anything we have in our society, I shall use the Turkish word " oda " (plural " odalar ") as the villagers do. The " oda " is, in fact, a male club and sitting-room, used not only for male guests, but also for gatherings of male neighbours and kinsmen. The oda contains built-in divans, covered with rugs, usually running parallel from the door at one end to the hearth at the other. By the hearth is the seat of greatest honour, by the door that of least honour. In the spring and autumn the men gather in these oda at sundown, especially if the weather is cold enough to make a fire desirable. The word for putting an oda into use is " yakmak ", "to kindle ". In the middle of winter, men spend the whole day there. In S eight or so oda were in use during my stay, apart from a few which were used only by members of the household, and one or two which were not used at all because their owners could not afford fuel. Roughly, each of these was the meeting place of a lineage group, plus neighbours and matrilateral and affinal kin. It was unusual for a man to go far to his oda, but very few did not regularly attend.
This introductory description aims at giving just those facts about the village which seem to me relevant to a discussion of rank in the village.
By the word " rank " I mean to cover any situation in which one member of a society acknowledges another to be his superior. Rank contains two elements: prestige, which is acknowledged by formal or informal respect; and power or authority, which is acknowledged by more or less explicit obedience. These two elements, although normally concomitant, and up to a point mutually dependent, may each be found with but little of the other. An old man in S of personal mildness and decency and of great piety, but very poor, was always treated with considerable respect on account of his age and piety, but he had no public authority. The village headman, as we shall see at the end of this article, had considerable power, but in S he had practically no respect. Of course, a man of great power will receive respect, and a man of great respect will wield power. All I am saying is that it is not always true that the greater the power, the greater the respect, and vice versa. Power is the effect of a man on the society, respect is the acknowledgement by society of its evaluation of a man.
I have said above that rank covers any situation in which one member acknowledges
another to be his superior. It may, clearly, arise that if A acknowledges B as his
superior in one context, B will acknowledge A as his superior in some different
context. For example, the village imam is usually, on account of his holy office, treated
with great respect and may wield considerable power in certain contexts. But I have
scan an imam enter an important man's oda to ask for his annual payment of grain,
which he collects household by household, and behave very much as a suppliant and be
treated with little ceremony. In a religious context, he is a superior, in an economic one,
an inferior. One may thus distinguish several scales of rank in a community. In the case
of the village, there is a scale for piety and religious learning, a scale for moral
reliability and helpfulness, a scale for wealth, a scale for occupation, and a scale for age
and standing in one's own family. These scales are closely interconnected. High position in one usually goes with high position in another, to such an extent that one generally thinks of rank as one scale for the society as a whole, and not as several scales, and of the separate fields as factors in the positioning in this overall scale. This alternative way of putting it is perhaps clearer, and is satisfactory, so long as it is not allowed to obscure the importance of context in determining the rank of a person on any given occasion.
When I first attempted to describe the village society, I called it egalitarian. This is an unsatisfactory word because it means different things to different people, but it is not entirely false. There is no formal hierarchical scheme, no hereditary stratification, and practically no marked etiquette of privilege. No one is ever forbidden entry to an oda, or to a house, except on grounds of sex differentiation. No one holds permanent or important political office carrying automatically power and prestige. The etiquette in conduct towards those ranking highest in the village scale was never such as to set them apart from the others, but only such as to honour them among equals. Any adult man would receive a full greeting on entering an oda, even the village watchman, a young man, poor and unreliable, would normally be so greeted.
I now intend to discuss the scales one by one, or, one might say, the factors one by one. I shall not say much about women, for two reasons. First, with rare exceptions, all women rank automatically lower than all men. I have seen a small boy of eight order his sister, who was betrothed, to hand him a glass of water, and to take it away when he had finished; equally, an adult man would give orders to his widowed mother. Secondly, social segregation of the sexes is carried so far that men and women seldom interact outside the circle of close kin. Village affairs are almost entirely controlled by men, and I do not propose to discuss here rank among the women in their own social world. Moreover, I do not propose to deal with rank within the household group. The position of a man in his own household only concerns me here in so far as it influences his position in the general village society of adult men.
The influence of age, and of position in a man's own family and lineage, can best be
considered together, since they are largely interdependent. A man with a wife and
children of his own, even if he is only approaching middle age, say about thirty, will be
welcomed and treated as an equal among the men. Should his father be alive this fact
will not normally affect his position. Should he be head of his household, he may find
that, through acting as its representative, he ranks a little higher than he might otherwise
have done. At the end of a wedding celebration the boy's father or the senior
representative of his family gives a feast to the village men. In some villages on some
occasions everyone is invited, but in S. on the occasions which I witnessed, only a
select number were invited, on an average one for about three households. The village
called these the " great ones '',(2) but in fact they were the heads of small lineages. For
example, a group of four or five households, the heads of which were all brothers or
brothers' sons to each other, might send only one representative, although several of them were important men, whereas, if a lineage had only one household, and the head of that household was quite a youth, he would still be invited. These feasts provided an example of a context in which respect, that is, inclusion in " the great ones", was dependent almost entirely on a man's position in his own lineage. But for most contexts, age was considered more important a factor than such position. For example, two brothers in middle age shared a household, so that the senior brother remained household head. Yet the younger brother was normally treated in the oda in the evening with precisely the same courtesy and respect as the elder.
Age is more important for prestige than for authority. In so far as it confers authority it confers it not in the wide context of adult male society, but within the home. But in all situations of daily life, in the odalar, at work, in the often crowded backs of lorries, age is treated with great respect. In the mosque at the Friday prayers the old men go to the front. In the oda, the old men are given the seats of honour near the hearth. It is customary, while sitting in the oda, to drink water, and every oda has a pitcher of fresh drinking water always available. If an elder wishes to drink, a boy or young man will fetch him water, offering the cup with a deferential bow, and waiting respectfully to take the cup away. If no one else is present, a man may do this service for someone not very much his senior with the same polite gestures. When a man joins a group talking in the open, each man will normally greet him in turn. The older he is the more promptly and thoroughly and formally the greeting will be given. If a man is poor, or even if he is not thought to be a particularly honourable character, the same etiquette is preserved, Moreover, although seniority is not a sufficient condition, it is a necessary condition for the exercise of public authority. A young man with wealth, a high reputation for honour, or official standing does not carry public authority, unless as the representative of the force of the state, that is, as headman.
By far the most important factor in rank is wealth. One might express this by saying that the economic scale enters into more contexts than any other of the scales, and especially into contexts concerned with the ordering of activities. Wealth for the village means wealth in land and animals. The villagers have little respect for wages and salaries, regarding these as doubtful and only temporary sources. Money is quickly and easily spent, and a salary may cease at any moment, but land and animals are permanent assets, permanent security against hunger and poverty.
Wealth contributes to a man's rank in three ways. In itself wealth in land and animals
gives prestige. More important, by generosity a man can make a number of people
beholden to him, and has the means to earn a reputation for piety and goodness. He can
build, and provide fuel for, an oda, to which his neighbours will come to sit, forming a
group of which he will tend to be the leader. Lastly, by employing labour, letting his
land to a share cropper, lending money judiciously, he can use his wealth to exercise
direct control over other people. In S the extent to which this last is possible is limited.
Share cropping is a standard arrangement which leaves little room for manoeuvre or
control, and in a community of independent owner farmers with comparatively little
difference in wealth, opportunities to use wealth for direct control of others' activities
are limited. Within the village, therefore, wealth is important more as providing the
means for generosity than for direct control. Since those who receive favours are
unable to return them in kind, they are bound to make return in the only way available
to them, by showing their benefactor respect, and supporting him in village affairs. It is
perhaps possible to distinguish between power by direct command, the sort of control
an employer has over an employee, and power by manipulation and influence. The first
depends on, and is maintained by, a publicly recognized hierarchical system, the
second is not so explicitly recognised and depends on the goodwill of a number of
supporters. It is this second type of power which wealth in the village confers.
Although the economic unit is not the individual but the household, wealth is not so
much a family as an individual matter. The wealth, and the rank that goes with it,
belongs to the household head, and does not pass as a whole to his heirs. The division
of a man's property between his children, by destroying their immediate pre-eminence
in wealth, has prevented any general acceptance of hereditary leadership. Formerly,
when cultivable land was still plentiful, wealth depended on manpower, and the wealth
of a household was therefore largely dependent on its fertility. If a man had many sons,
together they could plough fresh lands, and the head of the household would become
wealthy. But when he died, in due course, his sons would divide up his land and
animals, and might find themselves quite poor, with a young and expanding family to
feed. But as soon as their own sons in turn were old enough to contribute to the
ploughing, they would themselves acquire wealth and position in the village. It might
often happen that of several brothers, one would prosper in this way, and others
would, through misfortunes such as the death of wife or oxen, or the birth of girls, or
infertility, remain poor. In S now, the absence of spare land makes the matter still more
complex. In some families, the single prosperous household of a father with many sons
is replaced permanently in the next generation by several poor households, for whom a
large family may come to be regarded as a curse as much as a blessing. The
possibilities of earning cash outside the village are far greater nowadays than they used
to be, so that where the sons are prepared to go away to work, and especially where
they have the initiative to learn a skilled trade, a man can still become wealthy by having
many sons, but only if he can retain their loyalty. Migrant labourers are not dependent
on their father for their earnings in town, as he himself was on his father for land, and
they will set up their own house if they are not satisfied with his treatment of them; they
may even leave the village altogether and go to town. In short, eminence in the village
is not hereditary, but each man climbs in turn from poverty at the division of his
father's wealth, to a position of wealth on the backs of his sons, and his success is in
part dependent on his success in having sons and keeping control of them. The families
where there is only one heir form an obvious exception to this rule. In the present
generation, several of the wealthier villagers owe their position to being sole heir. In the