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Households: Changing Form and Function

Author(s): Eric J. Arnould and Robert McC. Netting

Source: Current Anthropology, Vol. 23, No. 5 (Oct., 1982), pp. 571-575
Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological
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in age, sex, and race are manipulatedmuch moreeffectively, 1. What are the relationships betweenpowerand ideology?
as theyare more familiarand accessiblewithinthe national Betweencultureand ideology?What is the natureof power?
culture. 2. What is the relationshipbetweena formalorganization
The contributions by sociologistsand organizationexperts and the societyat large? Can an institutionbe understood
rangedover a broad territory.Michael Useem discussedthe independentof its surrounding cultureor socioculturalforma-
Britishcorporateelites,whichconstitutea networkof inter- tion?If not (as mostanthropologists wouldthink),howcan we
lockingboards of directorsstructuredso as to maximizethe cope withthe "forest"withoutlosingsightof the "trees"?
flowof information. He describeda networkwhichgenerates The fact that thesemajor questionsemergedin a seriesof
an ideologyand a subcultureof its own,basicallyto facilitate protracted,and sometimesheated,discussionsbetweensocial
the transmission of information but also as a means of con- scientistsfromdifferent disciplinestestifiesto the existenceof
solidatingclass power. a commonbasis of theoreticalconcerns-a fact we tend to
Peter Abell and Raul Carvajal discussedpower fromthe forgetin our parochial preoccupationsas anthropologists,
perspectiveof operationsresearch.Abell provideda mathe- etc. In thissensetheconference
sociologists, was a steptowards
matical model of decisionmaking,and Carvajal describeda theunification of thesocial sciences.
methodology forremedialplanningin Mexican state organi- Methodological stylesoriginatinginverydifferent intellectual
zations. Startingwith a mathematician'sconceptualframe- traditionswere not the only handicap to communication be-
work, he discovered anthropologicalprinciplesrelating to tweenthe membersof different disciplinesat the conference.
patron-client networks.Interestingly, the strengthof anthro- There weresourcesof mutualirritation whichsomehowhelped
to spark the arguments:for example,sociologiststended to
pology in this contextis seen to reside not in interviewing
limittheiraims, whileanthropologists tendedto flyoffin all
techniques,but in certainkeyanalogicalconcepts.
theoreticaldirections.To someextent,thiswas becauseofa set
Louis Goodman analyzed the decision-making process in of initial misunderstandings; the nonanthropologists thought
multinationalcorporations.He began by providinga review that theywereexpectedto charta new area in whichanthro-
of economictheoriesof the firmand proceededto classifythe pologistswereto work,whilethe anthropologists thoughtthat
stagesin decisionmakingfromtop to bottomand fromcenter theirtheoreticalguidancewas to be central.Although,in the
to periphery.From thisa typologyof the exerciseof powerin end, a betterunderstanding of the scope of the various disci-
complexbusinessorganizations emerged. plineswas probablyachieved,thereis roomforfurther and-
If the organizershad to startall over,theywouldpose such perhaps-better-defined effrots
interdisciplinary on thesubject
majortheoreticalquestionsas thefollowing at theoutset: ofpowerand formalorganizations.

FormandFunction techniquesof data collectionhave been employed,and what
are the distinctiveproblemsof ethnographicand historical
investigations.On the third dav, substantivematerial was
byERIC J.ARNOULD and ROBERT McC. NETTING presentedon the relationships betweenproductionand house-
Department of Anthropology, Universityof Arizona,Tucson, hold organization and between transgenerational transmission
Ariz. 85721, U.S.A. 2 II 82 of propertyand coresidence.One day of discussions was
devotedto intrahousehold distributionof goods and services,
Nineteen anthropologistsand historiansmet October 9-15,
poolingof income,and consumption.There was also consider-
1981,underthe auspices of the Wenner-Gren Foundationfor
ation of the relationshipsbetween the householdand more
AnthropologicalResearch at the Seven Springs Conference
inclusivesocial unitssuch as the estate,the local community,
Center,Mt. Kisco, N.Y., to discuss the changingformand
the nation,and the worldeconomicsystem.On the fifthand
functionof households.The overallaim of the conference was
finalday of the meeting,confereesdelved into the symbolic
to movescholarlydebatebeyondtheclassification and analysis
aspects of the householdas seen in both Euro-Americanand
of householdsystemsin termsof genealogicalor coresidential
East Asian traditions.
types to the processualthemesof what householdsdo, what
The participantsand theirpaperswereas follows:
functionstheyperform, and how and whytheyalter through
AnthonyT. Carter (Universityof Rochester): Household
The participantsweresocial historiansand anthropologists
WilliamA. Douglass (Universityof Nevada): Sheep ranchers
withcommonresearchinterestsin the household.They were
and sugar growers:Propertytransmissionin the Basque
invited to presentnewly analyzed evidence of documented
immigrant familyof theAmericanWest and Australia
changein householdsize or compositionin a singlesocietyor
Brian L. Foster (ArizonaState University):Family structure
emerging froma controlledcomparison
and thegenerationof Thai social exchangenetworks
of householdsin contrasting communities.The universalitvof
Eugene A. Hammel (Universityof California,Berkeley):On
the household,its utilityas a unit of analysis,its adaptive
the *** of investigatinghouseholdformand function
potential,itsinteractionwithmoreinclusivesocialand cultural
David Herlihy (Harvard University):The structureof the
systems,and relationshipsbetweenhouseholdtasks (produc-
tion,distribution,transmission, reproduction,and coresidence Peter Kunstadter(Universityof Hawaii East-West Center):
[Wilk and Netting])and householdorganizationwere among Householdcompositionand socioeconomicchange:Lua' and
the planned topics of discussion.Formal sessions were also Karen in northwestern Thailand
organized to examine issues raised in previouslycirculated PeterLaslett (CambridgeGroupfortheHistoryof Population
papers. The firsttwo days of discussionswere devoted to and Social Structure)
definitionaland methodologicalquestions:what definitions of Olga F. Linares (SmithsonianTropical Research Institute):
householdhave been employedby the participantsin their Developmentcyclesamong the Diola of Senegal: What are
own recentwork,how usefultheyhave been in analysis,what thedependentvariables?

Vol. 23 * No. 5 * October 571
Orvar Lofgren(Instituteof European Ethnology,University The householddoes, however,seem to be a usefulunit of
ofLund): Familyand household:Images and realities analysis recognizablyand regularlyoccurringsomewherebe-
RobertS. Merrill(Universityof Rochester) tween the individualand the largercommunity(Hammel).
ArthurD. Murphy (Universityof Georgia), with Robert Our participantswere thereforewillingto retain the 1972
Hackenbergand Henry A. Selby: The household in the Hammel-Lasletthouseholdtypologyas a heuristicdevice for
secondarycitiesof theThirdWorld consistentreporting and comparisonof data. They werenone-
Robert McC. Netting,co-organizer(Universityof Arizona), thelessaware of theproblematicgenealogicaland coresidential
withRichardWilk: Households:Changingformsand func- criteriathistypologyemploys(Yanagisako 1979,Carter).The
tions compromiseposition adopted towards household typologies
Andrejs Plakans (Iowa State University):Serfemancipation servesto guard against the twinpitfallsto be avoided if the
and the changingstructureof ruraldomesticgroupsin the householdis not to becomeanother"odd-job" word in social
Russian Baltic provinces:A preliminary surveyof relevant science: reification,on the one hand, and irreplicability of
factorsin nineteenth-century sources results,on the other.
Martine Segalen (Centred'EthnologieFrangaise): Nuclear is Many definitionalissues were raised by conferees.The
not independent:Organizationof the householdin present- critique of the coresidencecriterionwas perhaps the most
day Bigoudencountry thoroughgoing. This critiqueparallelsYanagisako's (1979) ob-
HenryA. Selby(University ofTexas), withArthurD. Murphy, jection to the genealogicalbias in familystudies. Hammel
Ignacio Cabrera,and Aida Castaneda: Battlingpovertyfrom illustrateda numberof problemswith this criterionforusers
below: A profileof thepoor in two Mexicancities of archivalcensusmaterials.For medievalBalkan tax lists,for
RichardR. Wilk,co-organizer (Universityof California,Santa example,householdboundariesmustbe inferred fromminimal
Cruz): Householdsin process:Domestic organization,land indicationsof male kinshipties. Slightchangesin assumptions
pressure,and cash cropsamongthe Kekchi Maya of Belize about boundaryplacementproducemassive variationin the
ArthurP. Wolf (StanfordUniversity):Family and life cycle inferredincidenceof zadruga-type joint households.Douglass,
in ruralChina in remarksabout Basque and Siciliancensuses,added evidence
Sylvia Yanagasiko (StanfordUniversity):Explicating resi- showinghow secular and ecclesiasticalauthoritiesemployed
dence: A culturalanalysis of changinghouseholdsamong different criteriaofcoresidencein countinglong-term migrants.
Japanese-Americans It becameobviousthat historians,who are necessarilylimited
Eric J. Arnould,rapporteur(Universityof Arizona): Market to the coresidentslisted in census documents,may reach dif-
developmentand changing relations of reproductionin ferentconclusionson household structurethan do anthro-
Zinder,NigerRepublic pologists,who can take intoaccountmigrantswhoseeconomic
Conferenceparticipantsaccepted an approach that dis- contributionsand eventual returnmaintaina householdin
tinguishedhouseholds as culturally defined, task-oriented theirabsence.
residenceunits fromfamiliesconceivedas kinshipunits that Hammel also noted that thereare no methodsfordeciding
need notbe localized.Nonrelativeswholive together, servants, how largea proportionof a sampleof households,takenat an
and lodgers who cooperate in some commonactivities are undefined pointin thedomesticcycleofeach froma population
householdmembers,whereasnonresidentkin are usually (but whosesize is unknown,is enoughto concludethat the popu-
not always) affiliatedprincipallywithotherhouseholds.Both lation as a whole conformsto a certainhouseholdsystem.A
historians,whose field was conventionallyconcernedwith 15% difference in theproportions ofone householdtypeat two
states,politicalleaders,and social classes,and anthropologists, pointsin time mightbe due merelyto chance. Wolf pointed
whose disciplinehad concentratedon tribes,descentgroups, out that samplinghousehold size in China after the great
and communities, agreed that the householdas a significant periodicnatural disasterswould produce very different pic-
social unit had been neglected.Family history(Stone 1977, turesof thehouseholdsystemfromthemultiple-family system
Shorter1975) has too oftenconcentratedon literaryevidence whichin factprevailedthere.Merrilladded thatchancedemo-
for the psychologicalinteractionsof familymembersrather graphic fluctuationswill compromiseany householdsystem
than the more objective, quantitativelyverifiablefacts of at some point unless multiplestrategiesof recruitment are
householdmembership. The flexibilityof the householdgroup, broughtintoplay. Africanethnographic data provideparticu-
itsmultitudeofrolesand tasksencompassedwithina relatively larly rich examples of the varietyof recruitment strategies
limitedrepertoire ofshapesand sizes,makeit an effective focus available whichare not necessarilyrevealed in census data.
forinterdisciplinaryresearchin a widevarietyofsocialsettings. These factorsand otherscompoundsamplingerrorin census
The confereeswanted to test the extentto whichhousehold data, usuallyin variousunpredictableways. Resolutionof the
organizationrespondedto changes in the socioeconomicen- samplingproblemrequires collectionof a large numberof
vironmentas well as the degreeto whichrules and ideals of cases at severalpointsin time,a solutionnot oftenavailable to
householdformationpreservecertain formalsimilaritiesfor eitherhistoriansor anthropologists. Merrilland Hammelwere
longperiodsin particularethnicor regionalcontents.In addi- hopefulthatcomputersimulationwouldprovidea partialreso-
tion to the search fora commongroundon definitional and lutionofthissortofproblem.Our approximations ofhousehold
methodologicalissues (Hammel, Wilk and Netting,Carter, formand functionare, like theblindmen'sconflicting descrip-
Foster),fourmajororientations in householdresearchemerged tions of an elephant,very much dependenton our limited
fromthe conference.These concernsare illustratedin the temporaland observationalperspectives.Nevertheless,the
papersand the discussionsand debatestheyprecipitated. householdis a moresalient,serviceable,and readilycomparable
Classification and method.Criticismsof empiricaland posi- social unitthanotherscustomarily chosenforanalysis.
tivistapproachesto thehouseholdled scholarsto abandonany Carter,Douglass, Wilk, Kunstadter,and Segalen provided
restrictive,unitarydefinitionof the household.There is no ethnographic examplesof the inappropriateness of coresidence
criterionor set of criteriaby whichthehouseholdmightbe alone as the criterionfor householdmembership.In India,
defined.Instead,studentsofhouseholdsystemsmustrecognize North America,Belize, Thailand, and France, long-termor
that even single societiesare likely to contain varyingfre- temporarymigrantscontinueto participatein pooling,distri-
quencies of a range of householdorganizations,and scholars bution,reproduction, and inheritance.Their migrantstatusis
will have to explicatethe precisemeaningof the social units not oftenaccuratelyreflectedin census records,nor are the
they are calling householdsin the elucidationof particular other tasks they performas membersof households.These
problems. authorsand Wilk,in particular,pointout that regionalavail-


abilityofvaluedresourcesis an important variabledetermining whichlive in close proximityand practicesimilarproductive
local residencechoices. strategies.Recent modernizationand urbanizationhave not
In his paper, Arnouldshowedthat Hausa employa multi- eliminated distinctivehousehold traits of differentethnic
variatedefinition of householdmembership in whichthe tasks groups.Plakans and Segalen objected to the overgeneralized
of social reproductionare the most fundamentalelements. characterof the Laslett/Wolfformulations. The formerre-
Onlywhenjuniorhouseholdmemberscease contributing to the mindedconferees ofthepaucityofdata available fromEastern
marriage,birth, and tax payments of the multiple-family Europe and the scope of changefollowing collectivization,and
householdare theseindividuals,includingmigrants, considered the latteremphasizedthe diversityof local systemsin France.
to have a domesticunitseparatefromtheparentalhousehold. However,it maybe useful,as Wolfsuggests,to employa postu-
Althoughthereis considerablevariationin the degreeof co- lation of stable, long-termculturalpreferencesin household
operationamong agnaticallyrelated familyclustersin the patterningto explorethe effectsof familyhouseholdsystems
performance ofhouseholdtasks,the ideologyof thetraditional upon individuallife-course decisions.
multiple-family gida is maintainedunlesscooperationin repro- Historicalstudiesand culturalcontinuities.A secondapproach
ductivetasks is brokenoff.A somewhatdifferent definitional whichtends to overlap with the firstis that of longitudinal
issue was taken up by Foster. Drawing on graph-theoretical studies which emphasizeculturalconservatismin household
models and recentnetworkresearch,he constructedsupra- organization.This approachis characteristic of Laslett's evi-
householdstructures fromhouseholdunitsby representing aid dence forthe persistenceof simple-family dominancethrough-
relationshipin graph form.This mode of analysis of Thai out therecordedhistoricaldemography ofEngland.His recent
villagesocietyalso throwslighton the divisionof labor in the discussionof "noumenalnorms" and the autonomyof rules
performance of householdtasks by severalrelatedhouseholds. governingideal residencedecisionswhichare imbeddedduring
Anthropologicalanalysis by synchronic,cross-sectional early socialization(Laslett 1981) makes the same point. Pat-
methodsis not,however,an adequate substitutefora detailed ternsof authoritywithinthe householdand locallydistinctive
longitudinalreconstruction of household change, a method customsresultingin historicallyconsistentrates of bastardy
used successfullyby historianswhere annual censuses exist show similarculturalcontinuitythat is little influencedby
(Mitterauerand Sieder 1979). Carteradvocated the formula- exogenousvariables.Models of modernization whichpredicta
tion of specifichousehold historiesincludingthe temporal necessarymovementfrommultipleextendedformsof family
movementsof people in and out of residence,householdposi- householdorganizationto a simple nuclear type oftenlack
tions,and kinshipstatuses.Such a chronology wouldalso con- explanatory power.In cases suchas thatofa ruralTaiwan area
tain information on the changingsize of the household,its between1906 and 1946, therewas a remarkablestabilityof
access to resources,and changingproducer/consumer ratios. familytype,with50-60% representing stemor grandformsof
Yanagisako warnedthat use of the coresidencecriteriontends the multiple-family household.Wolfgave evidenceof both the
to drawa functionalboundaryaroundgroupsof people which persistenceofa domesticcyclebased on strongculturalvalues
in the case of JapaneseAmericansis not confirmed by emic and the differences in residentialhistoriesof sons born either
conceptsofhouseholdorganization.Mutual helpand authority earlyor late intotheirfamiliesof origin.
patternspersistedbeyond the breakup of stem families.She Taking a symbolicperspective,Yanagisako showedhow co-
argued that empiricalstudy of householdsmust be supple- residencehas becomedisaggregated fromotherhouseholdtasks
mentedby culturalanalysiswherepossible.As Hammel sug- among second-generation Japanese-Americans. At the same
gested,householdsmay in some instancesbe statisticalout- time,thevalues associatedwiththeconceptofkazuko(family),
comesof the action of otherpowerfulculturalvalues such as loyaltyand generalsupport,have not been diluted. Shared
genderconstructs. meaningscharacterizea distinctiveset of familyrelationships,
In Yanagisako's view and that of Plakans and Herlihy,his- while decisionsas to coresidenceare responsiveto more im-
torians must supplementenumerationswith other sorts of mediateeconomicconditions.Such studiesprovidean antidote
recordsif theyare to reconstruct kinshipand othercultural foroverlydeterministic and mechanicalmodelsof household
systems.Herlihy,forexample,has used thelives ofIrishsaints change.
as a sourceconcerningearlymedievalhouseholdrelationships Cross-sectionaland processualstudies.The thirdand by far
and mentionedthatphilosophicaltractstreatingthe familyas the most popular currentline of researchis particularistic
a culturalideal are available in the West froman earlydate. studiesofadaptationand covariationamonghouseholdswithin
Cross-sectionalstudiesand culturaltraditions.
The firstof the a givencultureor historicalperiod.As Lofgrenpointedout,this
foursubstantiveorientationsin householdresearchis that of approachaims to generalizeat thelevelofprocess,ratherthan
cross-sectional and comparativestudiesin whichexplanatory at the level of forms,and to providea generativeapproachto
weightis placed upon long-standing culturaltraditionsto ex- householddynamicsin whichsystemspotentialities ratherthan
plicate macro-levelpatterns of householdorganizationand systemstypesare explored.Merrillemphasizedthe adaptive
process.This approach tends to view householdformas an potentialof the householdin the face of demographicvari-
independentratherthan a dependentvariable.Most conferees ability.Eclecticin theoryand method,suchstudiesrangefrom
were willingto grantthat thereare long-termregionalregu- Wilk's analysis of the relationshipsamong crops, man/land
laritiesin householdorganizationwhichseem to some degree ratio,labor schedulingand diversity,and householdsize and
independentof ecologicalcircumstance.Laslett and Hammel structures amongKekchiMaya shifting cultivatorsto Murphy
wentfartherthan most in extendingHajnal's (1965) observa- and Selby's analyses of survival strategiesof thousandsof
tions on marriagepatternsto hypothesizethat Eastern and marginal,poor, and middle-classMexican householdspartici-
WesternEuropean householdsystemsare distinguished along patingin urbancash economies.
a rangeofcovariantcriteria.These axes includean intergrading Amongthe many themestouchedupon by confereesis the
of simple,stem,and multiple-family householdsas one moves dimensionof householdprocessesdefinedby the creationand
fromWesternto EasternEurope, withaccompanyingchanges negotiationof powerand social inequalitywithinand between
fromlate marriageand frequentcelibacyto earlyand universal households.It is a dimensionofhouseholddynamicswhichlinks
marriage.Wolfproposedthata similarcontrastcouldbe drawn householdsto widersystemsof social stratification, and one
between the traditionalChinese multiple-or grand-family whichcomesintoplay mostprominently whenthe old "moral
householdsystemand the Japanesestem householdsystem. economy"~ is breakingdownand somehouseholdsbecomemore
Kunstadterprovideddata fromThailandpositingsimilarlong- successfulat takingadvantage of new resourcesand oppor-
standing differences in household systems between groups tunitiesthanothers.

Vol. 23 N 5 * October
No. 1982 573
At theintrahousehold level,a numberofparticipantsfocused and sugarcanegrowersmay reflectin part a culturalcommit-
upon the three-wayrelationshipbetweenage and gendercon- mentto an Old Worldpattern,but it is also adaptive to par-
structsand power.Cartershowedthat the value placed upon ticular economicconditionsin very different host societies.
seniorityin Maharashtra joint-familyhouseholds is oper- Transferring thepatrimonywithina stemfamilywas not seen
ationalizedin theformation ofmarriagequeuesand playsa key by themigrantBasques themselves as intentionally conforming
role in generatingthe diversityof partitionstrategiesand to a Basque culturalideal. Douglass pointedout thata house-
actual decisions.Wilkdemonstrated thata similarvalue allows hold typemay persistwithoutbeinginstitutionalized and may
seniormen in Kekchi householdclusters,but not in single- serve very different purposes in its originaland immigrant
familyhouseholds,to benefitdisproportionately fromjunior- settings.
male labor despitea competingvalue of egalitarianlabor ex- L6fgren'sworkdocumentsthe decliningstatus of the ubiq-
changeamongmen.Linaresarguedfromherextensivedata on uitous lodgers and servantsin peasant householdsand the
theDiola ofSenegalthatIslamicgenderconstructs, whichhave increasingsocialdistancewhichis negotiatedbetweencoresident
recentlybeen introducedto the Diola, have led to differential kin and nonkinas an overall systemof social stratification
access of men and womento new plow technologiesand cash developsin the Swedishcountrysidewith the growthof land
crop opportunities in Islamicizedcommunities. Access to land scarcityand commercialagriculturein the t9th and 20th
and labor resourcesin pagan communitiesis moreegalitarian centuries.Thoughthefarmhouseholdhad muchthe same size
and intergender cooperationmore extensive.Selby's Zapotec and compositionin 1800and in 1890,its internalstructurehad
case materialconcerningthe normsof postmaritalresidence been alteredfroma singlewell-integrated unitto one in which
indicatesthat althoughmen make rules in Zapotec society, the nuclearfamilyof the farmerwas segregatedand socially
women are oftenvery successfulat makingdecisionswhich differentiated fromthe groupof servants.The same cleavage
violatetherulesin theinterestofinterhousehold poweradvan- had earlieraffectedthe urban bourgeoisie,and the Victorian
tages.In short,theseparticipantsarguedthatthereis disagree- familyideals of privacy,propriety,and home-centered emo-
ment and ongoingconflictin communitiesand withinhouse- tional warmthcreatedpowerfulnew symbolsof domesticlife
holdsoverthedefinition ofappropriatepoolingand transmission thatcontinuedto affecthouseholdbehavior.
behaviors.Such strugglesare the stuffof householdprocesses. Segalen demonstratedhow wage employment opportunities
Arguingat a moregenerallevel,Herlihy,Selby,Murphy,and and nuclearfamilynormshave generatednew neolocal resi-
Nettingcontendedthat thereis a regularcross-cultural asso- dence patterns among rural Bretons who were formerly
ciationof householdsize, controlof resources,and power,al- peasants.She also showedhowgardeninghas been transformed
thoughthe causal connectionsamongthesefactorsare dialec- froma cash-producingto a redistributive resourceamongst
tical ratherthan unidirectional.Production,recruitment, and householdswhich send out wage earners.Though younger
transmission strategiesmay be quite variableand providean familiessubscribeto modernFrench standardsby building
arenaofcompetition amonghouseholdsin thesamecommunity. separatemodernhouses,theycontinueto spend a great deal
Adoption,fosterage, and incorporation of lodgersand servants of time eating, working,and socializingin the neighboring
are common methods of recruitmentboth in 14th-century dwellingsof theirparents.The new residentialand productive
Tuscany and in 20th-century Taiwan. Murphyindicatedthat strategiesmay even strengthenlong-standingpatterns of
high fertility is a more commonlyemployedstrategyamong intergenerational cooperationand distribution.
upwardlymobile householdsof urban Mexico,.while Filipino Longitudinaland comparativestudiesofhouseholdprocesses
householdsrestrainfertility and add adult workers.Exceptions hold promisein clarifyingthe problemsencounteredin dis-
to the widespreadassociationbetweenwealthand household tinguishing betweenthetaskand kincomponents ofhouseholds
size can be found,but Herlihyexplainedcases suchas thelarge and the dangersin too readilyassumingculturalsignificance
familiesofpoorTuscan sharecroppers in termsofspecificlabor fromdemonstrable genealogicalconnection.Plakansis pursuing
needsand the requirements of estatemanagers. the novelproblemof workingout a kinshipsystemfromlong-
Wolf'sdata on modernmainlandChinadrewattentionto the termBaltic censusmaterialswhichcontainrelativelycomplete
relationshipbetween state power and household processes. genealogicalinformationabout Latvian serf and freed serf
Some mightagreewithHammelthatthesphereofautonomous householderson thegreatGermanestates.His data, like those
householdactionhas erodedbeforetheonslaughtofstatepower of manyhistorians,pose special problemsbecause thereis no
in the last two centuries.Postrevolutionary China providesa contemporary ethnographicpopulationfromwhichto derive
testcase fromwhichmoresanguineconclusionscan be drawn. clues about the meaningof genealogicaldata. It seems, for
Chinesefamilyreform has resultedin legalizeddivorce,monog- example,that non-kinwerefillingspots formerly occupiedby
amy,a one-child-per-couple rule,drasticallylater age at mar- coresidentkin of the head in thesehouseholdsafterserfeman-
riage, officialabolition of ancestor worship,and an almost cipationin 1817. There is also some indicationof exchangeof
completeloss ofcontroloverproductiondecisionsat thehouse- junioragnatic relativesbetweenhouseholds.Perhaps because
hold level. OthertraditionalChinesepatternspersistin andro- of outmigration, the proportionof multiplefamiliesper farm-
centrism,partible inheritance,surname exogamy,nepotism, stead declinedand theproportionof simplefamiliesincreased.
mother-in-law/daughter-in-law conflict,and aversion to di- Other links such as these can also be drawn, but Plakans
vorce. The traditionalobligationof the youngestchildrento believesthe questionof theirculturalsignificance may onlybe
supportaged parentshas even been reinforced by the state. answeredwithsupplementary sourcessuchas parishregistries,
Historicalprocessualstudies.Longitudinalstudiesof house- diaries,and the like. Successfulstudies of this type are the
most likelyto providegeneralizationsat the level of process
holdsas processeshave beenundertakenby a fewscholarswith
about systempotentialities, but carefulcontrolof covariation
exceptionally gooddata,botharchivaland ethnographic, among
at each pointin timeis necessaryto avoid
them Douglass, L6fgren,Segalen, and Plakans. This line of attributingpreexistentecologicaland historicalvariabilityto
inquiryendeavorsto deal withtwo kindsofprocesses-covari- new exogenousinfluences forchangeaffecting all communities
ation and diversityat a point or pointsin timeand gradual, in a sample.
cumulativechangein householdformand organizationthrough Conclusion.The conferenceprovideda forumin which a
time.Douglass showedhownewproductionstrategiesin North greatmanytopicsin contemporary householdresearch,onlya
Americaand Australiahave led Basque immigrants to create fewof whichare mentionedin this report,wereaddressed.A
multiple-family households although stem familiesare the volumewhichprovidesample scope forthe explorationof the
Basque normin Europe. The prevalenceof patrilineallyex- state of the art of householdstudiescoveredin the conference
tendedfamilyhouseholdsamongBasque emigresheepranchers paperswillappear in 1983.


Conferees addressed many of the themes outlined in largersocial field,and to look inward and see what effect
Yanagisako's (1979) earlierreviewarticle.Above all, themeet- householdprocesseshave upon the lifecoursesof individuals.
ingprovidednewimpetusforthestudyofhouseholdsas process
and provideda corrective to thetypologicalbias in muchearlier
work.Actionswhichdefinethehouseholdare as changeableas ReferencesCited
the units themselves.Householdsmay adapt, accommodate,
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ecologicaland politicalconditions.Formsmaypersistwhilenew Eversley,pp. 101-40. Chicago: Aldine.
meaningsare attached to them,and old meaningsmay cling LASLETT, PETER. Editor. 1972. Houtsehold and familyin past time.
to newformsof householdorganization.It is neverpossibleto Cambridge:CambridgeUniversityPress.
--. 1981. Typologiesof the family.MS.
predicta prioriwhatis negotiable,whatis normative, or what MITTERAUER, MICHAEL, and REINHARD SIEDER. 1979. The develop-
is acceptedas given and naturalby actors. Studies of house- mental process of domestic groups: Problems of reconstruction
holds as loci of decisionmaking,and studiesthat take cogni- and possibilities of interpretation.Journal of Family History
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look outwardand see how householddynamicsstructurethe domesticgroups.Annual ReviewofAnthropology 8:161-206.

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obtainingauthorizationfromthe Fundacao Nacional do Indio All enquiriesto the FUNAI should be addressedto Pres-
(FUNAI) to undertakeresearchamongthe BrazilianIndians, idente,Fundacao Nacional do Indio, Setor de Indu'stria-Lote
we believethe timehas come to communicateto the scientific 750 Quadra 4, 71.200 Brasilia,D.F., Brasil.
community at large the natureof the problemand the best All enquiriesto the CNPq shouldbe addressedto Presidente,
way to obtaintheneededauthorizations. The presentsituation, ConselhoNacional de DesenvolvimentoCientificoe Tecnolo-
whichhas caused seriousdelaysin reachingthe fieldand writ- gico, Edificio CNPq, Av. W3 Norte, Quadra 507/B, 70.740
ing dissertations, resultingin tremendousfinancialand emo- Brasilia,D.F., Brasil.
tional costs to fellowshipholdersand in some cases in the The CNPq formsare fairlystraightforward but requirethe
abandonmentof the discipline,was criticizedin a resolution establishment of some tie witha Brazilianresearchinstitution.
of the businessmeetingof the AmericanAnthropological As- The institution desirablewill vary accordingto the geograph-
sociationin 1980. Althoughbureaucraticdifficulties are not ical and theoreticalarea of the applicantand shouldbe nego-
new, the natureof these difficulties has become more serious tiatedas earlyas possible.The FUNAI formsrequirein addi-
and has involvedforcedmodification of projects,surveillance tion a statementof sound mentaland physicalhealthfroma
of anthropologists in the field,accusationsagainst scientists physicianand proof of vaccinationagainstsmallpox,typhus,
and institutions withoutthe rightof appeal, and the refusal tetanus,yellowfever,and a negativeskintest or X-ray indi-
to renew certainauthorizationsgrantedfor short periods- cating an absence of tuberculosis.All applicant documents
withoutwhichfieldworkof the sort traditionalin and essen- should be sent to the CNPq, witha copy to the FUNAI.
tial to good anthropology is impossible. One monthaftersendingthe completedforms,and againfive
Authorizations and renewalsare stillpossibleto obtain.Con- monthsafter,anotherlettershouldbe sent to enquireif any
siderableadvancedplanningand tact are absolutelynecessary, additional informationis required. Six months after sub-
however.It is essentialthat graduate studentsintendingto mittingthe formsand receivinga receipt,it is sometimes
work in Brazil be quite competentin Portuguese,that they advisable to come to Brazil, specificallyto Brasilia,to nego-
establishgood contactswiththe Brazilianscientific community, tiate the finalstages of the authorization. Scientistsmay find
and that theyexercisemorethanthe usual tact withthe cen- that they have to change geographicareas or societies,but
traladministration of the FUNAI and local functionaries. The these are best discussedin person.The delays in these cases
Conselho Nacional de DesenvolvimentoCientificoe Tecno- should not exceed two or three monthsin Brazil, months
logico (CNPq) appoints a supervisorfor every foreignre- whichshould be spentvisitingBrazilianinstitutions, consult-
searcherin Brazil. We recommendthat the researchervisit ing the rapidlyincreasingBrazilianbibliography, and attending
this advisor and maintainregularcontactwith him through scientific meetings.
everystageof the work.The researchershouldalso advise the Finally,it shouldbe emphasizedthatthe National Museum
Commissionon IndigenousAffairs(Comissao de AssuntosIn-
and the BrazilianAnthropological Associationare stronglyop-
digenas) of the BrazilianAnthropological Associationof any
posed to the policieswhichhave resultedin the difficulties re-
problemshe or she may be having.
Authorization for foreigners to do researchin the Brazilian searchers face. Over a periodof years we have been pressuring,
interiorin Indian areas mustbe concededboth by the CNPq negotiating, and openlyfighting againstthem,but withoutany
and by the FUNAI. Each agencyrequiresthatall papersand significant change in the overall picture.Our dismay,chagrin,
supportingdocumentsbe submittedto it at least six months and occasionaldespairhave led us to believethattheprepara-
before the intendeddate of the fieldwork.It is advisable, tion of anthropologists to work with Brazilian Indians will
therefore, for the studentto beginhis paperworkforauthor- have to includemoreseriousattentionto thebureaucraticpro-
ization approximately one year beforehe plans to begin the cedureswhichhave been establishedand to a carefulprepara-
actual fieldresearch.The applicantshouldwriteto the agen- tion of studentsto confrontthe extremelycomplexand del-
cies for information on the most recentregulationsand ask icate social arenas in thisfield.
for copies of regulationsand forms.Self-addressedenvelopes ANTHONY SEEGER and EUNICE DURHAM
and international postal voucherswill help speed a reply.In MuseuNacional.Rio de Janeiro. Brazil.17 ii 82
Vol. 23 * No. 5 * October
1982 575

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