By Nicholas Thomas
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Extra info for Out of Time: History and Evolution in Anthropological Discourse (Ann Arbor Paperbacks)
In the Stratified system, status differences are economic and political. High ranks hold the rule and possess the land titles: the commoners are subjects and are landless. (1970: 20) 35 ï»¿An evolutionary argument and its sources The developmental process linking these stages entails shifting combinations of status and power: In Traditional societies, status is dominant and power is subordinate; in the Open societies, power is dominant and status is subordinate; in the Stratified societies, status and power are at an approximately even level but both are more consequential than in the Traditional societies.
I thus attempt to establish that various particular mistakes have systematic features which can only be explained through a more general critique, and moreover that this critique makes more powerful reinterpretation possible. This - together with my argument that the distance between theories and evidence is illusory - requires that the argument moves constantly between apparently theoretical and apparently substantive issues, between general subterfuges and particular explanations. I have chosen one body of anthropological writing for discussion in detail.
The first term suggests that what we are offered is essentially a model of social forms, perhaps divorced from their exemplifications, while the second implies that an attempt is made to reconstruct an actual sequence. Goldman maintains at one point that we cannot 'establish the precise rank order of eastern or western Polynesian societies'; that he has 'asked rather whether variations in status systems and related social structure have moved in some order of regularity from Traditional to Open and Stratified' (1970: 27).