This paper examines the strategic pursuit of family well-being and village status under conditions of overt co-operation and covert competition at the buraku level of social organization through the analysis of a pattern of customary gift-giving that developed after World War II in several neighboring farm hamlets in Aichi Prefecture.1 The custom described here consists of the regular and systematic giving of gifts directly to the hamlet itself by all member families on a limited number of sharply defined occasions. By means of their gifts, member families overtly demonstrate solidarity with the hamlet as a whole while simultaneously giving covert expression to competition for relative position in the hamlet social hierarchy. The significance of this custom lies in the transparency with which it opens to view the complex inter-relationship of the three fundamental components of hamlet social relations--rank, solidarity, and productive exchange--and the social dislocations strategic manipulation of these elements entails.
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Article DOI: 10.2307/3773608
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3773608
Marshall, Robert C., "Giving a Gift to the Hamlet: Rank, Solidarity, and Productive Exchange in Rural Japan" (1985). Anthropology Faculty and Staff Publications. 2.
Subjects - Topical (LCSH)
Gifts--Japan--Aichi-ken; Villages--Japan--Aichi-ken; Rural families-Japan--Achi-ken; Kinship--Japan--Aichi-ken; Social classes--Japan--Aichi-ken; Cooperation--Japan--Aichi-ken