Skill and status: traditional expertise within a rural Canadian family

Doucette, Laurel Catherine (1977) Skill and status: traditional expertise within a rural Canadian family. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

In order to determine the factors regulating the achievement of status in a family setting, a ten-member rural Canadian sibling group, characterized by a high degree of specialization in various traditional skills, is studied. By means of an examination of nine distinct cases where individual informants perceive themselves or are perceived by their siblings as experts in various oral, psychic or manual skills, certain factors are seen to be influential in regulating the achievement of status. In the first place, the choice of field is limited to those traditional activities to which prestige is attached by the family and which are perceived as areas of family specialization. Choice of field is further limited to areas deemed appropriate to the age and sex of the individual. Secondly, three major factors are seen to influence the achievement of status within any given field. Age and sex provide either direct influence, as when a specific age or sex is seen as a prerequisite for expertise in a specific field; or indirect influence, as when circumstances combine to provide an advantage to one group over another, with the advantage generally falling to older members of the sibling group. Parental approval of both the skill and the individual involved in it is a third major factor. Two minor factors, sibling rivalry and public approval, exist, but are of minimal importance within the group under study. Finally, it is seen that status positions are maintained, even if the individual expert no longer practices the skill, for reasons of the psychological and emotional benefits derived by the other members of the sibling group and the family at large.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6745
Item ID: 6745
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 146-156.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: February 1977
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Québec (Province)
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Handicraft--Research; Families--Québec (Province); Québec (Province)--Social life and customs

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