Food and the Status Quest: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

By Polly Wiessner; Wulf Schiefenhövel | Go to book overview
order observed in the G/wi San children seems to be less rigid than in groups of German and Japanese children. Nonetheless, among San children attention is not equally distributed. Here, as in other societies, some children attract more attention than others and these are more often the initiators of games and activities. High regard in G/wi San is very much related to age and special skills or knowledge; it may lead to more influence in matters regarding these skills. This does not mean that the group members grant any privileges to the higher-status persons, but they differentiate between group members according to their regard.In summary, cross-cultural studies among children indicate that the tendency to seek status and form rank orders is universal, and that food plays a significant role in status-related strategies. How extensively status differences are recognized, encouraged or permitted, however, depends on the social, ideological, and economic factors in any given society.References
Abramovitch R. 1976. The relation of attention and proximity to dominance in preschool children. In The Social Structure of Attention, ed. M. R.A. Chance and R. R. Larsen. London: Wiley.
Carpenter C. R. 1964. Naturalistic Behaviour of Non-Human Primates. Pennsylvania: State Univer. Press.
Cary M. S. 1978. The role of gaze in the initiation of conversation. Social Psychology 41, no. 3: 269-71.
Chance M. R.A. 1967. Attention-structure as the basis of primate rank orders. Man 2: 503-18.
Chance M. R.A. and C.Jolly 1970. Social Groups of Monkeys, Apes and Men. London: Jonathan Cape.
DeWaal F. B. 1982. Chimpanzee Politics. London: Jonathan Cape.
Eibl-Eibesfeldt I. 1984. Die Biologie des menschlichen Verhaltens. Grundriss der Humanethologie. München: Piper.
Ellsworth P. C., J. F. Carlsmith and A. Henson. 1972. The stare as a stimulus to flight in human subjects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 21: 302-11.
Emory G. R. 1976. Attention-structure as a determinant of social organization in the mandril (Mandrillus sphynx) and the gelada baboon (Theropithecus gelada). In The Social Structure of Attention, ed. M. R.A. Chance and R. R. Larsen. London: Wiley.

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