Anthropology 2229F/G Lecture Notes - Ascribed Status, Achieved Status, Nuclear Family
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Lecture 27 – Social Forms and Society
All ideal the divisions of social systems are not necessarily completely true,
variations within each
Archaeologists interested in changes of social forms
o Population growth precedes social hierarchy? Stratification
encourages population growth?
o How is that complex chiefdoms led to the creation of ancient states?
Questions to ask about sociological change
o What kinds of social groups occupied sites? What kind of social
groups were present?
Nuclear family? Extended family?
Descent groups like lineages and clans?
Ranked clans or lineages?
o Status differences
Were there marked social differences?
Achieved status or ascribed status?
Based on age and sex?
o What kinds of activities were carried out by individuals?
Were there specialists? Jack-of-all-trades?
Are they craft, economic or religious specialists?
Full-time or part-time?
o Sexual division in division of labour
Particular concepts for what is appropriate for men and
How was labour organized?
How mobile were the people?
Sedentary or nomadic?
o Population Size and Density
How the people might be organized
o Exchange Systems
Introduce exchange systems to control resources
Enhance social status
o Settlement Systems
How was the society organized?
Aspects of Social Systems in the Archaeological Record
o 1. Settlement Patterns
Reflect the social system that produced them
Individual structure/activity area
All ideal the divisions of social systems are not necessarily completely true, Lecture 27 social forms and society variations within each. Ranked clans or lineages: status differences. Full-time or part-time: sexual division in division of labour. Particular concepts for what is appropriate for men and women. How the people might be organized: subsistence. Aspects of social systems in the archaeological record: 1. Reflect the social system that produced them. Community level: see the layout of the entire settlement, relationship between different activity areas, houses, etc. Distribution on the landscape: what is relationship between communities. Hunter-gatherer sites usually lack structures: very mobile societies, had structures that are hard to see in the record. When structures are preserved, can give a lot of information about social system: produced more than just living structures, specialized structures. Living/domestic structure: diverse assemblages/range of objects, wide range of debris. Iroquoian longhouses: cooking areas, sleeping areas, other evidence of domestic activity, frequency and redundancy.