered the minds of common people was a privilege for married women, or at any
as patterns through school-books, but not al­ rate, a community of married women decided
ways as practice. whether an illegitimate child was a shame or
Some evidence of women's independence of not.
male opinions can be found in derogatory nick­ Forums for setting standards and giving
names for women who let themselves be domi­ evaluations are my concern here. For decades
nated by their husbands . Nikkedukke, literally women have been told that they are the manag­
meaning a nodding doll, godfjotte, "a simple­ ers of soft values, and the virtuous virgin and
ton", and mehe , "a spineless person" are among the tender and loving mother have been hailed
them. Certainly there are also nicknames for in literature and promoted by presentations of
husbands, who let themselves be bossed around the ideal family life in school readers . Tradi­
by their wives, but this is not my topic here . tional notions of womanhood have yielded to
Somehow the idea of the submissive wife has doctrines of woman's nature, especially since
been confused with the factually submissive the 18th century when Rousseau's Sophie and
wife, whom it is hard to respect or admire, but Richardson's Pamela entered the minds of the
easy to pity. novel reading public. The virtuous Lotte of

Goethe's Dif• Leiden desjungen Wert hers should Louise Gjesdal Christensen started her sea rch
also be menti oned in this connection. These for the soft mothers among working-class a n d
characters have become the new dream women lower middle-class people, but what her inform ­
for men, !ig-urel:l they might want their women ants said, thinking back on their childhood wal:l
to emulate . These females were creations by this: "Father was kind, but mother was strict. . "
and for the needs and wishes of male fancy, A fair amount o f this must have t o d o w i t h
perhaps women dreamed up as a contrast to women's strength, authority and power as her
those they knew from real life. We may see ideal husband's partner, earning his respect and th e
patterns ati wishful interpretations of the Nat­ respect of others . This authority was exercised
ural Law (naturrett): "A petty bourgeois family within her domain. Such domains have more
pattern implying an amenable and mild home often than not been overlooked. Within Norwe­
wife ach i eves the status of being a natural , gian cultural historical research, however, there
sensible and good arrangement", writes Jon has been a long-term research program going
Hellesnes ( 1974:70) and claims this as a deficit on from ca 1940 until the 1970s on peasant/
of Rousseau's thinking and writing. farm communities and rural neighbourhood s
My presentation is based on a search for (Gards- og grannesamfunn. The Institute for
arenas of women's authority, and especially on Comparative Research in Human Culture in
findings suggesting the way married women Oslo). The material is largely unpublished, but
have set standards and carried them out. I am the former director Rigmor Frimannslund, lec­
searching for a "wife-power" (koneuelde), dis­ tured for a generation ofEuropean ethnologists
cussed by law historian Gudmund Sandvik at the University of Oslo on the basis of this
( 1978). It is especially in Norwegian circum­ material, spreading the message of equality
stantial evidence that I have begun my search, between husband and wife as administrative
but field work experience from Greek Macedo­ heads of separate spheres. This should be men­
nia has provided me with new perspectives and tioned, even if here is not the place to present
the courage to set my discussion within a larger the material nor to list Norwegian titles dealing
European framework. My presentation is ten­ with the topics.
tative, based on work in progress.

The significance of marriage

Strict mothers , kind fathers
There is an anecdote circulating about the Swed­
Today it is acceptable to talk about both a ish author Selma LagerlOfafter she had become
female and a male part of the same person. "The world famous as a novelist and a Nobel Prize
female part of me wants to embrace the audi­ winner: She was at a dinner party, and b e ing a
ence, the male part of me wants to conquer it" , most celebrated woman she found it reasonable
I heard a female opera singer say in a radio to begin to move towards the table when the
interview. The same day a male film-maker party was asked to take their seats . But the
talked about "letting out the female part of hostess stopped her with the words: "The wives
himself ". The present Stand der Forschung is first, Selma dear." Whether true or not it
turbulent and the socially hermaphroditic man illustrates a main topic in this presentation,
or woman is becoming accepted. This is complex namely the dividing line between married and
territory. Still I venture into it, turning my back unmarried women. This has become so blurred
to the present. The pre-modern is my concern. in our contemporary culture that there is rea­
Let me first tum to the topic of being afraid son to remember the former aspect of marriage
of one's mother. The shrew, hanging out the as the precondition for full membership of the
window, loudly scolding her own offspring and adult peasant society, in this case for both
even those of others, demanding good behav­ women and men. The differences in privileges
iour, has been expelled from good company, just (and obligations) ranging from the young mar­
as the wife with the rolling-pin has been ban­ ried woman, the established wife, the widow or
ished to the cartoons. In the mid 1970s Anne the retired old woman in traditional societies,

such us among Norwegi an peasants, is some­ the eggs were not sold, they w ere valu able i te ms
th ing we today m u::;t be re m i n ded of beca use we i n the h o usehold diet. A hen that had stopped
no longer have the same system of responsibil­ laying eggs might at least be made into a soup.
ity, dependence, rights a nd d u ties a::; before . To replace a hen meant either the expense of
Their rank w as mi rrored i n the elaboration of buying another one, or time consumed in h atch­
their dress . ing and feeding a chicken till it became an egg­
"Before" here means especi ally the time be­ laying hen. All hens are not good egg-layers , so
fore ca 1850, but with offshoots into our own the original hen was not necessarily com pen­
day::;. Limits in time are hard to set because sated. In addition to her loss, the wife most
attitudes continue to exist and appear unex­ likely was disappointed and cross because Pal
pectedly even when they are believed to have had not paid attention. His failure in turn is a
disappeared. My methodological strategy is strike against the reputation of the household:
above all to seek situations where (married) Mother has a careless man in her economic
women act with confidence, and see themselves sphere . We should remember that in the song
as respectable wives who observe the codes of there is also an allusion to his having lost the
their peers and man age their time and resourc­ flour the day before when he was at the mill to
es in interplay with others , according to peer have the grain grinded.
standards. There is a special word denoting A luckier man in the world of folk tales was
this, namely kone;;ere , which literally means Gudbrand i Lia, also known from the stories of
"wife's honour". The legal concept of "key pow­ Hans Christian Andersen ("Father is always
er" (Ger. Schlilsselgewalt ), is another term to right"). Gudbrand started out to sell a horse and
consider. This term belongs within Germanic continued bartering until he returned home
law as has been discussed by Danish law histo­ empty-handed. The ironic element in this story,
rian Inger Diibeck ( 1978). I shall refer to some what makes it appear beyond reality, is that his
well-known Norwegian folklore, and then to a wife is not only understanding, she positively
women's festival in Greek Macedonia, where I applauds his stupidities as he confesses them.
have taken part for two consecutive years and In the first narrative we have a wife who
otherwise observed at second-hand. becomes angry, in the second, one who surprises
us by miraculously not becoming angry. The
structural basis of dumb man and authoritative
wife is present in each of these pieces offolklore.
One of the better known Norwegian popular The main issue, then, is not whether men are
ballads is about "Paul and his hens" ("Pal sine afraid of their wives or ifboys are afraid of their
h�ner" ) . 1 It is now categorized as a children's mothers . I shall take one more step and ask:
song with Pal seen as a small boy fearing his Whom is mother afraid of? It is well-known that
mother's wrath, after a fox has taken the hen he the neighbours directed behaviour mutually in
should look after. It would not be of much close-knit societies . "What will the neighbours
consequence ifthis were a matter between a son say ?" was a question that had to be asked. In
and his mother, but a closer study reveals that these circumstances my question concerning
Pal is the husband, afraid to come home to his whom mother fears may be seen as only rheth­
wife, mor (No. matmor, literally "food-mother"). orical. We know that women were standard
In one version of the ballad his fear is so strong setters, or perhaps rather keepers of respecta­
that he considers emigrating to America rather bility, keeping an eye upon each other and upon
than confront "mother" . each others' offspring. We know that there was
We do not need much insight into housewife a hierarchy of women. Her attire would show
rationality to put the loss of a hen into an her status, not only as married or unmarried,
irritating context of loss of time and resources. but also as a newly-wed or an established mar­
Let us play a little with the everyday issues ried woman. The young wife was attired differ­
behind the fox-takes-hen situation. Egg- money ently from the established wife, and the old wife
was a cash income for women, and even when had yet another form of dress.2

that they were peasants. (Some years earl ier a
Societies of married women
real horse cart was used and driven aro u n d i n
I have had the opportunity of be ing involved the village, filled with jolly women. Now the re
first-hand with an organi zed com m unity of were only tractors in the village . )
married women th rough parti ci pation i n the O n the actual day o f the festival there i s a
celebration of the midw ife in the village of gathering of women, dressed in regional cos­
Monokl issi a in the adm i n i strative district of tumes and male musicians in women's clothes,
Serres in Greek Macedonia. There are many those which were originally used in the village,
unanswe red questions concerni n g this festival, and much plainer than the gaudy garments the
and much guesswork as to its age and origin women now wear. The musicians are not from
(Berggreen 1995). Thus 1 shal l state only what the village . "Gypsies", the women explained,
the women themsclve::; claim. They told me that and at least one ofthem looked like one. These
when their foremothers came as refugees in men take part during the whole day's celebra­
1922 from Eastern Thrace in Turkey, they tion. The younger women carry victuals to the
brought the custom with them. The general kitchen gang of older women, who are in plain
version of this practice is, that each year on clothes. One of the most prestigeous tasks is to
January 8th they gave themselves the liberties manage the cooking. The younger helpers dance
of men. They took over the village cafe and sent their way to the kitchen premises with bread
the men home to cook and clean and look after baskets and vegetables.
the children and the elderly sick while they Next comes a dance through the village, the
granted themselves a delightful day for festival women following the musicians or vice versa, to
and fun open to women. They played tauli every house. There they claim tributes from
(backgammon), smoked tobacco, played cards those who are at home, and they visit the eldest
and drank alcoholic beverages, danced in the women, who appear in their black widows' gar­
streets and ended the day with a gigantic feast ments, followed by a daughter or daughter in
with orgiastic elements . lt was a celebration for law. These eldest are warmly greeted and
married women only, until unmarried women hugged. Men who are encountered are chased
were allowed in from 1990 on. In the centre of and splashed with water from a little tin bucket
the celebrations was the midwife. At some stage with a basil twig.
the women in this village had begun to call their After the tour through the village the women
celebration the Women's Rule or Gynaecocracy go back to the assembly house for a meal. Then
day. In a neighbouring village the women cele­ it is time for the main procession. This takes
brated under the name of The Midwife's Day. place to honour the midwife, babo, mammi or
When I participated in the 1990 festival in maia, which she is alternately called. On a tray
Monoklissia unmarried women were allowed in there is water, olive oil, soap and a towel, and
for the first time . This particular year the cele­ some kind of a phallic symbol (leeks are quite
bration was such: The day before the actual common). The babo receives the procession and
festival there was a collecting of victuals or entertains the most prominent women on her
money to buy provisions for the evening meal balcony, where a low table and cushions are set
and the premises were prepared for the celebra­ out. A lot of joking and laughter goes with the
tions . The women had had their own assembly encounter. Afterwards the babo leads the danc­
house since 1962 when the women's organisa­ ing and joyful procession back to the assembly
tion, the Lysistrate (Lysistrata), had it built. house. (In 1991 one woman simulated a birth
Since then they were independent of the men's with a plastic doll that was "born" , fully clothed,
village cafe. In the assembly house textiles then later undressed and "baptized" in a plastic
were arranged to decorate the shelves and a low tub at the square outside the assembly house,
oriental table set in front of the fireplace. Also the women sang and performed all the ceremo­
a miniature of an ox cart was taken down from nies otherwise belonging to the church liturgy. )
the top of a cabinet and put on exhibit in a more The next and most serious session was a
prominent place. This cart should remind them formal lunch for invited representatives of the

local ad m i n i s t ra t io n , the muyor a n d oth er::;. " Gy n ae c o c r acy " or M o n o k l i s s i a were m e m bers
D u r i n g t h i s pol it i c u l segm e n t o f the fest i v u l the of a pol i t i ca l women'::; o r ga n i z ati o n gi v i n g prior­
women give u n d receive i nib r m u t i o n o n th e ities to women's rights, whereas in the n e i gh­
imp o rta n c e of women i n ::;oci ety ; the pre::;ident hou ri ng vi I I age ofAno Kamilla female m o m bers
ofthe Women'::; Assnciutinn i::; the ma i n h n s tes::;. o ft he h isto rical assoc iation were the orga n i zers
Th e e ve n i n g cel ebration i s the plenary gath ­ of "The M idwife's Day", thus stressing t radi­
ering. Th e e l dest women ::; i t as gue::;ts ofhunour tio n .
wh i le the you n ger o n es dance. Here there i s Some attention has been paid t o such cele­
space ibr any w h i m , and the women have great brations , mostly by men who have been barred
fun simulating the behaviour of men, especially from direct participation. Uno Harva ( 1 944)
through slapping bottoms, or l ifting skirts to wrote an article on "societies of married women
peep u n der n eat h . The cl i max is a skiUtablcau w ith the ir attached inauguration rituals" d e m­
with sexual-orgiastic clements , w h ich the male onstrating a vast amount of evidence of such
musicians must not see. They have been play­ closed societies of married women with recur­
ing the whole night. Now the curtai ns are drawn ring annual celebrations, including written
for the first time, blocking their visu al contact records tracing the custom back to the 16th
with the celebration. Sexuality is referred to i n century. I read this article with renewed i nter­
a lively manner throughout the celebration . est after h aving taken part in the women's
Sometimes, th e women expla in, men have tried festival in Monoklissia. Harva refers especially
to sneak into the celebration, dressed as wom­ to conditions in Germany and East European
en. Such an occurrence belongs to the great regions, from which I am led to suspect that the
happenings which the women relate over and celebration of Greek women has a connection
over again. To chase s uch men and drag the with corresponding celebrations among (Bul­
clothes off them belongs to the burly-burly, and garian) Slavs, and that the subject ought to be
is retold with intense, delighted and malicious approached from such a point of view as an
pleasure. At around 11 p.m. the party is over. alternative to seeking direct connections with
The last participants dance with their coats on antiquity which is a popular suggestion.
before leaving, reluctantly. The women's right to an annual celebration,
I took part again in 199 1 . During a summer usually held in a tavern, has often been ex­
visit in the village the following year I watched plained by the people themselves in the same
a full and unedited video-recording of the cele­ way as legendary myths with origins lost in
bration of 1992. There were no obvious or signif­ darkness, writes Harva ( 1944:279). The ingre­
icant deviations from the schedule I had per­ dients of the annual festival he describes con­
sonally been part of the two previous years, but sist of a procession, transgressions of bounda­
we should keep in mind the "revolution" of ries of decency, and the prohibition of men's
letting unmarried women in, beginning in 1990, participation, even of their simply making an
and the improvisations and alterations which appearance, for "if women got hold of a fellow,
the celebration patterns have undergone (cf. they undressed him, removing his hat, coat or
Berggreen 1995). The celebration, neverthe­ boots, which should later be returned through
less, is hard to maintain, with the possible ransom either in cash or some bottles of wine". 3
exception ofthe evening gathering when friends Now there was also a more serious purpose
and relatives come up from the district capital attached to the celebrations, namely to set up
of Salonika and the town Serres. The popula­ courts to judge women who failed to keep the
tion of the village is aging. There are few chil­ accepted standards of the village. A well-re­
dren for the husbands to look after on the garded woman held the chair, and through her
women's day, and the most active women in the guidance sentence was passed on women who
day celebration had matured into grandmoth­ did not keep appropriate standards of cleanli­
ers . Instead of being a village celebration, for­ ness, or failed to discipline her children proper­
mal organizations had adapted the custom to ly (Harva 1944:279).4 They all had to pledge
secure its continuation. The organizers of the secrecy. A woman who did not restrain herself

but told i h e sec rets o f'ihc i n i t i a t ed or c o n s e c ra t­ o f present day researchers. When wome n i n i h c
ed, "mul:li l:l i i w i th h e r w i n e m ug i n ihe c h i m ney Monokl i s l:l i a h u rly-burly made fi.t n ofihe m e n 's
corner, or sull'cr w o rs e p u n i shm e ntl:l still". li ways and styles, some would claim thai t h i s
should pe rh apl:l be added thai social exclul:l ion belongl:l i o ihe category of cul:lioms thai make
or ostracism (bci ng "sen t io C o ve n t ry" ) was ihe fun of one's superiors.
most severe p u n i s h m ent in trad i ti on al socie­ Researchers who work with such ritual s of
ties . reversion, in which the normal world i s topsy
Harva's reconstructed soci ety o f married turvy, interpret them as outlets of energies thai
women is built upon e lements from many areas might otherwise become dangerously exp l o­
and sources where there arc variations both sive. In a paradigm that views women as sup­
regarding ihe date and ihe details ofihc obser­ pressed, this may be a viable interpretation. An
vation of ihe day. The purpose of ihe societies, alternative interpretation, however, is thai these
however, seems obvious : 1.b aflirm and strength­ rituals are a means for women to strenghien
en their community thro ughout ihe annual their mutual ties and to set up continued stand­
cycle of work, struggle and conflicts with an ards for future village life. My central argu­
unbridled celebration, but also io create a closed ment is that married women have had a kin d of
circle of initiated and married women versus guild - the word league should also be suggest­
the unmarried and uninitiated. "Not even the ed - and an annual court of justice, all being
old spinsters - those who were over 25 years old focused through one annual day of celebration s,
were seen worthy of being partakers of these rituals and togetherness .5 Ifwe take for granted
mysteries", whereas those who had married that such rituals are expressions of inequality
since the last celebration were admitted into and power hierarchies, shall the absence of
the society of the married women. They had to such customs suggest some degree of equality
go through an initiation ritual. New initiates and mutual respect between the sexes?
should bring gifts to those who were more
established and pay them respect. Thereafter
Norwegian folk life
the newcomers were acclaimed with a hurrah.
They were thrown thrice up into the air and In order to get closer to a conclusion, we move
wished childluck and prosperity. Now they were back to Norway and the issue of standard­
admitted into the wives' league. setting among married women. For illumina­
Harva writes about a suggestion that the tion of the subject it may be worthwhile to read
origins of the right the women had once a year the school-teacher K.L. Huus's complaints about
to be "made the equals of men ( . . . ) were a faded (western) Norwegian women in 1872:
memory of the Germanic woman's past promi­
nent position in society . . . " He then adds: ''There "She commands the household's economy ac­
is, however, to be noticed that such a women's cording to the old custom that has conveyed this
society or women's guild, as far as is known, has right to her. She manages the family's property
not taken place in the North, where traces ofthe where management is important to live well
ancient Germanic popular culture ought to have and happily, and not only in the living room, but
been better kept than at other locations" (p. in kitchen, cellar, barn and animal buildings
280). almost everything is placed under her direc­
So Harva thinks that such festivals may be tion, as nobody stands in that order in the
traces of an ancient Germanic culture in which family that they may surpass her or keep any
the position of women traditionally was strong, kind of control with her and her management"
and he had expected to find such traces in the (Huus 1872:4).
North. He does not, but he finds to his surprise
a similar tradition among the mordvines of This particular school-teacher was eager to
Russia. enact reforms, and to please contemporary civil
What does not fit in well with Harva's per­ authorities and he wrote with disgust about the
spectives, fits remarkably well into the position strong women, and men who were powerless in

the i r re l a ti o n s w ith the i r w ives. He gave ev i ­ tions o f' married women's authority and l iJ r u rns
dence of' p o we rfu l a n d h ead:;t ro nl:( women who liJr i ts m a i n te n a nce w i th i n the structu re uf' th.e
did n o t tole rate interference from thei r h u s­ so-ca l l ed "old peas a n t society".
band:; i n d o m e :; ti c affa i r:; .11 Throughuut the 19th
cen t u ry m e n were :; u p p o rte d by strong ideolo­
The key power - "Schliisselgewalt"
gies i n the bclief t h at they had m o r e w its than
women a n d the right to take p r e c ede n ce ove r H u us ( 1872) wrote about women's a u th o r ity
them i n de c i sio n m a ke-u p . T h i s attitude oc­ over the economic afli1 i r s of the househ o l d ac­
curred first i n the u pp e r c l a :; s e s . We s ee th ro u gh cording to "an old custom" that had entitled her
the autobiography o f Gustava Kielland (born in to this right. He says nothing about the nature
1800) how she struggles to bend her awe under of th i s old c u stom . It may be connected with the
the strong correction and ad m o n i shments of' old law ter m Schlassel,.;ewalt: the rightfu l au­
her husband, the t he o l og i an and priest G abriel. thority of one spouse to step in for the other in
(Sh e is renowned becau:;c she started the first matters c oncer n i n g the household".7 This Ger­
women's mission ary society. ) In h i s history of man word covers what in Swed­
the Norw e g i a n ( state ) chu rch , H e ggtv e i t ish is n amed as a wife's disposal over lds och
( 1905 : 1 1 9) mentions a lay preacher i n south­ nyckel : "lock and key". The Danish scholar Ing­
west Norway, who was acti ve in the mid 1800s: er Diibeck ( 1978: 106) has dealt with this phe­
nomenon in her juridical dissertation . With
"Both by the clergy and the parishioners he was regard to the well-being of family and kin, and
generally held in high esteem, it was :;aid, to general business management as well, it was
however, that he to some extent lived in a less imporant that a wife be able to carry out jurid­
harmonious relationship with his wile, without ical acts in favour of the general housekeeping.
it being easy to deci de who bore the real guilt. Gunvor Tn.etteberg ( 1951) has also written about
There is the possibility that he was somewhat the key power of women in traditional Norway,
strict with her, too particular in trifles and and explains : The women in Hordaland (a coun­
somewhat authoritative as he demanded un­ ty in west Norway) carried in former days a set
conditioned obedience and submission in all of artifacts in their belts . "From a silver brooch
matters, and she did not always put up with hung knife, keys and needlecase in long rib­
this. This caused struggle and a tense relation­ bons" (Trretteberg 195 1 :41).
ship between them." Trretteberg knew 25 such brooches from
Hordaland, and in addition she knew some
There is certainly much to be read between the from same areas. 8 A vicar and folk life research­
lines in this quote, which presents an image of er wrote as early as 177 4 that the custom was
militant and very conservative men of the cler­ beginning to decline. Townswomen had stopped
gy in the history of the Norwegian church dur­ wearing the "belt-sets" (beltesaker) around 1700.
ing the 19th century. Such men were to be found Approximately 100 years later the custom be­
in most sectors . By and by women accepted the gan to decline among country women.
new doctrines and "took to their senses" , but as What in legal terms are mere words, become
we may learn from Huus ( 1872), the males concrete material in Trretteberg's study. She
within the peasantry in west Norway were still also refers to the SchlUsselrecht of women. But
subjugated by self-willed women who accepted she stresses the keys as a symbol, and puts little
no interference, that is of course within the stress upon the authority that went along with
women's own fields of authority. having full administrative authority over silver
Does this imply that because Nordic women cabinets and flatware chests, linen and provi­
have not had a role reversal festival as the sions . There were many keys to be in charge of.
Greek and Slavic women have, they have not In the dowry alone there should be at least
felt a need to give vent to suppressed feelings three keys: for a clothes-chest and for two chests
accumulated during the year? The question of bed-clothes. It was a relief to distribute the
must be left open. There are, however, indica- keys with three at each side, she comments,

with refe rence to a pict u re of a sculpture, show­
A guild model for women's community
ing a woman from F'a n a n car Berge n . "
This custom of wearing keys and other belt I began by referring to popular culture and i t�;
artifact� vani�;hed at approxi mately the �:>amc ::;uggestions that a wife and mother wa::; a n
time as a cultural trans formation took place authoritative figure, respected and even fea red
from around 1830, with a regression in women's by spouse and offspring. Next I referred to the
(informal) rights. Helga Hernes discusses the annual celebration of the married wives' day o ff
political theories predominant among 18th cen­ throughout (especially) Eastern and Midd l e
tury phil osophers , and applies them to an ex­ E urope. Then I suggested that the lack o f s uch
planation of why women fared so badly in the a celebration in the North rather affirms the
new nati on states as these were established . In strong position of women than contradicts it.
Norway the "intell ectual and cultural" position Finally I pointed at the conspicuous use o f belt
ofwomen w as "seriously sapped" from ca 1820- keys through a custom that finally disappeared
30, when higher education was institutional­ around 1840. I also point to the social , economic
ized and formalized. As late as 1832 the first processes that led to a total cultural chan ge
law was passed that explicitly denied women after ca 1830.
the right to vote at elections, a right that was Gudmund Sandvik ( 1878) used the w ord
finally granted them in 1913 (Hernes 1982 : 2 1£). koneuelde "wife's power" with reference to a

Through the biography of Camilla Collett stipulation found in medieval Borgarting Jaw.
( 1 8 13-1896), the most prominent of women's It concerns the situation in which a husband
rights activists throughout the 19th century, has so strong a "wife's power" over him that she
one gets the impression confirmed that there will not bend to his will. The actual case given
was a tightening of women's sphere after the stated that when he says that she shall remove
rather l iberal 18th century, when Camilla's their child from her breast after she has nursed
mother and aunts had led a freer life when they it through two lents and into the third, she
were young. The curtains were drawn in the refuses . He then is subjected to koneuelde ac­
"dolls houses". Now began "the epoch of the cording to the law. Now, there must be some
lonely housewife", to use Biiij e Hanssen's words. authority to support a woman who resists her
Berndt Gustafsson ( 1956 : 1 6 1 ) has discussed husband, some consensus among women about
the discrepancy between ideal and reality where a reasonable length of nursing time.
reality was the woman "holding a dominating I bring this matter in here to link the commu­
position within her own domestic sphere, a nities of married women to women's authority
position which was undermined by industrial­ and management over birth and child rearing,
ization and the decay of personal housekeeping. and also to suggest a view of married women as
Ideologically, she was subordinate to man, but, a professional group and a judicial authority in
in reality, she was in many things his equal". issues that touch upon women's affairs.
Natural law as a universal principle made I suggest the guild as a model for the socie­
obsolete all regional laws and conceptions of ties of married women. When laws are unwrit­
justice, and with reference to women, natural ten they are subject to change in a more flexible
law decreed that it was "natural" that men way than when statutes are proclaimed in par­
were her superiors. This conception was so agraphs and signed by the members of a group.
strong during the 19th century that when law­ They are nonetheless prerogatives, often as
yers then and later were confronted with the authoritative as formal laws. Unwritten codes
strength and authority that women were grant­ are more difficult to relate to because even
ed through the Schlilsselgewalt, they did not, or leadership may be subtle and pursued collec­
would not believe it, and interpreted the laws in tively by the demizens - those who set the
women's disfavour. 10 standards of local good taste. I shall only sug­
gest the analogy with formal guilds, referring to
evidence that ordinary guilds have been within
the reach ofwomen. Angeliki Lai:ou ( 1986) writes

in h e r a rt i c l e "The festival of 'A gui h e ' " about Notes
w o m e n '�:� gu i l d �:� in Byza n t i n e C o n �:�ianiin o p l e .
The guil ds were made up by cloth makers , 'l'h i s st. u rly i s p a rt. o f an onJ.{o i n � resea rch p roject. led
spin n e r�:� , weaver�:� and wool card e r�:� , a l l honor­ "'J'he w;e a n d nbu::;e o f heroi ne:;" dea l i n g w i th w o m en
able pr o fe ss i o n s for wome n . D u ri n g an annual in G reek and N o rwegi a n n a t i o n a l identity b u i l d i ng.A
festival i n May, besides the ce lebration itself, fi rst d r a ft o f t h i s paper was read n t the i n ternati onal
confe rence " Reth i n k i n g Se l f n n d Soci ety : S u bject ivi­
there w ere older women to pres ide over the
ty, Gen d e r a n d Identity. Centre f(lr Fem i n ist He­
youn ger. The former had the a u tho r ity to p u n­ search in the H u m a n i t. ieR/Cen tre fhr the S t udy of
ish those who had n ot ke p i standards of expect­ E u ropean C i v i l ization, U n i versity of Bergen J u n e l-
ed quality. At the arsenal in Venice during late 2, 1993. I thank professor EJecta Are n a ! for her
meticulous ren d i n g o f m y paper, h o p i n g th a t. 1:1 h e w ill
Middle Ages a n d e a rl y Renaissance ( 1 3th-15th
fi n d th i s vers ion a l oy a l fol l ow u p , and an i m p rove­
ce nt ury ) , the re was a crafts me n 's gui l d of s ail ­ ment..
makers made up enti re ly by w omen (Lane 1934,
Berggreen 1973). 1.. The Scandinavian "a " i s pronounced as "au" in
Granted that giv i n g birth is a matter for the
2. This is known both from the w riti ngs and oral
married woman only, one may see how both i n fc1rmat.ion o f the dress h istoria n Agot. Noss.
individual "workshops" (i.e. households) and An gel ikf Hatzimichali ( 1 978) has written about
"guilds" (i.e. the community of married women) corresponding differentiations in Greek fo l k cos­
tume c u stoms. Worst. of a l l was th e p l ight. of th e
are upset and disturbed by non - guil d produc­
unmarried woman who had to wear a hood or
tions . Jonas Frykman ( 19 7 7 ) has analyzed re­
some other indication of her shame. Some will
actions against the "whores" of rural society, remember Nathaniel Hawthorne's no v e l , The
mainly in rural Scania. Through the position of scarlet letter where the heroine of the novel was
"whores" one may gain some understanding for forced by her co m m un i ty to wear an "A" for
the "cruel" stands taken by collectives of mar­
3 . Harva refers to Albert Becker: Frauenrechtli­
ried women towards extra-marital pregnan­ ches in Brauch und Sitte. Programm des K.
cies . I take the point ofview that the community Human. Gymnasiums Zweibriicken 1912/13 .
of wives as a body were bound together by 4. Harva's reference is Albert Becker: Frauenrecht
in Brauch und Sitte, Zur Geschichte des Weiber­
loyalty to household standards and codes of
braten.s bei Speyer: (Hess. Blatter fiir Volkskunde
social (and sexual) behaviour. As mistresses of X, 1911.
the housewives' craft they could not tolerate 5. A good participant study of the January 8th
dabblers or anything else that would upset the women's day is Dede ( 1976). Her view is that the
order in their houses, or their reputation as celebration belongs to a fertility rite, focusing on
the midwife. Professor offolklore Loukatos 1977
housekeepers . They have had their housewives'
has reported on her article and several others
honour and pride, their husmor::ere, to keep and which deal with the same celebrations. He has
defend. noticed that the day is the festival day of the
female saint Dominique, and that there is a large
monastery named for the saint near Constanti­
nople (Istanbul). With regard to Monoklissia,
the church is left out entirely and has no part in
the celebration.
6. I have interpreted this issue in many articles and
works, most recently in Berggreen 1989 and
1990. Professor Ida BJorn, Bergen, also refers
frequently to Huus, who wrote "On Woman" in
1872, as his entry in a competition on how to
improve female household standards, for which
he won first prize.
7. My translation from Duden's Deutches Uni­
versal Worterbuch 1983. The original text
reads: "Befugnis des einen Ehepartners den
andere in Dingen, die die Haushaltsfiihrung
betreffen, mit rechtlicher Wirkung zu ver­

8. Her st. urly is rn t h e r w i d e l y ;;coped , cove ri n g ety­ Women's celebration o f 8 Ja n u a ry in contc m pom ry
mol of.(y, a rt i f�1ct s h a pes a n d the i r d i stri b u ti o n Greece . I n : B r i t Be rggrccn & Na n n o Mari n a t o s
from A s i a t o Norway. (eds): Greece & Gende1: Athens (Norwegian ln;;ti ­
9. From N ord m a n d sd a l e n , Frcdensborg Palace, tute in Athcns ) : 7 fi-9 0 .
North Zea l a n d , De n m ar k . The sculptures are Blum, Grethe Authen 199 1 : Women a n d j ustice i n
from a ro u n d 1. 770. Norway c. 1300- 1 600. In: People and places in North ­
1.0. Law h i s tor i a n Hi l de Sandv i k , University ofOslo, ern Europe 500- 1 600. Woodbridge (The Boydcl l
oral inform ation . Her fi nd i n gs arc parallel to Press): 225-235.
those of M a ry B e ard ( 1973) who demonstrated Dede, Maria 1976: I mera tis mamis i babos. Arheion
how t h e i n llu e n ti a l j u r i st B l ackwell's i nterpre­ Thrakis, No. 1 84, Athcns: 1 95-208.
tation::; of E nglish laws a n d statutes came to Diibeck, Inger 1978: K¢bekoner og koncurrence. C o­
wea k e n the j udicial position of women to such a penhagen.
degree, th at they were el i m i n ated as judicial Frykman, Jonas 1977: Horan i bondesamhiillet. L u n d .
persons and s u bj ugated to men . Discussions of Gustafsson, Berndt 1956: Manligt - Kvinnligt -Kyrh ­
these i s s ues a re ongo i n g and evi d e nc e i s contin­ ligt i 1800-talets svenska folkliv. Stockholm.
uously presented and (re)interpreted. Harva, Uno 1944: De gifta kvinnornas samfund med
hithorande upptagningsriter. Folk-Liu 1943/44:
Hatzimichali, Angeliki /1978/: The Greek folk costume
References I-II. Athens.
Haugen, Inger 1983: Til sladderens pris - eller: om <l
Beard, Mary, R . , 1973: Women as force in history. vrere prisgitt sladderen. Sosiologi i dag, 4 : 3 9-5 8 .
London (Collier Books). Heggtveit, H . G . , 1905: Den norske kirke i det 19.
Berggreen, Brit 1973:Sj¢mann og handverker. Seil­ arhundre I. Kristiania.
makere ued Oslofjorden og Skagerrak 1850-1914. Hellesnes, Jon 1988,Hermeneutikk og kultur. Oslo.
Oslo. Hernes, Helga Maria 1982: Staten - Kuinner ingen
Berggreen, Brit 1989: Da Kulturen kom til Norge. adgang. Oslo.
Oslo. Lalou, Angeliki 1986: The festival of "Agathe"; Com­
Berggreen, Brit 1990: Idealm¢nstre og realm¢nstre: ments on the life of Constantinopolitan women .
Kryssing au kj¢nnsrollegrenser i norsk bondekultur Byzantium: Tribute to Andreas N. Stratos I-II,
ca. 1850- 1920. Dissertation for the doctor of philos­ I: 111-1 2 2 .
ophy d e gre e, University of Oslo (Unpublished). Lane, F. C . 1 93 4:
Venetian ships and shipbuilders of
Berggreen, Brit 1991: "Kvinner selv . . . " Kvinners the Renaissance. Baltimore.
nasjonale erfaring. In: Anders Linde-Laursen & Larsen, Anne Kathrine 1984: "Elska din granne, men
Jan Olof Nilsson: Nationella identiteter i Norden ­ !at grinda stande" - sosialt samvrer i en vestnorsk
ett fullbordat project? Eskilstuna (Nordiska ra­ bygd. In: Arne Martin Klausen (ed . ) Den norske
det): 149-174. vrerematen. Oslo: 164- 1 7 7 .
Berggreen, Brit 1993: Camilla Collett i skyggen av S andvik, Gudmund 1978: Koneveldet i Gulatingslag.
antikken. In: 0ivind Andersen & Asbj¢rn Aarseth Jus og Jord. Oslo: 241-246.
(eds): Antikken i norsk litteratur. Bergen. 0stgaard, N.R. , 185 1 :
En Fjeldbygd - Billeder fra
Berggreen, Brit 1995: Realities and wishful thinking: 0sterdalen. Kristiania.

Die Mitgift und die Stellung der Frau auf
der griechischen Insel Lesbos
Ulrike Krasberg

Krasberg, Ulrike 1995: Die Mitgift und die Stellung der Frau auf der griech i ::; c h e n
Insel Lesbos . - Ethnologia Europaea 25: 1 3 1-140.

In Griechenland zahlt traditionellerweise die Braut einen Brautpreis. Dem n a c h

muss der Vater der Braut a m Tage ihrer Verehelichung ihr und ihrem zukiin ftige n
Ehemann zumindest ein Haus oder - in der Stadt - eine Eigentumswohn u ng
iibereignen, kann er es sich erlauben, auch noch Geld und Land. Dieser Mitgitl­
Brauch wurde in den 70er Jahren von der griechischen Frauenbewegung als e i n
,Verschachern" der Frau heftig angegriffen. Trotzdem erfreut sich heute die 'pri kn'
- die Mitgift, zu der auch das Haus gehiirt - wachsender Beliebtheit und zw a r in
dem Maile, wie zunehmend mehr Geld - i m Ausland oder auch i m Land selbst ­
verdient werden kann. Wie die 'prika' die Stellung der Frau in der heutigen
griechischen Gesellschaft kulturell definiert bzw. umgekehrt: wie die Stellung d c r
Frau im Mitgift-Brauch ihren kulturellen Ausdruck findet, wird hier dargcste l l t
und e s wird gezeigt, daB das Haus, iikonomisch und ideologisch zur Frau gehiirig,
einen gewichtigen Gegenpol zur patriarchalischen Dominanz des Mannes in d e r
gesellschaftlichen Offentlichkeit bildet.

Priv.Doz.Dr. Ulrike Krasberg, Fachgebiet Volkerkunde, Philipps- Universitiit Mar·

burg, Kugelgasse 10 (Kugelhaus), D-35032 Marburg / Lahn, Deutschland.

Es gibt in der Ethnologie zwei widerstreitende cher Lebensumstande unter Ausblendung der
Tendenzen, die Stellung der Frau au.Berhalb Aspekte der Realitat, die die miserablen Le­
der modernen westlichen Gesellschaften zu bensbedingungen der Frau offenbaren wtirden.
sehen bzw. zu beurteilen. Die eine - die feminis­ Die zweite wirft der ersten ebenfalls die Verzer­
tische - geht von einer universell kulturellen rung von Realitat vor, namlich durch Ethno­
Zweitrangigkeit der Frau aus und versucht zentrismus bzw. feministische a priori-Annah­
diese mit dem Ziel aufzuzeigen, tiber eine men. Auch wenn es feministischen Unter­
Bewu.Btmachung der Diskriminierung der Frau suchungen in erster Linie urn Defezit-Analysen
eine allmahliche Veranderung ihrer gesell­ als Basismaterial zur Verbesserung der Situa­
schaftlichen Stellung einzuleiten. tion der Frauen ginge, so die Argumentation, so
Die andere - mehr von Ethnologinnen ver­ wtirde doch gleichzeitig auch immer das Bild
tretene - Tendenz ist die, die Stellung der Frau einer Kultur entworfen, wie es sich aus dem
in einer anderen Kultur sozusagen von innen Blickwinkel etwa der Slums einer Dritte-Welt­
her zu betrachten. Diese empatische Sichtwei­ Gro.Bstadt ergabe. Und dies bedeute aus Sicht
se oder hermeneutische Forschung hat nicht ethnologischer Frauenforschung ebenfalls Dis­
die Veranderung im Blick, sondern mochte das kriminierung und zwar im Sinne des 'other­
kulturell Besondere in bezug auf die Lebenssi­ ings'. D.h. die Moglichkeiten, die eine Kultur
tuation oder die Stellung der Frau herausarbei­ der Frau bote, ihr Leben in Wtirde zu ftihren,
ten. Hier liegt die Betonung eher auf dem 'Soll­ blieben hier ausgeblendet. In der Konsequenz
Zustand' einer Kultur und beschreibt das kul­ bedeute dies die Annahme, da.B die westlich
turelle Idealbild von der Stellung der Frau. modernen Gesellschaften in bezug auf das Ge­
Beide Sichtweisen schlie.Ben sich scheinbar schlechterverhaltnis unhinterfragt an der Spit­
gegenseitig a us: Die erste bezichtigt die zweite ze einer Werteskala lagen. Diese erkenntnist­
der Idealisierung und Romantisierung bauerli- heoretische Problematik mochte ich im folgen-

ten m i ch in i h re n Oiirfcrn in die Ha u se r i h rer
Vc rw a n d tc n u n d Frc u n d i n n e n , und ich c rl e bte
cine Fra ucnwelt, d i e so ga r n icht zu dem B ild
paf3te , das i c h mir ti ber die Frauen gc m a cht
h aiic , angcsi chts dcr m i:i n n l i c h-patri a rcha len
Oftcnil i ch kcit aufgricchischcn Dorfpl i:itzcn und
Gasse n , wo Frauen hiichstcns mal im H i n ter­
f:,'Tu n d d u rch d i e Kul issc huschtcn . Abcr a uch
meinc Gastgeberinnen batten nichts m e h r ge­
mein mit den meist sehr zuriickhalienden,
schwcr arbeitenden Migrantinnen, wie ich sie
in Deu tsch l and kcnncngc lernt h atte. S i c :.�i1 hl­
ten bier zu den Reichen im Dorf, waren gcrn
geseh ene Gi:iste u n d stets i m Mittelpunkt der
Gcspriichc .
Zwar wu Bte i ch a u ch d a mals schon , d aB
Frauen von ihrer Famili e , vertreten durch rlen
Fig. 1 . G assc i m Dorf.
Vater, bei der Hoch zeit ihr eigenes Haus m i t in
die Ehc bckommcn, und ich sah diese Hi:i u scrja
auch, ausgebaut oder neugebaut je nachdcm.
den sozusagen illustrieren, urn so cine Gewich­ Die Bedeutung, die diose Hausmitgift ftir die
tung der einzelnen Argumente vornehmen zu Stellung und das SelbstbewuBtsein der Frauen
konnen. Ich habe cin Beispiel aus Europa ge­ in der griechischen Gesellschaft hat, wurdc mir
wahlt, das deshalb bcsondcrs interessant ist, aber erst spater bewul3t, als ich mich auf der
weil es einmal zcigcn kan n , wie stadtisches und Insel Lcsbos 'niederlicl3' und tiber viele Jahre
landliches Leben aufeinander bezogen sind. immer wieder in dem gleichen Dorf forschte.
Zum anderen wird daran deutlich, daB "l'ra­ Ich erlebte wie Migrantenfamilien ins Dorf
dition und Moderne' keine Antagonism en sind, zuruckkehrten, ihre Tochter verheirateten und
d.h. die Tradition nicht ein absterbendes Relikt wie der Bau oder Ausbau des Mitgifthauses
ist, das in den Nischen der Moderne noch zu auch unter der jungen Generation und den
finden ist, sondern die Tradition sozusagen das zuruckgekehrten Migranten von vehementer
'Material' liefert, moderne Weltanschauungen Bedeutung war und keineswegs ein ausster­
zu Ieben. Das Beispiel stammt uberdies aus bender Brauch.
einer Kultur, die als die Wiege des Patri­
archats d.h. als Ausgangspunkt aller Frauen­
Die Hausmitgift 'prika'
diskriminierung gesehen wird, namlich Grie­
chenland. Auch der westlich-moderne Begriff Auf der lnsel Lesbos 1, wie in der gesamten Ost­
vom Patriarchat bekommt hier neue Gewicht­ Agais und auf den Kykladen2 war und ist es
ungen. bauerliche Tradition, daB jede Frau bei ihrer
Hochzeit auBer der Aussteuer, die vor allem
Bei meiner ersten Feldforschung in Griechen­ Bett- und Tischwasche, Decken, Teppiche usw.
land (Krasberg 1980) war einer der nachhal­ umfaBt und in der Regel von den jungen
tigsten Eindriicke das SelbstbewuBtsein mei­ Madchen selbst angefertigt wird, eine Mitgift ­
ner Gastgeberinnen in den verschiedenen Or­ die 'prika' - in Form eines Hauses bekommt,
ten Griechenlands, die ich bereiste. Ich hatte in worin ihre zukunftige Familie wohnen wird .
Deutschland fiinf Griechinnen kennengelernt, Durch Arbeitsmigration konnen heute auch
die als Arbeitsmigrantinnen dart lebten, und ehemals armere Familien das Geld fur ein neu­
die ich nun wahrend ihres Sommerurlaubs es Haus oder eine Eigentumswohnung in der
nacheinander in ihren funf verschiedenen Dor­ Stadt aufbringen und erreichen damit zugleich
fern in Griechenland besuchen durfte. Sie fuhr- eine Statusverbesserung3. Die Arbeitsmigra-

Fig. 2. Ein Haus wird Mit­

tion hatte bei vielen Familien gerade dieses Familien heute doch die finanzielle Anstren­
Ziel, genug Geld zu erarbeiten, urn der oder den gung auf sich, eine Eigentumswohnung in der
Tochtern neu gebaute Hauser mit in die Ehe Kreisstadt oder gar in Athen zu kaufen, urn der
geben zu ktinnen. Tochter eine Statusverbesserung durch Hyper­
Diese Tradition der Hausmitgift war ur­ gamie zu ermoglichen. Das Haus im Dorf wird
spriinglich nur im tistlichen Griechenland zu aber in den seltensten Fallen verkauft und
finden. Im Norden und Westen Griechenlands auch Vermietungen sind nicht die Regel. Das
herrschte Patrilokalitat. Hier muBte der Ehe­ Haus steht leer und damit bereit, irgendwann
mann fur eine Wohnstatt sorgen, d.h. die Braut wieder als Mitgift-Haus zu dienen. Oder - was
zog zum Brautigam bzw. zu den Schwiegerel­ in den letzten Jahren haufiger vorkommt -
tern4. Etwa nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg wurde wenn die Tochter im Alter nach der Pensio­
es nach und nach in ganz Griechenland obliga­ nierung ihres Mannes a us der Kreisstadt oder
torisch und besonders auch in den Stadten, der aus Athen wieder ins Dorf ziehen will, dann
Braut ein Haus bzw. eine Eigentumswohnung wird das leerstehende alte Haus renoviert und
mit in die Ehe zu geben. Du Boulay beschreibt dient nun als Alterswohnsitz5• Die Tradition
wie auf der Insel Euboa in den 60er Jahren eine der Haus-Mitgift hat also im Zusammenhang
Eigentumswohnung in Athen der Traum aller mit der Arbeitsmigration wieder an Bedeutung
jungen Madchen ist und die Vater durchaus gewonnen und ist gerade auch in den GroBstad­
gewillt sind, diesen Traum durch Fabrikarbeit ten aktueller denn je. Dariiberhinaus ermog­
in Deutschland Realitat werden zu lassen, urn licht es eine Art 'lebenszyklisches Pendeln' zwi­
damit den Tochtern vor allem die 'schmutzige' schen Heimatdorf und Ausland bzw. griechi­
bauerliche Arbeit im Dorf zu ersparen (du Bou­ scher GroBstadt.
lay 1974; 1983). Gegen diesen Brauch der Hausmitgift hat es
Auch wenn eine Familie auf Lesbos schon in den 70er Jahren in Griechenland vor all em in
ein leerstehendes Haus aus der weiblichen Li­ den GroBstadten von feministischer Seite her
nie in ihrem Besitz hat - etwa von der verstor­ Proteste gegeben6• Es wurde argumentiert, daB
benen GroBmutter -, das fiir die Thchter nur die Frauen durch die 'prika' Opfer von Mitgift­
noch renoviert werden miiBte, nehmen viele j agern wiirden, und daB sie in den Verhand-

lu ngen i.ibcr d i e Hlihc dcr M i tgi f'i, d ie zwisch en tor dcr Reg i e d e :; d a w gc kom m e nc n Fami l i e n­
dcm Bra u tigam b:t.w. :; e i n c m Vate r und d e m v a t e r::; u n d m i t den E rsp a rn i s s e n d e r Fa m i l ie
Vater d c r B raut ofli z i e l l gefi.i h rt werden , w i c ren o v i e rt , umgebaut u n d a u f de n Stand der
einc Ware vcrschachert w i.i rden . Dari.i bcrh inaus aktuel len Wohn bcdiirfn i sse gebracht, s o ebB
hatten arme Madchen ohne H a u s kc i n c C h a n ce j cd e r Vater cs d a n n w i cdcr n f li z icl l a l s s e i n e
eincn Ehem a n n zu fi ndcn7. Un d a u f3 crcl c m Mitgifi an die Tochtcr prascnticren konntc (vgl .
wi.irdc schon die Geburt cines M adchcns d urch Kr as berg 1995 ).
diesc H aus m i t gi ft von den Eltcrn als Kata­ Die Gcburt ci n c r Tochtcr bedeu tct. f'i.i r d i e
strophe empfi.mdcn, so d a f.l sie von klein auf Fam ilie also in der Tat den Beginn einer g ro t.! en
unerwiinscht und wenig geliebt waren. wirtschaftlichen Anstrengung. Sie muss mit
I n wieweit diese Protc:;te bewirkt h abcn , da[\ ihrer Arbeit l an gs te n s binncn zwei J a h r7. ch n ­
heute die Hausmi tgi f'i n icht mohr gcsctzU ich tcn sovicl G eld crwirtschaf'tcn, dal.l sic c n twe­
verankert ist, sci dahingestcllt . Trotzdem der ein neues Haus bauen oder zumindest i hr
wi.i nschen ge rade hcutc die Frauen diese Mit­ cigen es u m bauc n lassen kann. Die zwcitc Lo­
gif't und ?:war Tochtcr wic Mi.ittcr u n d unab­ s u n g bcde utct dann n och zusatzli ch , daf3 die
han gi g von dcr rca len Existc n z cines zu kiinf'ti ­ Eliern u n d d i e n och unvcrhcirateten Gosch wi­
gen Ehemannes. Un d die Familicn u n te rn eh ­ ster in ein and cres Haus ?:iehen m i.i sscn . Au ch
mcn in der Tat gro f3c An stren gungcn, ein Haus hier entstehcn u n ter Umstan den Kosten
odor cine Eigcntumswoh n u ng bci dcr Hochzcit Renovicrung und Umbau.
bercitzustellen. Dies tiiten sie sichernicht, wenn Aber - und dadurch relativiert sich diese
nebcn dem scheinbar objcktivcn Grund, da/3 die wirtschaftliche Anstrengung - jede Fam ilie
Frischverheirateten j a irgendwo wohnen miis­ fangt sozusagen im 'gemachten Nest' an, und
sen, nicht auch noch andere s ubjektive Griinde ihre i:ikonomischen Bemiihungen geltcn dann
fiir die Hausmitgift sprechen wiirden. Auf Les­ ausschlieHlich den Kindem und insbesondere
bosjcdenfalls spiel t in den Di skussionen urn die den Madchen . Wcnn Jack Goody von den Kin­
Mitgift wie sie von den Frauen gefiihrt wird, die dem als 'raison d'etre' der christlichen Familie
Furcht vor Mitgiftjiigem oder die Vorstellung des Mittelmeerraumes spricht (Goody 1986:
ein unerwiinschtes Geschlecht zu sein, keine 169), so wird dies bier besonders deutlich . Der
Rolle. lch mochte nun zeigen, warum im Gegen­ wirtschaftliche Erfolg einer Familie wird durch
teil zu den eben wiedergegebenen Argumenten, die Kinder - die Ti:ichter - reprasentiert und
die Stellungder Frau gerade durch die Hausmit­ nicht von den eigentlichen Urhebem, den El­
gift gestarkt wird bzw. Ausdruck dieser Starke tem. Oder - aus anderer Perspektive heraus
ist - sowohl in bezug auf die Familie als auch im betrachtet - die Friichte der Arbeit von (Ehe-)
Rahmen der Dorfgemeinschaft. Mann und (Ehe-)Frau materialisieren sich nicht
nur, sondern bekommen auch eine ethische
Dimension: das Ansehen und der soziale Status
Die Hausmitgift in einem Dorf auf
der Tochter sind gleichbedeutend mit Ansehen
und Status des Vaters und umgekehrt. Und
Die griechische Familie ist eine patrizentrisch Vater, die sich im Zusammenhang mit der Hoch­
organisierte. Der Vater ist der Repriisentant zeit ihrer Tochter nicht gro/3ziigig verhalten,
der gesamten Familie, er ist der erste, 'o protos', geraten durchaus unter sozialen Druck, denn
und Frau und Kinder verhalten sich ihm ge­ Hochzeitsverhandlungen sind immer auch halb
geniiber in der O ffentlichkeit auch entspre­ i:iffentlich.
chend. Durch die Hausmitgift aber entsteht - Im Rahmen dieser Hausmitgift bekommt
sozusagen inoffiziell - eine besondere Verbin­ die Beziehung zwischen Vater und Tochter eine
dung zur miitterlichen Linie. Fiir die meisten starke emotionale Betonung. Zwar tritt der
alten Hauser im Dorf laBt sich aufzeigen, daB Sohn in die FuBstapfen seines Vaters in der
sie schon in der vierten oder fiinften Generation Weiterfii hrung der Familie in der patrilinear
von der Mutter auf die Tochter iibergegangen strukturierten Gesellschaft und arbeitet oft
sind. In jeder Generation wurde das Haus un- auch mit ihm zusammen, das emotionale Ver-

Fig. 3. Nachbarinnen beim
Gesprach auf der Gas�c.

haltnis von Vater und Sohn aber ist kulturell eine Handwerksausbildung, was unter ande­
als ein distanziertes angelegt. So vermeiden rem auch bedeutet, daB sie ihre Arbeitskraft
Vater und Sohn es auch heute noch, etwa im dem bauerlichen Familienbetrieb nicht mehr
gleichen Kaffeehaus zu sitzen. In der Bezie­ zur Verfti.gung stellen ktinnen. Die Eltern mti.s­
hung zur Tochter dagegen besteht die Mtiglich­ sen also nicht nur arbeiten, urn die Ttichter
keit eines nahen herzlichen Umgangs mitein­ materiell gut zu versorgen, auch die Stihn c
ander, auch wenn - oder gerade weil - diese fordern heute ein 'Startkapital' fur die Ehe.
Beziehung traditionell mit vielen moralischen Eine Entwicklung, die die Kindzentriertheit
Tabus belegt ist. Aber die Tochter verktirpert der Familie noch verstarkt hat. Wobei aber
sozusagen das materielle Lebensziel des Va­ werden muss, daB sich auch auf
ters . Und diese Beziehung kann auch nach der dem Lande Griechenlands die Zwei-Kinder­
Hochzeit bestehen bleiben. Familie immer mehr durchsetzt. Eine Entwick­
Mit der Mtiglichkeit, im Ausland Geld zu lung zu der der gesellschaftliche Druck, Ttich­
verdienen und der Ausweitung dieses Mitgift­ ter und Stihne materiell gut zu versorgen, zwei­
brauchs tiber die regionalen Grenzen des tistli­ fellos beigetragen hat.
chen Griechenlands hinaus auf das ganze Land, Das sah frti.her - etwa in der Zeit vor dem
hat sich auch eine bessere Versorgung der Stih­ Zweiten Weltkrieg - anders a us . Da waren die
ne durchgesetzt. Frti.her bekamen in den land­ Familien kinderreicher und die Stihne muBten
lichen Gebieten die Stihne in der Regel ein mit ihrer Arbeit in der bauerlichen Familie
Stuck Land und Vieh bei der EheschlieBung dazu beitragen, daB die S chwestern ihre
oder wurden im Handwerksbetrieb der Eltern Hausmitgift bekommen konnten, und erst wenn
beteiligt, so daB sie fti.r das materielle Wohl alle Schwestern verheiratet waren, konnten
ihrer Familie sorgen konnten. Auch heute be­ auch die Bruder eine Familie grti.nden. AuBer
kommen sie noch ein Stuck Land fur denAnbau einem Stuck Land und Vieh aus dem Familien­
von und die obligatorischen Oliven­ besitz - wobei auch die Ttichter oft noch ein
baume, wichtiger aber ist es geworden, den Stuck Land bekamen - brachten diese nichts
Stihnen irgend eine Art von Geschaft zu ermtig­ mit in die Ehe . Sie wurden zwar rechtlich Besit­
lichen. Sei es, daB ihnen ein Taxi von den Eltern zer des Hauses ihrer Frau - mit dieser zusam­
gekauft wird oder ein Ladenlokal gebaut oder men -, da das Haus aber praktisch und ideell
gemietet wird, in dem sie Handel betreiben als die ureigenste Domane der Frau angesehen
ktinnen8• Zumindest aber bekommen sie heute wurde ( und das gilt heute noch), muB man eher

sagc n , d a B d i e Mi1nncr wie e i n Gust i m eigencn Hauptstra Be, die Platze u nd die KafJchi.i user
Huus lcb(i)cn . A u l.\cr ihrcm Pl atz am E Btisch s i nd den Man n ern reserv i ert - der Leben:;- und
und dcr Halt"te des ehcl i chcn Bettes steht ihnen Arbeitsbereich der Frauen. Der Ehe m a n n ist
a uch hc utc kcin Ru u m i m Haus zur Verfi.igung. zwar jeweils das Oberhaupt der Fami l i e - und
lm Fall einer Ehcschcidung m u Bte damals (und daran zweifelt niemand - aber sein Lcbens­
ha ute ) der Mann das Haus verlassen und ver­ und Arbeitsbereich licgt auBcrhalb des bcbau­
such c n , bei weiblichen Verw andten Unter­ tcn Teils des Dorfes. Dort, wo er seiner Arbeit
sch l u pfzu finden . So ist es nicht vcrwunderlich, als Schafer nachgeht und den Gcmi.isega rten
wcnn die alteren Manner im Dorf sagen, sie der Familie bewirtsch aftet . Oder, i s t e r
batten zwar alle hart die Hauser arbeiten Handwerker und hat eine Werkstatt im Dorf,
mi.isscn, aber gchorcn tate ihnen keins , sie dann ist dies der Platz wo er seine Tagc ver­
gehorten aile ihren Schwestern u n d Ehefrauen bringt, unterbrochen von Autcnthaltcn im Kaf­
(Krasberg 1989). Diese fast 'abhangige' Stellung fehaus.
dcr Manner wird auch daran deutlich, daB es Als Bauersfrau batten die Frauen im Dorf
nur sehr wenige unverheiratete Manner gibt. schon i mmer eine wescntli che okonom i sche
In dem Dorf auf Lesbos gibt es drei Junggesel­ Rolle. Diese Stellung der Frau hat sich h a ute
len, deren 'Schicksal' allgemein bedauert wird . inhaltlich gewandelt aber nicht an Bedeutung
Bei den mehr als drei unverheiratetenlge­ verloren. Mit der Heirat beginnt das eigcn tli­
schiedenen Frauen dagegen wird kein AnlaJ3 che Arbeitsleben der Frau, das meist an der
des Bedauerns gesehen. Sie haben ihre Hauser Arbeit ihres Ehemannes orientiert ist10, ihr
und fiihren alle im Rahmen der 'weiblichen aber auch die Moglichkeit laBt, einer eigenen
Domane' der Dorfgesellschaft ein selbstandiges Verdienstmoglichkeit nachzugehen, was heute
Leben. immer mehr an Bedeutung gewinnt. So arbei­
Sehen wir uns die Familie auf dem Land an, ten die Frauen heute im Dorf nicht nur im
die Arbeitsteilung zwischen Mann und Frau Geschaft ihres Mannes mit, im Kaffehau s , in
und ihre j eweilige Stellung in der Dorfgemein­ der B ackerei oder Metzgerei - den traditionell
schaft: Auf dem Lande kommt dem Haushalt mannlichen Domanen -, sie eroffnen durchaus
und damit der ibn fiihrenden Hausfrau tradi­ auch eigene Geschafte sowohl im Dorf als auch
tionell eine groBe Bedeutung zu. Nach wie vor in der Kreisstadt. So entstanden im Dorf in den
wird der i.iberwiegende Teil der Lebensmittel letzten Jahren ein Laden mit Handarbeitsarti­
selbst hergestellt: Kase, Yoghurt, Nudeln, Ge­ keln, ein Laden mit Haushaltsgeraten und ein
back und Si.issigkeiten, Wein und nati.irlich Laden mit dem Sortiment eines Kiosks wie
wird der Gemi.ise- und Obstbedarf der Familie Zeitschriften, Zigaretten, Si.issigkeiten usw. im
aus dem eigenen Garten erwirtschaftet, eige­ Dorf, die alle ausschlieBlich von Frauen gefi.ihrt
nes Olivenol wird hergestellt, Eier und zum Teil werden. Eine andere hat auf dem Familien­
das Fleisch kommen ebenfalls aus eigener Pro­ grundsti.ick am Meer eine Touristenpension
duktion. Somit werden die Grundbedi.irfnisse eroffnet und verdient in den Sommermonaten
des Lebens - Wohnen und Ernahrung9 - in der genausoviel Geld wie ihr Mann mit seiner
Hauptsache von den Frauen sicher gestellt. Schreinerei im Dorf ( vgl. Salamone & Stan ton
Jede Frau arbeitet in ihrem Haus ihre 1986).
Familie, aber soweit es geht zusammen mit den Das Startkapital fiir diese Unternehmen wird
N achbarinnen. Diese N achbarschaftsgruppen oft im Ausland verdient. Andererseits hat die
sind Solidargemeinschaften, die das ganze Dorf Familie aber auch dadurch, daB sie im 'gemach­
umspannen. Jede Frau ist darin eingebunden ten Nest' eines vollstandig mtibilierten Hauses
und verbringt mit ihnen in der Regel mehr Zeit ihren Anfang nimmt, eine gute B asis, urn wirt­
als mit dem Ehemann. In ihrer N achbarschafts­ schaftliche Unternehmungen zu beginnen. Und
gruppe erfahrt sie Anerkennung fiir ihre Ar­ daB eine Frau tatkriiftig mitarbeitet, ist nicht
beit, mit ihr lebt und arbeitet sie. So ist der ungewtihnlich. Auch wenn in der mannlichen
Wohnbereich der Dorfer, der praktisch iden­ Dorf6ffentlichkeit die Familienvater sozusa­
tisch ist mit dem Dorf insgesamt - lediglich die gen die Wohlhabenheit der Familie reprasen-

Fig. 4. Nachbarschaftskooperation.

tieren, und sie diejenigen sind, die z.B. die ter liegen . Er ist sowohl Ausdruck moralischer
Mitgiftverhandlungen vor der Hochzeit fuhren, Orientierung - der Kindzentriertheit der Fa­
so weiB doch jeder und jede im Dorf, welchen milie - als auch Ausdruck des wirtschaftlichen
Anteil die einzelne Frau am Florieren des Wirt­ Erfolges von Mann und Frau in der Familie .
schaftsbetriebs 'Familie' hat. Die Tradition der Hausmitgift stiirkt also
Die soziale Anerkennung, die ein Ehepaar sowohl die Stellung der Tochter in der Familie
bei der Hochzeit der Tochter genieBt, deren als auch die Stellung der Frau in der Dorfge­
festlicher Verlauf stets im vollstiindig einge­ meinschaft und stellt dartiberhinaus ja auch
richteten Mitgifthaus der Tochter beginnt, ist den besonderen Bezug zwischen Vater und Toch­
offensichtlich so stark, daB diese sogar den ter her. Der RufnachAbschaffung der Hausmit­
Umzug der Eltern in ein oftmals bescheidene­ gift ist im Zusammenhang mit Tendenzen der
res Haus ausgleichen kann. Und andererseits Modernisierung der griechischen Gesellschaft
muB man sehen, daB eine Tochter, die erlebt wie nach westlicher Art zu sehen. Offensichtlich
ihre Eltern daftir arbeiten, daB sie ein ange­ aber ist die kulturelle Eigendynamik der griechi­
messenes Haus mit in die Ehe bekommt, mit schen Gesellschaft und ihr Selbstverstiindnis
Sicherheit keine Minderwertigkeitsgeftihle ent­ weitaus starker als der eher abstrakte Wunsch,
wickelt (wie von den Gegnerinnen des Mitgift­ 'westlich zu sein'. Der heutige Umgang mit der
brauchs postuliert wurde), sondern im Gegen­ 'prika' ist ein gewandelter, ein 'moderner'. Die
teil, sich bewuBt wird, welche starke Bedeu­ Eigentumswohnung in der Stadt oder der kom­
tung ihre Person sowohl fur ihre Herkunftsfa­ fortable Neubau eines Einfamilienhauses im
milie, als auch als Mitglied der Dorfgemein­ Dorf - erworben und gebaut mit Geldern aus
schaft hat. Den Brauch der Hausmitgift ab­ der Arbeitsmigration - zeugen davon.
zuschaffen, kann also weder im Interesse der Das SelbstbewuBtsein griechischer Frauen
Tochter noch im Interesse von Vater und Mut- hat seine Wurzeln zweifelsohne in ihrer Stellung

in dcr gri cch ischcn GcRc l lsch u ft R O wie sic tra­ was sie tut, als ctwas angc�;chcn worden kunn,
d i t i on c l l i n tcrprcticrt w i rd . D i e Hau�;m itgi ft das dcm Woh l dcr Fam i l i e dicnt, ist sic ungc�;e­
und das Haus als weiblichc Domane sind die hen und hat einen sicheren Platz. So hat die
Materi alisierung dcr kulturellen Idee von der Frau im Rahmen der Familic die Mogli ch kcit,
Stel l un g dcr Frau. Dicse Stcllung ist sozusagen einen eigenen Lebensentw u rf zu gestalte n . So­
als 'Lccrstellc' in dcr Gcsellsch aft vorgesehen lange sich die Frau nicht gegen die Fam i lie
und vorgcgebcn und jcdc Frau kann sie nach entschcidet, ist die Hausmitgi ft , die ' p r i ka',
Beli cbcn ausfi.illcn, abcr immcr im cntsprc­ sowohl cin Symbol als auch die gan z matc r i c lle
chenden Rahmen . Innerhalb dieses Rahmens Basis fUr die Starke der Frau .
hat sie Macht, geht sie daruber hinaus - und
Eman zipation im westlic h en Sinn bedeutet das
U bersc h reiten gcse l l schaftl ich festgesetzter
Grcn zen - verliert sie ihre Macht und ihre Anmerkungen
Stel l u ng in der Gesell scha ft uberhaupt. Es ist
1 . Diesem Aufsab: l i c gt cine Fc l d forsch u n g H l l f der
nicht verwundcrlich, dafi die Tradition dcr
gr i ech i sc hc n Inscl Lcsbos z ugr u n d u , d i u a u s
Hausmitgift nicht ausstirbt. Die wirtschaftli ­ muhreren muhrmonatigcn Aufenihaliun in den
che Anstrengung lohnt sich fUr aile Beteiligten : Jahrcn von 1 98 1 - 1 987 bcsicht und c i n c m cin­
Die Frauen bekommen ihre Hauser und die j ahrigen Aufenthalt von 1 988-1 989, rlcr Tci l ei­
ncs Forschun gssiipcn d i u m s der D c u t ::; ch c n For­
Manner als Vater die Ehrc . Am wenigsten posi­
schungsgemeinschaft war.
tiv wirkt sich allerdings die Hausmitgift auf 2. Siehe h i erzu besonders d i e Un ters u ch u n g- von
den Ehemann aus. Auch wenn bei oberflachli­ Vernier ( 1984) uber die Erbfolge auf dcr Ky kla­
cher Betrachtung es so scheinen mag als sei er den-Insel Karpathos , wo bis zum zweiten Welt­
der cigentlich Begunstigte beim Mitgiftbrauch. krieg etwa die alicstc 1.bchicr Haus und G r u nd­
besitz erbte und ihre jungeren Geschwi stcr als
Er bckommt zwar zu seiner Braut ein Haus
Knechte und Magde den Besitz weiter bewirt­
dazu und wird auch formal der Besitzer. Nach schafieten, wenn sie es nicht vorzogcn n ach
eigenem Gutdunken tatsachlich daruber ver­ Athen oder ins Ausland arbeiten zu gchc n . Siche
ftigen kann er in der Praxis aber nicht. Das auch Kenna ( 1976).
3. S . du Boulay 1974: Eine Dorfmonographie auf
kann er nur im Einverstandnis mit seiner Frau.
der Insel Eubtia und 1983: eine Untersuchung
Auf der emotionalen Ebene kommt er von auBen zur traditionellen Mitgift in diesem Ort und
dazu und muB sich seine Stellung als Hausherr ihrem Wandel zur Hausmitgift ( 1983:263 fD . S .
und Vater erst erarbeiten. Erst in der Rolle des auch Herzfeld 1980 zur Mitgift.
4. S. Campbell 1964. Auch Hirschon zeigt in ihren
Mitgift gebenden Vaters ist er dann auf dem
Untersuchungen im stadtischen Milieu von Pi­
Hohepunkt seiner formalen Macht und seines raus, daB die Mitgift in Form einer eigenen
Prestiges . Kuche fur das neuverheiratete Paar von groBer
Bedeutung isi (Hirschon 1983 ) . Eine gewisse
Die griechische Gesellschaft - sowohl auf dem Ausnahme bildet das in den GroBstadten Ende
des letzten Jahrhunderts entstehendc Burger­
Land wie in der Stadt - weist dem Mann offizi­
tum: hier wurde schon fruh die Bedeutung einer
ell die erste Rolle zu. Diese wird vor all em in der guten Mitgift beim Einheiraten in reiche und
O ffentlichkeit von Mannern und Frauen in Sze­ machtige stadtische Familien gesehen, wie Sant
ne gesetzt11• Dieses patriarchalische Schauspiel Cassia und B ada 1992 am Beispiel Athens zei­
gen .
findet sein Gegengewicht in der Stellung der
5. Die Einsicht, daB leerstehende Hauser nicht in
Frau in Haus und Familie, wobei 'Familie' auch j edem Fall ein Zeichen fur das 'Sterben' eines
ein Geschaft, d.h. einen selbstandigen Verdienst Dorfes durchAbwanderung sind, wurde mir erst
der Frau fur die Familie umfassen kann. In bewuBt, nachdem ich uber Jahre hinweg immer
wieder in das gleiche Dorf gekommen war und
dieser kulturellen Idealvorstellungvon der Rolle
erlebt hatte, wie Hauser als Mitgift wieder in­
von Mann und Frau, nii.mlich daB sie zusam­ stand gesetzt wurden und Ehepaare, die aus der
men den 'Wirtschaftsbetrieb Familie'zum Wohle Arbeitsmigration in Deutschland nach Athen
der Kinder leiten und zwar jeder mit seinen gegangen waren nun plotzlich ein Haus aus dem
festumrissenenAufgaben, ist eine gewisse Selb­ erweiterten Familienbeitz renovierten und ins
Dorf zuruck zogen.
stii.ndigkeit der Frau vorgegeben. Solange das,

6. S. d i 1 • Z u s a m m e n t:rsfH.tnJ.: d i eser D i s kussion von Goo dy, ,Jack 1 986: Die En twiddu nf.f von Elw u n d
S;�v r: u u i s 1 97 2 : 1 fi2 f. Fn. m ilie in Eu.ropn.. Berl i n .
7. D ie let.zt.e griech ische Kun i gi n An n a -M a r i a hat.Le 1-lerzlu l d , Michael 1 980: The Do w ry i n G reece : Tcr m i ­
einen Fond e i n �-:ericht.eL, a us dem armc griec h i ­ n n l ogi cil l Usage a n d Historical Reconstruct i o n . I n :
sche Miidchen c i n e ' p r i ka' beko m m e n kon nten , Eth nuh istury: 225-2 4 1 .
urn e i n e n E h e m a n n w linden . E s gab u n d gibt. Hi rscho n , Ren e 1 9 8 3 : Under o n e Roof: M a r r i age,
aber :wch j u nge F ra u e n , die zu Ve r w a n d te n ins Dowry, and F m11 i l y Re l ation s in P i raeus. In: D .
Aus l a n d geh e n , um sel bst. i h r·c 'pri ka' ;o: u verd i c­ Ken ny & M. Kcrtzcr (cds): Urbn.n. Li{e in Mediter­
nen . U n d n a rl ich h a L cs i m mc r :.ruch Miidchcn ranean Europe. Urbana: 299-323.
ge gc b c n die o h n c ' p r i ka ' c i n o n �: h c m a n n Ken n a , M ;� rgilrcL 1 976 : H o u s e s , Fiel d s , a n d G raves:
gefu nden h a b e n . Von i h nc n w u rdc ge sa gt , sic Prope rty and Ritual Obligations on Greek b l a n d .
gehon ' n a ckt.' in die E h e . I n : Eth n o l ogy : 2 1-34.
8. Hio rfli r s t o h t die pos i ti v e E n t.wi ckl u ng, die dor Kmsbcrg, Ulrikc 1 980: lch m ache die Nru:ht zu. m Tag.
Hancle l in don sUid t. i ::;chen Zentren a u f cl e m Lan­ Em n. nz ip n.tion n n d. tion. Griech isclw
de - ge rade a u c h a u f der· l n sel Lesbos - ge mac h t Frauen in Griechenland und Deutschland. F ra n k­
haL: Die E ! Lern habcn i n der Arbeit.smigration forUM.
gen u g G cl d c ra u n d ge s pa r t., u m n i cht nur Krasbcrg, Ulrike 1989: Tradition und Mode r n e i n
den 'l'iicht.e r n ein Haus miL in die Ehe zu geben, Griechen land. Von stadtischen Lebensidealen u nd
so n d e m auch , urn d i e Sii h n e m i L e i n o m Geschiift. den Bcdingungen des Lebens auf dcm La n d , v o n
in der n iichsten Kl e i n s t.a dt. w ct.abl i e ro n (s. Kras­ Arbeitsmigranten und dorflichcr Hcimat. I n : An. ­
berg 1 980 und 1992). th rop os: 433-46.
9 . Es ist. in bezug auf die Diskussion urn den sozia­ Krasberg, Ulrike 1992: Arbeitsmigration und sozia­
len Wa n d e l i nt.eressant., da/3 ge r ade die Frauen, ler Wandel in einer Kreisstadt im landlichen G r i e­
die lange im Ausland gelebt haben und dort mit chenland. In: Anthropos: 223-2 3 1 .
der Problematik der Rei nheit der Lebensmittel Krasberg, Ulrike 1992a: Auch in Griechenland: Gc­
konfront.iert waren, i m Dorf die traditionelle trennte Welten der Manner und der Frauen. In: Ver
Eigenproduktion von Nahrungsmitteln wieder Fremde : 168-174.
schatzon. Krasberg, Ulrike 1993: Emanzipation oder Diskri m i ­
10. Stott beschreibt am Beispiel der Insel Mykonos nierung? Zur Situation griechischer Frauen in
berufliche Heiratsendogamie. Fischer-, Schafer­ Deutschland. In: R. Rausch (ed . ) :
Frauen, Sexuali­
und B;�uernfamilien heiraten u ntereinander. Die tat und Mutterschaft in der Ersten und Dritten
Familien verstehen sich als Wirtschaftsbetrieb, Welt. Marburg: 148-64.
in dem Mann und Frau miteinander arbeiten, Krasberg, Ulrike 1996: Kalithea. Mann und Frau in
und in ihrer jeweiligen Herkunftsfamilie ihre einem griechischen Dorf FrankfurUM. (Im Druck)
'Facharbeiter-Ausbildung' bekommen (Stott Salamone, S . B . & J . B . Stanton 1986: Introducing the
1973). 'nikokyra': Ideality and Reality in Social Process.
1 1 . Um einen lastigen fahrenden Handler loszuwer­ In: J. Dubisch (ed.):Gender and Power in Rural
den, sagte eine meiner N achbarinnen aufLesbos Greece. Princeton: 97- 120.
zu ihm :,Mein Mann hat mir verboten, das zu Sant Cassia, Paul & Constantina Bada 1992: The
kaufen!" Making of the Modern Greek Family: Marriage and
Exchange in Nineteenth-Century Athens. C ambrid­
S av ra m i s , D e m o s te n e s 1 9 7 2 : Das sogenannte
schwache Geschlecht. Miinchen.
Stott, MargaretA. 1973 : Economic Transition and the
Family in Mykonos. In: Greek Review of Social
Literatur Research: 122-33.
Vernier, Bernard 1984: Vom rechten Gebrauch der
du Boulay, Juliet 1974: Portrait of a Mountain Vil­ Verwandten und der Verwandtschaft: Die Zirkula­
lage. Oxford. tion von Giitern, Arbeitskraften und Vornamen auf
du Boulay, Juliet 1983: The Meaning of Dowery: Karpathos (Griechenland). In: H. Medick & D .
Changing Values of Rural Greece. In: Journal of Sabean (eds): Emotionen und materielle lnteressen.
Modern Greek Studies: 243-70. Sozialanthropologische und historische Beitrage
Campbell, J.K. 1964 : Honour, Family, and Patron­ zur Familienforschung. Gottingen: 55- 1 1 2 .
age. A Study of Institutions and Moral Values in a
Greek Mountain Community. Oxford.

one of the most prestigious paren tal acts in
Greece today. The 'prika' tradition in a modern
In G reece a marriage contract traditionally sense, shows the economical successful work of
contains a house or an apparimeni, which is a family. Economic success is combined w i ih the
given by the brid e's father and is a part of her cultural status of a woman: House and h o u se­
dow ry. This dow ry - 'pri ka' - was seen by Greek hold are the indigenious domain of women, men
fem i n ists in the 70s as to barter away the only have a place at the table and in the m a r i tal
woman and was severely critizised. But never­ bed, but they spend the day outside the h o use.
theless the 'prika' is becoming more and more Men in the Greek village say, we all worked for
important. Today no girl will marry without a these houses (in the village), but we don't owe
'prika' and normally a girl's father will not deny them, they belong to our wives or daughters . So
a 'prika' thai means at least a house or an the ideological and economic connection be­
appartment. This development is due to the tween women and house(hold) can be seen as a
increasing possibility to earn money either in real counterpart to the patriarchal gestu s of
Greece or elsewhere in Europe . Therefore, to men in public.
del iver a house for their daughter's marriage is

La fete de la Sainte-C atherine a Paris dans
les Annees folies vue a travers la presse
Anne Monjaret

Monj aret, Anne 1995: La fete de la Sainte-Catherine a Paris dans les Annecs ful lm;
vue a travers l a presse. - Ethnologia Europaea 25: 141-1 5 5 .

Celebree tous les 25 novembre p a r l e s catherinettes, celibataires d e 25 a n s , p a r lm;

ouvrieres e t l e s employees, la fete de sainte Catherine connait dans l e s annccK
1920 une expansion considerable qui en fait une veritable institution parisicnnc
que la presse ne manque pas de commenter. En ces Annees folles, defiles, bals,
concours de chapeau de Catherinette et marches de Catherinettes animeni Ia
capitale qui devient, dans un tel contexte, terrain a des debordements. L'Egl isc
scandalisee reagit et s'empresse, afin prone-t-elle de retrouver l'ordre, de reactivcr
des messes en l'honneur de sainte Catherine.
Cet article examine done une fete traditionnelle en mouvance a travers les discours
de la presse de l'epoque et montre ainsi son role dans le developpement des
festivites urbaines .

Anne Monjaret, Docteur en ethnologie, Membre associe du Centre d'ethnologie

franr;aise (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique I Musee National des Arts
et Traditions Populaires), 6 avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, F-75116 Paris Cedex

La Sainte-Catherine1, celebree le 25 novembre, Paris comme pour mieux stimuler ce temps de

et ce depuis le Moyen-Age, se definit comme la la creativite et des audaces. La communication
rete des filles a marier et des vieilles filles, celles de masse (presse, radio, cinema, publicite) se
dont on dit qu'elles "coiffent sainte Catherine". developpe et joue un important role dans les
De nombreux cultes, aux vertus propitiatoires, changements sociaux et culture! qui s'operent a
s'observent, a cette occasion, sur le territoire ce moment-lit. Etudiants (Quat'z art), couturie­
fran�ais. Ainsi, les jeunes filles se rendaient res ( Sainte-Catherine) et employees (Fete des
dans les eglises pour coiffer d'une couronne la dactylos en 1925, Bal des catherinettes dactylo­
statue de leur sainte patronne. A Paris a la fin graphes en 1926) et autres corps profession­
du XIXe siecle, les milieux professionnels fe­ nels, tous, en ce lendemain de guerre, semblent
minins, et en particulier de la mode, adoptent avoir besoin de se reunir, de se divertir. Aussi,
tout naturellement sainte Catherine comme les fetes, les bals et les manifestations sportives
patronne. Chaque annee, c'est !'ensemble des se multiplient. La musique par de nouveaux
ouvrieres de l'aiguille, encore appelees "midi­ rythmes (Fox-trot, Charleston) pousse a la fete.
nettes", qui fetent la Sainte-Catherine. Les La rete vient comme pour faire la separation
"catherinettes", celibataires agees de 25 ans, entre deux temps, celui de guerre et celui du re­
re�oivent ce jour-la un chapeau vert et j aune, commencement. Apres une rude periode, la de­
couleurs de la sainte. compression s'amorce qui poussee a !'extreme
Dans les annees 1920, la fete connait une prend les formes non seulement d'un divertisse­
expansion considerable. Periode de profondes ment, maisegalementd'undebordement. La mise
transformations politique, ecomonique, sociale, en place d'un ordre institutionnel canalise pro­
mais aussi artistique, cette decennie se caracte­ gressivement le desordre collectif. La Sainte­
rise par l'euphorie generale qui conduisit a Catherine n'echappepas a ce mouvement. Apres
qualifier cette periode "d'Annees folies". L'elite les annees 1925, elle sera encadree par differen­
culturelle, artistes et ecrivains, se retrouve a tes instances, ecclesiastique ou policiere.

En cc::; a n ncc::;-l a , l cs n om brc u scs m a n i festa­ humorisLiqucs ou de photographics sc s u cccdcnt
ti o n s de Ia Sai n tc-Cath cri n c-cortcgcs, m arches sur trois ou q uaLrc j o u rs , Ia Sainte-Catherine
de::; cathcri nette s , bats ct concu u rs-animent la pouvant egalement faire la Une du j o u rnal.
cu p i ta l c . La tete occupc Lo u ::; l e::; e::;paces de la Ain�;i l'Eclw de Paris de 1920 a 1929 avec une
v i l le, de !'atelier :) Ia rue. S i e n sortant dans la regularite etonnante ne manque pas de couvrir
rue , Ia fete c l argit son p u b l i c , c'csL aussi grace a l'evenement en illustrant parfois les propos des
I' action des journ a u x q u'cl l c tend a devenir plus journalistes de photographies et de dcs�; i n s .
popu l a i rc , con nuc de n om breux Parisiens . Quelques jours avant l e 25 nove m brc, les
L'oQjcctif de eeL article c::;t d'analyser, au­ journaux annoncent les diflerentes manifc::;ta­
deJa de !'aspect documentaire de Ia presse dans tions prevues dans la capitale et ne manquent
le�; Annces folic�;, lc role des journaux dans le pas de specifier les lieux et les modalites
dev e l o ppcment de�; festiv iLes u rbaines, mais d'inscription aux concours, les horaircs des ga­
aussi de cerner les representations de la fete las et des messes. Ils rappellent aussi les origi­
dont its sont porie urs . L'a n alyse de la presse nes et les pratiques d'antan qui existaienL au­
permet de degager u n e i m age des evenements tour de la Sainte-Catherine. Le cycle festif est
qui sc sont succedes s u r u n e periode de plus de ainsi amorce. L'attente est cultivee, et la fete,
dix ans et de percevoir les polemiques engend­ preservee, perpetuee. Elle devient objet publi­
rees par les debordements festifs . Cette analyse citaire que la presse tend a promouvoir en usant
connait, certes, des limites dues aux materiaux des procedes de communication.
utilises et a !'absence d'autres sources qui ser­ Mais, le role des journaux ne s'arrete pas la
viraient de contrepoid s a la vision qu'ils presen­ puisqu'ils parrainent aussi des concours ( 1 925,
tent; mais si l'on doit relativiser les faits rappor­ Le Matin), des courses ( 1925, Le Petit Parisien),
tes , Ia representatio n q u i en ressort, est en elle­ des spectacles ( 1928, Le Journal), re<;oivenL en
meme parlante et significative de !'opinion de leur sein des catherinettes . Ils participent acti­
l'epoque sur des sujets sensibles tels que celui vement a la valorisation de cette fete, a son
des moeurs , celui de Ia place de la femme dans essor et a sa popularite. Les festivites achevees,
la societe. ils en donnent des comptes-rendus . L'objectif
est de sensibiliser le grand public face a cet
evenement, de le rendre accessible a tous , en
Une presse active
autres termes comme l'a dit Edgar Morin ( 1962:
La Sainte-Catherine occupe une place de choix 50) a propos des medias, "de vehiculer des
dans la presse nationale et parisienne (L'Echo valeurs communes", en !'occurrence, en cette
de Paris, La Croix, Le Figaro, Le Gaulois, premiere moitie du siecle, celles qui associent a
L'Illustration, Le Journal des debats, L'Oeuure, la femme, le travail et le mariage .
Paris-Soir, Le Petit journal, Le Petit Parisien, Au-dela de ses objectifs presents et contextua­
Le Temps et Vu ) , dans la pre sse feminine (L'echo lises, la presse elabore la memoire collective,
de la mode) et feministe (La Franr.;aise, La Fron­ celle des parisiens, dont les referents soot fixes
de), quotidiens , hebdomadaires ou mensuels de et limites par le discours desjournalistes. Ainsi,
tout bord touchant ainsi un large lectorat. 2 La dans ses comptes-rendus, la presse a toujours
"presse de masse" qui cherche done a atteindre privilegie la presentation des celebrations dans
le grand public et a le fideliser, n'a pas seule­ le milieu de la haute couture plutot que dans les
mentjoue un role de mediateur et d'informateur, autres milieux professionnels . La Sainte-Ca­
limitant son investigation aux comptes-rendus therine est d'abord consideree comme la fete
des evenements, mais elle a egalement partici­ patronale des couturieres avant d'etre celle des
pe au bon deroulement des manifestations et catherinettes. Le prestige associe a la haute
des fetes en s'y associant. La multiplicite des couture fait rever, l'image vehiculee doit etre
informations diffusees durant tout le cycle festif positive et renvoyer a la sphere de l'imaginaire.
(les preparatifs, la fete et l'apres-fete) souligne La presse a contribue non seulement a
l'etendue du phenomene. Dans un meme jour­ l'instauration et l'essor de la fete dans ce milieu
nal, des articles illustres de croquis, de dessins particulier, mais elle a egalement aide a la

constructi o n d'unc i m age "type" qui lie haute Hotels continental et intercontinental, de I a
couture ct S a i nte-Catherin e. Cotto m em o irc salle Wa gr a m de I a M u tu a l i te, e t bien d':lU trcs

collective c o mple te la memoire individuelle qui encore . Certaines de ces salles ont aujourd'h ui
est sans do utc plus aflective. 'routes deux repo­ disparu ou se sont reconverties en boites de n u it
sent cepcn dant sur des principes selectifs simi­ ou en restaurant. Ces bals ou galas restent,
laires (Ma urice Halbwachs 1950). Les jour­ indifferemment, a !'initiative de maires, dejour­
naux, refl cts de Ia societe, evoluent comme elle . naux (Le Mat in, Paris Soir, Le Journal, Le petit
lis appar ti cn n cn t a la fois au present et au Journal), de corporations de metier (couture,
passe. En figeant des moments de l'histoire, ils dactylographie, R.A. 'f. P. . . ), d'associations
deviennent des elements constitutifs de notre d'etudiants, de Chambres syndicales , de partis
memoirc , los supports de nos souvenirs . politiques, et plus tardivement de syndicats
La prcssc n'a, cepcndant, pas ete le seul (C.G.'l'. ) . Ces soirees tres influencees par l c
stimulant de la fete, la variete des manifesta­ music-hall, sont bien souvent animees par des
tions proposees dans la capitale a eu le meme vedettes du spectacle comme Josephine Baker.
effet. C'est done l'interdependance des actions Les annees 1930 verront defiler sur les plan ­
menees q u i ont permis de rendre la fete aussi ches des personnalites telles que Maurice Che­
populaire . valier, Fernandel . . . En 1927, L'Oeuvre signale
que deux ministres du gouvernement, e n
}'occurrence 'fardieu et Bokanowski, ont ouvcrt
Des manifestations ludiques ou l'ordre
un bal. Les benefices de ces manifestations
reviennent parfois a des oeuvres sociales com­
La rete renvoie inevitablement a la question du me la societe de secours mutuels , la Maison de
ludique ct a sa fonction sociale . Les divertisse­ la midinette, la Maternite de la couture.
ments, spontanes ou organises, fleurissent dans
tous les coins de la capitale. La fete permet de Un bal pour trouver un mari!
se sentir ailleurs, d'echapper provisoirement a Les bals publics ont un role dans le developpe­
la monotonie quotidienne en comblant par le ment de la sociabilite parisienne . Les jeunes
jeu (Johan Huizinga 195 1:26) ou par l'imaginaire ouvrieres et employees attendent avec impa­
une realite parfois difficilement supportable. tience cette sortie autorisee, car aller au hal,
Les crises qui ponctuent cette premiere moitie c'est se divertir, se delasser, mais c'est aussi
du siecle, les difficultes economiques et sociales "faire sa j eunesse". Quand on sait que le hal de
qui la touchent, renforcent la caractere ludique la Sainte-Catherine est considere comme l'une
des temps voles au travail. La fonction de la fete des dernieres chances donnees a la catherinette
est finalement d'aider a accepter toute situa­ pour trouver un mari, laquelle negligerait cette
tion. Le hal et les manifestations qui s'y gref­ opportunite? Le nom de certains bals comme
fent, remplissent ces conditions . "Foire aux fiances", est d'ailleurs revelateur de
cette fonction matrimoniale. Ces soirees dan­
Des espaces clos pour mieux se retrouver santes permettent dans la convivialite, les ren­
A Paris comme dans sa banlieue, les bals de contres amoureuses. La danse invite a la decou­
Sainte-Catherine, bals "publics", rassemblent verte de I'autre et contribue au developpement
la jeunesse; les barrieres sociales se trouvent des relations sociales les plus intimes. Elle
momentanement levees. Les etudiants, les introduit des codes relationnels; comme le jeu,
employees s'associent aux festivites des ouvrie­ elle a ses regles, mais la promiscuite des corps,
res. Des salles specialisees, des theatres, des I a liberte d'expression, consequences de ce temps
hotels ouvrent leurs portes pour accueillir les festif, les rythmes musicaux (Jazz) et les danses
catherinettes et leurs "supporters"; les plus a la mode (Charleston, Fox-trot), font vite ou­
celebres sont celles du Luna-Park, du Moulin de blier les contraintes du social. Pour la catheri­
la Galette, du Palais d'Orsay, du Magique City, nette comme pour les autres celibataires desi­
du Moulin Rouge, de la Salle Cadet, du Tyrol, de reux de se marier, la danse s'impose comme la
chez Mimi Pinson, du theatre Marigny, des voie de la rencontre et du plaisir d'etre ensem-

bl e. U n proverbe popu l u i re gascon dit d'uil le u rs : chapeaux fabriques a !'aide de papier j ournal.
"J e u n e fil lc q u i ne dansc pa s nc sc marie pas" Ccs concours qui l a issent cours a !'imagi n a tion
(A. G irard 1 974). creatrice expliquent l'evolution du bon net de
La catherinctte n'a linulcmcnt plus qu'a catherinette qui, de la coifle en dentel l e se
s'c l a ncer sur Ia pi ste . Coitlee de son chapeau, metamorphose en chapeau pittoresque ou gro­
pan�e de ses plu s beaux atours , l a j eune celiba­ tesque.
taire accompagnce de ses am i s et de ses collc­ Souvent poussee par ses collegues, la cathe­
gues de trava i l , se re nd dans Ia soi ree du 25 rinette accepte de concourir malgre ses ct.ats
novembre au bal de Sainte-Catherine ou elle d'ame, ses hesitations ; elle monte sur la scene
rencontrera peut-etre son futur epoux. Dans ce tiraillee entre la crainte de paraitre en public et
hal de la "derniere chance", la catherinette met l'envie de remercier ses collegues et amis qui lui
parf(lis en oeuvre des strategies pour attirer ont offert un chapeau et l'ont mise a l'hun ncur
l'attention sur elle, mais en general, son cha­ toute la journee. En acceptant ce role de repre­
peau, symbole de la fete, signe d'identite, suffit sentation, lajeune fille rentre aussi dans un jeu
a Ia distinguer des autres et a signifier sa de concurrence entre les differentes maisons de
disponibilite. Malgre certaines contraintes et couture, banques egalement. Si cette presen ta­
bien qu'il ne permette pas systematiquement tion de bonnet met en valeur la catherin ette,
l'heureuse rencontre, ce hal apporte du "bon elle designe aussi les competences et les savoirs
temps", le plaisir de toutes sorties en groupe et des collegues qui se sont exprimes dans s a
fait oublier les mauvais moments . fabrication. L e choix des themes d u bonnet
evoque les preoccupations des groupes profes­
Le concours: une bonne f"a t;on de "tirer son cha­ sionnels, et en ces annees 1920, c'est un langage
peau"'' aux catherinettes! collectif qui se constitue. Les themes sont li­
La particularitc de la Sainte-Catherine ne resi­ sibles par taus. D'abord coiffe regionale en den­
de pas dans ce seul hal, mais bien dans les telle blanche garnie de rubans vert et jaune
concours de chapeau et les elections de reines ( 192 1 , 1924), le bonnet se transforme progres­
qui l'accompagnent et qui apportent a la tete sivement en chapeau et prend des allures plus
fantaisie, comique, inattendu. Ce concours de fantaisistes. L'actualite politique, sociale, cine­
chapeaux reunit un j ury souvent compose matographique qui a touche l'annee en cours
d'artistes de renom (de la chanson, du theatre), est source d'inspiration. Ainsi en 1927 les fouil­
de personnalites du sport. Cette animation tres les de Glozel, site prehistorique decouvert en
prisee met en scene les symboles de cette fete : 1924, depuis tres controverse.
la catherinette et son chapeau. Les indications Chacune des concurrentes ayant ete presen­
de la presse sur les premiers concours restent tees, lejury se retire pour deliberer; l'animateur
floues. L'emploi du terme "catherinette" qui s'empresse d'annoncer les resultats, et les heu­
connut alors une extension de sens et fut attri­ reuses gagnantes quittent alors la scene char­
bue a toutes les ouvrieres en rete le 25 novem­ gees de nombreux prix dont la valeur varie d'un
bre, ne suffit plus a lui seul a designer le profil concours a l'autre. Apres cet entracte, la fete
des candidates; il semblerait, en effet, qu'au continuera a battre son plein, la piste de danse
debut du siecle, l'ensemble des ouvrieres dont rouverte ne desemplira plus jusqu'au petit
les chapeaux etaient differents de ceux des matin. Le concours se double parfois d'une
catherinettes, etaient egalement conviees a remise de dot. La Sainte-Catherine se rappro­
participer aux jeux. La date d'apparition de ces che de la rete de la Rosiere, institutions qui
concours pose egalement probleme, car rien ne avaient pour but d'aider les jeunes filles vertu­
laisse entrevoir leurs premices. La sortie de la euses, souvent de conditions modestes, de fa­
rete dans les rues de la capitale qui remonte aux milies nombreuses, a trouver un epoux.
cinq premieres annees du siecle a sans doute
contribue au developpement de ce type de ma­ Les reines de la jete
nifestations . Ces concours existent aussi grace Depuis les annees 1920, les elections de reine se
a !'impulsion des quotidiens qui demandent des multiplient; les reines des catherinettes ou les

reines de I a mode cotoient les Miss de tout genre simples. Dix equipes de couturieres" dont l'u ne
(Miss Sa in ie-Ca therine, Miss Ca therinette). En est c a t h e r i n e tt e , d ' a t e l i e r s diffe r e n t ::; ,
1923, "un concours de beaute entre represen­ s'affrontent sur une distance de huit kilometres
tantes de ioutes les nations europeennes" est a parcourir en moins de quarante-cinq minutes .
meme organise (£'Ill u stration 1923). L'election L'itineraire se modifie quelque peu d'une ann6c
de Miss Monde n'est pas loin. Un seul lien existe sur I' autre, mais les points de depart et d'arrivee
entre tou ies, le critere de selection qui reste restent les memes, privilegiant un axe Sud­
esthetique. On est loin de la fete des jeunes Nord. De Montpamasse a Montmartre, alors
filles qui dans le contexte villageois manifestait "commune libre", la competition traverse les
la solidarite collective. Desormais, fete des ca­ quartiers de la couture. Tous les six cents metres,
therineites, elle integre les nouvelles valeurs s'organise un relais. Chaque suppleante cha­
sociales ei urbaines . La "fille de Sainte-Cathe­ peautee attend avec impatience la remise d u
rine" ou encore la "reine des Catherines", sym­ "temoin"6, u n carton a chapeau, pour continuer
bole de la virginite et de la vertu dans la societe la course. Tout au long du trajet, les applaudis­
tradition nelle, n'est plus elue par ses camara­ sements et les encouragements de la foule a i ­
des pour representer la jeunesse feminine, elle dent a oublier la fatigue. Des taxis, des cyclistes
est choisie par unjury masculin (Martine Sega­ escortent ces demoiselles. Des scenes souvent
len & Josseline Chamarat 1983 ), dont les crite­ cocasses, pas toujours reglementaires, animent
res de selection designent des lors la catherinet­ ce spectacle donne aux parisiens. Une jeune
te comme une femme-objet. Seules sajeunesse, fille se retrouve sur le guidon d'un des cyclistes.
son apparence physique et sa bonne presenta­ Une autre active son pas et transforme sa
tion comptent desormais . Les reines des cathe­ marche en une veritable course , ce que ne sem­
rinettes se confondent bientot avec les Miss. Si ble pas apprecier le commissaire de la course
la beaute est couronnee, on n'oublie pas de qui doit veiller a son bon deroulement. L'anse
souligner que cette fete est celle de la couture, du carton d'une concurrente ayant cede,
en elisant une "fee de la mode parisienne". l'encombrement de la boite freine aussitOt sa
"Reine", "fee" sont des termes qui renvoient a course; une autre trepigne en voyant les candi­
l'imaginaire des contes; celui de "Miss" possede dates la devancer, certaines sont prises de ma­
egalement sa part de reve. Les ouvrieres se laises . Tous ces contre-temps echauffent les
retrouvent projetees, pour un soir dans un autre esprits . L'honneur de conclure la course est
monde. laisse aux catherinettes qui prennent le dernier
relais. Cette fin de course est couronnee par
Les manifestations de rue l'accueil, en grande pompe, des personnalites ,
La Sainte-Catherine , fete des ouvrieres et des "autorites de la 'commune libre' de Montmar­
employees, traverse les quartiers laborieux de tre". Maire et Mairesse, capitaine des pompi­
la capitale et suit les deplacements des entre­ ers, garde-champetre, prefet en uniforme sa­
prises de la mode et de celles ou se recrutent les luent les gagnantes; la catherinette de l'equipe
catherinettes (banques, grands magasins, etc . ) . gagnante est portee victorieusement, tandis
L e s festivites stimulent la participation d e pa­ que les perdantes et les autres concurrentes
risiens et levent les barrieres sociales pour un suivent en autocar jusqu'au Moulin de la Galet­
temps; les rues de la capitale se transforment te ou un repas les attend ainsi qu'un concours de
en scene de spectacle. bonnets .
Si cette marche est un veritable spectacle,
La "Marche des catherinettes" elle reste a deux titres , competition, d'abord par
La "Marche des catherinettes", encore appelee son caractere sportif, ensuite par la rivalite
"course des catherinettes", se presente comme qu'elle provoque entre les equipes adverses. En
une course relais. Organisee par le j ournal, Le effet, endurance, effort et agilite, sont les qua­
Petit Parisien, de 1925 a 19334 qui couvre lites necessaires pour concourir. On est dans
l'evenement dans ses pages, elle connait tres l'ordre de la performance, il leur faut aller vite,
vite une grande popularite. Ses regles sont etre les meilleurs. La competition se marque

com me l 'u f'fi r m a t i o n de Ia d i ffcrc nt:c, ci c'csi s u r e n co re q u e le brui t :; i gna l e avec plus d '6v i d e nce
e l l e q u e repo:,;e l c :; e nj e u x d u p re:,;iige :;ot: i a l . O n t:eite p rese nce. Le:; jcunes femmes chuntent a
s c b u t conire d e s eq u i pes sportive:;, m a i s s u r­ tue-tete des textes evocateurs de ce q u 'e l les
tout t:nn irc des a te l i ers , de:; m a i :;on:; de couture :;on t . B ien que date de 1936, le texte s u i vant
s p e c i fiquc:; La m a rche dcv i e n i un des moycns
. d o n n e l e ton de la fete.
de m o n irer aux ;m ires scs t:ompetences cxiru­
pro lc:;:;ionnc llcs, de m cttrc en v a l e u r une cohe­ Midinettes de Paris
s i o n de m e t i e r. Et bien q u e l 'excrc i t:c s'cffcctuc Adorant les amourettes
s e u l e , chaquc m archeuse est cepcnd an i int6- Nous sommes les midinettes
gree a un groupe. Cetie marche repose sur les Aimant les jeux et les ris
memes princi pes que los conco u r:; d e bonnet, les
j e u ncs Iil lo:; partici p a n t b i e n sou v e n t aux deux. Nous arborons sur nos tete:;
Rep re sen tation �� double objectiC personnel et Bonnets campes fierement
collectif, cette cou rse re l a i s s'in scri t d a n s u n e Car nous avons vingt-cinq an s
tradition festive et sportive. L c corps expos6 e t Vivant les c a thcrin c ttc s !
lib6r6 d e s con t rai n tes h a b i tuel l es se don ne a (L'Oeuure 1936)
voir. Les Annees fol l e s d6couvrcnt u n e n ouvel l e
conception du corps, u n corps modele par ! 'effort Elles aiment semer le trouble e n acti onnant des
p hysiqu e , mais uussi u n corps f6minin mascu­ engins bruyants . " . . . Ellcs etaient, (. .. ) munies
linise7. Les courses en sont }'expression. d'un nouveau jouet populaire : tete de chien en
Diflicile auj ourd'hui d'expliqucr un engoue­ metal, montee sur une petite poire en caout­
ment si ephemere pour ces courses populaires. chouc et qu'une simple pression faisait 'jap­
Lc J o urnal Le Petit Parisien en cessant s a prise per' . . . " (L'Echo de Paris 1921).
en charge a motive la disparition de la course; Inversion des roles, permissivite caracteri­
aucun autre journal n 'uyant pris l e relais , la sent cette journee de la Sainte-Catherine . Ces
course s'eteind fautc d'un nouvel initiateur. jeunes femmes tentent de derider I' assistance,
L'arret de cette "m a r ch c des catherinettes" a-t­ interpellant les hommes a leur passage. La
il ete motive par une desaffection generale, par catherinette poussee par ses collegues embras­
un deplacement des preoccupations? Les crises se les hommes, simples badauds ou forces de
successives, economiques et sociales, de 1929, l'ordre. La rencontre d'un marin necessite de
de 1936, marquent et reglent desormais la vie toucher fixe sur le bonnet, le pompon rouge,
des parisiens. Seuls les defiles survivront a ces porte-bonheur. D'une fa9on plus provocante,
crises. Plus spontanees, contrairement aux cour­ certaines n'hesitent pas a danser autour d'un
ses, ils ne demandent pas de patronage ni homme d'Eglise. Le 25 novembre 1925, le cure
d'organisations precises . de la paroisse Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle
a ete "victime" d'un tel acte et en temoigne en
Les autres jeux de la rue 1933 dans la revue paroissial Le Sentier. Elles
En dehors de ces courses, des monomes qui noircissent le visage des passants renouant
reunissent les ouvrieres et les employees en fete ainsi avec l'usage du "machurage" ou du bar­
se forment dans les rues de la capitale, et bouillage, generalement effectue par des gar-
principalement aux abords des lieux du travail 9ons sur les filles et qui appartient aux "proce­
feminin. Dans les annees 1925, la Place de la des ruraux de deguisements" a forte connota­
Concorde et la rue de la Paix, lieux privilegies tion sexuelle (Arnold Van Gennep 194 7). Ces
des maisons de haute couture, sont ainsi enva­ scenes sont croquees ou photographiees par les
hies par les couturieres costumees. Sorties de journalistes pour illustrer leurs articles.
leur atelier ou de leur bureau, toutes les autres Et c'est dans l'allegresse que les defiles se
femmes au travail rejoignent les defiles en forment, puis se deploient et se renforcent, au
formation sur les grands boulevards, desormais fur et a mesure que les petites bandes jusqu' alors
espaces sceniques. Les deguisements themati­ disseminees, viennent grossir leurs rangs. Meme
ques attirent 1'attention, detournent les regards s'ils reunissent une majorite d'ouvrieres de la

mode, ces d e fi l eR du 2!'i n o v cm b rc nc r en v o i e n t ceiie peri ode d 'exccs. La mission moral iste et de
ni aux c o rt e ge s p ro fcRsion n e i R , n i aux proces­ protecti on femi n i n e q u e s'est fixe l e cum i t •

sions co rp o r ati :; tc s . Pa:; de banni crcs pour aflic­ national des femmes explique de telles inte r­
her une appurtenance curpura t i :;ie, mai:; com­ vention:; . Mai:; il n'est pas le seul. Le Ga u lois
me seu l :; e mblemes des couleurs, le vert et le ( 1924), Paris-soir ( 1925, 1928, 1929), Le Pet i t
jaune . Ces corteges ne possedent pas de rcelles Journal ( 1925), L a Croix ( 1926, 1929), L'Ec h o
codifications, si cc n 'c s t qu'i l s rentrent dans d e Pa ris ( 1926, 1 930), L'Oe uvre ( 1927), Le Figa ­
tradition festiv e de Ia Sainte-C atherine . ro ( 1 928), Journal des de bats ( 1 928), - presse
d'opinions multiples - ne machent pas leurs
mots non plus . Le discours est clair, parfois
Le j e u d e s exces
simplificateur, mais toujours demonstratif. La
Un dera page pe ut transformer ces jeux conv i­ Sainte-Catherine provoque le trouble des es­
viaux en des jeux plus brutaux et incontrola­ prits et des corps, comme l'evoque le titre de
bles. L'espace urbain devient la scene d'une fou­ certains journaux : "La Fete Profanee" (La Fra.n­
le decha'inee commettant toutes sortes d'abus . c;n.ise 1 9 1 3) , "La Sainte-Catherine est devenue
C e s conduites sociales spontances revelent le une mi-careme" (L'Oeuvre 1927), "La fete d e
danger que recelent les rassemblements de sainte Catherine ne doit p a s etre I 'occasion d'un
masse qui risquent de degenerer a tout moment. scandale" (Le Figaro 1928) ou encore "La police
A Paris, des 1906 etjusqu'en 1 946, des deborde­ contre les catherinettes" (Paris-Soir 1928). Cet­
ments s'observent lors de la Sainte-Catherine, te fete pose probleme , et pour mieux denoncer
mais c'est s urtout l'entre-deux-guerres qui res­ ces mefaits , la presse dresse un tableau noir des
te significative de ces periodes d'exces. evenements , les dramatise en illustrant ses
Des 1 9 1 3 , les Journaux com me L a Franr;aise propos de temoignages choquants . "Le gout du
et L'Ecln. ir, commencent a parler de la Sainte­ sensationnel, inevitable ponctuation du langa­
Catherine en terme de scandale. Mais, la guer­ ge journalistique, tend a maquiller le reel, a
re 14-18 provoque }'interruption des rejouis­ selectionner les evenements, les plus pittores­
sances dans les rues. II faudra attendre l'apres­ ques ou les plus tragiques" (Michelle Perrot
guerre pour voir le retour des festivites et des 1974: 46). La memoire collective s'elabore a
debordements . La rete vient la comme pour partir des faits selectionnes, simplifies , et sans
marquer une separation entre deux periodes, doute tronques donnant aux souvenirs des allu­
en I' occurrence, celle de la guerre et celle de la res d'exemplarite et de transparence.
reconstruction, et comme pour masquer mo­
mentanement les tensions . En ces annees 1920, Comment la fete devient-elle terrain prop ice aux
la rete, le bal populaire, le cinema permettent debordements ?
aux travailleurs de se distraire en des temps ou En effet, les rues de la capitale deviennent le
la situation sociale et economique est difficile. terrain de debordements. Mais quels en sont les
Ces debordements de la Sainte-Catherine qui declencheurs? Quelle est la veritable physiono­
suivent une decompression generale s'observent mie de ces manifestations? Que cache cette
entre 1920 et 1928, periode non seulement la foule?
plus revelatrice de ces phenomenes sociaux, D'abord, entrent en scene les corteges, regrou­
mais qui coincide avec les Annees folies. Sui­ pement des ouvrieres de la mode, accompagnes
vent des annees plus calmes, consequence de la d'amis, voire de membres de la famille. Leur
crise internationale et, sans doute, de la reprise formation suffit a inciter les passants a se
en main par les pouvoirs publics . joindre aux rejouissances, a suivre le parcours
Lesjournaux s'efforcent de couvrir les evene­ des farandoles. Les eclats de rire qui fusent, les
ments , de relater l e s manife stations qui chansons, les tenues fantaisistes et excentri­
prendront place sous la rubrique des faits di­ que s provoquent l'enthousiasme, suscitent
vers. Le Journal La Franr;aise porte parole du l'envie de s'amuser. L'insouciance des a�teurs,
Comite national des femmes fran�aises8 inter­ le ton joyeux et inoffensif de ces monomes,
vient avec virulence et regularite pendant toute prendront fin des !'intervention de personnages

"pc rvcrs" scion l cs ic rmcs de Ia prcssc. Aux j c u n c �:� li l ies. O n d ecouv rc uno tete ou !a l i bc rte
bad a u d s p a i s i bl c s q u i , a u h a R a rd d es rcncnn ­ prcnd l u fiJ rme de l i bc ri i n agc ou de v i o l e n ce.
trcs, p rofitcni du spectacl e sans rec l l e p a rtici ­ Lcs fem mes a p paraissent sous des j ou rs ex­
pati o n , s'aj o u ic n i ccux q u i v i c n n c n i gon fl c r le�:� trem es, puta in::; ou vierges, provocairices uu
ran gs d e ccs defi le�:� pour m i cu x lcs pcriurbcr. vi cLi m e s . "
Ccs p rovocateu rs s'int.rod uiseni subrcpticcmc n i
ct. s a n s vcrgogn c, sc fau fi l cni ct. sc i ra nsfur­ Vierge et vicl i m e ot.t. pu.tain el p rovocat rice: pas
mcn i en agresscurs. De " fau sses o u v ricrcs" q u i d'a ltern a t i ve!
n c soni, d i i-on , q ue d e s pro�:�ii t.u6c�:�, s'i ncrusieni, Les images de la put.ain et de la vierge qui rcs­
semani la "pagaille". "Jeunes gens", "6iudi­ soricnt du discours journalistique appartien­
anis", sou ve nt. fil s de bou rgeois doni on con nali ncnt a l a symbolique lice a sainte Catherin e et
lcs pratiqucs l i be rti nes ct. l e u r e n gou e m c n i rc nvoicni au theme de la sexualit.e fem i n i ne
p o u r l e s cha h u ts ct. lcs bizuiagcs , n c m a nqueni dans la culture chret.ienne. "La vierge fut !'ideal
pas occasion pour fest.oycr. Sc mclcnt. a du sentiment amoureux tandis que Ia prosti­
eux les "faux eiudiants" cnnstitues en bande: tuee fut !'i n carnation de la sexualite" (Edgar
les " m au v a i s gar<;o n s " , lcs " i n d i v i d u s " , l c s M orin 1 962: 1 98). Blanc, noir, cette mise en sce­
"voyous", les "energum€mes", les "goujats", les ne manicheenne des extremes montre combi en
"frelons", pilleur de miel d'abeilles, elles-memes le langage de la presse est reducteur, schemati­
symboles des ouvrieres. Tous nargu eni ct agres­ q u c , tendancieux et sans nuances. Mcmc si
sent l e s j e unes fe m m e s dont on p l a i d e l'oQjectivite laisse a desirer, meme si la passion
l'irrcsponsabil it6. Leu r sa n s-gen e ei l eur inso­ ideologique l'emporte et trompe, surprendrc et
lence choqucni, car ils s'en prenneni aux plus exciter !'interet du lecteur restent les objectifs
vulnerables des j c u n cs lilies. Leur conduiie les principaux pour atteindre un vaste public. Si les
place du cote du desordre . Les interdits bafoues debordements relevent du langage des execs,
donnent le ton de ces evenements . les articles de presse qui abordent ces faits font
Comme le relate la presse, les perturbations eux usage d'exces de langage. Leur rhetorique
vont "du troubles de la circulation" a la "deca­ se place ineluctablement du cote de la debauche .
dence". Les jeux anodins, le manque de discipli­ Les portraits esquissees refletent la norme.
ne des "petites folles" se transforment en Les articles des journalistes opposent claire­
"poursuites", en "bousculades scandaleuses". ment la fragilite et la sensualite de lajeune fille
La Sainte-Catherine a des allures de mi-careme a la virilite et a la brutalite masculines. Sou­
et les mascarades deviennent carnavalesques. vent presentee en position d'inferiorite, lajeune
Si la farandole est "debraillee", le pelerinage est fille subit les agressions des hommes qui ne
"frivole". "Les scenes se font repugnantes." Les savent se contenir. Elle est confrontee "aux
corps en "contorsion" laissent place aux "spec­ moeurs d'hommes", de quelques milieux que ce
tacles penibles" et degradants qui rappellent soit. Ainsi, en 1913, Jane Misme rapporte que
les "bacchanales", "bacchanales effrenees", ou parmi les 63 individus arretes, on compte 26
encore les "saturnales", evoquant la licence. A employes de commerce, 3 employes de banque,
certaines bouches de metro, des photographies 3 employes de bureau, 1 employe de ministere,
pornographiques vendues au cote des brins de 4 etudiants, une dizaine d'ouvriers et quelques
fleurs d'oranger artificielles, circulent en toute professions diverses (La Franr;aise 1913). Ils la
liberte (Paris-Soir 1927). Le symbole de la vir­ deshabillent du regard, ou plus vulgairement
ginite cotoie les images du sexe. A-sexualite et comme dit !'expression populaire "se rincent
sexualite sont les caracteres de la Sainte-Ca­ l'oeil"; du regard au toucher, la tentation
therine. d'oublier les distances respectables ou respec­
Ces agitations collectives conduisent a la tees des corps est grande, le passage a l'acte
transgression de certains interdits , develop­ possible. La presse rapporte que les agresseurs
pent des attitudes sexuelles excessives. Ils re­ s'en prennent en groupe a leur victime creant
velent une image encore meconnue de la Sain­ un rapport de force. Les jeunes femmes doivent
te-Catherine, restee dans les esprits, la rete des se defendre seules face a 5 a 20 hommes. Ces

femmes sont m a n i pulecs com mc des poupees , d i zain c d'annecs assaillie par 4 o u 5 6ncrgu m e­
leur corps irau m a ii s 6 . n o s , son chapeau j ct6 par terre ct ab1m6" (Ln
Les commcniaircs de Ia p rcssc pr6scnteni Fran qaise 1924). A la brutalite des gcsics,
les jeuncs fcm m c l:l c o mm c i m prudcnicl:l mais ils l:l '�j o u tc unc brutalit6 l:lcxucllc. Si I' on en c ro i i I a
ne manqucn i j amais de lcs d6fcndrc, lcs decul­ prcssc, ces femmes violecs, souillees, blcss6cs,
pabiliser dans touies situations d'agression. se retrouvent au bord de la folie regretiant
Leurs atti tudes , l eurs "beii scs" sont justifiees quclque peu leur sortie festive. L'analysc de Ia
par leur age "dangereux", par leur statui de presse fait apparaitre que la transgression pas­
jeunes adolesccnics, j ustc l:loriies de l'enfancc, se par la violence, le contact des corps ei l e u r
ou encore de "fillcs du pcuple". Leur travcstis­ exposition. En effet, l e s corps e n rete sont aussi
sement provoque Ia confu s i o n , l es plar.:ani du ccux de la provocation. Commc la prosiitu6c q u i
cote des prostituees. Malgre to ut cola, cllcs v i i d e s a chair, ils sont montr6s, parfois memo
restent des ouvricrcs, les travailleuses dont Ia avec ostentation. Mais, les femmes qui oscni
France a bcsoin ei est fiere . Travail et Patrie, s a n s p u d e ur s ' exhiber, s o n t tr a i t 6 c s
telle est la devise. Seuls les spectateurs sont "d'echevelees", d e "debraillees". Dans cette so­
parfois critiques , car par leurs regards appro­ ciete du debut du siecle, la femme nc doii
bateurs, leur non-intervention, ils rentrent dans devoiler aucune des parties de son corps aux
le j eu des provocateurs et participent indirecte­ regards exterieurs a !'exception du visage ,
ment au developpement des debordements. jusqu'au chapeau qui cache les cheveux. La
Contrairement aux "vraies catherinettes" qui, retenue est de rigueur. Et bien que traditionnel­
ne se permettraient pas d'etre dehors , les pro­ lement, la Sainte-Catherine soit le jour ou lcs
stituees font du trottoir leur lieu de travail, et filles portent la coiffe, "le traditionnel bonnet
comme cUes, les jeunes fillcs en fete descendent leur est seulement une occasion de la jeter par­
dans la rue, s'appropriant en quelque sorte dessus les moulins"10 (La Franr;aise 1924). La
leurs attributs: travestissement, frivolite, pro­ "promiscuite", les "contorsions", les "gesticula­
vocation. Tout accuse dej a ces "fausses ouvrie­ tions douteuses" les "baisers a pleine bouche" ­
res": leur metier, leurs moeurs legeres et dou­ expressions utilisees par les journaux - ne
teuses , leur fac;on d'etre et leur indecence . Leur peuvent qu'inciter a l'acte sexuel, "a ]'excitation
marginalite suffit a provoquer le soupt;:on. Leurs de tous les bas instincts (L'Oeuvre 1927). A

attitudes corporelles genent. Mais que ces fem­ l'idee de sexualite, s'ajoute celle de salete, tou­
mes soient vierges ou putains, c'est de leurs tes deux font reference a la souillure et a ses
corps dont il est question, ce corps qui, comme tabous. Les femmes sont "fripees" et "crottees".
I' a ecrit Franc;oise Loux ( 1979: 97), est le princi­ Des lors , cette rete "frappe tous ceux qui se
pal acteur de la rete. preoccupent de la moralite de Ia jeunesse et de
Le corps des femmes attire le regard, seduit, la proprete de la rue". En somme, toutes ces
mais au-dela de ces attitudes inoffensives, des jeunes femmes qui s'adonnent aux plaisirs de la
scenes de violence physique comme psychique fete et se liberent des contraires quotidiennes,
apparaissent. On quitte le registre encore bien­ sont assimilees aux prostituees car elles en­
seant du baiser pour se retrouver de I'autre cote freignent les lois sociales. Elles cassent l'image
des barrieres de !'admissible. Le traumatisme habituellement positive de la midinette, ou­
guette la victime, ridiculisee, desarticulee com­ vriere dont le charme, la gaiete, le courage,
me une marionnette. Une jeune fille de 14 ans l'honnetete et la jeunesse ne peuvent qu'etre
"empoignee" par une douzaine d'individus qui, appreciees . La Sainte-Catherine derange quand
a pres lui avoir arrache ses jupes, l'ont elevee a elle commence a "depasser les bornes", quand
bras-le-corps et fait "gigoter" sous les yeux du les conduites tant masculines que feminines
public" (La Franr;aise 1913). Le jeu est brutal. deviennent condamnables.
Des jeunes filles sont retrouvees a demi-deve­
tues. Les actes gratuits caracterisent ces sce­ Polemiques autour de la Sainte-Catherine
nes. Les temoignages se multiplient dans la En ces annees 1920, les journaux se font l'echo
presse. "Un autre a vu une pauvre petite d'une de !'opinion des differentes instances politi-

qucs, fem i n i ne s , p o l i c ic rcs et cath o l i q u cs q u i fcm i n i n n'a paH sa pl ace d a n s la rue et en core
n'h6sitent pus a d 6 n oncer l c s m 6 f'u i ts d ' u n c tc l l c m o i n s s i scs a tt i t u d es son t out rancicres . "Muis
fete . L e re gard d e s u u trcs , d e s p r o v i nci u ux pourquoi fau t-il vous voir passer ainsi deb ruil­
com me des 6trangers, i mporte a ces di gn i t u i re s l 6 es , fri p6es, c rottcs, 6chevclees, le bon net de
qui t i c n n e n t :l preserver l'i mage de l u cupi tul e t rave rs o u l e cha p e au rej et6 en arrierc, I u v oix
du bon gout, de !'elegance. L e d6voilement d ' u ne 6rai l l ec d'avoir trop erie, le regard tout en sem­
autre facette n 'esl. pas souh a i tabl e . ble hardi ct v aci l l ant d'avoir un peu bu , d6gin­
E n 1 924, Le Gn. u .lois se demande p o u r q u o i ga nd ees ct gesticul antes, rouges et suantcs . . .

"Ia fete beauco up pl us parisicnne, pl u s char­ Les plus sages d'entrc vous n'echappent point,
manto, plus gaic, p l u s fra n r;; a ise que l a j ou rn 6 e par l'un uu ] 'au tre de ces details, a cette v i l a i ne
du l e r mai , s u rto u t d e p u i s q u e les patrons apparence nee de j u i e s , helas ! mediocres" (La
s' i n g6 n i en t a I a rendrc touj ours p l u s u gr6ab l e et Fra n qaise 1935).
touj o urs pl u s ga ic" n'est pas offici alis6c; d'a utres La presse de tout bord, scandalisee, sc fait
journaux, en p ar tic u l i e r La Fran(:aise , recom ­ l'6cho de ce laisser-aller collectif. '!'res v i te ,
mandent ou ex ige nt en revanche sa suppres­ certaines instances feminines demandent, par
sion . Cette attein te aux bonnes moe urs et aux l c biai s de Ia presse, aux pouvoirs publics d' ag ir,
savoir-vivre, l'obscenite des scenes choquent. du moins de reagir pour redresser rapidement
Les quotidiens s'accurdent a denigrer ces mani­ Ia situation, reprimer les abus. Des arresta­
festations q u i degenerent et dont on perd le tions sont eflectuees, mais les individus arrctes
contr6le. On reproche a la Sainte-Catherine de sont trop vite relaches aux yeux du Conseil
ressembler par ses execs a Ia tete des bl anchis­ National des femme s , section moralite, qui a
seuses de la mi-carcme, qui XIXe siecle etait la toujours ete attentif aux emportements de Ia
fete de tous les lavoirs parisiens que chaque Sainte-Catherine et qui a demande Ia protec­
quartier elisant sa rein e. Ban quet, hal, defile de tion des jeunes filles devant le danger des
chars sur lesquelles les laveuses posent degui­ "moeurs d'hommes", !'intervention et Ia sur­
sees animent cette journee ou toutes les extra­ veillance renforcee de la police restee passive
vagances sont permises. "En 1886, une reine jusque Ia. Le Conseil preconise le maintien des
excentrique figurait Ia mariee d'une noce, the­ jeunes filles dans les ateliers, Ia suppression
me de char sans doute: 'Vetue de blanc, Ia tete des deguisements excentriques; en 1928, il ira
ornee d'une couronne, non point de fleurs meme jusqu'a envoyer une lettre a tous les
d'orangers, mais d'oranges naturelles, (elle) se employeurs de la couture pour les sensibiliser
faisait remarquer par une rotondite abdomina­ au probleme. II elargira les debats sur le theme
le peu commune', grossesse miraculeuse, gage de la protection des jeunes filles pauvres et
de prosperite pour le groupe" (Alain Faure 1978: essayera de montrer que les naissances illt3giti­
137). Avant ces debordements, la fete de Sainte­ mes et Ia prostitution ne sont pas des faits
Catherine etait reputee sage, celebree dans etrangers a la fete. La presse catholique, elle,
l'intimite des ateliers . Les femmes ne descen­ s'etonne de "Ia joie la plus folie et la plus exube­
daient pas dans la rue. Vierges et recluses, rante" et s'indigne "des rejouissances materiel­
telles elles sont, telles elles resteront. Ce passe les, souvent dangereuses". Ses reactions vont
exemplaire sert a mieux critiquer les nouveaux expliquer les decisions prises par le clerge, et en
caracteres de la fete et a construire un modele particulier Ia reprise en main effectuee par le
ideal. Comme l'explique Maurice Halbwachs, cure de l'Eglise Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvel­
"cette nostalgic, cette memoire affective nous le.
permet de sortir un moment de Ia contrainte de Face a toutes ces declarations et protesta­
la societe actuelle et nous presenter Ia societe tions, comment reagit Ia police? Au cours de
passee comme un lieu d'attirance. En retour cette periode marquee par des debordements,
cette liaison du present avec le passe valorise la son attitude change du tout au tout. En 1913,
continuite sociale et la societe se revele etre a la malgre les demandes d'intervention, aucune
fois contrainte et valeur desiree" ( 1925: 112). Ce mesure n'est prise, ce qui est, d'ailleurs repro­
discours reste plut6t moralisateur. Le corps che au Prefet de police. Dans son discours repris

en parti e d a n s La Fm n (·n.isf' ou encore d a n s a donn er nai ssance aux dcchalnements . Et le
L'Eclair, L e prcfet recon nait des execs; m a i s jour de la Sainte-Catherine en est !'illustra t i o n .
s'etant ren d u r u e de la Pui x et n'ayant rien E n ces annees 1920, ceiie fete a reussi a soul e­
constatc de mcprisable, il ajo u te a ussi q u 'il y a ver contre elle unc partie de !'opinion , et s i
exagerati on du phenomcne . II a flirme des lors uujourd'hui, i l n'en reste plus I a moindre trace
son soutien aux agents vivement critiques et dans les memoires, la virulence des temoign a­
justifie l e u r comportement. Tandis que les de­ ges des journalistes de l'epoque permet de con ­
mandes d'i n terven tions se poursuivent, il fau ­ server le souvenir de ce qui a marque dix annees
dra enco re attendre avan t de voir un renforce­ de Sainte-Catherine parisienne, au cours des
ment de !a surveillance . En 1927 , les deborde­ Annees folles .
ments pren nent une tourn u re inquietante aux
yeux des fcministes . "Une centa i n e d' arr e s ­

Quand l'ordre du religieux s'oppose au

tations dejeunes v auriens ont cte opcrces et on
desordre de la rue
nous a an noncc que plusie urs agents avaient
ete blesses; mais on ne nous dit pas com bien de La presse ne neglige aucun evenement et men ­
jeunes filles ont ete ce soir-la, detourn6es de gre tionne les nouvelles celebrations religi eu scs
ou de force, seduites, violees, combien bebes parisiennes (messes, processions) . Le Journal
abandonnes en resulteront, ni combien de rna­ La Croix developpe plus naturellement ces
lades, ni combien de filles iront rejoindre le manifestations .
lamentable troupeau des prostituees" (La Fran­ L'eglise a toujours cherche a recuperer les
r;aise 1 927). Suite a ces in cidents brutaux, cultes populaires elargissant ainsi le champ de
!'interdiction de tous les monomes et rassem­ son controle social. La Sainte-Catherine ne fait
blements lors de Ia Sainte-Catherine fut edic­ pas exception a Ia regie. Les messes du 25
tee. La presse s'en fait l'echo. En 1 928, Paris­ novembre venerent Ia patronne des jeunes fil­
Soir titre "Le Prefet de police interdit les mono­ les . A Paris, en l'eglise de Ia Madeleine, a partir
mes" et developpe les propos du prefet: de 1897, il est mentionne dans les registres des
"Le rete des catherinettes n'est pas un carnaval . annonces ( 1852-1947), pour Ia date du 25 no­
Nous ne saurions a aucun prix autoriser des vembre: "Reunion des jeunes filles de Ia parois­
individus, plus ou moins ]ouches a brutaliser: se a !'occasion de Ia Sainte-Catherine. Messe et
des fillettes, sous pretexte que le jour de Ia allocution par un des vicaires de Ia paroisse." II
Sainte-Catherine tout le monde s'embrasse. " n'etait alors pas encore question, ni de messe
La meme annee, L'Echo de Paris precise que des catherinettes , ni de messes des midinettes .
"contrairement a ce qu'on voyait depuis quel­ 1925 laisse entrevoir les premices d'une telle
ques annees, Ia fete a garde toute lajournee une ceremonie . Le pelerinage a sainte Catherine,
excellente tenue, quasi familiale, meme sur les malgre ses motifs non religieux, procede d'un
boulevards . . . ". interet nouveau accorde aux pratiques cultu­
La rete connait done des retournements de relles populaires. Les jeunes filles renouent
situation qui appartiennent au phenom€me de avec des traditions sacrees en allant coiffer Ia
foule et a ses exces (Serge Moscovici 1985) et qui statue de Ia sainte situee dans le quartier du
provoquent !'escalade de Ia violence. Les prati­ Sentier ou se concentrent les artisans de Ia
ques illicites observees et l'insoutenable des­ mode. La presse catholique qualifie ce pelerina­
ordre definissent ces mouvements collectifs con­ ge de "frivole".
traires a !'image d'ordre desiree par Ia societe, Le cure de Ia paroisse Notre-Dame-de-Bon­
par l'Etat ou l'Eglise. Selon Gustave Le Bon ne-Nouvelle dans le deuxieme arrondissement,
( 1895), Ia foule est impulsive, mobile et irritable pris a partie par des jeunes filles en rete sur les
ainsi qu'imprevisible. Rien ne peut empecher boulevard s , decide de creer une messe a
un basculement; tout dans Ia rete le condition­ !'intention des catherinettes et de "toutes les
ne. Liesse, exces d'alcool, liberte corporelle et employees du commerce, de l'industrie, des
gestuelle, langage equivoque ou grossier contri­ banques et des arts". Son projet ne prend veri­
buent, par lejeu de Ia stimulation, de !'imitation, tablement forme qu'en 1926 et a pour objet de

fa i re con trepo i d s aux de b ord emen t::; s i gn ales te, ap rc ::; ) i n au g ur atio n de l'autel dans I a cha­

par lu pre::;se . "Deja d a n s les a n n ee::; 1 900, pelle d cd i ee a ::;ai nte Ca the ri n e , la messe et une
l'a rc he v e c h e de Pari s ::;'eta it associe a une pro­ prem i e re benediction des bonnets , les catheri­
te::;tation adre::;::;ee aux couturi er::; , re::;pun ::; a­ n ctte::; ::; u i v i e::; d'un archeveque, du cure et d'un
bles de modes i ndecentes et provocatrices" ( G il ­ publ i c averti ou curie ux, se sont rendues en
les L ipovetsky 1987 : 9 5 ) . Ce tte reprise en m a i n pr o c essio n a Ia s t a t ue de Ia sainte a I' angle des
montre l e souci d'e v i te r tou te d e p erdi t ion des rues de Cl cry et Poissonniere 1 1 • La deuxicme
vale u rs chretie n n es, de ral enti r le processus d e benediction de bonn ets ach evee, les intrepides
la:ici::;atiun dej a en tame en ville. 'cLes fetes avec catherinettes juchees sur une echelle et sur­
taus l eurs rites revitalisent les croyances en plombant la foule, deposent une gerbe de fleurs
empechant qu'elle::; s'efl"a cent des memoires" aux pieds de Ia statue et une couronne de fleurs
(Jea n n e Fri bou rg 1 980: 8 2 ) . La tete duit ctre un sur sa tete, heritage du rituel connu dans les
moyen dynamique de ramener les parisiens campagnes franr,:aises. Les catherinettes assis­
vers la pratique reli gi euse La messe de sainte
. t en t a la procession non seulement pour sa
Catherine s'i n scrit dans une tell e volonte. Les sol ennite, mais aussi pour les qualites recon­
raisons qui ont motive sa creation viendraient nues de marie use de la sainte . Pour les catheri­
egalement d'un compromis entre les patrons et nettes affublees d'un chapeau volumineux et
l'Eglise. Les journees des ouvrieres etant trap lourd, l'accomplissement des gestes symboli­
longues, les heures suppl cmen tai res du dim an ­ ques releve de l'epreuve initiatique. La situa­
che les empechant d'accomplir leur devoir reli­ tion de la statue oblige effectivement a surmon­
gieux, il fut decide de ch6mer le 25 novembre, ter les desagrements du desequilibre, du verti­
afin que les ouvrieres puissent se rendre aux ge, et a prendre quelques risques lors de la pose
messes et aux procession s . " .. .Sait-on qu'il y a a du bouquet et du baiser a la sainte . Ce baiser
Paris 800 000 midin ettes, dont 400 000 vien­ qui s'apparente a une "bise" que I' on fait comme
nent chaque matin de la grande banlieue. Quand a une amie, est plus familier que respectueux.
elles partent par les premiers trains, l'eglise de En revanche, les piqures effectuees a l'aide
leur paroisse est encore fermee, quand elles d'epingles sur la statue reiterent les gestes
rentrent, le soir, l'eglise est dej a fermee; il ne observes dans les anciens cultes des saints . Un
leur reste que les deux heures de dejeuner, lien etroit se tisse entre lajeune fille et la sainte,
apres un repas rapide, elles n'ont d'autres res­ par l'intermediaire d'une epingle, d'un bouquet
sources que d'aller faire un tour de boulevards, ou d'une couronne, et de fac;on physique par le
chose souvent epineuse" (La Croix 1926). II baiser1 2 •
n'etait alors pas question que les patrons com­ Les ceremonies se succederont sur ce meme
pensent la penibilite du travail quotidien des m o d e l e j u s qu e d a n s l e s a n n e e s 1 9 6 0 .
ouvrieres par unjour de repos. Ces faits laissent L'evenement prend une telle ampleur que
entrevoir la mentalite patronale de l'epoque et d'autres paroisses suivent l'exemple de l'eglise
les difficultes rencontrees par les ouvrieres dans du Sentier. L'eglise de la Madeleine (Paris-Soir
leur lutte pour I' amelioration de leur condition 1928), l'eglise Saint-Roch (Journal des debats
de travail. Des oeuvres, comme celle du Midi, 1928), toutes deux proches des maisons de haute
tentent de subvenir aux besoins de ces femmes couture, et la Basilique Sainte-Clotilde sis non
en leurs offrant des salles de repos equipees de loin de la place de la Concorde se joignent aux
bibliotheques , des restaurant s . Des cours festivites . A l'eglise Saint-Roch, une procession
d'instruction religieuse leur sont egalement durant laquelle des jeunes filles portent la sta­
proposes . tue de sainte Catherine succede parfois a la
En 1926, l'officialisation de cette messe est messe. Des brioches et des souvenirs sont aussi
saluee dans la presse (L'Echo de Paris, La Croix distribues. Avec sa statue, le Sentier reste toute­
1926) et la reussite de l'evenement est demon­ fois le "sanctuaire" le plus apprecie. Cet engoue­
tree par l'imposante foule qui s'est deplacee, ment subit du religieux ne trouverait-il pas son
trois cents a quatre cents catherinettes n'ayant explication dans ]'absence de sacralisation qui
pu penetrer dans l'eglise. A douze heures tren- caracterise jusqu'alors ces festivites? Pour que

Ia rete soil. iotal c, cl lc doit s'accompagner d'un Cos annees de tous les execs restent, touic­
ceremon i a l que lc l u d iquc a l u i soul n'apporic fois, marginal et exceptionn cl puisqu'ellcs n e
pas , balancer entre un ordre etabl i ct un des­ s'etendent que sur une duree d e dix ans . Elles
ordre. Par u illc u r::;, u-i-on roc l lcmeni atra irc a appartiennent au contexte social de l'epoque, a
un publi c de praiiq uanis , de croyanis? Ou esi­ l'ambiance generale qui regne a ce momen t-I n
ce tout sim plemcni un public qui renoue avec sur l a capitale. L a situation specifique e t com­
des tradi tions anciennes doni Ia magnificence plexe des " Annees folles" a sans doute contribuo
vient renforcer, a scs ycux, Ia valeur de Ia fete? a l'essor de la Sainte-Catherine parisienne . Et
Plus que de religieux, il s'agii de religiosiie ou comme le refletent les festivites du 25 novem­
de traditi on reinvenioe. bre, ordre et desordre s'affrontent. La rete ap­
pelle a laj ouissance des corps et ses detracteur::;
a leur dressage; le corps est tiraille entre sa
La presse: expression d'une fete et de
libre expression et son maintien. A Ia domesti­
son epoque
cation accrue des corps tant dans le travail que
Dans les annees 1920, en dehors de son princi­ dans les loisirs , repond une liberte corporell e
pal role d'informatcur, la presse patronne de plus intense dans les moments de ruptures
nombreuses manifestations . Elle poursuivra festifs . Effectivement, durant ces annees , "le
cette demarche mediatique dans les annees corps se voit imposer un programme de rationa­
1930 et au-dela. En eflet, Le Petit Parisien reste lisation et de productivite" (Michel Collomb
l'organisateur de la "marche des catherinettes" 1986: 1 0 1 ). Du sport de competition aux mode­
jusqu' en 1933. D'apres les films d'actualite 1'�, les de travail tayloristes, tout pousse a la per­
Le Journal en 1932 et en 1934, Paris-Soir en formance et a l'efficacite; de nouvelles images
1937 et en l 938, Le Soir en 1 937 sont a l'initiative du corps apparaissent ainsi qu'un nouveau Ian­
de galas qui reunissent des gens du spectacle gage et une autre conscience de celui-ci. '11
aussi connus que Prejean, Maurice Chevalier s'exprime deja par une plus grande franchise
ou Fernandel ou des acteurs du cinema comme sur tout ce qui concerne la sexualite. Dans ce
Gaby Morlay ou encore Erich von Stroheim. domaine aussi c'est le temps des experiences et
La presse donne une image de la societe en de l'affranchissement des tabous" (Michel
plein mouvement. La Sainte-Catherine des Collomb 1986: 102) qui se soldera par de vives
"Annees folies" se caracterise par l'extra­ critiques. Le rejet systematique de toutes for­
ordinaire defoulement collectif. Toutes ces trans­ mes d'expression corporelle revele l'image du
gressions n'etonnent qu'en partie, car elles sont corps imposee par par toute societe complexe.
les constituants meme de la rete. Elles desig­ "Plus la societe se complexifie, se distancie par
nent la difference entre le temps quotidien et le rapport au travail physique, plus les rapports
temps festif et permettent, de fa�on consciente avec autrui deviennent 'polices', passent par
ou inconsciente, de reproduire le chaos origi­ des abstractions et, parallelement, plus le corps
nel, d'en acquerir les formes pour mieux tran­ est discipline, reprime dans ses manifestations.
cher avec l'ordre habituel et favoriser ainsi la Au contraire, plus une societe se sert de son
naissance d'un nouvel ordre, d'un nouveau corps, plus elle l'utilise dans toutes les circon­
temps de la regle. La transformation commen­ stances de la vie" (Fran�oise Loux 1979: 80).
ce par celle du paraitre. Deguisements , mas­ Dans la societe moderne, la discipline des corps
ques, maquillages aident a se sentir autre; tout au long du cycle de vie s'inscrit largement
viennent ensuite le vin et l'alcool qui, excitant dans une politique de controle. Et la rete n'en
ou affaiblissant, changent les comportements. est que le reflet.
Les individus laissent au vestiaire leur role Les annees 1930 se marquent par le retour
social pour en revetir un, plus ludique, voire de formes festives plus conventionnelles. La
plus violent et se liberent ainsi de toutes les rete est dans la rue mais ne semble aucunement
tensions . La rete permet d'extirper de soi ce qui perturber la vie quotidienne des parisiens. La
appartient ordinairement a l'indicible et a presse reprend un ton plus descriptif.

Notes References
1 . Cct. a rt i c l e est c x t m i t d ' u ne t he�e co n H : I c rec :'1 Ia A l b i ::; t u r, M a'it(! & A rn w ga t h c , D a n i e l 1 97 7 : 1/ isl o i re
tete de s a i n te C a t h e r i n e � � Pa r i � d e I a fi n du XlXc du j'(> m i n isnll' {i·a. n (·a i.� . Pn r i R . EdR des Fe m m es.
s i cc l c :'\ n w; j o u rs , ::;ous Ia d i rect i o n de M a rt i n e B e l l a nge r, C . , G od c c h o t , J . , G u i r a l , 1'. & Tc JT o u , F.
Sc ga l c n , Pari s X N a n t.crrc ( :) pnra itrc en 1996 ) . 1 972: Hisloire 1-femiml" dr> Ia p re sse fm n ('aise de
2 . Pou r p l u s d e prec i s i o n s s u r cctt.c p rcssc, ::;c 1 8 7 1 it 1.940. Prcs::;c U n i v c r t:�i ta i rc de France. t. 3 .
re po r te r a I a l i s t . c des sou rces e n f i n d ' a rL i c l c . B l u m , F. , C h a rn be l l a n d , C . & D r ey fu s , M . 1984: M ou­
:3 . C c j c u d e mot pcnnct d'cxpri m c r d e u x i d e e ::; . Au v c m c n t de fe m m e::; ( 1 9 1 9- 1 940) I n : Gu ide::; des
scm; I i t te ra l , c ett. c m e ta p h o rc s i gn i fi c I a p a rt i ci ­ SOI.ll'CCH d ocu m c n t.n i rcs , Vie socialr>. n ° l l -1 2 .
p a ti o n au concou r::; de c h a p eau de I a S a i n te­ Ca�encuve, J e a n 1 982: La vie da. n s La. societe m o der·
Catheri ne ct. d a n ::; :;on �ens figu re, i l permct de n e . P a r i s . G a l l i m a rd ( I d e e s ) .
" m arq ue r son n cl m i rn t i o n e n R i gne cle com p l i ­ Col l om b , M i c h e l 1 986: Lr•s A n n for•s folies. P a r i s . l3el­
m e n t" a u x ca n d i d ates cl u conco u rs . fimd .
4. . Sc r e p o r te r a u x m:t. u a l i te s G a u m o n t. e ga l c r n c n t. J?:w re, Al a i n 1 978: Pa ri.�, Ca ni r n e · Prena. n l . Du. car­
5 . Le Te m ps de 1 925 p a rl c d c m od i ::;tc s , dc cousct.t.cs n a va l it Pa ris du XlXe siecle . P a ri s . H ach e tte .
ot. d'cm ployec::;, l cs act. u a l i t.e::; G a u m o n t. de 1 930- F r i bo u rg, ,J e a n n e 1 980: F'e l es a Saragosse. Paris.
32 parl c n t. d e v cndc u ::; c s . t. d'et.hnologie .
6 . D a n s lcs com peti t i ons sportivcs, l c te rn o i n e s t u n Gcrbod , Pa u l 1 98 7 : Le ba I e n F r a ncc a u XIXc ct. a u XXe
b:1to n nct q u e se passc n t lcs cou rc u r::; de rc l a i s . s i c c l e . So c i a bilil e, p"u.uoirs et s oci e tes ? I n : Actcs du
lei !'objet choisi , un carton a chapeau, signale col l oq ue de Rou e n . 24-26 novembre 1 983. G.R. H.L.S.
! 'importa nc e du ch a p e a u dans les rituels de Ia reunis par Fran<;oise Thelamon . Rouen. Pu b l i ca­
S ainte - C ath e r i n e , m a i s a u s s i dans Ius pratiq ues tions de l ' U n i versit.6 de Rou e n . 110: 167-1 7:!.
feminines de 1'6poquc. Lcs femmes nc sortaient Girard, Alain 197 4: Le choix du conjoint. Une enquete
alors que I a tete couverte d'un chapeau dont le psycho·sociologique en Fra nce . Paris. INED. PUF.
carton, b oit.c ro n d e , scrvait it son rangc m c n t. ct. a Cahier n °7 0 .
sa prote cti o n . Halbwachs, Maurice 1 9 2 5 : Les cadres socia.ux de La
7 . Dans les a n n e e s 1 920, o n nom m e "Ga n_: o n n e s" m. enwire . Pari s . Presse Universi taire d e Fra n ce .
les jeunes filles qui menent une vie independan­ Halbwachs, Maurice 1 9 5 0 : La. Mem.oire collective.
tc et. adoptent. des m an i c re s considerees comme Paris. Presse Universitaire de France.
m ascul i n e s . Elles portent los ch eveux courts et Hui zi nga, Juhan 1. 95 1 : Homo Ludens: essai .� u r la
revetent aussi le costume d'homme. f'onction du jeu. Paris. Gallimard.
8 . "Le Conseil National des Femmes : fonde en Le Bon, Gustave 1895: Psychologie des fou.les. Paris.
190 1 , il regroupe de nombreuses associations Presses Universitaires de France.
feminines. En 1 962, son programme ctait a p e u L'em.pire de l'ephemere . La
Lipovetsky, Gilles 1987:
de choses pres le meme que 30 ans plus tot, mode et son destin dans les societes modernes.
excepte le droit de vote. Reformes des regimes Paris. Gallimard.
matrimoniaux, repression de la prostitution, lut­ Loux, Franf<oise 1979: Le corps dans la societe tradi­
te contre l'alcoolisme, amelioration de !'habitat, tionnelle . Paris. Berger-Levrault.
lutte pour 'une paternite consciente' . . . " (Mai:te Morin, Edgar 1962: L'esprit du temps. Essai sur la.
Albistur & Daniel Armogathe 1977: 449) . culture de ma.sse. Paris. Grasset.
9 . Michelle Perrot retrouve dans l e s greves femi­ Monj aret, Anne 1992: La. Sainte-Catherine a Paris de
nines des images simi! aires aux notres. Les fem­ la. fin du XIXe siecle a nosjours. Ethnographic d'une
mes en mouvement sont soit "amazones" et done jete urbaine et professionnelle. These de doctorat,
combatives, soit "proies", "inoffensives", on re­ sous Ia direction de Martine Segalen. Universite de
cherche alors le meneur masculin. ( 1974: 3 22 ) Il Paris-X Nanterre.
existerait done un discours type sur les femmes Moscovici, Serge 1985: L'Age des foules. Bruxelles.
descendant dans le rue. Ed. Complexe.
10. "Jeter son bonnet par-dessus les moulins" signi­ Namer, Gerard 1987: Memoire et societe. Paris. Meri­
fie au sens figure adopter une attitude frivole, diens Klincksieck.
"braver la bienseance pour une jeune fille". Perrot, Michelle 197 4:
Les ouurieres en greue, France
11. La statue ayant ces traits effaces par le temps, il 1871-1890. Paris-La Haye. Mouton. 2 vol.
est decide en 1929 de la remplacer. Segalen, Martine & Chamarat, Josseline 1983: La
12. La catherinette reproduit des gestes charges rosiere et la "Miss": les reines des fetes populaires.
d'une symbolique qui repond a la demande In: L'H.istoire, 5 3 : 44-55.
d'obtention d'un epoux. Touiller Feyrabend, Henriette 199 1 : L'entre-deux­
13. Corpus depouilles a la Videotheque de la Ville de guerres ou le tournant d'un siecle. In: Quand l'affiche
Paris. faisait de la reclame, Catalogue d'exposition eds de
RMN : 12-19.
Van Gennep, Arnold 1943-1958: Manuel du Folklore
franr; contemporain. Paris. A. Picard.

Journaux Pari.� -SoiT· (,J o u r n a l rl ' i n formations i l l u s t rc l a p rcs
1 93 1 1 )
(Journaux d 6 po u i l l 6 � po u r l u p6riode de� a n n6e� 25, 26, 28 nov. 1 92 3 ; 24, 25, 26 nov. 1924; 2:3 , :l li , :.!()
1920) n ov. 1 92!); 2!), 26 nov. 1 926; 2 1 , 2!), 28 nov. 1 92 7 ; 20,
23, 24, 25 nov. 1928; 22, 23, 24, 2 5 , 26, 30 nov. ] 929;
La Croix (Jou rn a l d ' i n s p i ration catho l i q u e ) 22, 23, 24, 25, 27 nov. 1930.
2 6 nov. 1 92 fi ; 2 : 1 , 2 4 , 2!) n ov. 1 926; 2 1 , 27 nov. Le Petit jou rnal (Gauche republicaine)
1929; 27 nov. 1 9a O . 28 nov. 1 92 5 .
L'Echo de In nwde (Jo u rn a l de modo) Le Petit parisien (J ournal d e grandes informations,
2 7 nov. 1 927 ( 1 923-1 926, 1 928-1 934: r i e n ) . Re pub l icain R d a n s los an neos 20)
L'Echo de Jla ri.� ( J o u rn a l de d ru i te ) 23, 25, 26, 27, 28 nov. 1927.
2 7 nov. 1 920; 2!), 26 n o v . 1 92 1 ; 25, 26 nov. 1922, 2 5 Le Temps (Journal d'information de ton moder6 )
nov. 192:3 , n ov. 1 924; 26, 27 n ov. 1 926, 24, 2!), 26 n ov. 26 nov. 1 92 1 ; 26 n ov. 1. 922; 23 nov. 1923 ; 26 nov.
1927; 2n, 26 nov. 1 928; 26 nov. 1 92 9 ; 2:3, 26 nov. 1 924; 26 nov. 1 dec. 1 92 5 .
1930. Vit. (Magazine I l l ustre)
Le Figaro (J o u r n a l de d roite) 28 nov. 1928; 20 nov. 1929.
26 nov. 1 920; 24, 2!), 26, 27 nov. 1 92 1 ; 2 1 , 26 nov.
1925; 25, 26, 29 nov. 1926; 25, 26 nov. 1927; 21 nov.
La Fran(:aise (1 906- 1940) ( J ou rn a l d'Education et
d'action feminines et organe du Conseil national Summary:
des femmes fran�;aises)
2 dec. 1 9:.! 1 ; 29 nov. 1 924; 5 dec. 19 2 5 ; 27 nov. 1926, Every November the 25th since the 1920s, the
1 7 dec. 1927; 24 nov. 1928; 16 nov. 7 dec. 1929; 22, feast of Saint Catherine's Day has been cele­
29 nov. l 930. brated by the "Catherinettes", i.e. single girls at
La Fronde (Journal lem iniste "j uge trop bourgeois
the age of25 , female workers and female employ­
p ar les socialistes, trop revolutionnaire par les
bourgeois, trop sericux pour los Pari sians, trop
ees . It has become quite a real "institution" in
parisien pour Ia province" I eite par Evelyne Sulle­ Paris, on which the newspaper don't neglect to
rot dans La Presse fii m inine, Paris, Armand Colin, comment. During the "Annees folies", proces­
1963)] .
sions, popular dances, hat contest, "marche de�;
2 5 , 26 nov. 1926, 26 nov. 1927 ( 1928: rien).
Catherinettes" livened up Paris. Disorders ap­
Le Gaulois (Journal de droite, haute qualite)
25 nov. 1924. pearing, the Church decided to organize a Saint
£'Illustration (1843-1943) (Magazine Illustre) Catherine's ceremony to maintain social order.
1923-II. This article analysis the evolution of a tradi­
Journal des debats (Journal politique et litteraire,
tional feast through newspapers in the 1920s
republicain conservateur)
24, 26, 27 nov. 1928 . and shows them the role of the press in the
L'Oeuvre (Souvent anticlericale, ouvert a gauche, development of urban festivities .
mefiant a l'egard des communistes)
23, 25, 26 nov. 1927.

The Military and Dancing

Changing Norms and Behaviour, 15th to 1 8th Century

Harald Kleinschmidt

Kleinschmidt, Harald 1995: The Military and Dancing. Changing Norms and
Behaviour, 15th to 18th Century. - Ethnologia Europaea 25: 157-176.

The tiJJlowing study focuses on the history of bodily movements as a catego ry o f

soci a l action. A twofold comparison i s attempted, first between bodily move m e n t�
in the military and in dancing, second between changes in these movements d u r­
ing the 15th century, on the one side, and, on the other, during the 18th centu ry.
The result ofthe first comparison is that bodily movements , neither in the mil itary
nor in dancing, are autonomous; they do not follow some motivation resulting from
internal factors in either the military or in dancing; instead, they correlate with
forms of behaviour which can be found contemporaneously in other walks of l i fe .
The result of the second comparison is that, during the 15th century, an equ i l i b­
rium position emerged, first in dancing, out of which many different movements
could be performed; in the 18th century, this equilibrium position was given up,
first in the military, in favour of a position which forced the individual into a

dynamic flexibility of the body and into a tension; through its release, the tension
enhanced movements. Again, this change can be traced in many contemporaneous
aspects of 18th-century European culture.

Harald Kleinschmidt, Prof Dr habit., Institute of History and Anthropology,

University of Tsukuba, 1 - 1 - 1 Tenno-dai, Tsukuba-shi. 305. Japan.

According to Clausewitz's ( 1832: 236) concep­ of bodily movements as specific elements of

tion of warfare, the political consequences of "national" behaviour and to discredit as obso­
military campaigning can only be of lasting lete and inefficient the previous custom of asso­
effect under the condition that a "tension" per­ ciating bodily movements with social groups
meates the entire armed forces of a "nation", rather than groups of the subjects of a single
embracing combatants of all ranks . Thus ruler. 1
Clausewitz postulated the existence of a uni­ Therefore, the following questions must be
formity of social action within the armed forces asked, first, which changes occurred in military
as a conditio sine qua non for lasting success in movements that could induce Clausewitz to
warfare, and, further to this, he believed that formulate his assumption, second, what the age
each "nation" represents a quasi living body ofthose types of military movements was which
politic into which the actions of all individual were abandoned at the beginning of the 19th
members ofthat "nation", combatants and non­ century, third, which groups were affected by
combatants alike, have to be coordinated if one the changes ofmilitary movements, and, fourth,
"nation" is to succeed in its struggle with rival how military movements are related to other
"nations". Because action as normative behav­ forms ofsocial action in different walks oflife. The
iour includes bodily movements , Clausewitz method for the answering of these questions
also assumed that bodily movements are typi­ shall be that of comparison. First, changes in
cal not only for the armed forces of a "nation", military movements during the second half of
but also of the "nation" as a whole. However, the 15th century shall be compared with simi­
this assumption is far from obvious, because it lar changes in dancing at the same time; the
is well known that, only since the 19th century, purpose ofthis comparison shall be the analysis
it has become customary to perceive variations of the coming into existence of a type of bodily

m ov e m e n ts w h i ch , i n the m i l i tary as well as i n w i s e movement which enabled them to a t t ack
d a n c i ng, were d es igned fbr the m a i nt ena n ce o f their opponents from many d i rtcren t a n g l e s . An
a stable e q u i l i br i u m of the body. Second, an ea rly p iece of evi dence fbr thi s novel figh ting
ana l ogou s com p a rison s h a l l be ca r r i ed out be­ t e ch n i q u e of the l a n squ e nets was p r ov i d e d by
tween m i l i tary movements and d a n c i ng at the Je a n Molinet in h i s report on Maxim i l i an's
e n d of the 1 8th century; the purpose of this arrest in the city of Bruges in J an u a ry 1 488.
second comparison shall be the a n al y s i s of the Mol i n e t reports that, on some occasion , Co unt
co m i n g into existence of another type of bo d i l y Eite l fried r i ch I, a y outh friend of Max i m i l i a n's ,
movements which, in tho military as well as in was present in the centre ofthe city, w aiti ng for
dan ci ng, were d e s igne d for the accomplishment Maximilian with a band oflansquenets in Sai nt­
of dyn amic £1 e xi bility of the body. Domas square. Molinet writes that l!:itc l frie­
drich wanted to prevent his lansqu e n ets from
the idleness of w aiting in the square an d com­
Changes in military movements dur­
manded them to train themselves for lighti ng;
ing the second half of the 15th century
Eitelfriedrich is made to have ordered h i s l an­
Throughout the h i gh and late Middle Ages, squenets to form "the snail" l "limach. on "l a c ­
military movements were, as a rule, conducted cording to the "w a y of the Germans". Im m edi­
for the purpose of accomplishing direct interac­ ately, Molinet says, the lansquenets arr a yed
tions along a straight line which interconnected themselves in ranks and files , four by fo ur, and
opposed combatants. This rule applied to the marched circlewise across the square, drifting
dual combat of the knights as well as to the slowly to the outside while marching. Su dde nly,
matches of the bourgeois fimcers . In both kinds Eitelfriedrich shouted a command: "Everybody
of combat, the opponents tried to thrust their fell his pike !", and the command was carried out
weapons upon each other in attempts to test instantaneously. But, Molinet goes on, the citi­
which of both had to give way. 2 The rule also zens of Bruges, watching the show, misunder­
applied to battle tactics , which, still at the end stood the formation of the "snail": Instead of
ofthe 15th century, were conceived, for example regarding the formation as an instrument of
by the Swiss, as engagements between two training and as a piece of show, they mistook it
formations pushing against each other. a These as an attack by the lansquenets on the city,
tactics enforced the use of pikes and swords as screamed and tried to flee the place or hide in
offensive weapons. Conversely, they limited the their homes. Hearing the noise, Maximilian
use of projectiles (except for the special cases of came to the square and tried to calm down the
the English longbowmen, the Genovese cross­ citizens . But he failed and was arrested by the
bowmen and the Aragonese4) and, specifically, city authorities for misconduct and breach of
retarded the deployment of firearms.5 In this peace (Molinet 1828: 207-208).6
type of combat, the space surrounding the com­ In the context ofthis study, it is not necessary
batants was not of tactical significance in itself; to inquire about the truth ofMolinet's assertion
for movements which deviated from a straight that Maximilian was arrested in Bruges be­
line were either forbidden, as in the tourna­ cause of the misconduct ofhis lansquenets . For,
ments, or were not part of battle tactics at all. even if Molinet was wrong in assuming this to
Instead, space was only used for allowing each have been the case, his report still contains the
combatant to accomplish his goal, namely to valuable information that, to the citizens of
attack, hit and beat his opponent swiftly and Bruges in 1488, the formation ofthe "snail" was
directly. something new, which they did not understand,
This type of combat underwent a thorough whereas, for the lansquenets themselves, it was
change through the lansquenets ofRoman King, then already current practice. This was so,
Emperor Elect and Roman Emperor Maximil­ because two commands by their band leader
ian I ( 1459-15 19). The hallmark of the lan­ Eitelfriedrich sufficed to make the lansquenets
squenets was no longer a custom of fighting do what was expected of them. Molinet's report
along a straight line, but they preferred a circle- also discloses an image of violence and war-

pronene:;s attached to the lansquenets at that
The novelty of the formation of the "snail" is
underlined by the fact thai Molinei's report is
one of the earliest l iterary references to this
formation . Not only Molinet's own word lima­
chon was new at the ti me, but also other vernac­
ular renderings of the Latin testudo, namely
Middle English sna.yle and Middle High Ger­
man schnegge were uncommon at the time of
Molinet's report. Up to the end of the 15th
century, testudo and its vernacular variants
had been used, for instance in the Latin and
vernacular editions of Vegetius, for the descrip­
Fig. 1 . From Hans Talhoffer's fencing manual (Illum i ­
tion of a machine in siege warfare. In this
nated manuscript, Vienna, Kunstmuseum, Watlcn­
context, testudo had denoted an armed covered sammlung, also referred to as the Ambras Codex) ,
cart in the shape of a turtle and equipped with early 15th century. Two m e n fight with pikes. They
a pestle that could ram holes into stone walls push the pikes against each other. The turning point
is in the upper part of their bodies .
(Vegetius 1 885: IV/14; Hohenwang 1477: fol .
63r; Knyghthode 1 9 3 5 : v v 2371, 2379, 2385). I n
the beginning o f the 16th century, the word way of fighting along straight lines well into the
testudo and its vernacular variants changed 16th century.
their meanings from a technical instrument in Correspondingly, the pictorial representa­
siege warfare to a training formation for fight­ tion of individual warriors differed fundamen­
ing bands; and this change always occurred in tally between the late 15th-century depictions
connection with the reception ofthe lansquenet of Swiss fighting forces and 16th-century lan­
type of combat.7 Thus, the process of the change squenets. In the Swiss pictorial chronicles, the
of the meaning of testudo and its vernacular Swiss warriors are shown to march by equal
variants shows that the circlewise formation of step in large and densely packed formations, as
the "snail" as described by Molinet emerged as they keep the upper parts of their bodies slight­
the hallmark of the lansquenet type of combat. ly inclined to the front. The turning point of
What was novel about the formation of the their bodies is relatively high, namely in the
"snail" was the circlewise movement of the upper part of their bodies, and when a warrior's
lansquenets in a training formation. They prac­ leg is shown to be stretched out to the back, it
ticed this formation under the command of forms almost a straight line with the upper part
their band leaders in preparation for battle, but of the body of the same warrior. The same type
not in the battle itself. Thus, from its very of postures is depicted in the 15th-century fenc­
inception, the formation ofthe "snail" displayed ing manuals (Hergsell 1889, plates 88, 89; Schil­
the willingness of the lansquenets to abandon ling 1943/5 : 635)8 [Fig. 1] .
the medieval convention of fighting along a By contrast, early 16th-century depictions of
straight line. Instead, for their training forma­ lansquenets display warriors who, as shown by
tion and their combat actions, they tried to Hans Holbein the Younger ( 1497-1543)9, thrust
employ the space surrounding them in the bat­ their weapons into many different direction
tle field and elsewhere, and they made efforts to from out of a firm and stable stand on the
increase the movability of their bodies . In this ground; they have both legs placed wide apart
way, the lansquenets could employ the physical from each other, keep the upper parts of their
strength of their bodies for the purpose of push­ bodies upright, so that a warrior's leg stretched
ing against their opponents into many direc­ out to the back and the upper part ofhis body do
tions and, ultimately achieved a tactical advan­ not form a straight line; also, the turning point
tage over the Swiss who retained their knightly oftheir bodies is rather low, in the hip zone [Fig.

Fig. 2. Hans Holbein the Younger: The Lansquenets' Battle (drawing, Basel, O ffentliche Kunstsammlung), ca
1530. A sequence of dual combats is shown with men thrusting their halberds and battle axes against enemies
in many different directions. The turning point is in the hip zone of their bodies .

2) . Holbein also depicted the battle scene as a energies contained in their bodies; second, that
sequence of dual combats, no more than losely they could make ample use of the space within
coordinated. In these dual combats, the lan­ /
which their fighting actions were to take place;
squenets make ample use ofthe space available and, third, that they kept themselves fit for
to them and fully rely on their individual phys­ battle action and trained themselves for the
ical strength in battle action. Hence, in battle purpose of increasing the movability of their
action, the lansquenets were accustomed to bodies10 [Fig. 3) .
breaking apart their formations into dual com­
bats sooner than it had been the practice of the
Changes in dancing during the second
Swiss .
half of the 1 5th century
These new types o f combat initiated b y the
lansquenets can be understood as the results of In medieval dancing, the movements of the
the preference given to circlewise movements head and of the arms played a significantly
over movements along a straight line. The new deictic part in determining the meaning of ges­
types of combat demanded efforts for the main­ tures of expression; hence they appear to have
tenance of a stable equilibrium under the con­ been carefully and purposefully chosen. By con­
dition of rapid and energetic movements and trast, determining the steps and the move­
pushs into many directions . Their equilibrium­ ments of the feet seem to have been left to the
oriented behaviour enabled the lansquenets to individual dancers11 [Fig. 4) .
combine the goal of the high movability of their However, by the beginning of the 15th centu­
bodies with the demand of maintaining a firm ry at the latest, more regularizing attention
stand against their opponents in dual combats. seems to have been awarded to the steps and
The conditions were, first, that the lansquenets the movements of the feet, whereas the impor­
were allowed to rely on and employ the physical tance of the movements of arms declined. For

Fig. 3. 1• rom Ch ri;;tinn gge­
nolph's fe n c i n g m a n u a l
(book i l l u;;t.ra t i o n , p r i n te d
at Franckfu rt ) 1 fifi8. The
printer Ege n o l p h m ay have
used olde r d r a w i n gs , p o s s i ­
bly from DU rer's workshop.
Two men fif.(ht with p i ke s .
They p u sh t.h e p i kes aga i nst
each oth e r·. The t u r n i n g
point is in the h i p zone of
their bodies.

example, crossing one's legs while stepping for­ the supervision of the dancing master and fol­
ward became the expression of aristocratic be­ low the prescribed choreography. The earliest
haviour 1�; and a number of dancing steps (sim­ references for such dancing masters come from
ple, double, piua, saltarello, ripessa, contrapas­ the 15th century. 14
so, mouimento, volta, and others) became pre­ In sum, 15th-century dances display meas­
scribed for dancers who were to enact them in ures for the training of dancers who need to
groups. Further to this, in the 15th century, acquaint themselves with the choreographies
members of groups of dancers were expected to of professional dancing masters . The arrange­
move to and from each other, encircling one ments emphasize circlewise movements of danc­
another or weaving in and out of geometrical ers according to geometrical patterns, thereby
patterns of choreographies. Specifically, this awarding a higher importance to the space
was the case in one variant of a bassa danza which the dancers use for the enactment of
named Verceppe, which was described by danc­ their movements. For want of contemporary
ing master Antonio Cornazano of Piacenza (ca normative sources, it is impossible to ascribe
1429 - ca 1484)13 in the following way: Verceppe characteristics of normative behaviour to these
is a dance similar to a skirmish ["scaramuc­ types of bodily movements; however, the paral­
cia"] . Dancers form groups of five, two ladies lelism ofthe novel bodily movements in dancing
and three gentlemen. The ladies stand in the in the earlier 15th century with the novel bodily
centre, the gentlemen stand around them. In movements in the military at the end of the
this arrangement, they perform a saltarello, all 15th century seems to suggest that the innova­
at the same time, and then they stop their tions in either walks of life were more than
movements . Then the first and the last gentle­ merely contingent.
men begin to encircle the ladies in such a way Pictures of the new dances followed suit in
that they begin on their left feet and enact two displaying formations of dancers, all of whom
doubles (Cornazano 1916: 18-20). are depicted in a stable equilibrium position,
Cornazano's choreography describes a dance from out of which they can perform circlewise
performed in geometrical patterns including movements . 15 Among others, in an early 16th­
circlewise movements, such as turns. On the century woodcut ascribed to Durer ( 14 7 1-1528)
one side, the dancing master had the task of ( 1970: 1443) [Fig. 5] , three women and three
composing the dance in advance, as if it were a men are dancing in a circle, moving by different
piece of music; on the other side, the dancers kinds of step after the music. One dancer, who
had the obligation ofpracticing the dance under is placed in the foreground ofthe picture, stretch-

In these works, Cornazano commented on the
Ro man m i l itary trad i ti o n , us i ng mainly Vcge­
tius, whose canon of military exercises he rec­
ommended ( 1493: tal. lv). Cornazano was thus
a conservative as a military author, but could
nevertheless be innovative as the author of a
dancing manual . The same combination of danc­
ing and military expertise can be observed , at
the practical level, about Maximilian l. He did
not only support the lansquenets type of com­
bat, but also introduced circlewise movements
into the to urnaments�" and in fencing� 1 , a s he
was an active dancer following the new style.22
In all these respects, Maximilian preferred sta­
ble equilibrium positions and circlewise move­
ments .
The comparison of military and danci ng
movements as actions leads to the first ob,;erva­
tion that both types of movements were not
perceived to be as far apart as it may appear
from a 20th-century perspective. Moreover, sim­
ilar types of changes in bodily movements oc­
curred in the military as well as in dancing. In
both cases, two types of movements competed
Fig. 4. From the Manesse manuscript (Heidelberg during the 15th century: The traditional type
Un i versity Library), early 14th century. A man and a
was performed along straight lines and as an
woman dancing. They move their arms as if gesticu­
lating. Their hands are in dcictic positions .
action the purpose of which it was to allow one
individual to interact swiftly with another indi­
vidual; the new type was enacted as a circlewise
es his leg out behind himself and keeps the movement or a movement according to geomet­
upper part of his body upright. The turning rical patterns and as an action the purpose of
point ofhis body is relatively low in the hip zone, which it was to enable an individual to make
and the leg stretched out to the back and the use of the space around itself and to conduct
upper part of his body do not form a straight movements and pushs energetically into many
line . This is exactly the same type of position as different directions from out of a stable equilib­
the one in which the lansquenets were depicted rium position. A closer look at the emergence of
at the same time. 1 6 the new type of movement reveals that the
innovation occurred in dancing about two gen­
erations earlier than in the military.2a
Comparison between movements i n the
Hence it may be concluded that, during the
military and in dancing
15th century, the courtly festivals resembled a
Parallelisms between novel movements in the playgrouml f:Jr innovations, anticipating early
military and in dancing become explicit in the on what was to become daily practice in the
equation by Cornazano of the Verceppe with the military only at the end of the century. As far as
scaramuccia. 17 By this equation, Cornazano dis­ the military was concerned, however, the inno­
plays himself as an author knowledgeable in vations did not before the beginning of the 16th
dancing as well as in military matters . 18 In fact, century become dominant over the traditions of
Cornazano was in the services of the Sforza, of the high and late Middle Ages . Instead, Maxi­
the Este and of Bartolomeo Colleoni and au­ milian and his aristocratic lansquenet band
thored a number of works on military theory. 19 leaders had to fight uphill, as it were. Still at the

Fig. 5. The A u g:; b u rg Torch
D ance ( p r i n ted broadsheet,
ascribed t o Di.i re r ) , ea rly
16th cen t u ry. Men a n d
women en act ci r c l e w ise
movements. The turning
point is i n t he h i p zone of
their bod ieR.

very end of the 15th century, the new type of show, by the end of the 1 7th century, this stiff
combat, which they favoured, proved unsuc­ element had been accepted in the armed forces
cessful in battles against the then still domi­ of all European states as well as in the British
nant Swiss. 24 Therefore, Maximilian must have colonial army in North America.
been eager to introduce the new type of circle­ These drill manuals were commissioned alike
wise movements and the stable equilibrium by continental absolutist rulers, private com­
position against the opposing pressures of his manders of army regiments, the captains of the
own time and even under the impression of Free and Imperial Cities as well as by com­
defeat in battle. In his own time, Maximilian manders in the British armies . They all agreed
could no more than hope that the new forms of that it should be the purpose ofmilitary exercis­
action would eventually succeed; in fact, how­ es to "form" a ruler's subjects into "blindly
ever, they became dominant soon after his death obedient soldiers" (Dietrich 198 1 : 229). It was
in 1519. 25 then understood that this goal was to be accom­
plished by way of training the peasants to
accept and perform specific new positions and
Changes in military movements dur­
bodily movements and that, through the specif­
ing the 18th century
icity of these positions and movements, the
The stable equilibrium position was retained soldiers were to obtain a distinguished "bon
throughout the 17th century, although a stiff air". The soldiers were to hold their heads
element began to dominate movements. 26 This upright and motionless, keep their eyes open
element is recognizable in military movements, and look straightforwardly into the eyes of
sports and dancing, where warriors, sportsmen theirs counterparts; the soldiers were to stand
and dancers began to keep stiff all those parts stiffly on their feet and were to march with their
of their bodies which were not essential to the knees stretched out straight and with their
performance of movements. As drill manuals 2 7 heads turned above their right shoulders; and

they were to keep their bod ies upright (Regl e­ mands .'111 Finally, most armies were made up
ment for the Prussi an Jn fantery 1 74�1 : TT/2,7; from motley bands of pressed or conscri bed men
Regl e m ent for the Prussian Infantry 1726: III whose personal conduct left much to be des i r·ed.
2,6; Il/2 , 1 3 ; Il/2, 19). When successful, the drill produced sol d i ers
In contral>t with the stable equilibrium posi­ who were ready to subordinate themselves to
tions of the 16th century, in the late 17th- and the discipline of the corps, to act by com m a nd
18th -centu ry pos i tions and bodily movements , only and, when moving, distinguish v i s i bly be­
the eq u i l i bri um was used for the twofold pur­ tween moving and motionless parts of their
pose, first, or keeping the soldiers' bodies tight bodies. Thus the outward impression which the
and upright and of constraining their move­ soldiers gave of their professional behaviour
ments, and, secon d, of making them enact all was that of a natural, living machine . Indeed,
com manded move ments promptly and swi ftly. specifically the Prussian army and its sol d i ers
Instead of trai ning their bodies for physical were compared with a well ordered mach i n e
strength and making them concentrate them­ already i n the 18th century.'11 Hence, l i n ear
selves on their arms and legs, the soldiers were tactics and the kind of drill it demanded w ere
to focus their atten tion on the meticulous enact­ compatible with the mechanistic principles gu id­
ment of given orders (Reglement for the Prus­ ing the Enlightenment.3 2
sian Infantry 1726: Il/2, 19), on keeping their However, linear tactics began to be subjected
spines straight and motionless (Reglement for to criticism under the impression of the Seven
the Prussian Infantry 1726: 1112,8), and per­ Years' War ( 1 756-1 763). Already in 1 76 1 , an
forming movements briskly and strictly by com­ English military theorist criticized the Prus­
mand only (Reglement for the Prussian Infan­ sian military practice and, particularly, its ap­
try 1726: Il/2 , 1 2). plication in the British armed forces. He argued
These positions and movements stood in that Prussian drill was an exaggeration, even if
exact opposition against the sturdy peasant it was based on sound reason and good for the
behaviour with its loose, flexible, but occasion­ maintenance of discipline, and that, if the sol­
ally wild movements . Therefore, constraining diers ought to stand still, they should do so
the flexibility of movements implied their con­ without constraint (Dalrymple 1 7 6 1 : 67). In­
trol by a superior agency as well as by the deed, during the Seven Years' War, Prussian
moving soldiers themselves (Reglement for the drill had been popular in Britain, although, in
Prussian Infantry 1 743: Xl/3,7). detail, Prussian rules for military movements
These principles of manual drill, namely were nor identical with those prescribed in the
keeping the body upright and tight, stretching official drill manuals for the British armed
his limbs and keeping them stiff, and moving by forces. 33 Dalrymple argued against what he
command only and then briskly, appeared most perceived as the unnatural Prussian habit of
clearly in the Prussian drill manuals issued using the soldiers' bodily energy for the purpose
under Frederick William I and Frederick II. Yet of keeping their bodies motionless and tight.
they were not a Prussian invention; instead, Instead, in Dalrymple's view, it was rational to
they can be found already in late 17th-century allow the soldiers to move their bodies "natural­
French drill manuals. 28 Drilling soldiers for ly" and without constraint.
"blind obedience" was necessary, because, in Dalrymple's criticism marks the beginning
the complex battle tactics of the later 17th and of a movement against linear tactics and the
the 18th centuries, the common soldiers were behavioural rules stipulated by it. Since then,
expected to execute commands without reason­ critics began to argue that, instead of focusing
ing, although they themselves were frequently bodily energies onto motionlessness and stiff­
unable to understand the commands given to ness, it made more sense to direct the soldiers'
them. Moreover, reasoning which was endemic activity to what the critics assumed to be battle­
among the peasant populations 29 was then in­ relevant action. In other words, critics of linear
tolerable in the armies because it would have tactics maintained that the kind of drill which
impeded the prompt execution of the com- was exemplified by the Prussian rules had little

or no con nection any longer with battl e action; and all human beings lift up their opposite f(>ot
instead, th ey i nsisted, m i l i tary drill should pay for the second step, after they have placed th i s
respect to the true "nature" of the soldiers in leg o n the ground. I n this respect, m y ba�i c
order to a llow them to act appropriately in principles of the drill step are correct and com ­
battle. In sum, critics ofthe linear tactics placed patible with nature" (Guibert 1774: 183-184 ) .
their conception of "nature" against the ma­
chine and, thereby, denied the previous convic­ According, t o Guibert, a drill rule was "correct",
tion that the machine was natural. Hence, since if it was compatible with "nature", and com pat­
the 1760s, nature and the machine had become ibility with "nature" did not result from abid­
incompatible. ance by pre-existent orders, but was to be
What was the difference? Jacques Antoine gleaned from empirical observations of what
Hippolyte de Guibert ( 1743-1 790), perhaps the was common to all mankind. Hence, to Gui bert,
leading prerevolutionary critic of the armed "nature" was no longer the order ofthings in the
forces of the Ancien Regime, observed the fol­ world, but the common property of mankind.
lowing about the position without arms : Hence, to him, movements were "natural" when
they could be shown to be performed by all
"Whenever the soldier is in this position, he human beings . Consequently, and because hu­
shall stand motionless and shall observe strict man beings do not usually constrain their move­
silence. However, he shall not stand like a ments, Guibert was compelled to delete from
lifeless machine, but shall rather resemble an drill all rules the goal of which was to restrict
animated picture, which can begin to work and the movability of the soldiers . Instead, movabil­
move at any moment" (Guibert 1774: 165). ity had become the main goal of military exer­
cises , and the soldier had been transformed
Thus Guibert associated the machine with from a "lifeless machine" into a dynamic instru­
motionlessness, which was no longer worth a ment of warfare.
consideration. He did no longer want the sol­ These attitudes brought Guibert into opposi­
diers to observe a static and tight position while tion against linear tactics . He questioned the
standing; instead, he understood the standing principles guiding conventional 18th-century
positions as the preparatories for subsequent warfare and rejected them when he could not
movements . Against the prescriptions of the find an empirical foundation for them, but only
earlier 18th century, Guibert emphasized the the desire for the preservation of existing hab­
movability of the soldiers' bodies and believed its and, beyond that, the status quo in general .
that it was "natural" to interconnect the stand­ Guibert rode an attack on the then still domi­
ing positions with the movements that were to nant Prussian tactics and argued that Prussian
follow them (Guibert 1774: 73-76). tactics were no more than the fixed rules of
Because Guibert rejected the previous fu­ "slavish" game, in which everyone will succeed
sion of nature and the machine, he was com­ who abides by the rules meticulously (Guibert
pelled to indicate his own criteria for the "nat­ 1780: 124). With this attack, he disclosed a
uralness" of behaviour. On the occasion of his major weakness of the Prussian tactics, namely
command for marching, he explained: that the artfully balanced house of cards34,
which it represented, would collapse at once, if
"I have paid keen attention to the fact that only one player refused to accept the rules ofthe
every class of human beings, every nation has war game. lt becomes immediately evident that
its own way of walking as it has its own physi­ Guibert theoretically anticipated Napoleonic
ognomy. . . . But, in one single respect of the strategies. 35
mechanism ofwalking, all human beings agree. Guibert's ideas were fully utilized for the
Namely, all human beings move their bodies compilation of the drill manual for the troops of
forward while stepping ahead; among all hu­ the French revolutionary army of 1791. In this
man beings, the weight ofthe body alternating­ manual, a rule for the position of the soldiers
ly rests on the leg which stands on the ground, without arms was prescribed which followed

The tension of the ma rch was to result from the
f()Tward i n cl i n a ti o n of the u pper p ar t of the
fi'!•', 3 .
soldiers' bodies during the standing posi tion . In
th i s position , the sol d i er s were forced to use
their en ergy for keeping themselves upright
until they could release this energy i nto for­
ward movements. Thus the tension prod u ced
by the forward inclination of the standing posi­
tion made soldiers desire to march swiftly, lest
they fell down on the ground. To this tension, a
further accelerating factor was added w h i ch
was to result from the stretching towards the
ground of the knees and tiptoes. Together, the
combined effects of the forward inclination and
· • · ··
....- -.· :-:: · ··
. of the downward stretching of the knees and
tiptoes increased, first, the speed with which
Fig. 6. Fro m the French d r i l l manual of 1791 (book steps could succeed each other, and, second , the
ill ustration, pri n ted i n Paris by gov e rn m e nt com­ distance covered by the steps . In sum, as Gui­
m a n d ) . "Fig. 2" shows a sol d i e r in the p os i t io n stand­ bert, the French drill manual of 1791 took
ing u nder arm s, s l i gh t l y l e a n i n g to the front. "Fig. 3"
standing positions to be the preparatories for
shows a soldier marching; his body is upright.
marching; but it went beyond Guibert in pre­
scribing rules, in consequence of which the
soldiers were in a tension which compelled
the one suggested by Guibert. But the drill them to employ their bodily energy for the
manual of 1791 went far beyond Guibert in that purpose of gaining more ground more swiftly.
it did not only abandon the stiffness of the On the basis of these rules, the mass armies
position of the body, but, further to this, ruled levied since 1793 were drilled, so that the drill
that , while standing, the soldiers should lean manual of 1791 could become the tactical basis
the upper parts of their bodies slightly to the for Napoleonic strategies . It remained in effect
front (Reglement for the French Troops 1 7 9 1 : until 1830 and was quickly applied in modifica­
I I ) [Fig. 6] . This rule w a s connected with what tions in Italy and England already by 1800. In
was prescribed for marching: the German speaking areas, the earliest appli­
cations of the French drill manual of 1791
"To the front! March! Upon the first command, appeared in the Austrian Imperial army in
the full weight ofthe body shall rest on the right 1806, whereas the Prussian army received its
foot. Upon the second command, the left foot is first French inspired drill book only in 1 8 1 2 .36
lifted swiftly, but without shaking, is brought At the latest at this point oftime, linear tactics,
forward two feet ahead of the right, the knee is which had been founded on conformity and
in tension, the tiptoes are slightly turned to­ static behaviour, had been replaced by the dy­
wards the ground and twisted slightly towards namics and desire for originality so characteris­
the outside, together with the knee. At the same tic of 19th-century military practice.37 Hence­
time, the body is pushed forward, and the foot is forth, bodily movements came to be regarded as
placed on the ground flatly and smoothly at the dynamic actions .
very distance at which it is from the right foot.
Hence the weight of the body must always rest
Changes in 18th-century dancing
on the foot that stands on the ground. Immedi­
ately, the right leg is pulled ahead swiftly, but By far the most important 18th-century courtly
without shaking, with the tiptoe stroking the dance was the minuet, which contained the
ground without touching it" (Reglement for the expression of well-orderedness already in its
French Troops 1 7 9 1 : 17-19). name.38 But the agreements between the minu-

Fig. 7. Arnold Va n h accke n ,
The Min u et (engrav i n�c:),
1 7 ::3 5 . A man and a woman

enact circl ewi Re move­

ments . Their bodies a rc u p­
r ight and kept i n a tight po­

et and military movements were not limited to the same way as in the early 18th-century
formalities ; instead, they concerned many dif­ military movements'!!) the machine did not stand
ferent details of rules for positions and move­ against "nature".
ments . For example, in 1 7 17, Gottfried Tau­ Such behavioural norms reflected the world
bert, a German dancing master, prescribed rules of the courts with the aristocracy as the ruling
for dancers according to which they should elite which was closely tied together in a system
adopt a well-ordered position in which a stable of Europe-wide kin affiliations and social inter­
equilibrium is always to be preserved; dancers relations . Hence the behavioural norms ex­
were expected to keep their bodies tight and pressed in the minuet were constitutive for the
upright and their knees stiff (Taubert 1 7 1 7 : courtly elite which, for itself could sanction
411-412, 4 1 8 ) ; they were t o constrain their deviations from or even disregard for these
movements while stepping forward (Taubert norms . But, throughout most ofthe 18th centu­
1 7 1 7 : 42 1). In detail, Taubert ruled that danc­ ry, the attitude toward these norms among the
ers had to stretch their knees and tiptoes while peasants was distant and rejective, whereas
moving forward and stiffen all parts of their the bourgeois attitudes were mixed. Those mem­
bodies that were not required for the purpose of bers of the bourgeoisie who wanted to assimi­
moving (Taubert 1 7 1 7 : 422-423). Instead, danc­ late themselves to or compete with the aristoc­
ers had to keep their bodies upright and in a racy tried to imitate the norms ofcourtly behav­
stable equilibrium [Fig. 7] . iour, while the critics of the aristocracy ex­
Taubert believed that the well-ordered and pressed their criticism through attempts at the
constrained movability of the body was an ex­ establishment of novel behavioural norms .
pression of the "naturalness" of dancing. By Such indecision can be traced in the works of
contrast, Taubert regarded such movements as two mid- 18th-century men of arts, those by
unnatural or "affected" which were disorderly, William Hogarth ( 1697-1764), English painter
indecorous and exaggerated through an overex­ and art theorist, and those by Jean Georges
tension ofmuscles (Taubert 1 7 1 7 : 411-4 1 2 , 42 1 ) . Noverre ( 1727-1810), Swiss-born dancing mas­
I n Taubert's conception o f dancing movements, ter, choreographer and ballet theorist. In 1753,
order and a stable condition did not stand Hogarth described the minuet step as a com­
against, but were indicative of"naturalness", in mon "inundating movement" in the course of

w h i c h the bod i es of t h e d u n c c rs move up un d w e re to be perf()rmed. In order to combi n e their
dow n w h i l e ste p p i n g fo rw a rd ( Hoga rth 1. 955: q u i c k and intense movements with the i m p res­
1 57). The mi n u et s t e p was th u s a step on high sion ofbalanced positions and slow actions, danc­
hee l ::� , w h i c h cond i t i o n e d t h e "i n u ndatin g move­ ers were in need of a stable position of stead fast­
ment". The I aUe r w a s i n turn intensified by the ness, in which they could keep their bodies up­
stretching of the knees and the tiptoes as pre­ right. Hence Noverre still demanded the 18th­
scri bed by Taubert a n d repeated by H ogarth in century constrained stable equilibrium positions
h i :; p i cto rial works :'" Hogarth approved such in the novel contexts of rapid movements (No­
ki nd::� of step:; as an expression of beauty and verre 1 98 1 : 247-248, 258-259).
placed them in opposition against two unbe­ As the early 18th-century dancing masters,
com i n g types of m ovement, on the one side, Noverre used the position of a stable equi l i bri­
those o f peasants w h i c h h e described as disor­ um ior the purposes of accomplishing controlled
derly and wild, and, on the oth er, those of the and constrained movements and of reducting
dan c i n g master:; whose tight and upright posi­ tensions , as he gave preference to the use of
tions he brandmarked as l u dicrous (Hogarth bodily energy for the purpose of keepin g the
1986: 97). Thus, Hogarth knew two kinds of body and its limbs tight, upright and stifl".
deviations from his own aesthetic ideal of move­ The 19th-century reception of Noverre's
ment as represented in the minuet, first, the works supports the assumption that his rules
boorish ignorance of aristocratic behavioural for positions and movements became the stand­
norms, and, second, the purposeful rejection of ard of what has since been referred to as the
some of these norms (Hogarth 1986; 1.27-135).� 1 classical ballet. However, what was , in the 18th
Similar observations can be gleaned from century, an expression of contemporary behav­
N overre's theoreti cal leiters on the art of danc­ ioural norms, has remained a mere reminis­
ing and on the ballets, fi rst published in 1.760. cence since the 19th century. This has been so,
As a man of bourgeois origin, Noverre com­ because, soon after the publication ofNoverre's
posed ballets for an aristocratic audience� 2 , usu­ letters, the waltz as a new type of dance became
ally at the demand of territorial rulers . popular, first in the bourgeois communities of
In his letters, Noverre once described the towns and cities of the later 18th century. The
bodily movements of dancers as the movement waltz followed other rules . Its hallmark were
of a machine: swift turns through which the dancers received
a tension allowing them fast movements with
"According to my opinion, nothing is more diffi­ flexible bodies. The waltz had been representa­
cult than to hide our own mistakes, particularly tive of the kind of country dances which Ho­
in those moments when, through some intense garth had abhorred. But, already in 1.77 4, Jo­
execution, the whole machine is moving and in hann Wolfgang von Goethe described the waltz
a continuous vibration and when it sacrifices as a fashionable dance which he highly appre­
itself to unnatural movements and incessant ciated. According to Goethe, it was a pleasure to
strains. If, in these moments, art can overcome dance the waltz because ofthe tensions it creat­
nature, the dancer deserves every praise! " (No­ ed (Goethe 177 4: 22-25). �3 Goethe's reference to
verre 198 1 : 226). the waltz is of interest because it shows that, at
the time when Noverre created his equilibrium­
N overre's image of the machine was similar to oriented ballet dances for aristocractic audienc­
that of Guibert's, namely an instrument for the es, the upper bourgeoisie had already adopted a
facilitation of quick and intense movements, new type of bodily movement, which was no
such as jumps or lifts of other dancers . But such longer equilibrium-oriented, but was based on
movements posed a problem. The problem was periodical changes between tension and fast
that dancers had to exhibit slow actions, when movements on the one side, relaxation and rest
quick movements were required, and they had on the other. 44
to preserve the visible impression of an equilib­ In sum, during the later years of the 18th
rium when intense and destabilizing movements century, conventional behavioural norms com-

peted w i th i n n ovative ones, whereby the aris­ By contrast, the preference for dynamic ty pe
tocracy adhered to the conventionalisms and of movements in dancing was initially con fi ned
the upper bourgeoisie preferred the innova­ to members of the upper bourgeoisie, who de­
tions. The conventional behavioural norms were vised new behavioural norms in oppositio n
drawn on positions of a stable equilibrium, the against the aristocracy. During the 18th c e n tu ­
innovative ones focused on the flexibility and ry, the resulting novel types of movement, rep­
dynamic movability of the body. Since the be­ resented in the waltz, remained confined to the
ginning of the 1 9th century, the conventional­ bourgeoisie, whereas the aristocracy retai n e d
isms have s urvived only in the classical ballet. the conventional 18th-century dancing move­
ments, represented in the courtly minuet. • H
Although the new type of movements spread
C omparison between bodily move­
into bourgeois sports already before the end o r
ments in the military and dancing
the 18th century, the conventional type ofmove­
A thorough change took place in military bodily ment has been retained in the form of th e
movements during the second half of the 18th classical ballet well beyond the 19th century.
century. The equilibrium position, which had Consequently, the change in dancing move­
emerged during the 15th century and had been ments was gradual and partial, whereas, i n
transformed into a tight position of a stable military movements, i t was rapid and total .
equilibrium during the 17th century, was given Nevertheless, in both processes of change, the
up in favour of a dynamic type of movement gross result was the same. In both cases, a new
resulting from tensions in the soldiers' bodies . type ofbodily movements from out of a dynamic
The change began during the Seven Years' War alternation of periods of tensions with periods
and sparked off a radical criticism of the then ofrelaxation was superimposed upon a conven­
valid norms underlying linear tactics . Initially, tional type of bodily movements from out of
critics articulated their views merely in works tight positions of a stable equilibrium.
on military theory, but, already during the
1 7 70s, novel rules for movements appeared in
Juxtaposition of the changes in bodily
printed drill manuals, although then featuring
movements of the 1 5th and the 18th
conspicuously only in Steuben's manual for the
centuries and some remarks on the
troops of the Continental Congress in North
importance of military history for so­
America. However, since the 1790s, a radical
cial and cultural history
transformation of the rules for military move­
ments occurred, in the course of which, by the In the previous six chapters, two processes of
first decade of the 19th century, the convention­ change have been investigated and compared
al behavioural norms were either abandoned touching upon aspects of culture which, at first
completely or thoroughly called into question. sight, may not at present be regarded as closely
The late 18th-century change of military related. Specifically, the military and dancing
movements is remarkable because it was car­ have been searched for behavioural norms rel­
ried out by military officers who belonged to the evant to movements as actions. Investigating
aristocracy or were nobilitated bourgeois .45 movements in the military and in dancing has
Hence the change reflected more than the polit­ given support to the assertion that military
ical demands and wishes of the late 18th-centu­ movements are not autonomous and do not
ry bourgeoisie, but represented changes of pat­ result from some specifically military rational­
terns of actions which resulted from initiatives ity.47 Mutatis mutandis, the same is true for
of the aristocracy which dominated the officer dancing movements; also in dancing, behav­
corps in the armed forces of the late 18th­ ioural norms do not follow from internal factors,
century states. The reform-demanding aristo­ such as aesthetic or emotional motivations .48
cratic officers defended their demands, not with Instead, the comparison between bodily
aesthetic or emotional motives, but with argu­ movements in the military and in dancing has
ments on the efficiency of military action. produced evidence which suffices to show that,

in both cases , m ov e m e n ts as a form of soci a l d i tlc r e n t . Al th ou gh the cha nge br o u g h t i nto
action w e re s u bj ected t o w i der behavioural e x istence a new type o fbod i ly m ovement�:� , it did
norm o w h i ch are d efi n a b l e in terms of space and nut lead to a c o mple te redefinition ofbeh avi our­
ti m e , u s it were, ao pa ri::; and pa rcel o f s pe c ifi c al norms . Instead, in the case of d ancin g re�id­,

"spaces ofco m m u n i ca ii o n ":w H ow ever, th e co m ­ u als of c o nven ti o n al i ty ushered in an aesth etic

pari son does n o t o n ly p rod uce s i m i l a rities, but hi s to ri ci sm, which has rightly been rega rd ed as
it also displays di flcrences . One d i fference con ­ characteristic of 1 9th-century art and c u l ture.
cerns the rel ative c h ronol ogy of the ch an ges , Bu t wi t h reg ard to the military, the ch a n ge was
the other refers to the eflects of the changes on total. Neither in military theory nor in m i l itary
gro ups . practice were there any residuals of conven­
D u ri ng the 15th centu ry, changes of military tionali ty allowed to persist beyond the first
m o v e m e n ts fiJl l owed c h a n ge s uf d a n c in g move­ decade of the 19th century. Even at the end of
m e n ts after about two generations. In both the century, a historian like Hans Delbriick
forms of social action, t h e ch a nges were total in faced ardent criticism by military pra cti tion ers
that no residuals on c o n venti o n a l ity were left when he made an attempt at proving the prin­
beyond the fi rs t h a l f o fthe 1 6th century. More­ cipal rationality of 18th-century lin e ar tactics ."0
over, changes in both forms of social action Finally, the new behavioural norms of the
originated among the elites , n amely the urban 19th century were no longer made in the expec­
patriciates in I taly and F lan d ers and the princely tation of Europe-wide acceptance. Instead, it
nobility in Burgundy and the German speaking was believed that they were going to be valid
areas, and then perm e ate d into other social only within specific groups which were regard­
groups . ed as definable in terms of a common language,
B y contrast, d u rin g the 18th century, chang­ history and culture and for which the term
es in military and dancing movements were "nation" came in use. It is against this back­
launched by different social groups. Changes in ground that Clausewitz could argue that uni­
military movements were initiated among the form behavioural norms, such as those concern­
aristocratic or nobilitated officer corps, where­ ing social action, ought to permeate the entire
as changes in dancing were promoted by the armed forces of a nation.
upper bourgeoisie. At the beginning of the 19th
century, the change in military movements was
complete, whereas the change in dancing move­
ments did not exclude residuals of convention­
ality well beyond the 1 9th century. Notes
Consequently, the effects of the changes in
1 . See: Eichberg ( 1975), pp. 118- 135. Id. ( 1978), pp.
both forms of social action were different. The
188 ff. Nitschke ( 1979), pp. 127-140. Id. ( 1989),
late 15th-century equilibrium position and its pp. 2 7 7-3 15.
related behavioural norms developed into the 2 . See on the knightly tournaments: Barber ( 1989),
dominant characteristic of all European social pp. 48-76. J. Barker ( 1986). Denholm-Yaung
( 1948), pp. 240-268. Fleckenstein ( 1985). Poe­
groups, regulating the bodily movements of
schko ( 1984). J. Vale ( 1982). See on fencing:
their members regardless of origin and place of C astle ( 1888). Hergsell ( 1881). Id. ( 1896). Hils
settlement. Although it will be admitted that, ( 1985). Id. ( 1987), pp. 1-54. Nitschke ( 1987), pp.
perhaps, farmers and bourgeois were more fre­ 70-7 1 , 133-135. A bibliography of the fencing
manuals is provided by Vigeant ( 1882).
quently subject to territorial policing regula­
3 . See on Swiss warfare in the later Middle Ages:
tions than the nobility, the principal conformity Grosjean ( 1953), pp. 129- 1 7 1 . Id. ( 1976a). Id.
ofbehavioural norms helped constituting social ( 1976b). Haene ( 1899), p . 165. Kleinschmidt
groups as Europe-wide groups, whose behav­ ( 1 989), pp. 24-26. Sablonier ( 1979), pp. 429-477.

ioural norms were - at least in part - not subject Schaufelberger ( 1966). Id. ( 1972). Id. ( 1974).
Wackernagel ( 1956), pp. 283-3 16. Winkler ( 1982).
to the partial legislation of territorial rulers .
The best pictorial source on late medieval Swiss
But the result ofthe corresponding change at warfare is the Berne Chronicle by Diebold Schil­
the end of the 18th century was fundamentally ling the Elder ( 1 943/5).

4. See on E n gl i s h archery: Bradbury ( 1985). Deters equilibrium position in largely the same way as

( 1913). C f. on the crossbow: Harmuth ( 1975). that which has been described here for t h e 1 6t h
Heer ( 1 9 7 8 ) , p p . 1 7 0-2 0 0 . And cf. on the century. However, this and other battle p a i n t­
Aragonesc: Sablonier ( 19 7 1 ) . ings do not seem to reflect the current mi l i ta ry
5 . S e e o n t h e development offirearms technology i n practice, but, instead, an ideal of bodily behav ­
late med ieval Europe: Kleinschmidt ( 1991a). iour which became exhibited through militar·y
Rathge n ( 1 9 2 8 ) . Schmidtchen ( 1 9 7 7 a ) . Id. action.
( 1977b). ld. ( 1 977c). Id.( 1990). 24. For instance, in connection with the Swiss/Swn ­
6. Cf. Ne l l ( 1 9 14), pp. 228-232. bian war of 1499, Maximilian himself was awa re
7. I have l i sted the references in my paper Klein­ of the tactical disadvantage that the lansq u c n et
schmidt ( 1986), pp. 105-1 1 2. type ofcombat included. On occasions, he accused
8. On the date of this fencing manual cf. : Hils his lansquenets of insubordination and blamed
( 1985), pp. 16fi-1 7 2 . losses ofbattles on them, even in official publ i c a­
9. Printed , among others, b y Trease ( 1974), p. 239 . tions which were devised for his own praise; sec:
10. See th e descriptions and depictions by Marozzo Maximilian, Weisskunig ( 1888), cap. 174.
( 1536). Sainct-Didier ( 1573). 2 5 . Against the arguments presented by scholars
1 1 . See: Nitschke ( 1987), pp. 26-28, 136. Wolf( 19 18/ such as Hermann Wiesflecker and Gerhard Oest­
19), pp. 1 0-42. reich, I have tried ( 1986; 1994) to defend my view
1 2 . See: Adel mann/Weise ( 1954), p p . 26-3 3 . Gaul­ that Maximilian was an innovator of circlew i s e
hofer ( 1 9:10). Krienke ( 1959), p. 86. Taubert ( 1968), movements a n d the equilibrium position a n d
pp. 88-89. Tikkanen ( 1912), pp. 47-5 2 . Weise that these innovations contributed t o the m a i n ­
( 1949), pp. 172- 194. tenance of group discipline outside the control of
13. He may have followed the early 15th-century centralized institutions. Cf. Oestreich ( 1 969),
model provided by Domenico da Piacenza (ca Wiesflecker ( 1 9 7 1/86).
1390 - ca 1465 [Ms Paris, Bibliotheque Nationa­ 26. The introduction of this stiff attitude into mili­
le, Fonds ital. 972, fol . 13ff. Cf. : Brainard ( 1977), tary movements was one important consequence
p . VI. Prevenier/Blockmans ( 1988), p. 3 1 5 . of the military reforms of the Oranians. See:
1 4 . See: Brai nard ( 1979), p p . 2 1-44. Sachs ( 1933), Kleinschmidt ( 1989), pp. 96-149. Id. ( 199 1 ). I d .
pp. 199-200. At the same time,when the dancing (in press). For equivalents in fencing see: Herg­
masters appear, the social position ofthe fencing sell ( 1896).
maste rs becomes upgraded to a respectable pro­ 27. A list is provided in Kleinschmidt ( 1989), pp.
fession ; cf. : Hils ( 1 986), pp. 255-2 7 1 . 358-384.
15. See: Bourcier ( 1978), p p . 5 1-63. Brainard ( 1977), 28. Kleinschmidt ( 1989), pp. 150-195.
pp. I-VII . Dolmetsch ( 1975a), pp. 9-3 3 . Id. 29. See the remarks by Bleckwenn ( 1987), pp. 55-
( 1975b), pp. 18-48. Wood ( 1952), pp. 92- 116. 72, and Duffy ( 1987), pp. 7-1 3 . The stereotype of
16. See also Diirer ( 15 12), plate I. Cf. : Hene ( 1934). the sturdy, unbecoming, fat and disorderly peas­
Kleinschmidt ( 1989), p. 69. Lochner ( 1953), p. 1 3 . ant can be traced back well into the 16th century,
Nitschke ( 1987), p . 150. Schnitter ( 19 7 1 ) , p p . when Diirer emphasized it in his theory of pro­
445-453. Wassmannsdorff ( 1870). Id. ( 18 7 1 ) . I n portions and depicted peasants in them same
Maximilian's Freydal, a knight is depicted in the way; see: Anzelewsky ( 1988), p . 184. The obser­
same way as Diirer depicted his dancers; see: vations by Bleckwenn and Duffy tell against the
Leitner ( 1880/82), fol. 159. For a parallel in contention by Biisch ( 1981), pp. 14-4 1 , that, in
sports, specifically in 16th-century tennis see: 18th-century Prussia, military drill had a direct
Gillmeister ( 1986), pp. 23-39, 53-7 3 . militarizing impact on peasant life.
1 7 . This Italian word is commonly believed t o b e a 30. Cf. for an explicit contemporary statement: Diet­
derivation from Old Frankish-Lombard skirm­ rich ( 19 8 1 ) , p . 23 1 .
j an, which appears in Italian during the 14th 31. See: Duffy ( 1987), p. 9 9 . Kunisch ( 1990), p p . 49-
century as a nomen agentis. 83. Kirkinen ( 1960), Peil ( 1983), pp. 489-595.
18. See: Kleinschmidt ( 1 989), pp. 53-54. Stollberg-Rilinger ( 1 986), pp. 9-187.
19. Posthumously printed: Cornazano ( 1493). Id. 32. For a contemporary view see: Nicolai ( 1770). Cf. :
( 1507). Cf. : Serebey ( 1926), p. 455. Hohrath ( 1990). See further o n the attitudes of
20. Leitner ( 1880/82), fol . 139, 202, etc. military officers towards the Enlightenment:
21. See: Leckiichner ( 1532). Maximilian, Weissku­ Bertaud ( 1979), pp. 3 5-4 1 . Bien ( 1979), pp. 68-
nig ( 1888), p. 104. 98. Doig ( 1988), pp. 1-1 0 . Duffy ( 1987). Jones
22. Leitner ( 1880/82), fol . 139, 202, etc. ( 1980), pp. 29-48. Kann ( 1982), pp. 29-45. Kelly
2 3 . There are, evidently, mid 15th-century battle ( 1982), pp. 120-1 3 1 . Kieselbach ( 1988), pp. 486-
pictures and pictures of fighting men which 490. Koser ( 1904), pp. 239-2 7 3 . Kunisch ( 1975),
exhibit attitudes that came to be practiced only pp. 173-2 2 2 . Repgen ( 1985), pp. 27-49 . Hence,
at the very end of the century; see, for example, one can hardly, as Wehler ( 1987), pp. 244-254,
the battle of nude men by Antonio del Pallaiuolo does, place the linear tactics in opposition against
( 1431- 1498) who depicted men as fighting in an the Enlightenment.

3 : J . Se c: G e n t l e m a n's Mag'a :t. i n c ( 1 76fi), pp. 20:1 , 2�19.
C f . : Kl ei nsch m i d t. ( 1 989), p . : 1 11 7 . Sch l c n kc ( 1 96::1 ) ,
p . 279. There w e r e cunl,e m porary F: n g' l i s h lrnns­ Abrichtungsreglernent, 1 80 7 : Ahrichtungsreg/,•tttent
l a t i on s of' Pruss i a n d r i l l m a n u a l s; cf. : Klc i n­ fi'i.r die K.K. l11{imll•rit•. Vie n n a .
sch m id i , ( 1.91:!9), pp. a47 , :J7 1:! . 1:ich l e n kc ( 1 96:.1), p. B u rke, E d m u n d , 1 902: A P h i l o::;oph ical I n q u i ry i nto
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Wehrwesen im Spiitmittelalter im Lichte moder­ Wolf, J . , 1918/19: Die Tiinze des Mittelalters. In:
ner Militargeschichtswissenschaft. In: Neujahrs- Archiv fur Musikwissenschaft 1 : 10-42.

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Za n n o n i , G i ov a n n i , l l:l9U: l l L i b ro d c l l ' a rtc d c l d a n zn ­
rc d i Anton io Cornazzano. I n : Rendicon. ti del Reale
A r :cade111.ia dei l�i n c<!i, C/asse di scien.ze m ura li 6:
2 8 1 -289.


"A Household God in a Socialist World"

Lewis Henry Morgan and Russian/S oviet Anthropology

Andrei A. Znamenski

Zn amenski, Andrei A. 1 9 9 5 : " A Household God i n a Socialist World". Lewis Hen ry

Morgan and Russian/Soviet Anthropology. - Ethnologia Europaea 25: 1 7 7- 188.

'l'he a rti c l e discusses Lhe reasons ((>r high appraisal of Lewis Henry M o rgan 's
cLh n ological heritage in Russian/Soviet social scholarship. Morgan's social evo l u ­
tionism, attached to Marxism by Frederick Engels, sounded attractive for the
Soviet scholarship, which pulled Morgan's ideas out of the context of the n i n e­
teenth century thought and planted to the social scholarship of the 1930s- 1. 980s.
Fro m the early 1930s anthropological officialdom in the former USSR canon i zed
Morgan's ideas, especially his matriarchy thesis and the prophesy about the
returning to the classless society in the new advanced form. Until the early 1980s
Lhe Soviet anthropology, reduced to the study of the "primitive comm un i st
form ation", developed in the rigid framework of the Morgan-Engel's concept. The
article is based on the original Russian/Soviet sources.

An drei A. Znamenski, Senior Lecturer, Samara Pedagogical Institute, Russia.

"Reinterpreted by Engels, Morgan became the especially true concerning the former Soviet
most important ancestral figure for Soviet eth­ Union where all branches of the social scholar­
nology, and he is a revered - though perhaps ship were tightly connected with the dominant
rarely read - authority in the broader tradition Stalinist ideology called Marxism-Leninism.
of Marxist theory." This kind of scholarship was not related to the
Adam Kuper, The Invention ofPrimitive Society methods of Marxism. Rather, it served to prove
( 1988: 72). the principles of the state's ideology. The situa­
tion is very typical for any totalitarian regime
Scholars have indicated that the social scholar­ (Gellner 1988: 1988; Trautmann 1987: 252-
ship in the former totalitarian society of the 253; De Wolf 1992: 4 73-4 75).1
Soviet Union displayed considerable attention Each area of social science had its own bor­
to the history of the primordial society. This ders, within which scholars were allowed to
subject, at first glance, lacks any political rele­ pursue their own research. Thus, for example,
vance. On the other hand, it is a good illustra­ when in the beginning of the 1930s, the totali­
tion of the fact that all types of intellectual tarian suppression of the social sciences in the
activities, even those not connected directly USSR was in many respects finished, anthro­
with the ruling ideology, could not escape the pology lost its broad cultural approach and was
totalitarian grips . The rationale is very simple. reduced to the study of "primitive communist
If we are to take for granted the collective formation" (Slezkine 199 1 : 481).2 In one of the
essence of the ancient kin structure, the short collective monographs we find substantiation
period of the class-dominated relations in the for the ideological importance of this "primitive
long term perspective might seem temporary, communism" - "to the founders of scientific
or more accurately, represents the precondition communism, it was additional evidence in favor
for the return to the primordial system, except of the inevitability of transition from capitalist
on a new bdsis. In short, the anthropological society to the communistic one" (Ter-Akopian
and sociological research became a rationaliza­ 199 1 : 163).
tion for the future totalitarian utopia. This was Marx and Engels received this evidence in

An (·ie n l Society , the work of a n Am e r i c a n a n ­ I u tt e r 's m a t r i a r c hy i h e ::; i ::; u n c r i ti c a l l y a ::; being
i h r opo l o giR i , Lew i s Hen ry Morga n . As T h o m a H r e l a te d d i re c t l y io the co l lecti v i st orga n i zation
R. Tra u i m a n n p u t it, M o r ga n 's ::;ocial evol u ii o n ­ of ihe primord i a l society. The only d eve lop m ent
i::;m cou l d be "He rv i ceable io i h o H e who wi::;h io that En ge ls added was material on the ancient
find i n it a rg u m e n t s fo r s oci a l ch a n ge " (Traut­ G e r ma n H , G reeks and Ro m a n s . He also s h arp­
ma n n 1987: 2 5 1 ). The m as i e r i n g o f h i s w o rks by ened the materialistic i n terpretation, el i m inat­
fou nders of the Marxism a d v a n ce d M o rg a n 's i n g M org an from the "last remnants of idealis­
wri ti ngs to the v e ry ce n te r o f' i h e i d e o l o gy i n the tic h usk."
Soviet Un ion in the 1930s- 1970s. 'fh i s essay However, contrary to common opinion, Marx's
concerns the a b s o rptio n of Morgan's ideas by view of the primordial society was far more
the Ru::;::;ian a n d Soviet soci al scientists, an­ complex than the simpli stic versions of M organ
th ropol ogists, h i s to r i a n ::; , soc iolo g i s ts , w h o con ­ and Enge l s . Marx a p p ro a ch ed the subject more
sidered Morgan Jor a l ong time "a household god creatively. He acknowledged Morgan's great
in a socialist world" (Ibid . ) . The analysis of this contribution to the theory of gens and their
and similar cases might p rov id e an additional early eg a lit a ri a n character, but unlike Morgan/
illustration of the Soviet totali tar i an control Engels he did not state thai matriarchy p re c ed­
over intellectual activities when the regime ed patriarchy. Instead , it was Marx's view that
used "scientific arguments" rather than direct the first social ranks a n d divisions di d exist in
suppression of scholars . I n add i ti o n , thi s case classical collective kins. For Engels and Mor­
can illuminate adaptation of Western ideas to gan these ranks and divisions appear only dur­
the Russian environment. ing the period of transformation of the kinship
groups (kins) into class society (the so-called
"military democracy period", according to En­
Marx's and Engels' reinterpretations
gels). It was this idea that was introduced into
of Morgan
the ABC of Soviet anthropology. Marx also com­
It is well known that Frederick Engels credited posed the comprehensive synopsis of Morgan's
L.H. Morgan, who is considered the founder of Ancient Society, in which he elaborated on the
American ethnology, with independently dis­ concepts of American anthropology's founding
covering materialistic understanding of histo­ father (Krader 1974). Marx also intended to
ry, which was earlier invented by Karl Marx in write a special study on this subject, emphasiz­
Europe. With minor modifications Engels com­ ing the conflict between families and gentes
posed his own The Origin of the Family, Private rather than the evolutionary sequence of patri­
Property and the State ( 1972) around the Mor­ archy after matriarchy. On the contrary, En­
gan conception of human progress. The Origin gels, claiming he was obliged to fulfill the will of
laid the foundations for Marxist anthropology: his late friend to write the book on primordial
the "primitive communistic" nature of the pri­ society, followed Morgan more closely both in
mordial society, matriarchy as the necessary concept and even in terminology. This fact was
form of organization (later replaced by patriar­ already noted by scholars (Bloch 1983: 48; Du­
chy with the coming of the early class society), naevskaya 199 1 : 181).
and linear evolutionary development of society However, Marx's synopsis became known to
through stages of progress. researchers only in 1946 after it had appeared
Like Morgan, Engels was convinced that the for the first time in Russian. By this time,
governing tendency in the history of human however, in primordial studies, Engels'/Mor­
marriage was the diminishment of legitimate gan's school of thought was dominant and abso­
sexual partners for men and for women as social lutely opposed the main ideas expressed by
evolution progressed, with the monogamous Marx in his synopsis. Despite the aforemen­
family as a final result, corresponding to the tioned differences between Marx and Engels ,
society of private property. Engels seems to both o f them shared the common conviction
have been so consumed with Morgan's discov­ that Morgan gave them ethnographic founda­
ery of collective kinship that he accepted the tions for their own conceptions ofcollectivism in

the anc i e n t ki n society. "Why was th i s proof of trast to h i s l ater evol utionist followers , w h o
the one-ti me existence nfpri m i i i v e com m u n i s m beca me "apologi sts o f th e American capital ­
s o imporian i i o Marx?", Helen Constas asked in ism". It was the obvious contradiction with the
1967 only io re::;pond, "Bccau::;e the fact thai ii M arxi::;t principles themsel ves, which po s tul a te
had once existed in the past became a guaran­ the princi pic ofhistoricism . Another prominent
tee that it would sure ly once again exist in the Soviet anthropologist wrote on the significance
future, th rough the working of the dialectic of of Morgan for Marxist scholarship:
history. The incorporation ofMorgan thus served
an important p urpose for Marx: it intensified "It was the optimistic beliefin the human being,
Marxist eschatology. . . " (Proceedings o{the Sev­ in progress of society, and in triumph of reason,
enth Intern ational Anthropological Congress, that i s , in the victory of communist societal
IV, 1964 : 460). organization, that, most of all, brought Mor­
In spite of the obvious elements of social gan's ideas closer to those of founders of Marx­
evolutionism in hisAn.cient Society, Soviet Marx­ ism, and most of all, gave this American scholar
ist authors specially sti p u lated that Morgan such high esteem" (Tokarev 1978: 62).
should not be pl aced in the company of other
prominent evolutionists such as John Lubbock, It is interesting to note the typical evolutionary,
Edward Taylor or Herbert Spencer. The reason even Enlightenment terminology of this pas­
for such an exception lies in Morgan's attempts sage .
to put technological progress at the core of As is very well known, the development of
societal development, the corner stone of the social scholarship put evolutionism under strong
whole Marxist theory. He also recognized not criticism at the turn of the century. The new
only the gradual evolutionary sequence but the factual data broke the linear conception of de­
"qualitative leaps", and at the end ofhis classic velopment and pushed scholars to relativism.
treatise made a prophesy about the future dis­ The Boasian Historical School provides the best
appearance of the contemporary society. In­ example of this trend. "Father" Franz and his
stead, he envisioned the development of a new pupils concentrated their efforts on the study of
structure resembling the former collectivist kins, specific cultures rather than on speculations
or, in Morgan's own words , a society embodying about global development of mankind. Further­
'a revival, in a higher form, ofthe liberty, equal­ more, relativists came to recognition of equality
ity and fraternity of the ancient gentes' (Mor­ of all cultures , while evolutionists commonly
gan 1985: 522). One Soviet author, Ter-Akopi­ shared the concept of their hierarchy. The lan­
an, who conducted research on the role of"prim­ guage, methods and the manner of the materi­
itive communism" in Marx's and Engels' con­ als' presentation in the works of Taylor, Mor­
ceptions , even noted that Morgan was the first gan, Engels, and other social scholars of that
researcher into primordial society to express a time bore the natural markers of the epoch and
socialist perspective in human society's devel­ could hardly "stand apart" from it. They more or
opment (Ter-Akopian 199 1 : 199). less unanimously did their researches accord­
Therefore, in view of Marxist authors, as an ing to the established cliches . These studies
unintentional prophet responsible for the dis­ usually represented "piles" offactual data some­
covery ofthe essence of primordial society, Mor­ times picked up from distinct historical periods .
gan stood apart from his own time and rose Most probably Roman/ancient Greek chroni­
above all other contemporary thinkers (Ter­ cles and memoirs of European travelers to the
Akopian 199 1 : 28; Tokarev 1978: 59). In Soviet "savage" areas served as the sources for such
anthropological discourse even Morgan's pupils works, the latter providing the relevance for the
and followers, such as John W. Powell, were former. The goal was to demonstrate the unity
criticized for their deviation from the founding of development of ancient Europe and the mod­
father's basic conceptions. Soviet authors de­ ern "savages". This view, for its own time, con­
picted him as the thinker who possessed the stituted on the whole the new important step in
true understanding of historical events, in con- social sciences, which refuted attempts to mod-

e rn i ze h i sto ry, co n ce pti on s or sta t i c/degenera­ Wh i l e at the turn of'the century, in E u r o p ean
ti on i n th e deve l o p m e n t of' "u n d ev e l o ped peo­
" cou n tries a n d the Un ited States , Mo rga n H con­

pl e s o fthat. ti me. Later, h owever, the evolution ­ ceptions as well as evolution ary theory o n the
ist ideas th e m sel ves enco u n te red the ch all e n ge whole lost their i nll uencc, i n Russia these i deas
of rel ati v ist anthropol ogy. The new posi tivist conti n ued to dom i n ate a l a rge part of anthropo­
social scholarsh i p primarily o p p o se d two ai:i­ logical research . Apparently, we might partial­
pecis of the o l d anthropol ogy, the concept o r ly expla i n th i s situation by the fact that Rus­
matri archy a n d th e p erce p t i ons about t h e l i ne­ sian social scholarsh i p lagged behind Western
ar evol ution o f' th e soci ety. theory : the indirect reH ection of the general
Sov iet ethn ology, nevertheless, absorbed u nderdevelopment of the society and economy.
m a ny evolu tionist doctrines a nd ke pi i n tact In anthropology only oral ethnograph y and
Morgan's teach i n g i n con trast to the ch ange i n ((Jl kl o re experienced the strong i n fluence ofthe
world scho l a rs h i p . J n ad d i tion , i n the Soviet "hi storical school". ln other fie lds the evolution­
Union, where M arxi sm was transformed i n to i s m remained the major academic tool. Tokarev
the state's ideology, hii:i concepts, in Frederick illustrated this fact by the dynamic of tran sla­
Engels' version, became the stand ard theoreti ­ tions of main Western anthropological works in
cal model for the whole generation of anthropol­ Russia. In the pre-evolutionary period we could
ogists from the late 1920s. Through their stud­ hardly find any book transl ations discussing
ies they were supposed to provide only factual ethnology. Later on, at the second half of the
evidence for Morgan's ideas . As one Soviet eth­ last century, all major treatises of Western
nologi cal authority n oted, "it seems th ere is no evolutionists became available for the Russian
country like the Soviet Union where the name audience. However, at the turn of the century,
of Morgan is so popular" (ProceedinRs of the when rel ativism and agnosticism replaced evo­
Seventh Intern ational Anthropological Con ­ l u tionism with its ideas of progress, the signif­
gress, IV, 1964: 492). icant part of the Russian scholarly community
lost interest in the contemporary works ofWest­
ern anthropologists, and the translation work
Russian perceptions of Morgan's writ­
stopped. As a result, the relationships between
Russian and Western anthropology loosened
In the second halfofthe last century, prior to the (Tokarev 1966: 361). "Russia was the only coun­
establishment of his authority in the Soviet try, where his teaching [Morgan's] was accepted
scholarship, Morgan's kinship conception had and received further creative development",
large appeal for Russian scholars of liberal and proudly wrote Mark Kosven, a very influential
democratic orientation. Among them were such popularizer of the Morgan's matriarchy theory
prominent researchers and thinkers as the so­ from the 1930s to the 1950s (Ter-Akopian 199 1 :
ciologists Maksim M. Kovalevski, Peter Lavrov, 3 2 ) . Furthermore, i t is interesting t o note that
the anthropologists Nikolai Ziber and Leo Y. after the first publication of Ancient Society in
Sterenberg. Incidentally, it was Maksim Kova­ the United States, two translations were print­
levski who, being on friendly terms with Karl ed, one in Germany in 1891, and the other in
Marx, introduced him for the first time to Mor­ Russia. It is peculiar that the Russian transla­
gan's classic Ancient Society. At that time the tor used this German text as the original, and
book was relatively little known in Europe Morgan's treatise in the Russian variant had
(Kovalevski 1909: 11). The attention towards the title Primitive Society.
Morgan and the evolutionism seems to have The first Russian scholar to employ Mor­
contained more than purely academic interest. gan's ideas for his research was Nikolai Ziber,
Morgan's ideas on the linear progress, that whose views stood closely to Marxism. At first,
finally leads to the restoration of the communal he taught at the Kiev University, then moved to
forms oflife, provided additional support for the Switzerland, where he spent much of his aca­
arguments about inevitable movement of the demic career. In 1883 he published Essays on
society to a better collectivist future. History of Primitive Economic Culture, where,

focusing un the economy of "primitive commu­ levski focused primarily on the comparative
nism", i n a typi cal evol utionary manner he analysis of communal forms of ownersh i p in
attempted to provide abundant factual evi­ different cultures . In addition, he wrote a few
dence in �:� u pport ofthe matriarchy thesis and works on the disintegration of kin society. How ­
collective essence of the primordial society. Zib­ ever, the major role here belongs to Leu Y.
er extensively used Morgan's periodization of Sterenberg, who academically and administra­
human progress and even his terminology. tively contributed to the formation of the early
Praising Morgan and other evolutionists with Soviet anthropological scholarship through h i s
similar views, he argues that the subject of numerous students . H e started his own re­
matriarchy had received such deep analysis search at the end of the last century in Russian
that it no Junger demanded any new theoretical Far East, where he was in exile for his revol u ­
reevaluation. "All our tasks for future research," tionary activities . Sterenberg analyzed kin s h i p
he stressed, "include, on the one hand, accumu­ systems of the Siberian indigenous peoples,
lation of a quantity of factual materials con­ and the Nivkh people of the Sakhalin Island in
firming the collective kin theory, and, on the particular.
other, insights into the economic basis of vari­ Specifically, he discovered the remnants of
ous kin unions" (Ziber 1883: 291). He even the so-called "group marriage" among Sakha­
formulated his summary remarks at the end of lin and Amur River natives. This type of mar­
the book as a carbon copy of the Ancient Socie­ riage, according to Morgan/Engels, constituted
ty's concluding prophecy: "We may doubtlessly a step towards the formation of a monogamous
come to the conclusion that the new type of family. Engels even translated Sterenberg's
commodity slavery created by capitalism for paper on this topic for a German social-demo­
industrial purposes represents the most hate­ cratic magazine, and praised in his notes this
ful and vilest form that has ever existed". lt was support ofMorgan's conceptions . Moreover, Ste­
somehow possible, he continued, to justify the renberg became acquainted with Ancient Soci­
ancient forms of slavery, in Rome or Greece, ety's theories through Engels' Origin while serv­
rather than to rationalize "capitalist slavery", ing a short prison term in an Odessa city prison
"enrichment of the class of civilized monsters" (Sterenberg 1933: X) . At the same time, as the
(Ibid . : 504). shift in ideas towards relativism occurred, a
In some respects , he came up as the prede­ small group of Russian scholars started to re­
cessor of Frederick Engels, since Ziber, having consider "matriarchy" and "primitive commu­
finished his study in 188 1 , became the first nism" under the stress of new ethnographic
European apologist of "primitive communism" data. For example, Kovalevski, who traveled
prior to the appearance of the Origin ofFamily. and lived abroad for a long time, became one of
"The scientific significance of Ziber's work", the first prominent scholars to share this here­
stated Tokarev, "is especially considerable since sy. Despite this , in 1905 he wrote that matrilin­
he for the first time posed a question about the eal kinship had dominated the native life all
character of production relationships, property over the Western Hemisphere, and could also
forms in the primitive pre-class society, the be found on Madagascar and the Tonga Islands
problem, which neither Morgan nor Engels (Butinov 1965 : 1 8 1 ) .
clearly defined" (Tokarev 1966: 355 ). Therefore,
it was natural that in the Soviet Union Ziber's
Soviet absorption of Morgan
Essays had come out twice, in 1923 and in 1937
(Nikolski 1929: 15; Tokarev 1966: 355). The very character of the Morgan's evolution­
The well-known scholar, Maksim Kovalevski, ary concept, universality, totality, and finally
was also exposed to Morgan's ideas for a long its eschatological essence, had strong appeal for
time. Soviet historiography depicted him as a the Soviet totalitarian scholarship. Tolstov, the
"bourgeois positivist influenced by Marxism" leading Stalinist anthropologist and an admin­
because at first he was friends with Marx and istrative "bloodthirsty turk" (Slezkine 199 1 :
Engels, and later left his radical views. Kova- 4 79), stressed i n 1946:

"U n l: o m p r o m i s ed struggle for the Mo rga n tra­ p r i m o rd i a l Roci ety to the society o f rud i m en­
d i t i o n i n a n th ropol ogy, frl r ra i :;; i n g o u r sch o l a r­ tary cl a sse:o;/r-a n ks . E a r l i e r Morga n 's peri odi­
s h i p to the h ighest l eve l , f(,r gen u i ne i n troduc­ zation fo rmul ated th e foll owing stages:
ti on of s c i e n ti fic methodol ogy of Mcl l"X i s m-Len ­ 1 . "S a v a g e ry ", w h en p e opl e s u b s i ste d m a i nly
in ism i n to : m th ro p o l o gic a l studies re present a on wild life .
ch ar act e r i s tic featu re of the d e v e lop m e n t of 2 . "B a rba r ity" , th e p e r i od oflhe i n i ti a l for m s of
an t h ro p o l o gy in our coun try" (TolRtov 1 946: 7). c u l tivation a n d p ro d u c ti o n.

3 . "P ol i t ica l society" or civi l i zation : the appear­

Anoth e r s c h o l a r, po p u l ar i n the Sov iet anthro­ ance of private property, state, governm e nt,
pol ogical establish m e n t i n the 1960s and 1 970s, et c .
conti n ued :
Morgan c o n n e c ted ra d i c a l cha nge s in soc ietal
"One can come to the objective truth on ly go i n g development with various technological inven­
al o n g the road l a i d by L . H . Morgan and Freder­ tions . Praising him for this novelty, neverthe­
ick Engels. All other ways only leads to the less , Soviet Marxists considered th at view "im­
deviati on from the c re ati o n of u n i fi e d and gen ­ mature". Il was Frederick Engels who, hav i ng
uine teaching about primordial society" (Se­ connected primitive technology with people's
menov 1968 : 184). relations in the process of production, was cred­
ited for the "deep" el aboration on ideas con­
It should be noted that Soviet anthropology tained in Ancient Society. However, on the whole,
all owed and even demanded modifications of the Soviet anthropology viewed Morgan's con­
Morgan's/Engels' views. But this reevaluation cepts as extremely relevant for the contempo­
concerned only minor details, the general prin­ rary schol arship, especially such aspects as
ciples were assumed to be above any criticism. collectivist nature of the primordial society,
Thus, from the 1940s to 1960s Soviet scholars lack of individual families and movement from
basically left alone Morgan's speculations about matriarchy to patriarchy as the reflection of
particular forms of kinship evolution (so-called transition from the classless society to a slav­
"group marriage", "panulua family", etc.), which ery/feudal structure. According to Julia Aver­
anthropological observations never proved. kieva, one of the ardent proponents of"matriar­
Engels himself indicated that Morgan's con­ chy thesis", all primordial studies consist of two
cepts would demand corrections in the spirit of absolutely different periods : before the appear­
new ethnographic data. However, it was also ance ofAncient Society and Engels' Origin, and
Engels who defined the limits for this future after publication oftheseworks (Averkieva 1979:
revisionism, adding that reevaluation should 11). In this sense, Morgan's ideas really became
not concern Morgan's basics : collectivism of the "The Book of Genesis" for Soviet anthropology.
primordial society and matriarchy. According Furthermore, until the early 1980s Soviet
to Tolstov, "we consider the basic postulations of ethnological "output" even in form, shape and
Morgan's teaching about the primitive society content strongly reminded the classical evolu­
to be strongly verified" (Tolstov 1946: 10), and tionist works of the nineteenth century. In addi­
in the "spirit of Engels and Lenin" he provided tion, Soviet scholars hardly practiced anthropo­
the Marxist periodization of the primordial logical case and community studies, which un­
society: avoidably could lead to the relativist view of
culture and society. Instead, scholarship canon
1. The epoch of primitive herd, when the man demanded universal approaches, and as a re­
and the very structure of the society had not sult, numerous generalization studies mush­
yet been formed. roomed in anthropological research. From ide­
2 . The classic gentes (kin) society of "primitive ological positions, the officialdom of the Soviet
communism". ethnology rebuked all attempts to reevaluate
3. The "military democracy" stage (the term the basics of the kin theory. Scholars who tried
belonging to Engels), of transition from the to argue that matriarchy not necessarily repre-

sented col l c c i i v i ::; t k i n structu re o f t h c p r i m o r­ gists would usc Morgan's works as books o f
dial society not n ece ss a r ily constituted the con­ ready r e fe re n ce:
notation of matr i a rchy rece ived l abel s of"imita­
tors ofb u urgc u i s tho ught" and "rcv is i un ists". ln "In our time, when the primitive communism
the totalita rian sch o l a rs h i p the l atter word i ssue acquired large theoretical and political
lacked the neutral meaning it has in the West­ significance, when bourgeois and social-fascist
ern acade mic com m uni ty In the Soviet ethno­
. scholarships are united in their furious malice
logical di scourse the collectivist essence of the against teaching on primitive communism , nut
early society b�came the synonym of matriar­ avoiding in their struggle a direct falsification
chy and vice-versa. Therefore, any challenge to of facts, the appearance of Houses and House
this concept was treated as a d�fense of individ­ Li(e in Russian will play an important role
ualism and private property that di rectly l ed to because it will provide high quality material on
the apology of exploitation. On� ofthe authors, the communistic character of primitive tribes"
who speciali zed in writing theoretical studies (Morgan 1934a: VIII).
on primordiality, stated :
This ideological discourse gave the official eth­
" . . . while Scientific Communism received nology a good opportunity to refute all present
through the historical research of primitive and future challenges to the established ideas
society genuine evidence on i n evitable doom of since, from an ideological point of view, to crit­
capitalism, the apologists of anti-communism icize the relativist conceptions of such scholars
naturally had to make attempts to reconsider as Bronislaw Malinowski or Franz Boas by
these data" (Pershitz 1967: 17). means of simple academic polemics was not an
easy task. This criticism unavoidably could
Therefore, like in the other fields of Soviet lead to the plurality of views, lack of ideological
social scholarship, the academic polemics be­ correctness or theoretical unification. There­
tween Marxists and relativists transferred into fore, it was better to state that "bourgeois pro­
a politico-ideological dispute. The appearance fessors" intentionally distorted ethnographic
ofmajor translations of Morgan's works in Rus­ materials to attack Morgan's conceptions, which
sian in the first half of the 1930s was not in turn was a challenge to Marxism. Soviet
accident. The consolidation of the Soviet total­ anthropologists, who specialized in criticism of
itarian regime at this time also concerned uni­ the "bourgeois ethnology," even emphasized that
fication and standardization ofhumanities and Morgan's books "officially" or intentionally were
social sciences . In 1933 Mark Kosven published silenced in the United States. This was an
a biographical study of Morgan. The next year bizarre attempt to ascribe to Western scholar­
translations of Ancient Society and Houses and ship the same canons, which dominated in
House Life of American Aborigines came out. Soviet ethnology.
Besides, in 1935, after careful preliminary work, Lenin's view about the degeneration of the
a part of Morgan's correspondence was pub­ whole Western thought from the beginning of
lished (Kosven 1933; Morgan 1934; Morgan the century provided the starting point for the
1934a). Furthermore, in 1937-1938 Elena Blom­ criticism of all "bourgeois theories". According
kvist, a Soviet student of Native Americans, to Lenin, the decline ofbeliefin ideas of progress
translated into Russian his classic League of reflected the general decay of the capitalist
Iroquois . However, the book did not appear in society that came into its last stage, imperial­
Russia until 1983 (Morgan 1983). We may pre­ ism, the eve of the socialist revolution. In other
sume that League with its numerous "imma­ words, everything that came after the inven­
ture idealist flaws" obviously did not represent tion of Marxism carried a stamp of degenera­
a useful ideological tool for Soviet anthropology. tion. Consequently, scholars who did not share
The editor of Houses and House Life, intro­ Marxist views were considered the defenders of
ducing this work to the Russian reader, ex­ declining society.
pressed strong hope that all Soviet anthropolo- In his biography of Morgan Mark Kosven

stressed that "struggl e aga i n st Morgan's con­ who borrowed basic assess ments of' Morgan's
cepti ons, th i s "struggle o f' i deas" is the s i m ple pe rsonality from another Mo rga n's b i o g r a p h er,
refl ection of class struggle" ( Kosven 1 93 3 : 68). Theodore Stern, it became common to depict
Moreover, Avcrkicva, who dedicated all her the founder ofAmerican ethnology as a con tra­
theoretical and topi cal w ritings to the defense dictory person. On the one hand, he w as a
of Morgan's heritage", even stated that "histor­ "bourgeois", "capitalist" who by tradition dem­
ically and philosophical ly, these scholars I Mor­ onstrated his religious piety. On the other, in
gan's evol utionisi followers i n the United States l contrast to many of his contemporari es, "vi­
represented more mature thinkers than Amer­ cious unscrupulous professors", he displayed
ican anthropologists of the twentieth century" "academic honesty", and came to the "natural"
(Averkieva 1 979: 65). Challenging such views, conclusions in the spirit of "spontaneous mate­
an Ameri can participant of' the 1 967 Congress rialism". Thomas 'l'rautmann neatly rem arked
of Anthropological Sciences in Moscow rightly that "Morgan's charm for Marx was exactly that
compared Morgan's role in ethnology with thai he was a ''Yankee Republican" and a capi talist,
ofLamark in Biology - we should respect him as in that his contributions were therefore beyond
a pioneer, but it would be absurd to speculate on suspicions (Trautmann 1 98 7 : 255).
what current scholarship could get from his Incidentally, Soviet social scholarship often
teaching (Proceedings of' the Seventh Interna­ used such arguments about "spontaneity" of
tional Anthropological Congress, IV, 1 964: 484). "honest bourgeois scholars" to prove the "scien­
However, considering the American attitudes tific character" of Marxism-Leninism or better
towards Morgan, we should not forget that from to say, the Soviet totalitarian version of Marx­
the 1960s onward, with the general rise of left, ism. This assessment of Morgan dominated in
left-liberal ideas, and the growth of popularity Soviet anthropology until the mid- 1960s, when
of Marxist concepts in the academic communi­ Semenov attempted to reconsider this view. As
ty, a few scholars made attempts to reassess his is known, in the late 1 950s Leslie White, a
conceptions, stressing their relevance to the major and consistent proponent of Morgan con­
contemporary scholarship. However, as Adam cepts in the United States, published large part
Kuper noted, in the American anthropological of his correspondence and diaries . One can
tradition debates about Morgan primarily evolve learn from these materials that Morgan had
around his kinship theory (Kuper 1988: 74). been rather active in Indian affairs, in addition
Trautmann's study ( 1987), for example, pro­ to his defense of the Iroquois in his youth.
vides an illustration of this approach. In recent Diaries also exposed his critical approach to­
scholarship Robert Bieder seems to have pro­ wards the United States Indian policy and
vided the best brief analysis of Morgan's place European ruling circles. This social criticism
in the history ofAmerican anthropology (Bieder evidently did not go beyond the normal liberal
1986: 245-246). But these attempts certainly attitude to the governmental policies of the
has nothing to do with the ideological approach period.
of the former Soviet ethnology, which developed However, the temptation to link the person­
another tradition, inagurated by Engels, which ality of the scholar with his "communistic" con­
concerned with social evolution and the "origin ceptions was irresistible. In connection with the
of the state". In the same way, the appearance 150th anniversary of Morgan's birthday Se­
of nco-evolutionism in American anthropology menov made such an attempt. While Kosven
became a reaction against extremes of relativ­ depicted him as an ordinary bourgeois, Semen­
ism rather than a return to Morgan's ideas in ov went to the other extreme, calling Morgan a
their classic form. "revolutionary democrat" . In the Marxist
The Soviet ethnological establishment also Leninst j argon this assessment meant that a
made insistent attempts to link the very per­ person approached very closely towards "genu­
sonality of Morgan with his "communistic ide­ ine" Marxist teaching. Following this logic, Se­
as" to make the utopian consistency complete. menov even stated that after the mid- 1870s
At first, from the biographical study by Kosven, Morgan made a crucial step towards Commu-

nism! (Semenov 1 968: 23-24). The author picked pants even organized a speci al session excl u ­
up all available h a r::;h q u otations and critical s ively on the s ignificance of Mo rgan's heritage
statements of Morgan about contemporary so­ for the contemporary scholarship. It is also
ciety, and buill a con::;i::;tent chain of hi::; "natu­ important that the complete texts of these de­
ral" drift tow ards "soci a l i st orientation". Hav­ bates became available to the Soviet audience,
ing failed to find in h i s writi ngs and notes which could form its own opinion of primordial
critical com m ents d i rectly rel ating to the Amer­ studies without anybody's interpretations.
ican political system, Semenov widely employed Prior to and after the congress a group of
Morgan's E uropean diaries. scholars from the Moscow Institute of Ethnog­
In these notes Morgan strongly criticized raphy attempted to publish results of their
European aristocracy, church bureaucracy and research, where they found the lack of matrilin­
expressed Rympathetic feelings to the Paris eal kinship in the cultures under consideration.
Commune revolutionaries massacred by the One of them, N .A. Butinov, a student of tradi ­
French m i l i tary in 1870. At the same time, in tional society ofN ew Guinea, indirectly started
the same comments he praised American de­ to rethink Morgan's matriarchy. He expressed
mocracy! These remarks forced Semenov to his views in a monograph The Origin and Eth ­
produce additional explanations. Otherwise, nic Composition of Native Population of New
the "integrity" of Morgan's personality could Guinea (Butinov 1962). Major anthropological
have fallen apart. The Soviet ideologist found purists, Julia Averkieva, A. Pershitz, Leo
his way out, speculating about Morgan's sup­ Fainberg, and N . Cheboksarov, delivered a
posed homesickness for the United States dur­ strong ideological rebuke to Butinov's book,
ing his long travel across Europe and his belief blatantly stating that Soviet ethnology would
in so-called "American agrarian Communism" . not accept the sociological schemes of Western
Helen Constas was right arguing that this sup­ anthropology. Moreover, they continued, "Buti­
posed "inconsistency" in the afore mentioned nov's work worried wide circles of Soviet an­
views, in reality, presents evidence that Mor­ thropologists ." That response also contained a
gan in his notes stood for the equality of oppor­ direct conviction, "The author [Butinov] drifted
tunities rather than against private property to the camp of direct opponents of Marxist
(Proceedings of the Seventh International An­ teaching about primordiality" (Averkieva, Per­
thropological Congress. Moscow, IV, 1967 : 457). shitz, et al. 1963: 201). Butinov carried on a
In this context, his harsh statements against polemic with his critics within the strict limits
European aristocracy find reasonable explana­ of Marxist discourse, the established rules of
tion. the game in Soviet totalitarian scholarship. He
specifically expressed doubts over the direct
connection between the collectivist nature of
The Prophet reconsidered
the "primitive society" and matriarchy since his
Later, after a slight destalinization, a large own research showed that New Guinea people
number of Soviet anthropologists raised on lived in collective kin communities within the
Morgan's/Engels' ideas, continued to demon­ patrilineal kinship system.
strate their adherence to these views. Matriar­ His opponents attempted to assert that pa­
chy and collectivism of the "primitive society" triarchy constituted the later institution, a log­
were considered untouchable. However, from ical consequence ofthe colonizers' influences on
the beginning of the 1960s there appeared first the natives . They also blamed him for extend­
scholars who attempted to reevaluate both de­ ing specific Australian and New Guinea cases
tails and corner stones of Morgan's conception. to the primordial society's history as a whole.
The important role in this process belonged to Summarizing the results of the polemic, the
the 7th World Anthropological Congress held in editorial board of Soviet Ethnography, the offi­
Moscow, where Soviet anthropologists for the cial journal of Soviet anthropology, stated in
first time were widely exposed to the variety of typical ideological cliches :
Western theories . Soviet and Western partici-

"We want to avoid the com paring of quotations Robert Lowic, who became famous for bci n g the
belonging to the founders of Marxism . I n our first to crusade against Morgan in A m e rica,
opinion, it is rather well known that Engels directs all its efforts to overthrow the teach ing
consi dered matrilineal kin as preceding to pa­ about kin ." However, in the 1970s Avcrkieva,
triarchy and Lenin did not oppose this view as one of the Marxist purists of the Soviet an thro­
well" (Suvetskaya Etnograf£a 1965 : 187). pology, already wrote, "In 1919 one new theore­
tician I Lowie l of the historical school came up
In si milar cases , after such conclusions all de­ with an attempt to prove the primord i a l it y of
bates were considered to be finished. However, patriarchy. Generalizing the opinions of his
two other anthropologists, V.N. Bahkta and colleagues, he pointed out that American eth­
V. R. Kabo took the side of B utinov. They began nology considers the question of the h i storical
argu i ng the divers i lied character of primordial relationship of matrilineal and patri l i n e a l in­
comm unities based both on kin and territorial stitutions closed" (Kosven 1933 : 66; Averkieva
structures. Incidentally, all three scholars spe­ 1974: 15-16).'1
cialized in anthropology of the Pacific region By the mid- 1980s a greater part of Soviet
(Bloch 1983: 116). scholars de facto refuted Morgan's/Enge l s' con­
Defenders of Morgan's thesis in their own ceptions. Only a small number of scholars, who
case studies attempted to challenge the revi­ made their carries through the criticism of so­
sionist views. For example, Averkieva ( 1974) in called "Western revisionists in anthropol ogy"
her book North American Indians. From Kin to continued to put forward arguments in favor of
Class Society employed Native American an­ "primitive communism" as a mandatory socio­
thropology to assert the early matrilineal or­ economic formation through which all peoples
ganization of all American Indian nations . Us­ passed at different time periods before embrac­
ing the traditional Marxist-evolutionist dis­ ing the class society. Some of these scholars
course, she (like Morgan and Engels) utilized nowadays try to shadow their past ideological
Greek and Roman chronicles as well as compar­ campaigns, stating that they had been motivat­
ative data on Ancient Asia's nomads . In addi­ ed exclusively by "pure scholarship" (sec Se­
tion, she dedicated a special chapter to criticism menov 1992: 3 1) .
of the Boasian "historical school" and contem­ Incidentally, the current criticism o f the to­
porary nco-evolutionism in the United States. talitarian heritage in Russian anthropology
However, at the turn ofthe 1970s Soviet ethnol­ represents additional interest. The attempts to
ogy was gradually losing its ideological consist­ defy remnants of Soviet ethnology are carried
ency. Working in the limits ofMarxist tradition, on in a typical Russian manner, with tradition­
anthropologists started to bring relativist con­ al extremes . For instance, the current Director
cepts into their concrete research. Besides, the of the Moscow Ethnological Institute asserts
"primitive communism factor" lost a large part that Russian anthropology should be radically
of its ideological significance. The very expres­ reshaped according to Western concepts (Ger­
sion "primitive communism" disappeared from man, American?) . Today Russian anthropolo­
all major books and reference editions in the gy, earlier called "Ethnography", even changed
1960s and 1970s (Ter-Akopian 199 1 : 163 ) . Writ­ its name to "Ethnology". A few critics of such
ings, that still used this cliche, put it into measures rightly observed that these drastic
quotation marks . attempts might destroy some positive features
Interestingly enough, from the 1930s to 1970s of the scholarship, for example its historical
the strength of ideological attacks on revision­ approach (Shnirelman 1992: 390).
ists ofMorgan softened as the totalitarian grips The treatment of Morgan's ideas in Russia
loosened. Let's compare, for example, two dis­ provides an illustration of the "applied" and
courses. In 1933 attacking Robert Lowie Kos­ "practical" attitude to science and social schol­
ven used the following words, "Current official arship in the Russian tradition, which had
American ethnology under the leadership of its designed scientific knowledge to promote cer­
recognized chief, self-satisfied and frivolous, tain "just cause". This role dramatically in-

creased i n the Soviet to ta l i ta r i a n :o oc i e ty where
Anthropol ogy Rtarted to :ocrve i d eologi cal goa l :,;
Anonymous 1.965: Editoria l . In: Sovetshaya Et n o;.: m ­
o f the govern ment. Taken o u t o f i t s historic fin 7: 1 87 .
epoch and :opecific c o n te xt , Morgan's ideas start­ Averkieva, J . P. , Pershitz A . , Fain berg L . , ChebokHa ­
ed to pl ay an a bsol u tely ditlorent role at a rov N. 1963: Eschije raz o Meste Matriark hata v

differen t time. I n a similar way, many other Istorii Pervobitnogo Obschestva. In: Sovetshaya
Etn ografia 3: 195-202.
scholarsh i p concepts brought from the West to
Averkieva, Julia 1966: Slavery Among the Indian s of'
the Russian/Soviet soil shared the similar fate. North A m erica . Victori a .
Averkieva, Julia 197 1 : The Tlingit Indians. I n : E lean ­
or B. Leacock and Nancy 0. Luri (eds) : North
American Indians in Historical Perspective. New
York: 3 1 7-342.
Averkieva, Julia P. 1974: lndeitsi Sevemoi Amerilli.
1 . For exa mple, in 1976 duri ng an East-West an ­ Ot Rodovogo Obschestva h Klassovomu. Moskva.
thropol ogical conference J u l i a P. Averkieva ar­ Averkieva, Julia P. 1979: Istoria Teoreticheslwi Misli
gued that the major goa l of Soviet anthropolo­ v Amerihan shoi Etnogra{ii. Moskva.
gists wa� to provide materi als prov ing the estab­ Averkieva, Julia P. 1980: Historicism in Soviet Ethno­
lished M a rxist-Le n i n ist concept of historicism: graphic Science. In: Ernest Gellner (ed . ) : Soviet
see Averkieva ( 1 980: 1 9) . and Western Anthropology. New York: 19-2 7 .
2. Incidentally, Yuri Slezkine w a s the first who Averkieva, Julia 1992: Kwnkiut String Figures. Sent­
discus�ed in his dissertation the ideo logization tie and New York.
of Soviet anthropology in the 1920s and 1930s: Bieder, Robert E . 1986:Science Encounters the Indi­
see Slezkine ( 1989 ) . an, 1820-1880. Norman and London.
3 . Averkiova's academic "journey" in the Stalin and Bloch, Maurice 1983: Marxism and Anthropology:
post-Stalinist environment seems to reflect the The History of a Relationship. Oxford.
hardHh i p s of the whole generation of Soviet so­ Butinov, N. 1962: Proishozhdenie i Sostav Korennogo
cial scholars of the 1930-1950s. In the beginning Naselenia Novoi Gvinei. Moskva.
ofher career this talanted anthropologist worked Butinov N. 1965: Otvet Kritikam. In: Sovetskaya
with Franz Boas and authored many interesting Etnografia 3: 180-183.
Marxist studies on the transition of the North­ De Wolf, Jan J. 1992: Ethnology in the Third Reich:
west Coast Indians from the kin society to the A Review. In: Current Anthropology 33(4): 473-
class-based structure (Averkieva 1966; 1 9 7 1 ; 475.
1992). Stamped a s a n "unloyal" a n d "suspicious" Dunaevskaya, Raya 199 1 : Rosa Luxemburg, Women's
scholar, who traveled abroad, later in the end of Liberartion, and Marx's Philosophy of Revolution.
the 1940s she had to go through Stalin's concen­ Urbana and Chicago.
tration camps . Evidently, Averkieva as many of Engels , Frederick 1972: The Origin of the Family,
her colleagues, falsely accused in various "crimes", Private Property and the State. London.
by their orthodox and dogmatic Marxism, at­ Gellner, Ernest 1988: State and Society in Soviet
tempted to convince everybody in their loyalty. Thought. Oxford, UK and New York.
See a short biographical sketch of Averkieva in Kosven, M . O . 1933: Lewis Henry Morgan: Zhizn i
Mark A. Sherman's "Introduction" to Averkieva Uchenie. Leningrad.
( 1992: XVII-XX). Kovalevski M. 1909: Dve Zhizni. In: Vestnik Evropi
4. It is also interesting to observe how militant July: 3 - 1 3 .
ideological discourse that purists used to criti­ Krader, Lawrence (ed.) 1 9 7 4 :
The Ethnological Note­
cize their home opponents (in this case Butinov) books ofKarl Marx. Assen.
softened from the early 1960s to the second half Kuper, Adam 1988: The Invention ofPrimitive Socie­
of the 1970s; compare, for example, Averkieva, ty. Transformation of an Illusion. London and New
Pershitz, a.o. ( 1963) with Pershitz ( 1980). York.
Morgan, L.H. 1934: Drevnee Obschestvo. Leningrad.
Morgan, L.H.1934a: Doma i DomashnijaZhiznAmeri-
kanskikh Tuzemtsev . Leningrad.
Morgan, L.H. 1983: Liga Irokezov . Moskva.
Morgan, L. H. 1985: Ancient Society. Tucson.
Nikolski , V.K. 1 9 2 9 : Obzor Teorij Pervobitnoi
Ekonomiki. In: Pod Znamenem Marksizma 1 1 : 6-
Pershitz, A. I . 1967: Rannie Formi Braka v Sovetskoi
Etnograficheskoi Nauke. In: Voprosi Istorii 2: 10-

Persh i t z , A.I . 1 980: E t h n ogra p h i c Recon;;t ruction of S l e z k i ne , Yur i 199 1 : The Fal l of Sov iet Eth n ogm phy,
t he I I i Htory o f "Pri m itive Society". I n : E r n est G e l l­ 1 928- 1 9:38 . [ n : Cn rre n. t A n t h ropolo{.!,y :12 ( 4 ) : -1 7 6-
n e r (ed . ) : Soviet a n d We.� tem. Anth ropology. Ne w 484.
Yo dc 85-94. S te renbe r g , Len Y. 1 93 3 : Sem i,ia i Rodstuo 8redi
Proceed i ngs of' the Seventh ln. temation.n.l Anth ropo ­ Narodov Severo- Vostochnoi Azii. L e n i ng ra d .
logi cal Congres .� . Mo.�cow, 1.964. IV, 1 96 7 . Te r-Ako p i a n , N . B . 199 1 : Pe r vob i tnoe obschesl vo: Pro­
Semenov, Y. I . 1 968: Lewi s Henry Morgan : Legenda i blemi Teorii i lstorii v Rabotakh Marksa i Engelsa.
D e i Rtvite l n o s t . I n : Souet.�kn._ya E tr wf.{rafia 6: 175- Moskva.
1 89. Tokarev, S . N . 1966: Istoria Russkoi Etnograf/.i . M osk­
Semenov, Y. I . 1 992: 0 Pe rvo b itn o m Kom munizme, va.
M a r k s i z m e C h e l o v e c h e skoi S u s c h n o s t i . Et ­ Tokarev, S.A. 1978: Istoria Zambezhnoi Etn of.{rafii.
nogra.ficheskoe Obozrenie 3 : 19-3 3 . M oskv a .
Sh n i rel m a n , Victor M . 1 99 2 : Com m e n t t o Valeri i Tolstov C . P. 1946: K Voprusu u Perio d i z ats i i Pervobit­
Tis h kov's The Cri s i s i n Soviet E t h n o g r a ph y. In: nogo Obschestva. In: Sovetskaya Etnogrn.fl.a 1 : 3-
Cu rrent Anthropology 33 (4):389-390. 15.
S l e z k i n e, Yur i 1989: Russia's Small Peoples: The Trautmann, Thomas R. 1987: Lewis Hen ry Mo rgan
Policies and Attitudes towards the Native Nor­ and the Invention of Ki n ship . Berkeley, etc.
therners, 1 7th centwy- 1.938. Austin: The Universi­ Ziber, N . I . 1883: Ocherki Istorii Pervobitnoj Econom­
ty of Texas in A u s t i n , Ph.D. Diss. icheskoi,i Kulturi . S t . Petersburg.

Vol. 2 5 - 1995

Editorial: Ethnic and National Identities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Jonas Frykman: The Informalization of National Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Gosta Arvastson: The Politics of Morales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Bernhard Tschofim: ,Verfremdungen". Ethnizitii.t und alltagsii.sthetische
Erfahrungen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Reginald Byron: European Identities Transplanted Across the Atlantic.
The Irish-Americans of Albany, New York . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Dina Siegel: Political Absorption. The Case of New Immigrants to Israel
from CIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Bo Lonnqvist: Rhetorik im Dienst der ethnischen Mobilisierung.
Die finnlandschwedische Konkordanz 1860-1990 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Dunj a Rihtman-Augustin: Victims and Heroes. Between Ethnic Values
and the Construction of Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Reana Senjkovic: The Use, Interpretation and Symbolization of the
"National". Croatia 1990/92 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Aija JanelsiJ;J.a Priedite: Die Abwertung der nationalen Symbolik am
Beispiel Lettlands 1987-1994 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Mojmir Benza: Project for a Slavic Ethnological Atlas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Editorial: Female Worlds . . . . .. . .. .. . . . .. . .. . . . . . . . . . .. .. . .. .. . . . .. . .. . . . . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. . .. .. . .. .. . .. .. . . . 95
Brian Juan O'Neill: Diverging Biographies: Two Portuguese
Peasant Women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
Brit Berggreen: Societies of Married Women. Forums for Identity
Building and Female Discourse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Ulrike Krasberg: Die Mitgift und die Stellung der Frau auf der
griechischen Insel Lesbos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Anne Monjaret: La rete d e la Sainte-Catherine a Paris dans l e s Annees
folies vue a travers la presse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Harald Kleinschmidt: The Military and Dancing. Changing Norms. and
Behaviour, 15th to 18th Century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Andrei A. Znamenski: "A Household God in a Socialist World".
Lewis Henry Morgan and Russian/Soviet Anthropology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177

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The use of italics is indicated by underlining.
Desired position of illustrations should be marked Editorial address:
with pencil in left margin. Too many grades of Professor Bjarne Stoklund
headings should be avoided. Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology
Long quotations should not be marked by Vandkunsten 5
indentations, but only indicated by quotation DK-1467 Copenhagen
marks and double line spacing before and after. Denmark
Journal of
European Ethnology

Contents ofvolume 25:2

Editorial: Female Worlds .................................................................................... 95

Brian Juan O'Neill: Diverging Biographies: Two Portuguese
Peasant Women ............................................................................................... 97
Brit Berggreen: Societies of Married Women. Forums for Identity
Building and Female Discourse ..................................................................... 119
Ulrike Krasberg: Die Mitgift und die Stellung der Frau
auf der griechischen Insel Lesbos .................................................................. 131
Anne Monjaret: La fete de la Sainte-Catherine a Paris dans les Annees
folles vue a travers la presse ·········································································· 141
Harald Kleinschmidt: The Military and Dancing. Changing Norms
and Behaviour, 15th to 18th Century ............................................................ 157
Andrei A. Znamenski: "A Household God in a Socialist World".
Lewis Henry Morgan and Russian/Soviet Anthropology .............................. 177
Contents of volume 25-1995 ............................................................................. 189

ISBN 87-7289-342-7
ISSN 0425-4597