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Privileged Classes: an Anthropological Problem


by Ruth Benedict & Ruth Benedict — 1941

EVEN SAVAGES SOMETIMES HAVE privileged classes and where they do, the accounts sometimes make amusing reading. The special privileges for which they will sacrifice their all are strange lists: "the office of giving away property; the Grizzly Bear house and also the Double Headed Serpent house dish; and the cry of Driving Away; and also speaking with the speaker's staff; and the breaking of the coppers of other chiefs." An outsider whose eyes have the special focus of his own culture, not of theirs, has to learn by repeated experiences in the tribe why a man will kill his own brother to get "the office of giving away property and also speaking with the speaker's staff." He has to learn that equally valued privileges are names for one's house posts and names for one's dogs, and that a man values himself for the possession of these things, not for his honesty or his dear conscience or the aid he has been able to give his tribe.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 1 Number 1, 1941, p. 110-112
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14158, Date Accessed: 10/23/2017 10:22:32 PM

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