|regret the old days, when most village households used to keep a horse, and|
games on horseback were played at weddings against other villages. When I
arrived in the village there were three horses in all. If, as is said, and seems
consistent with the present age distribution of the village, there were only
sixty households in the place of the present hundred a generation ago,it may
well be that in many ways the villagers were better off.
What is important, however, is not the rise or fall in the standard of living,
but the change in the source of livelihood.
|The land ceases to be so important when there are other ways of earning a|
living. Children have now a way of becoming economically independent of
their fathers. Poor men can, by becoming ustalar, raise themselves both in
wealth and in status. Families are left without heads for long periods. The
cultural contact at least from the village end, with towns, especially with
Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir, where European ways have been most
conspicuously adopted, is greatly increased. So far these changes are in most
cases barely beginning, and it is rash to forecast how they will work out.
3. Political Changes
It is not only the purely technical advances of the West which gives it the
advantage over other cultures of the world, it is also the advances in
administration. Turkey, aiming as she does at becoming a modern state on
western line, has been learning the art of administration. As I have already
said, this has meant a great increase in the official interference in village life.
In part this aims at extending the central power, imposing law and order,
checking tax abuses and evasions, and making some effort to enforce the
reforming legislation of the Grand National Assembly. At the same time, it
has aimed in some respects directly at assisting the villagers, extending loans,
stabilising prices, building roads. The process will clearly continue, with the
provision of social services, the improving of statistical information, the
carrying out of cadastral surveys, the extension of schooling, the arrival, in
time, of agricultural demonstrators. I have already analysed one consequence
of this tightening of control, which has lead to a fall in the prestige attaching
to the office of muhtar, and hence and absence of political leadership in the
villages. It is quite possible that higher standards of education may lead to the
muhtars office regaining some of its importance, as men better equipped to
take advantage of the power to be gained from acting as the government
representative are produced by the new school system. For the moment, there
are no signs of such
|a development. Even if it does take place it will not mean a reversion towards|
the old state of affairs of rule by the elders of the more powerful kabileler,
but rather an entrenching of the power of the younger and more modern
minded, with more emphasis on personal qualifications than on status in the
village, or kinship affiliations.
The villagers today are conscious of their membership of the Turkish nation.
I have mentioned confusion between the legal and cultural criterion of the
word Turk, and the religious criterion. Under the Ottoman Empire, the
villagers thought not in terms of a nation, with a national territory, but of
themselves as a group distinct from their neighbours on grounds of language
or religion or, or both1 . To what extent the villagers of those days
identified themselves with the rulers of the Empire as against the subject
peoples, I cannot say. According to the authorities, Turkish nationalism was
the last to develop, and did so mainly under the stimulus of the 1918 defeat,
and the Allies attempts at dismemberment in the years immediately following.
Whatever its origin, the present villagers are decidedly nationalist; proud of
Turkeys military prowess, interested in her mechanical achievements, touchy
about unfavourable comparison with European countries. No European
invention seems to spread more readily than nationalism, and if Turkey was a
late starter, she has proved no exception in the long run. Undoubtedly,
consciousness of being part of the whole nation is greatly strengthened by the
compulsory term of military service which all young men seem vastly to
enjoy, and by migrant labour which wanders all over the country.
The introduction of a two party system of elected government with a direct
and full franchise, would seem to be a fundamental change. But although the
villagers seemed pleased with the idea of having some say in the choice of
government, it does not have any direct impact on the village. The important
political relationship is that with the local administrative
|authorities, and this does not change because there has been a general election.|
The democratic constitution was not, after all, demanded by the villagers.
They did not agitate for reform, the whole business was imposed on them
from above, and they treated it much like any other government order, as
something to be accepted without question. To speak of the development of a
1cf. e.g. Arnold Toynbee Western Question in Greece and Turkey.
|sense of responsibility, or of a fundamental change in attitude to government,|
seems to me, to say the least, premature.
Similarly, changes in political outlook have taken place in the village view of
the international politics. They are aware, at least the more knowledgeable
ones are aware, of the existence of other countries, they know that America
and Britain have given Turkey assistance and are at the moment their friends,
and they have heard of U.N.O. Undoubtedly the village horizon has expanded
vastly in the past generation. Not only are they now, through the operation of
economic aid, international price agreements and so on, directly effected by
international events, they are conscious of the connection.
Knowledge of western countries has one unfortunate effect. Hand in hand
with nationalist pride and aspiration, awareness of the technical achievements
of the west breeds a feeling of inferiority. The villagers apologise for their
backewardneass, referring constantly to their poverty, and the more educated
they are, the more they apologise. It may be that this sense of inferiority may
become a definite sense of dissatisfaction and lead to a greater readiness for at
least technical changes. But this is speculation.
All these political changes, except perhaps those within the village, are obvious
to casual observation. The democratic institutions the widening horizon, the
nationalism, do not seem to have any obvious or direct impact on the every
day life or on the social order of the village, on which an anthropologist might
comment. But I think the absence of any such impact is worth recording,
especially since so much effort is made in political circles to achieve these
results, which are, of course, politically speaking, an end in themselves.
|4. Family and Kinship|
Without any detailed data with which to compare my own findings, it is hard
to say anything which is not guess work about how the kinship and the family
organisation has changed and is now changing. Three institutions impressed
me as being basic to village social life, the kabile, the household, and the
division between the sexes. It seems probable that all three are being modified
to a limited extent by the economic and political changes which I have listed.
The kabile, in spite of its lack of formal or ritual leadership or membership,
and its vague boundaries, seems originally to have had as its main political
function the protection of its members from robbers and violence. Even at
|present, this function is still important. The other characteristic behaviours|
towards one another of members of the same kabile - personal intimacy and
economic assistance - belong to the relationship as a kin tie, and are also found
between matrilateral and affinal kin. But with the increasing efficiency of the
state, this political function is becoming less and less important. Already the
weak talk of appeal to the state to protect their rights. The widow Fatma (AK
3), powerless within the village against her husbands fathers brothers (AK
1), is actually taking legal proceedings against him to recover her land. The
village do not explicitly recognise this weakening of the kabile, yet it must
have already moved a long way if, as seems a reasonable guess, there was
originally an organ of feud, or of blood compensation for homicide. The
patrilocal village household, on the other hand, shows little sign of weakening.
There are two possible factors which might cause such a weakening. Where a
son is earning or is able to earn his own keep independently of his fathers
land, the hold of father over son is weakened. The son is not only free to
leave his father without suffering acute poverty as the sons of purely farming
families do, but he may resent his father taking what are clearly all his
earnings, and no one elses, and prefer to establish his independence. At the
same time, the
|XV. 4||p. 251|
|migrant head of a household is likely to be away from his home and children|
for nine months out of every year, and to spend a good deal of his earnings on
himself in the cities. again, the effects that this absence has on family life is a
matter for speculation. It removes the main source of discipline from his sons
until they are old enough to accompany him, and then they will attain
economic independence. It is bound to leave more responsibility in the hands
of the wife, and while it calls for more ability on her part to cope with money,
with buying and selling and with official matters, it is likely to reduce even
further the intimacy between husband and wife.
Change in the existing pattern if inter-sex relationships may have already
occurred. The villagers say that the women are freer than they used to be.
Certainly some of the younger women, the bolder ones, go about with their
mouths uncovered, and talk publicly to groups of men. An American nurse
who visited us with bare head and arms was not approved of, but the women
who visit Kayseri occasionally discuss the phenomenon of Turkish women
similarly clad whom they see in the streets there. The spread of schools, and
education with boys up to a similar standard, may have some effect on the
status of women in the community, may give them more common ground with
male topics of interest, and enable them to assert themselves with more
confidence, Any rise in the position of women relative to the men will come
|entirely from the womens own efforts. There are unlikely to be male|
sympathisers with the cause of women.
Form the point of view of the field worker it is changes of this kind which
would be the most significant and interesting. So far they appear to be slight.
There is no sign of a breakdown in the traditional system of marriage and all
that goes with it/ My guess is that the kinship and family structure will
survive, with no more than minor modifications, so long as the villages
remain as residentially stable as they are at present.
|5. Cultural Contact|
I have dealt only superficially in this these with the culture of the village, and
have endeavoured to make my approach rather from the point of view of
social organisation. Consistent with this, I wish to mention as briefly as
possible under this heading, the cultural changed which are visible in the
The main bringers of cultural innovation are the migrant labourers, and it is
for this reason that I insert this section here, although it means a slight
digression. In fact all the men go to Kayseri on business from time to time,
and are able to see for themselves the new buildings, the new women in short
western type dresses, the airport and the factory. But it is the men who go to
Ankara and Istanbul for long periods, who bring back knowledge f western
ideas, news of international affairs, suede shoes and wrist watches. Some of
them go to American films, some of them even learn to dance in western
fashion. The importance of these contacts is easily over-estimated. The
trappings of wrist watches and Primus stoves are not more than straws in the
wind. so far they are not even accepted as symbols of social statu. moreover,
it seems to be the case that socially the villagers in the towns like Ankara form
a group on their own, and largely ignore and are ignored by the more
sophisticated permanent inhabitants. Hence the trappings may in some cases
represent the extent of the contact. Those who find the town ways attractive
and establish personal contact with the townspeople end up by marrying in
town and settling there, which means the severing of all but remote ties with
their native villages.
The attempt to assess the working of these contacts on village life leads one
into psychological guesses, which may be or may not be sound, but which
seem very hard to verify of disprove. The contemporary villagers have
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