Kottak Mirror Test 3 Study Guide

Know the following about the articles:

1.  "Family and Kinship in Village India"

What purpose does arranged marriage serve for the Bhil?

Has the kinship system of the Bhil (lineages, descent and arranged marriage) disappeared in modern society?  If not, why not?  If so, what has caused it to disappear?

Arranged marriages cause structural tensions within Bhil society.  What are these tensions?

2.  "Society and Sex Roles"  This article is very important.

Friedl decided to address critically the assumptions and explanations that had been provided for the cross-cultural phenomenon of male dominance (to females).  In her time, one assumption had been that males were dominant because they were larger and stronger, and because they hunted.  She examined the roles of men and women in foraging societies and concluded that, in fact, male dominance resulted from two interconnected processes.  These are:

1.  The presence of a clearly marked separation between domestic activities (activities associated with home or family) and public activities.  She termed this the public-domestic dichotomy.
2.  Whether or not men and women could trade or engage in public activities so that they established non-kin ties and obligations outside the family.

Therefore, in general, since men hunt and then trade the meat outside of the family, they gain more prestige and influence.  However, in those foraging societies where men and women share the work and there is not a clear-cut separation of the public-domestic areas of life, gender stratification is reduced.

The article is a classic in anthropological research because of her attention to the assumptions that had underlain previous explanations of male dominance.  In particular, her analysis of the types of foraging societies and the roles of men and women in each type allowed her to base her explanations upon accepted anthropological assumptions of cause and effect:  1.  subsistence activities affect cultural values; and, 2.  subsistence activities affect social role formation.  Her contribution was to show that gender roles were also affected by subsistence, and that any resulting gender stratification could be explained in economic terms.

3.  "Behind the Veil"

Students have complained that this article seems to wander around, not providing clear-cut explanations as to what the veil symbolizes in Muslim society.  Part of the problem is that the veil has multiple symbols and may mean different things in different societies, so that's one of the first lessons:  in anthropology, the range of meanings and symbolisms available cross-culturally is important, as important as the symbolism of an object or behavior within one culture.  Essentially, the veil symbolizes, to Muslims of different countries, any of the following:

restraint on female sexuality
pious religious belief

The last two take most Americans by surprise, but if you think about it:  poor, rural women who work in the fields or with animals may at times forgo wearing the veil in favor of clothing that is less restrictive.  Many times they do not, of course, but in general, poor rural women may dress more freely than wealthy urban women.  The veil may be a symbol of working in public.

Westerners tend to see the veil as a symbol of the subordination of women and their lack of freedom, but to most Muslim women, wearing the veil means they are more free:  to go out in public and to work, secure in their modest dress that advertises their religious belief.  Women who do not wear a veil are often the targets of men who believe they are sexually promiscuous.

Know the definitions of the following:

Sociopolitical organization



Big Man

Pantribal sodality

Unilineal descent groups





Apical ancestor

Stipulated descent

Demonstrated descent

Nuclear family vs extended family

Family of procreation

Family of orientation

Rules of endogamy




Gender roles, gender stratification


Gender and

Sexual orientation

Know the correlations of the following:

Bands, Tribes, Chiefdoms,States

To: political leadership, power vs authority, basis of political organization, authority or position of leaders, basic social units, status of women

Endogamy/Exogamy to: effects on social organization

Dowry or Bride wealth to: status for women

Domestic-Public dichotomy, matrilineality/patrilineality, presence of warfare, adaptive strategy to: status for women

Margaret Rance,
Apr 11, 2010, 3:46 PM