World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Leveling mechanism

Article Id: WHEBN0028982719
Reproduction Date:

Title: Leveling mechanism  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ascribed status, Legal anthropology, Bjorn Thomassen, Big man (anthropology), Custom (law)
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Leveling mechanism

In cultural anthropology, a leveling mechanism is a practice that acts to ensure social equality, usually by shaming or humbling members of a group that attempt to put themselves above other members.[1]

One commonly given example of a leveling mechanism is the !Kung practice of "shaming the meat", particularly as illustrated by the Canadian anthropologist Richard Borshay Lee in his article "Eating Christmas in the Kalahari" (1969). [2] When Lee gave the !Kung an ox as a Christmas gift, the !Kung responded by insulting the gift, calling it a "bag of bones" and joking that they would have to eat the horns because there was no meat on it. Lee later asked a man named Tomazo why his gift was insulted in this way. He responded that it was because the gift was arrogant. Lee asked what he meant by this and was told:

Yes, when a young man kills much meat he comes to think of himself as a chief or a big man, and he thinks of the rest of us as his servants or inferiors. We can’t accept this. We refuse one who boasts, for someday his pride will make him kill somebody. So we always speak of his meat as worthless. This way we cool his heart and make him gentle."
—Tomazo, "Eating Christmas in the Kalahari" [2]

References

  1. ^ Eller, Jack David. "Cultural Anthropology: Global Forces, Local Issues - Student Resources Glossary". Cultural Anthropology: Global Forces, Local Lives.  
  2. ^ a b "Eating Christmas in the Kalahari" (PDF).  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.