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social affiliations and the nature and distribution of social groupings in the society. Aspects of kinship and clanship are the predominant means whereby peasant and primitive societies organize their life and induct new generations into the social system. Hence, the successful emergence of an industrial labor force depends in part on the utilization or transformation of kinship and clanship so that individuals may be motivated in those primary social settings to enter and remain at wage work. On the other hand, the place occupied by kin groupings in performance of the legitimate tasks of the society is bound to be radically different if the operation of industrial organizations becomes one of its important activities.

It is clear that only certain aspects of kinship and clanship are strategic in promoting or hindering the development of an industrial labor force. A widely accepted proposition in social anthropology is that corporate kinship groupings (the clans, the lineages, and the phratries) are incompatible with industrial production. Despite Comhaire's contention that at least in Africa we cannot disregard corporate kin groups in the near future, all theoretical expectations and empirical findings lead to the conclusion that corporate kin groupings are undermined and finally swept away by industrialization, whatever their fate may be in other encounters with monetary economies. Corporate groups arise in the middle range of social and cultural complexity, in what Fortes calls "relatively homogeneous, pre-capitalistic economies in which there is some degree of technological sophistication and value to rights in durable property." These descent groups are the social units that regulate the political, economic, and religious life of this kind of society. Through the opposition of different corporate groups a balance of power and political control is maintained. Through their cooperation, the economic activities are carried out (chiefly but not exclusively in settled, farming societies), and the moral sanctions are maintained. When an economic situation necessitates the use of individuals as units of work and remuneration, the corporate nature of the clan is severely violated. Where the productive tasks are carried out on the basis of specialized skills and knowledges, the clan is too clumsy a mechanism to allocate tasks, rewards, and costs. In short, occupational differentiation, specialized skills, rapid and calculated response to economic situation, and individual units


• Jean L. Comhaire, "Economic Change and the Extended Family," The Annals, 305:45-52 (May 1956).

7 Fortes, op. cit., p. 24.

of manpower combine to make the clan incompatible with industrial work. The process of clan disintegration has been well described by Eggan, Spoehr, and Worsley.8

Variable relevance of noncorporate kinship. A large segment of the nonindustrial world has systems of kinship in which clans are not the prominent social features they are among, say, the Tallensi or the Hopi. In much of the underdeveloped world one finds a variety of extended kindreds, joint families, and loosely structured kin groupings, which because of special circumstances have not crystallized into corporate and jural social segments. In these societies the role of kinship in industrialization is more problematic and must be sought in the interplay of finer features of social circumstance than the gross contradictions between clan-structured societies and wage labor forces. As may be shown in the following analysis of the Guatemalan Indian example, the role of these kinship systems in industrialization turns primarily on the differential productivity of generations, the control of income, the simultaneous emergence of other bases of social affiliation, and the reorganizations of paths of mobility and of obligations and positions that confer status.


The community of Cantel, in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, is made up almost entirely of Quiché-speaking Indians. Their social structure and cultural pattern are derived in part from their Maya ancestors, in part from their Spanish conquerors, and in part from the interaction of these two traditions over more than four centuries in changing social and political circumstances. The chief features of Indian communities like Cantel are a local social organization of civil and religious offices in a single hierarchy; a primitive farming technology; a pecuniary, rotating marketing system; wealth distinctions, but no class lines; a kinship system based on nuclear families, which are the units of prestige and office holding; a feeling of community solidarity based on common culture, endogamy, adherence to a patron saint and local pantheon, and a body of belief and custom; and a number of minor cultural differences in language, costume, surnames, eat

8 Eggan, op. cit.; Alexander Spoehr, Kinship Systems (Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, 1947); P. M. Worsley, "The Kinship System of the Tallensi: A Revaluation," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 86:37-75 (JanuaryJune 1956).

ing habits, etc. Into Cantel, some 70 years ago, a textile factory was introduced. This factory, which is probably Central America's largest textile mill, continues to operate, using almost exclusively Indian labor. About a fourth of the working population of the community is employed in the factory.10 In comparison with the penetration of industrial production in other parts of the world, the community has made a remarkable adjustment to this new mode of production.11 It is still an identifiably Indian community, with its culture intact and its social institutions functioning.

Role of the Family

The role of the family system in neutralizing the tensions in the adaptation to wage work in Cantel has been large, while the family itself has remained relatively unchanged. It cannot be said that the family activity promoted, or even now promotes, entrance of workers into the labor force, or the commitment of those in it. Rather, the family and kinship system act as a kind of buttress that has made the role of factory wage worker tenable and legitimate, if not desirable. The voluntary organizations that have grown up around and because of the factory have played the positive role of inducing and tying wage workers to their jobs. Although the family and the voluntary organizations are not the primary influence toward factory work they play decisive parts in the making of a labor force.12

Structural features. The family in Cantel is a nuclear one according to cultural ideal: a man, woman, and their unmarried offspring should have a separate domestic household on a site of their own. Of course, not all Cantel families are of this type. Variety is in fact encountered -married sons live with their fathers, married daughters live with their mothers, and other combinations also exist. But the nuclear, independent family is the only form that does not raise some tension in the personality and that does not evoke efforts to change other forms into the cultural standard and the statistically dominant type. Within such a nuclear family the male is clearly dominant and

• Robert Redfield and Sol Tax, "General Characteristics of Present-Day Mesoamerican Indian Society," in Sol Tax, ed., Heritage of Conquest (Glencoe: Free Press, 1952), pp. 31-39; Eric R. Wolf, "Types of Latin American Peasantry," American Anthropologist, 57:452-471 (June 1955).

10 Manning Nash, "The Recruitment of Wage Labor and Development of New Skills," The Annals, 305:23-31 (May 1956).

11 Manning Nash, Machine-Age Maya (Glencoe: Free Press, 1958).

12 Nash, "The Recruitment of Wage Labor and Development of New Skills."

head. His wife is superordinate to the children but subordinate to him. It is he who, in the farming family, produces the income, determines the expenditures, gives the domestic orders, and decides the family's fate. However, the wife is consulted in all important decisions, plays a large part in determining spending patterns, and even keeps aside some of the household revenue for personal spending. This nuclear family is loosely tied to the husband's or the wife's relatives. Relations between brothers and sisters in separate households are not based on economic reciprocity, but squarely and unashamedly on the cash nexus. Fathers continue to be respected by their married daughters, but the cultivation of ties beyond the nuclear family is not automatically insured or demanded by kinship rights and obligations. Extension of kin bonds beyond the nuclear family to the kindred is not socially important, for there are only a few minor ritual gatherings at which nearly the entire kindred is assembled. Likewise, godparental relations (compadrazgo) are a weakly developed social institution and do not enjoin more than moral advice and some tokens at the appropriate times.

Functions of the family. In Cantel's social system, prior to the coming of the factory and most of the years since, the family has served as the unit of social structure. The civil-religious hierarchy was based on the conception that families, not individuals, take their turn in community service.13 From this service families gained increasing social prestige and community-wide recognition. So the articulation of the separate nuclear families into a single social system was built on the mechanism of discharge of community obligation, rather than on superfamilial kinship structures.

The values of the community were inculcated within the nuclear family. A stress on hard work was manifested in the early age at which both boys and girls began making substantial contributions to the domestic economy, and in the scaling down of adult tasks and tools to the child's measure. For example, boys had small hoes, which they used when they worked in the fields beside their fathers. Girls were trained on miniature grinding stones and carried toy-sized water pots on their heads almost from the time they could walk. Discipline, respect for elders, and costumbre were also instilled in the home, chiefly through example rather than precept. The continual talk of the prices of things and the knowledge that money was necessary to

18 Nash, "The Reaction of a Civil-Religious Hierarchy to a Factory in Guatemala,” Human Organization, 13:26–28 (Winter 1955).

achieve social status (the communal offices are still an expense) helped to produce industrious individuals with a concern for money. The conviction that hard work is necessary to maintain life and that the good life itself consists in part of hard work has persisted from prefactory times.

The Family and Commitment

The kind of family that exists in Cantel, promoting the cluster of sentiments just described, is especially propitious for the emergence of a labor force. No clan or lineage exists to be subverted; no traditions of leisured wealth stand in the dreams of the young. Continual physical labor is considered good and necessary. The factory originally was able to get recruits chiefly because of the poverty of most Cantelenses; many traditional needs and desires were not being effectively met by the traditional technology and economy. The family stayed together and continued to instill the virtues of work, discipline, and money (along with many other values and beliefs not germane to the labor force, but certainly important in giving meaning to effort and aspiration). The essential form of the family units continued through the operation of several simple mechanisms of social control. If a wage earner lived in the house of his father, he or she turned over his income to the father; this continued the pattern of parental dominance and control. The worker turned over his salary on the principle that if he lived under his father's roof, it was his father's right to control the income. The principle could be enforced in Cantel. A man did not earn enough, except through careful saving for many years, to buy or build his own house, and there are few vacant houses for rent in the municipio. One put up with paternal domination until the means to move were accumulated, for there was no recourse. It was the writer's observation that a greater than ordinary share of expenditure was lavished on the factory worker, and this of course lessened the sting of turning over an entire salary.

A further buttress to paternal domination of the young wage earner was the fact that as an unmarried individual he could not begin to move up the communal ladder of prestige. When he married, the wage worker tended to move into a separate household sooner than did his agricultural counterpart. The canon of paternal dominance was breached only in the cases where the older parent became dependent on the young wage earner for support. In this kind of family, which usually did not develop among farm families because of the pattern

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