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This volume, with one hundred new articles, supplements the award-winning 10-volume Encyclopedia of World Cultures, which was also organized and prepared by the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) at Yale University, and published by G. K. Hall/Macmillan Library Reference between 1991 and 1996. The volume includes three kinds of entries. One kind is an important culture that was not included, for one reason or another, in the original encyclopedia.
These new cultures are located in most regions of the world, but especially in Africa and North America. For example, Rwandans and Barundi are now included. New or updated articles on cultures that have been strongly affected by recent political events are a second kind of entry here. For example, the wars in the former Yugoslavia required expansions and updates of the articles on the Bosnian Muslims, Albanians, and Serbs, and the Afghanistan war called for revisions of the articles on the Tajiks and Uzbeks. Finally, there originally were only short entries on some important cultures, including some that are of classic interest in anthropology (for example, Crow, Zulu). These have now been expanded and updated.
In preparing this supplement, we have asked for advice from many scholars and contributors.
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Encyclopedia of World Cultures

Encyclopedia of World Cultures

Encyclopedia of World Cultures Supplement

Editors in Chief

Kelvin Ember,
President, Human Relations Area Files

Carol R. Ember,
Executive Directory Human Relations Area Files

Ian Skoggard,
Associate in Research, Human Relations Area Files

Encyclopedia of World Cultures Supplement was prepared under the auspices and with the
support of the Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF) at Yale University. The foremost international research organization in the field of cultural anthropology, HRAF is
a not-for-profit consortium of 19 Sponsoring Member institutions and more than 400
active and inactive Associate Member institutions in nearly 40 countries. The mission
of HRAF is to provide information that facilitates the cross-cultural study of human
behavior, society, and culture. The HRAF Collection of Ethnography, which has been
building since 1949, contains nearly one million pages of information, indexed according to more than 700 subject categories, on the cultures of the world. An increasing portion of the Collection of Ethnography, which now covers more than 365 cultures, is
accessible via the World Wide Web to member institutions. The HRAF Collection of
Archaeology, the first installment of which appeared in 1999, is also accessible on the
Web to those member institutions opting to receive it.

Encyclopedia of World Cultures

Melvin Ember, Carol R. Ember,
and Ian Skoggard, Editors



New York · Detroit · San Diego · San Francisco
Boston · New Haven, Conn. · Waterville, Maine
London · Munich

Encyclopedia of World Cultures Supplement
Copyright © 2002 Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of Gale Group
ISBN 0-02-865671-7
Macmillan Reference USA
300 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
Macmillan Reference USA
27500 Drake Rd.
Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic;  or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Publisher.
Printed in the United States of America
Printing number
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
This paper meets the requirements of ANSI-NISO Z.3948-1992 (Permanence of Paper)

Editorial Board and Project Staff vi
List of Contributors vii
Preface xvii
Maps xix
Encyclopedia of World Cultures Supplement 1
Glossary 395
List of Cultures by Country 405
Ethnonym Index 407
Subject Index 411


Editorial Board

Editorial and Production Staff

Melvin Ember, Carol R. Ember, Ian Skoggard,
Editors in Chief

Monica M. Hubbard, Senior Editor


Linda S. Hubbard, Directory Macmillan Library
Nicole Watkins, Contributing Editor
Christine O'Bryan, Graphics Specialist
Susan Kelsch, Indexing Manager
Evi Seoud, Assistant Manager, Composition
Rita Wimberley, Manufacturing Buyer
Tracey Rowens, Vage Design
Cindy Baldwin, Cover Design

Norma Diamond
University of Michigan
Terence E. Hays
Rhode Island College
Paul Hockings
University of Illinois—Chicago
South Asia, East and Southeast Asia
M. Marlene Martin
Human Relations Area Files
North America
Johannes Wilbert
University of California—Los Angeles
South America

Macmillan Reference USA
Frank Menchaca, Vice President
Jill Lectka, Associate Publisher

Jon G. Abbink
Leiden University
Institute of Cultural and Social Studies
The Netherlands


Mario I. Aguilar
St. Mary's College
University of St. Andrews
St. Andrews
United Kingdom


Jude C. Aguwa
Division of Civic and Cultural Studies
Mercy College
Dobbs Ferry, New York
United States


Jeffrey D. Anderson
Department of Anthropology
Colby College
Waterville, Maine
United States


Margaret Seguin Anderson
First Nations Studies
University of Northern British Columbia
Prince Rupers, British Columbia


George N. Appell
Brandeis University
Waltham, Massachusetts
United States

Rungus Dusun

Mark J. Awakuni-Swetland
Anthropology and Native American Studies
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
United States


Bettina Beer
Institut für Ethnologie der Universität Hamburg





John Beierle
Human Relations Area Files
New Haven, Conneticut
United States

Chinese Americans; Chinese Canadians; Eastern Toraja;
Northeast Massim

George Clement Bond
Department of International and Transcultural Studies
Teachers College, Columbia University
New York City, New York
United States


C. C. Boonzaaier
Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
Faculty of Humanities
University of Pretoria
Republic of South Africa


Tone Bringa
University of Bergen


Jennifer S. H. Brown
University of Winnipeg
Winnipeg, Manitoba


Melissa J. Brown
Department of Anthropological Sciences
Stanford University
Stanford, California
United States


Stephen L. Cabrai
Adjunct Faculty
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Massachusetts—Dartmouth
Division of Continuing Education
Program Manager
Substance Abuse Care and Treatment Services
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
United States
Robert L. Canfield
Department of Antropology
Washington University—Saint Louis
Saint Louis, Missouri
United States



Carolle Charles
Bernard M. Baruch College
City University of New York
New York, New York
United States

Haitian Americans

Siu-woo Cheung
Division of Humanities
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong

Ghung Hmung


Duane A. Clouse
SIL International
Dallas, Texas
United States


Barry Craig
South Australian Museum


Clarke E. Cunningham
Department of Anthropology
University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, Illinois
United States


Frederick H. Damon
Department of Anthropology
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
United States

Northeast Massim

Faith Damon Davison
Mohegan Tribe
Mohegan Reservation
Uncasville, Conneticut
United States


Catherine S. Dolan
School of Development Studies
University of East Anglia
United Kingdom


Luo Dong
Zhongnan Minzu Xueyuan
People's Republic of China


Timothy Dunnigan
Department of Anthropology
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
United States

North American Hmong

Louis E. Fenech
Department of History
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa
United States


Rodney Frey
American Indian Studies and Anthropology
University of Idaho
Moscow, Idaho
United States


Atwood D. Gaines
Department of Anthropology
Case Western Reserve University
Department of Biomedicai Ethics, Nursing, and Psychiatry
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and
Cleveland, Ohio
United States




Daniel J. Gelo
Department of Anthropology
University of Texas—San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
United States


David M. Gordon
Department of History
University of Maryland—College Park
College Park, Maryland
United States


Ken Hahlo
Department of Health and Social Studies
Bolton Institute
Bolton, Lancs
United Kingdom
O. M. Hanisch
Department of Anthropology
University of Venda
Republic of South Africa
Jeffrey T. Hester
Kansai Gaidai University

South Asians in the United Kingdom


Koreans in Japan


Ingrid Herbich
University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
United States


David Hicks
Department of Anthropology
State University of New York—Stony Brook
Stony Brook, New York
United States


Paul Hockings
Department of Anthropology
University of Illinois—Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
United States


Jason Baird Jackson
Department of Anthropology
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
Norman, Oklahoma
United States


Jok Madut Jok
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, California
United States


Julie Keown-Bomar
Department of Social Science
University of Washington—Stout
Menomonie, Wisconsin
United States

North American Hmong


Amir Khisamutdinov
Department of Foreign Language
Vladivostok State University of Economics and Services

Russian Americans

Kwang Ok Kim
Seoul National University
Republic of Korea

Koreans in China

Timothy J. Kloberdanz
Department of Sociology-Anthropology
North Dakota State University
Fargo, North Dakota
United States

German Russians

Waud Kracke
Department of Anthropology
University of Illinois—Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
United States


Shepard Krech III
Department of Anthropology
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
United States


Alexandros K. Kyrou
Department of History
Salem State College
Salem, Massachusetts
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts
United States

Greek Americans

Fred Lindsey
J. F. Kennedy University
Orinda, California
United States


Timothy Longman
Department of Political Science
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, New York
Human Rights Center
University of California—Berkeley
Berkeley, California
United States


Derek Lowry
Guilford Schools
Guilford, North Carolina
United States

Tuscarora of North Carolina

Grant McCall
Centre for South Pacific Studies
The University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia





David R. Miller
Saskatchewan Indian Federated College
University of Regina
Regina, Saskatchewan


Pyong Gap Min
Queens College
City University of New York
New York, New York
United States

Korean Americans

Torben Monberg
The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters

Bellona and Rennell Islanders

Mary H. Moran
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Colgate University
Hamilton, New York
United States


Tuntufye Selemani Mwamwenda
Audrey Cohen College
New York, New York
United States


Eden Naby
CMES / Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts
United States


Peter F. B. Nayenga
Department of History
St. Cloud State University
St. Cloud, Minnesota
United States


Wendy Ng
Department of Sociology
San Jose State University
San Jose, California
United States

Japanese Americans

Enos H. N. Njeru
Department of Sociology
University of Nairobi


H. C. Pauw
School of Social Sciences and Humanities (Anthropology)
University of Port Elizabeth
Port Elizabeth
Republic of South Africa


Lisandro Pèrez
Cuban Research Institute
Florida International University
Miami, Florida
United States

Cuban Americans


Bryan Pfaffenberger
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
United States
Claire Robertson
Department of History and Women's Studies
Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio
United States
Alonford James Robinson, Jr.
Department of Government
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts
United States
Tom Ryan
Anthropology Programme
University of Waikato
New Zealand

Tamil of Sri Lanka




Frank Salamone
Iona College
New Rochelle, New York
United States

Italian Americans

Richard A. Sattler
Department of Native American Studies
University of Montana
Missoula, Montana
United States


Reimar Schefold
Leiden University
Institute of Cultural and Social Studies
The Netherlands


Nina Glick Schiller
University of New Hampshire
Durham, New Hampshire
United States

Haitian Americans

Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers
Nash Albanian Studies Programme
School of Slavonic and East European Studies
University College
United Kingdom


Henry S. Sharp
Department of Anthropology
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
United States


Mpilo Pearl Sithole
Department of Anthropology
University of Durban—Westville
Republic of South Africa


Ian Skoggard
Human Relations Area Files
New Haven, Conneticut
United States

Arab Canadians; Ganda; Hokkien Taiwanese;
Lakeshore Tonga; Okinawans; Ovimbundu; Quinault




Andris Skreija
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Nebraska—Omaha
Omaha, Nebraska
United States

Polish Americans

Tanya Southerland
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey
United States


Rachel Sponzo
Department of Anthropology
City University of New York
New York, New York
United States


Marc J. Swartz
Department of Anthropology
University of California—San Diego
La Jolla, California


Melissa Fawcett Tantaquidgeon
Mohegan Tribe
Mohegan Reservation
Uncasville, Conneticut
United States


Alan Thorold
School of Social Sciences and Development Studies
University of Durban—Westville
Republic of South Africa


Arlene Torres
Department of Anthropology
University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, Illinois
United States

Puerto Rican Mainlanders

Patricia K. Townsend
SUNY at Buffalo
Amherst, New York
United States


Albert Trouwborst
Department of Anthropology (retired)
University of Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Aribidesi Usman
African American Studies
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona
United States


Godfrey N. Uzoigwe
Department of History
Mississippi State University
Mississippi State, MS
United States



Gerrit J. van Enk
Gereformeerde Kerk of Assen-Noord
The Netherlands


J. A. van Schalkwyk
Anthropology and Archaeology
National Cultural History Museum
Republic of South Africa


Ineke van Wethering
Amsterdam School of Social Research
The Netherlands


Bonno Thoden van Velzen
Amsterdam School of Social Research
The Netherlands


James Diego Vigil
School of Social Ecology
University of California—Irvine
Irvine, California
United States


Gene Waddell
College of Charleston Libraries
Charleston, South Carolina
United States


Shalva Weil
Department of Education
Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Beer Shiva

Cochin Jews

Koen Wellens
University of Oslo


Edgar V. Winans
Department of Anthropology
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington
United States


Xu Wu
Department of Anthnopology
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta


Russell Zanca
Northeastern Illinois University
Chicago, Illinois
United States




ing names used by outsiders, the self-name, and alternate
Identification and Location· Derivation of the names and
ethnonyms, location of the culture, and a brief description of
the physical environment.
Demography. Population history and the most recent reliable population figures or estimates, with dates.
Linguistic Affiliation. The name of the language spoken
and/or written by the culture, its place in an international
language classification system, and internal variation in language use.

This volume, with one hundred new articles, supplements
the award-winning 10-volume Encyclopedia of World
Cultures, which was also organized and prepared by the
Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) at Yale University,
and published by G. K. Hall/Macmillan Library Reference
between 1991 and 1996. The volume includes three kinds of
entries. One kind is an important culture that was not
included, for one reason or another, in the original encyclopedia. These new cultures are located in most regions of the
world, but especially in Africa and North America. For
example, Rwandans and Barundi are now included. New or
updated articles on cultures that have been strongly affected
by recent political events are a second kind of entry here. For
example, the wars in the former Yugoslavia required expansions and updates of the articles on the Bosnian Muslims,
Albanians, and Serbs, and the Afghanistan war called for
revisions of the articles on the Tajiks and Uzbeks. Finally,
there originally were only short entries on some important
cultures, including some that are of classic interest in
anthropology (for example, Crow, Zulu). These have now
been expanded and updated.
In preparing this supplement, we have asked for advice
from many scholars and contributors. We particularly thank
our advisory editors, Norma Diamond (China), Terence E.
Hays (Oceania), Paul Hockings (South Asia, East and
Southeast Asia), M. Marlene Martin (North America), and
Johannes Wilbert (South America) for suggestions about
which cultures to add, enlarge, and update, and possible
authors. The cultures described here are listed alphabetically. The cultural summaries generally provide a mix of information—demographic, historical, social, economic, political, and religious. But the emphasis is on the culture, on the
ways of life of the people, past and present. This is an anthropological reference work, designed for comparing the ways of
life of cultures around the world. Usually the authors of the
entries are anthropologists who have first-hand experience
with the cultures they describe. The entries follow a standardized outline; each summary usually provides information
on a core list of topics, including the following:

Origins and history of the culture and the past and current
nature of relationships with other groups.
SETTLEMENTS The location of settlements, types of settlements, types of structures, housing design, and materials.
Subsistence. The primary methods of obtaining and distributing food and other necessities; if food and other necessities are primarily bought and sold, that is mentioned here
but commercial activities are discussed more fully below.
Commercial Activities. Activities primarily involving
monetary exchange.
Industrial Arts. Implements and objects produced by the
culture either for its own use or for sale or trade.
Trade. Products traded and patterns of trade with other
Division of Labor. How basic economic tasks are assigned
by age, sex, ability, occupational specialization, or status.
Land Tenure. Rules and practices concerning the allocation of land and land-use rights to members of the culture
and outsiders.
Kin Groups and Descent. Rules and practices concerning kin-based features of social organization such as lineages
and clans and alliances between these groups.
Kinship Terminology. Classification of the kinship terminological system on the basis of either cousin terms or generation, and information about any unique aspects of kinship terminology.

CULTURE NAME The name used most often in the
anthropological and social science literatures to refer to the

Marriage. Rules and practices concerning reasons for
marriage, types of marriage, economic aspects of marriage,
postmarital residence, divorce, and remarriage.

ETHNONYMS Alternative names for the culture includxvii



Domestic Unit·
Description of the basic household unit
including type, size, and composition.
Inheritance. Rules and practices concerning the inheritance of property.
Socialization. Rules and practices concerning child rearing, including caretakers, values inculcated, child-rearing
methods, initiation rites, and education.
Social Organization.
Rules and practices concerning the
internal organization of the culture, including social status,
primary and secondary groups, and social stratification.
Political Organization.
Rules and practices concerning
leadership, politics, governmental organizations, and decision making.
Social Control.
The sources of conflict within the culture
and informal and formal social control mechanisms.
The sources of conflict with other groups and
informal and formal means of resolving conflicts.
Religious Beliefs.
The nature of religious beliefs including
beliefs in supernatural entities, traditional beliefs, and the
effects of major religions.
Religious Practitioners. The types, sources of power, and
activities of religious specialists such as shamans and priests.
The nature, type, and frequency of religious
and other ceremonies and rites.
Arts. The nature, types, and characteristics of artistic
activities including literature, music, dance, carving, and so
Medicine. The nature of traditional medical beliefs and
practices and the influence of scientific medicine.
Death and Afterlife.
The nature of beliefs and practices
concerning death, the deceased, funerals, and the afterlife.
A selected list of the five-to-ten most important sources for
readers, including usually at least some references in

Country Index
Cultures are not clearly separated by country, so the country index lists the cultures in this volume under the countries in which they are located. Where a culture straddles a
political border, it is listed in the various countries in which
a substantial population resides.


There is an ethnonym index for the cultures covered in the
supplement. As mentioned above, ethnonyms are alternative names for the culture—that is, names different from
those used here as the summary headings. Ethnonyms may
be alternative spellings of the culture name, a totally different name used by outsiders, a name used in the past but no
longer used, or the name in another language. It is not
unusual that some ethnonyms are considered degrading and
insulting by the people to whom they refer. These names
may be included here because they do identify the group and
may help some users locate the summary or additional information on the culture in other sources. Authors usually
explain whether a particular ethnonym is considered acceptable or unacceptable to the people being described in the
identification and location section. The ethnonyms index
contains pointers to the main culture name under which the
entry can be found.
Population Figures
We have tried to be as up-to-date and as accurate as possible in reporting population figures. This is no easy task, as
some groups are not counted in official government censuses, some groups are very likely undercounted, and in some
cases the definition of a cultural group used by the census
takers differs from the definition we have used. In general,
we have relied on population figures supplied by the summary authors. If the reported figure is from an earlier d a t e —
say, the 1980s—it is usually because it is the most up-to-date
figure that could be found.


There is a set of maps for each region of the world that will
help the reader find the country or countries in which the
culture is located.

In addition to our advisors, who suggested cultures to be
included and possible authors, we thank Monica Hubbard
for managing the project with her usual efficiency and good
humor. Most of all, of course, we thank the contributors for
describing the cultures so well.

There is a glossary of technical and scientific terms found in
the summaries. Both general social science terms and
region-specific terms are included.



History and Cultural Rehtions
Abau speakers separate Biaka and Pyu speakers, whose languages appear to be related at the phylum level, to the north
and west, respectively. Several Abau groups tell how they
originated from locations farther downstream from where
they currently live; some say from the May River. Despite traditions of a common origin, there appears to have been little
sense of loyalty among these groups. Each settlement was autonomous, and enmity between settlements was common.
Even intermarriage between groups did not guarantee friendship. It seems that enmity was strongest and most enduring
between speakers of different languages, but was ameliorated
for purposes of trade. Enmity between the Abau of the Idam
valley and the Amto (an unrelated speech community in the
Simaiya valley and West Range immediately to the east)
seems to have been particularly intense until warfare was
banned by the colonial administration.
Almost nothing is known of the prehistory of the area.
A small stone head unearthed in a village near the Green
River patrol post was not recognized as an Abau artifact.
The first Europeans to contact the Abau were members
of the German-Dutch border-marking expedition of 1910,
followed by the 1912-1913 Kaiserin-Augusta-Fluss expedition. A small ethnographic collection from among the Abau
is in the Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin. In 1914 Richard
Thurnwald explored widely throughout the upper basin of
the Sepik, following that river almost to its source near Telefomin. The Eve-Hodgekiss oil search expedition of 1938 constructed an airstrip at Green River and the first plane landed
in 1938, but it was not until 1949 that a patrol post was established there.
A small airstrip was built in the Idam valley in the 1960s
but was soon abandoned because of drainage problems. Another airstrip was built on the August River in the early 1970s
to service a small police post there. The Christian Mission
to Many Lands has had a small station based at Green River
since 1953. A few men have been employed as plantation
workers and have brought back an awareness of the outside
world, a knowledge of Pidgin English, and a desire to acquire
some of the material wealth of Europeans. However, there
appear to be no major resources in the area to realize that

ETHNONYM: Green River
Identification and Location. The Abau are the westernmost people living on the Sepik River. The name was applied
by linguists; it is not used by the Abau people. It might have
derived from the kinship term for grandparents, abau. "Green
River" is inappropriate as an ethnonym because it is the
name of a river flowing mainly through non-Abau territory
and of a government patrol post near the boundaries of three
unrelated language groups.
Abau territory falls within Sandaun (West Sepik) Province of Papua New Guinea and extends mainly along the
south bank of the Sepik from the vicinity of the Yellow River,
a northern tributary of the upper Sepik, to the international
border of the Indonesian province of Irian Jay a; that is between 141°00" and 141°00" E. by 4° S. It also includes the
area south of the Green River patrol post and the floodplains
of the Idam and August rivers, southern tributaries of the
upper Sepik. The West Range to the south is sparsely inhabited by peoples who speak unrelated languages and whose
cultures are more related to those of the Sepik foothills than
to that of the riverine Abau. On the north side of the Sepik,
in an area of swamps grading through forest to patchy grass
country, peoples of unrelated language groups share a culture
not unlike that of the Abau.
Demography. The names of 1990 and 2000 village-based
census units are difficult to correlate with Abau villages. The
linguist Laycock estimated 4,545 people based on information in 1970. The census figures for 1980 suggest no significant change. It is estimated that the Abau number between
4,500 and 5,000 people and inhabit 1,700 square miles (4,350
square kilometers).
Linguistic Affiliation. Abau belongs to the Sepik-Ramu
phylum of Non-Austronesian ("Papuan") languages and is
characterized by tonemes. The language most closely related
to Abau is Iwam, which is spoken by people living along the
Sepik and the lower May River, downstream from the Abau.
Iwam and Abau have 30 percent cognate vocabulary.

The Abau once lived in large community houses close to the
banks of rivers and surrounded by food gardens. Administra1



tion officers pressured the people to abandon these houses
in favor of single-family dwellings set out in a village pattern,
but communal dwellings were still seen in the 1970s. The
community houses were rectangular structures supported at
least six feet off the ground by many flimsy posts. The gable
roof utilized prefabricated sections of sago leaf thatch. The
walls were midribs of sago palm frond cut to the required
length and lashed with cane. The flooring was made of tough
blackpalm bark. There were usually small verandas at each
end of the house. Hearths were lined up on either side of the
house, one side for men and the other for women and children, though children moved freely in the men's space. Firewood was dried and meat and fish were preserved in racks
above the hearth. It is estimated that a community house
would not have lasted more than four years.
More recent single-family dwellings are similar in construction to community houses, though smaller and with a
large open veranda to facilitate socializing and communication between the occupants of neighboring dwellings.
A special kind of house was constructed for dancing. It
was similar to a community house, but hearths were arranged
around the perimeter of a lower dance floor supported only
at the edges. A large center post passed through a hole in the
floor and supported the ridge pole but not the floor. The
slow, knee-bending action of the dancers caused the floor to
spring slowly up and down in rhythm with the dancing.
Subsistence. The Abau are swidden horticulturalists,
hunters, and gatherers but rely primarily on sago for their staple starch. Food crops include taro, sweet potato, yams, and
bananas as well as recently introduced crops such as pineapples, pawpaws, beans, and corn. Gardens are fenced to prevent feral pigs from destroying crops. The Abau cultivate
coconut palms, areca palm (betel nut), and breadfruit, roasting the whole fruit in the fire but eating only the cooked
seeds. They hunt feral pigs and domesticate a few but slaughter domestic pigs only on special occasions. Woman and children gather frogs and tadpoles and dam small creeks so that
they can use crushed derris root in the water to stun the fish.
The men catch fish and hunt various animals, including flying foxes, bandicoots, possums, cuscus and rats, birds and
cassowaries, and wallabies.
Commercial Activities. There appear to no opportunities
for commercial development at the present time. During the
1960s there was a brief revival of shield making to supply the
artifact industry.
Industrial Arts. Before the introduction by Europeans of
knives, steel axes, and machetes, tools were made of stone
and bone. Stone adze blades were roughly shaped by percussion flaking of river pebbles and then ground and polished.
These blades were bound onto a haft shaped like the number
"7" but could be rotated so that the tools functioned as axes
or adzes. These adjustable tools were particularly apt for the
hollowing out of logs for canoe hulls. Cylindrical stones
ground to a point at each end were similarly hafted and used
to fell sago palms. The pith of the sago palm is shredded by
pounding with a stone core that is hafted in the same way
as the palm cutter and axe or adze. Chisels and pandanus
fruit splitters are made from the tibia of the cassowary, and

pig bones are used as spoons. Rat incisors are used as chisels
for fine carving.
Bow staves are made from black palm, and bowstrings
from split rattan. Arrows for hunting large game and for warfare are elaborately ornamented. Most arrows have a reed
shaft and a barbed point; bamboo blades are joined to the
shaft by an elaborately carved and painted foreshaft. Shields
were carved from the large flat buttress roots of trees and suspended from the bow shoulder by a horizontal bast strap. Designs were carved in relief bands painted black, with the
curvilinear figures usually in an ocher color against a white
ground. Hourglass-shaped hand drums without carved handles are fitted with a lizard skin tympanum; designs related
to those on shields are carved and painted at the distal end.
Wooden trumpets with a slightly tapering cone shape also
bear carved and painted designs at the distal end. Bamboo
jaw's harps are played for amusement. Log slit drums figure
in legends, but only a few, small, crudely carved examples
could be found in the 1960s.
Women make looped string bags of various sizes that are
used to carry everything from small personal items to food,
firewood, and babies. Women also make and wear reed or
sago-string skirts. Men make and wear gourd penis sheaths,
either egg-shaped or tapering. Curvilinear designs representing insects and other small creatures are burned onto the surface of the gourds. This type of ornamentation also is applied
to gourds used for smoking or as containers for the lime
chewed with betel nuts. Bamboo smoking tubes are provided
with etched designs that often are similar to those on the
arrow foreshafts.
A variety of head, neck, chest, arm, and leg ornaments
were made from shells, bone, teeth, seeds, fur, and feathers.
Trade. The major items of trade were stone tools, for which
dogs'-teeth necklaces and pigs were exchanged. A type of triangular cross-section adze was traded from the same source
in the Star Mountains to the west from which the Telefolmin
obtained their adzes; these adzes have been found as far down
the Sepik River as Angoram. Some axe and adze blades were
made locally from large river pebbles, and some were obtained by trade from the upper reaches of streams east and
west of the Abau. Shell ornaments of nassa, cowrie, pearl
shell, and conus also were obtained by trade.
Division of Labor. Men clear forest for gardens, erect
fences, build houses, and carve canoes. They hunt with bows
and arrows, assisted by dogs. Both sexes plant, weed, and harvest. Men fell sago palms. Women extract the sago starch
from the palm and cook sago by mixing water boiled in bamboo tubes with the sago starch to make gelatinous ``sausages."
A container made by folding and stitching sago spathe (the
large sheathing leaf enveloping the flowering head of the
palm) is used in this process. Women are the primary carers
for children, but men carry children and play with them.
Women make the looped string bags used by both sexes.
Land Tenure. Land belonging to each settlement appears
to have relatively clearly defined boundaries that were contested by warfare. It appears that an individual's rights to use
land are inherited primarily from the father, secondarily from
the mother, and occasionally from affines.


Kin Groups and Descent. There do not appear to be any
named kin groups; each group is known by the name of its
settlement. There are two ``lines" of Abau: one that moved
up the Sepik mainstream to Hufi on the international border
and one that moved up the lower reaches of the Simaiya to
the Idam and across to the middle August River. Relationships within each of these ``lines" tend to be friendly, but relationships between the lines tend to be unfriendly,
exacerbated by accusations of sorcery.
Kinship Terminology. Abau kin terminology is difficult to
classify but it is Omaha-like in so far as all parallel relatives
are called (male speaking) by the generationally appropriate
nuclear family terms, there is a terminological differentiation
of the sister's descendants, and there is a generational shift
upwards of the mother's brother's daughter and her descendants. However, the mother's brother's son and the father's
sister's son are terminologically equated by a word that is
translatable as ``pig-exchange relative." In the standard
Omaha system, these terms should be different, and so it appears that the term for "pig-exchange relative" has "overwritten" the Omaha terms. Little is known of the female
kinship terminology but it appears similar in structure to that
of the male terminology while using many different terms.
Marriage and Family
Marriage. It is said that a man, usually the father, gives a
woman to another man to marry. The ideal is sister exchange. There is often considerable pressure on a woman to
marry a man not of her choice. However, at least as often a
woman insists on having her own feelings considered. Most
marriages are within the village group, but marriages to outsiders are arranged with a sense of reciprocity—a woman of
group A is given to a man of group Β because previously a
woman of group Β was given to a man of group A. This is
a generalized form of sister exchange. A bride can be bought
with dogs' teeth, bows, arrows, and string bags.
A man is not supposed to marry his sister's daughter or
his first cousin, but the latter is now permissible. In the past
this would have created problems with the rules of pork distribution.
Sex before marriage causes considerable trouble because
it disrupts plans for sister exchange, but adultery among married men and women is common. Women say that prostitution—getting paid for sex—would be silly: "It is just fun."
Domestic Unit. The basic domestic unit is the nuclear
family, sometimes extended to include a sibling or another
close relative of the husband or wife. Infanticide may be practiced if a child is born too soon after another child. Ideally,
a child should have left the breast before another requires it.
Women may resort to magic to prevent pregnancy, but abortion is not practiced. Men prefer male children because they
see them as their replacements.
Inheritance. Men tend to inherit their fathers' most valuable possessions, such as stone tools, fight arrows, and hand
drums. Inheritance of land, or of the right to use land, is
cognatic—that is, through the father or mother—although
there appears to be a preference for patrilineal inheritance.


Socialization. Perhaps the most important attitude inculcated during childhood is the necessity for sharing food.
When a boy shoots his first birds, neither he nor his parents
may eat them; he must give them to someone else "or he will
never grow up." A man is bound by the same rules when he
shoots his first pigs. He cannot eat the first crop of coconuts
or betel nut from the palms he has planted because "his blood
has gone into it." For the same reason he must not eat the
pigs he has reared or the sago or pandanus from the palms
he has planted.
It was said that in pre-European times parents dealt
harshly with naughty children, sometimes beating them so
badly that they died. Children were frightened into obedience by warnings of "bogeymen" and enemy scouts. There
appear to have been no formal rites of initiation or coming
of age for boys or girls.
Sociopolitical Organization
Social Organization. The community house group (today
the village group) is the basic social unit that integrates nuclear families. Previously, men sat, ate, and slept in an area
of the community house nominally separate from the women
and children. The change to individual houses for the nuclear family, gathered together into villages, has broken down
this separation of the sexes.
Political Organization. Traditionally, there were no formal
political offices. An energetic young warrior may have been
able to mobilize one or two settlements against an enemy, but
larger alliances were unknown.
After the Green River patrol post was established, government officers appointed a luluai (village representative)
and a tultul (assistant) in each settlement to mediate between
themselves and the villagers. This system was replaced by
local government councils with elected councilors in the late
1970s. Today candidates for office at the local, provincial,
and national levels are elected on the basis of local loyalties
but readily replaced if they are perceived not to have materially assisted their constituents.
Social Control. Antisocial behavior is generally tolerated
and dealt with by avoidance. However, if a person is accused
of sorcery and enough men feel aggrieved by the sorcerer's
activities, they may kill the accused even if that person is a
member of their community. If a person goes crazy and
threatens extreme violence, a number of men may physically
restrain that person until he or she calms down. Serious
crimes are reported to government officials who have the
power to take the accused into custody and, if found guilty,
jail him at the provincial center. Monetary fines are ineffective as few people have money. A typical activity for prisoners
is to cut the grass on airstrips and clear out drainage ditches
at the roadside.
Conflict. Conflict within the village may be sparked by accusations of theft, adultery, or unfair distribution of food.
Conflict is managed by avoidance or physical restraint. Conflict between communities may involve a number of men and
quickly escalate to warfare, with the aim being to destroy the
community, its settlement, and its gardens. If someone is
killed, that person's death must be avenged.



Religion and Expressive Culture
Religious Beliefs. Traditionally, there were no initiatory
rituals, and although the skeletal relics of some ancestors
were retained as heirlooms, there do not appear to have been
any rituals involving them. There is, however, strong adherence to animism and belief in humanlike spirits with shapeshifting powers that inhabit large trees, deep pools, and rivers. The spirit world is regarded as having a geographic
location at the boundaries of human settlement, gardening,
and hunting activities. The spirits of dead persons may be encountered in the bush and may choose to return to human
settlements, sometimes with a spouse and with children who
have been born to them in the spirit world. A characteristic
of spirits is that they vomit when first attempting to eat
cooked food or decompose or vanish if they are reminded of
their death.
Religious Practitioners. Every community has a few men
who use magic to cure illnesses. After chewing betel nut and
cinnamon bark and engaging in periodic tobacco smoking,
they examine patients and suck out splinters, nails, bones,
stones, teeth, and other objects that are believed to be making the patient sick. These objects are thought to have been
shot into the victim by sorcery. After the objects have been
removed, they must chase off the malignant spirits that have
been extracted along with the objects or the community's
dogs will be driven crazy and they will not be able to hunt
wild pigs successfully.
Ceremonies. Abau religious ceremonies seem to be concerned primarily with curing illness. Yafi is the name of a sickness-curing ceremony. A tall conical sago spathe headdress
(bufiyaf) with a design painted on it like those on shields is
worn by a man who also wears a large gourd penis sheath
(yafsiau) and a belt of large bones and seeds. The masked
man beats his drum and dances so that the sheath swings up
and clacks on the belt. His function is to decoy and dispose
of the malevolent spirits that have made people sick. The sick
people sit on the ground, and the rest of the community
dances around them. After the ceremony the participants
must avoid sexual intercourse for a month so that the ginger
they have used does not injure or kill their partners.
Arts. Designs are etched on bamboo smoking tubes and
reed arrow shafts; singed on gourd penis sheaths, lime containers, and smoking apparatus; painted on sago palm spathe;
and carved and painted on wood shields, hand drums, and
trumpets. Arrow foreshafts are elaborately carved and painted and may be inherited from generation to generation. The
designs are generally curvilinear and symmetrical around the
vertical and horizontal axes.
There is a rich tradition of songs with texts evoking nostalgia and melancholy by means of allusion to phenomena in
the natural world. Oral traditions are in linear, narrative
form, with frequent reference to the spirit world and interactions between protagonists and spirits. A common motif is
the man who gains a boon from a spirit woman and loses it
through negligence. Another is the outcast who, through heroic experiences during an epic journey, becomes an admired
Medicine. The most common herb used as medicine is nettle, which is thought to prevent the blood from coagulating

in the veins, which the Abau recognize as a sign of death.
Another method of curing certain illnesses is to sit on a platform above or lean over a bark container of medicinal leaves
and water that is brought to boiling by dropping in hot stones.
This method is believed to remove the vindictive powers of
spirits who have taken the form of human beings (especially
females). Chewing ginger, cinnamon, and betel nut and
smoking tobacco are believed to be curative or necessary for
healers to mobilize their curative powers. Chewing the extremely bitter wild taro leaf is mentioned as a means of
abruptly shifting men into a warlike temperament. It is
"heat" that is said to be the significant characteristic of these
plant materials.
Death and Afterlife. If a person dies prematurely, even
through an accident, it is believed that sorcery has been committed. A divination is conducted that involves a bamboo
pole set up with rattling objects suspended from one end over
the grave of the dead person; the other end is held by the diviner. The assembled men of the community call out the
names of suspected sorcerers. If the pole rattles, they believe
they are on the right track. Eventually, when the right name
has been called and the motive has been established, the pole
leaps out of its position over the grave and several young men
hang on to it and rush up and down the village until they are
exhausted. This disperses the power of the evil spirit. The
pole is then attacked with axes and machetes, and the evil
spirit is eliminated. The identified sorcerer may be attacked
by sorcery or physically attacked and killed.
Dead people traditionally were put on a bark platform
in the house that was left to deteriorate; now they are buried.
Some bones—especially of successful hunters or warriors—
were selected and worn as decorations around the neck or
put in a string bag painted red.
The spirit of a dead person is called bop. This is also the
word for ``shadow." Spirits go to kisau (the ground) and are
called kisauru. The end of mourning is marked by the closest
relatives washing in the river and sponsoring a lavish feast
of sago, pandanus sauce, and smoked pork.
For other cultures in Papua New Guinea, see List of Cultures in Volume 10 and under specific culture names in Volume 2, Oceania.
Behrmann, Walter (1922). Stromgebiet des Sepik: Eine
deutsche Forschungsreise in Neuguinea. Berlin: Scherl.
Craig, Barry (1975). ``A Stone Head from Green River, West
Sepik District, New Guinea," Journal of the Polynesian Society
84(2): 230-232.
(1976). "The Keram Style in the Abau Area of the
Upper Sepik, New Guinea," Baessler-Archiv 24: 181-195.
(1980). "Legends of the Amto, Simaiya Valley," Oral
History VIII (4): 1-17.
(1980). ``Legends of the Abau, Idam Valley," Oral
History VIII(5): 1-92.
(1990). ``Is the Mountain-Ok Culture a Sepik Culture?" In Sepik Heritage: Tradition and Change in Papua New
Guinea, edited by Nancy Lutkehaus et al. 129-149. Durham,
NC: Carolina Academic Press.
Kelm, H. (1966). Kunst vom Sepik II. Berlin: Museum für


Thurnwald, R. (1914). ``Entdeckungen im Becken des oberen Sepik," Mitteilungen aus den deutschen Schutzgebieten

27(3): 338-348.

(1916). ``Vorstösse nach dem Quellgebiet des Kaiserin-Augusta-Flusses, dem Sand-Fluss und dem Nord-Fluss bis

an das Küstengeberge," Mitteilungen aus den deutschen Schutzgebieten 29(2): 82-93.


ETHNONYMS: Albanoi, Arbër, Arbëresh, Arnauts, Arvanites, Shqiptars
Identification and Location. Albania is nearly two-thirds
mountainous, covering 10,710 square miles (28,748 square
kilometers) of southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Montenegro, Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, Greece, and
Italy, which lies 70 miles (112 kilometers) across the Adriatic
Sea at the Strait of Otranto. The national borders were first
recognized in 1921 but had been wider and more ethnically
inclusive after the 1913 Balkan Wars and during the period
of fascist occupation (1941-1944). In the early 2000s, nearly
as many Albanians (more than three million) lived in adjacent neighboring states as lived in their homeland and even
more were part of a worldwide diaspora.
Greeks call historically assimilated Christian Albanians
Arvanites or Arbër and refer to recent Albanian immigrant
workers as Arvanoi (Albanoi). Ptolemy described the Albanoi,
which produced the modern ethnonym Albanians, in the
second century B.C.E. as an Illyrian tribe whose town was Albanopolis. In early Byzantine times Arvanites or Arvanoi
were mentioned by Michael Attaliates and Anna Komnene;
a principality of Arbanon developed in today's central Albania in the period 1190-1230, and in 1272 the Neapolitan
Charles of Anjou proclaimed himself Rex Albaniae. In southern Italy Albanians are known as Arbëresh. The term Arnauts
designates Albanians in the service of the Ottoman Empire.
Shqiptar, the Albanian self-designation, in popular etymology
relates to shqiponjë (the eagle) as the symbol of the mountains, the emblem of the medieval national hero Gjergji
Kastrioti (Skanderbeg), and the national flag. In Slavic languages, Šiptari has a derogatory connotation while Albanski
is a neutral term. Albanians is the internationally used name.
Demography. After the postcommunist political transition
the birth rate decreased from 2.5 percent in 1990 to 1.8 percent in 1998, although it is still high by European standards.
In 1996, life expectancy reached 71.4 years and 75 percent
of the population was younger than age thirty-five. The crude
mortality rate ranged between 5.4 and 5.7 per thousand.
These figures suggest a large population increase, but the
population decreased slightly from nearly 3,286,000 in 1990
to an estimated 3,284,000 in 1998 because of emigration.


After the mobility restrictions of the communist regime
ended, approximately 15.6 percent of the population, mostly
young and middle-aged men (70.7 percent of all immigrants)
and also young families, emigrated primarily for economic
reasons. Emigrants' remittances constitute an estimated onefifth of the nation's gross domestic product. In 1999 there
were approximately 500,000 Albanian migrant workers in
Greece, 200,000 in Italy, 12,000 in Germany, 12,000 in the
United States, 5,000 in Canada, 2,500 in Belgium, 2,000 in
France, and 2,000 in Turkey. Internal migration has depopulated poverty-stricken rural areas, while urban areas such as
the Tirana district have nearly doubled in size (from 374,500
in 1990 to 618,200 in 1999).
Linguistic Affiliation. Albanian belongs to its own branch
of Indo-European, with influences from Latin, Greek, Slavic
languages, and Turkish. Dialect differences—roughly categorized as Gheg (north) and Tosk (south of the Shkumbin
River)—were first nationally standardized on the basis of the
central Albanian northern Tosk dialect during communist
times. The Latin alphabet has officially been used since 1908.
For patriotic reasons, Kosovar Albanian Gheg speakers
adopted the standardized variant in 1968. The dialects differ
at every level from phonetics to grammar to vocabulary.
History and Cultural Relations
Archaeological evidence of Illyrian settlement dates from the
second millennium B.C.E. Illyria was in the orbit of the ancient Greek civilization and after 158 B.C.E. was controlled
by the Roman Empire. Whether there was pre-Slavic settlement by Albanians in Kosovo is a matter of controversy.
After Hun, Gothic, and Slavic invasions, by 750 the area was
under Byzantine rule. It was under Bulgarian rule from 851
to 1014, under Norman rule from 1081 to 1185 and then
areas came under the Neapolitan control of Charles of
Anjou, under Serbian rule from 1334 to 1347, and under Venetian control until 1393. In the mid-fifteenth century
Prince Gjergji Kastrioti (Skanderbeg) reconverted to Christianity and led the ethnically mixed allies of the 1444 League
of Lezha in resisting Ottoman control. At the beginning of
the sixteenth century all Albanian territories were under
Turkish rule. Under the Ottomans—governing indirectly—
various customary rules of self-regulation called kanun flourished. Islamization of nearly two-thirds of the population resulted from tax pressures on the Christians (raya), the
recruitment of Christian children for the janissary corps
(devşirme), the flight of many Christians to Greece and
southern Italy, and the disintegration of church structures.
There were opportunities for social and professional improvement in the Ottoman army and administration, and Albanians gained high feudal and military positions under the
sultans. Modern Albanian historiography locates the national ``rennaissance" (rilindja) in the nineteenth century, when
the first uprisings against the disintegrating empire occurred.
Schooling became a disputed question. Muslim and Greek
Orthodox schools existed alongside Italian-supported
schools and the Austro-Hungarian Kultusprotektorat Catholic
schools, of which only the latter eventually promoted the use
of Albanian after 1880.
In 1912 Albania was declared an independent nation.
However, only after the Balkan Wars in 1912-1913 and a

6 Albanians

half-year interlude of rule by the foreign Prince Wilhelm zu
Wied in 1914 was Albanian independence recognized internationally in 1920. A semidemocratic government under
Bishop Fan Noli was overthrown in 1924 by troops of Ahmet
Bej Zogu, a northern tribal leader who was proclaimed King
Zog in 1928. He fled the country as a vassal of Mussolini's
fascist Italy in 1939. During occupation by the Germans during World War II, southern Albanians cooperated as partisans with the English on the eventual victorious side while
many northern monarchists sided with the Germans.
These antagonisms caused postwar show trials until
1950, and many of the northern Albanian men were executed as collaborators. Under the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha
(1946-1985) Albanian political ``isolationism" was expressed
in the building of 250,000 concrete bunkers throughout the
country. Yugoslavia was its patron state until the 1948 Corninform conflict. The Stalinist Soviet Union served as a patron
from 1948 to 1961, and the People's Republic of China was
the patron state until 1978. In a period of increasing budget
deficits, starvation, and protests, Hoxha's successor, Ramiz
Alia, began democratization reforms within the communist
system in the late 1980s. In 1990, at a time of mass flight and
student demonstrations, religious freedom, party pluralism,
free elections, minority rights, the right of free expression,
and the right to have a passport were granted.
The postcommunist transition period was characterized
by a major international development presence ("international patronage"), mass migration, political polarization,
and destabilization. Northern rural communities faced a vacuum of the previously omnipresent state power. After fraudulent elections in 1996 and the overnight loss of the
population's savings in ``pyramid schemes" in 1997, state institutional structures disintegrated, and the population
armed itself from communist-built army depots. An international military presence and strict monitoring of elections led
to political and economic stabilization. Albania successfully
coped with the influx of nearly half a million refugees from
Kosovo in 1999 and remained neutral during Albanian guerrilla warfare in Macedonia in 2001.
During the communist period approximately two-thirds of
the population lived in rural, agriculturally dominated areas.
During the 1990s the urbanization rate increased radically,
and it is expected that early in the twenty-first century there
will be equal rural and urban populations. Historical urban
centers had developed at major trading routes connecting
mountains with lowlands and hinterlands with the coast
(Berat, Elbasan, Shkodër), at major ports (Durrës, Sarandë,
Vlorë), and at centers on the highland plains (Gjirokastër,
Korçë, Kukës, Peshkopi) or coastal plains (Kavaje, Lezhë).
Tirana gained national significance only when it became the
capital in 1920. Under communism cities with specific administrative, economic, or industrial functions (for example,
mining and agricultural cities) developed out of previously
rural settlements. Brick buildings lacking plastering, apartment blocks called palati, and central community buildings
for each settlement ("house of culture") are reminders of
communist housing policies. In the early 1990s, 95 percent
of houses were privatized.

Village settlements in the northern mountains are characterized by the coresidence of agnatic groups and patrilineages so that territorial and kinship principles of social
organization—despite communist attacks on "patriarchal
traditions"—overlap. Hardly any traditional kullë remain
from Ottoman times: These were traditional fortified tower
houses of stone with slits for light in the lower floor and closable windows above, adapted to the threat of brigandage, foreign invasion, and blood feuds. Precommunist houses were
built of stone and timber with a central fireplace for the extended family and a formal reception room. Within walking
distance of the village, wattle and daub constructions on
summer pastures (bjeshkë) offered shelter during the period
of dairy production in the summer months. In Muslimdominated rural regions stone wall enclosures were built for
socioreligious and defensive purposes. Houses in areas with
a Mediterranean climate have a porch that serves in the summer as a place for cooking, sleeping, and living. In these areas
the influence of modern Greek architecture can be observed.
There are a few remaining manor houses of former latifundia
holders (the çiftlik system) and some castles of aristocratic
Subsistence. The extended household was based on a
semiautonomous subsistence economy of horticulture, agriculture, and shepherding (sheep, goats, and cattle). Kurbet,
labor migration prompted by poverty, in which one adult
male family member works abroad and sends home remittances, was common both in precommunist times and afterward. Historically, many Albanians became wandering
craftsmen with skills in areas such as house construction
throughout what was known as the "European Turkey" of
Ottoman times. One son in an extended family might have
had to serve in the Ottoman army, which provided additional
The communist command economy fostered industrialization and the expropriation and nationalization of the
means of private production. Farming was integrated in cooperatives and state collective farms. These policies led to
the mass slaughter of animals and periods of starvation in the
1980s. There was widespread unemployment despite a "fulloccupation" policy. In the postcommunist 1990s the official
unemployment rate exceeded 18 percent. In 1999, 70 percent of employed persons worked in agriculture to meet subsistence needs. Foreign aid, migrants' remittances, and the
informal sector became the pillars of the economy.
Industrial Arts. Traditional crafts include fine silver and
gold filigree work; felt hats, vests, and trousers; wood carvings
for interior decoration; soapstone carvings; wicker work decorations on small storage boxes; woodwork on traditional
cradles, bridal chests, and spoons; musical instruments such
as the two-stringed çifteli, the one-stringed lahuta, and shepherds' flutes; and embroidery and other needlework produced by women. Since the late communist period these
products have been sold as souvenirs to tourists.
Trade. Famous for trading roads such as the Roman Via
Egnatia and the port of Durrachium (Durrës) in classical
times, trade was severely restricted in the communist era by
principles of internal autonomy ("no import without ex-

Albanians 7

port"). Exports included iron ore, chromites, electricity from
plants in the north, gas, agricultural products, and a few finished goods such as textiles, timber, chemical products, plastics, cigarettes, and tobacco. Imports consisted of grain,
luxury goods, machinery, vehicles, and chemical and electromechanical products. In postcommunist times small and
medium-scale enterprises quickly developed but suffered
considerably from the collapse of the pyramid schemes. Textiles, food, furniture, and electrical domestic products were
imported from neighboring countries and Turkey. In the informal sector, border contraband of tobacco, coffee, dairy
products, and cannabis sativa from home production constituted private subsistence activities in the late 1990s; trafficking in narcotics, cars, oil, refugees, and women (for
prostitution) was engaged in by internationally organized
criminal networks and enriched only a few Albanians.
Division of Labor. In traditional Albanian society labor
was allocated by the ``lord of the house" among the men and
by the ``mistress of the house" among the women, with authority held according to seniority. Men generally took responsibility for all work outside the immediate neighborhood,
and women for work within those bounds. Under communism many women were employed outside the home in industry and cooperative agriculture. This led to a double
burden rather than female empowerment. In 2000 the official
female unemployment rate was 21 percent, in comparison to
15 percent for men.
Land Tenure. Traditionally, the agnatic corporate group
jointly held farmland. Pastures were owned as ``communal
land" by the village, and sales to outsiders were not permitted. In the plains the çiftlik system of land ownership integrated previously independent villages under the rule of
feudal lords called bejlerët (plural of bej, or ``landowner").
Mixed systems developed north of Tirana. In 1947 land reforms divided large estates into agricultural cooperatives and
small-scale farmland for former tenants. Soon persecuted as
"kulaks," these tenants also suffered expropriation. Full socialist state collectivization was achieved in 1967. In 1991 a
new law ordered the division, registration, and distribution
of collectivized farmland. Half a million hectares of agricultural land were to be allocated to former cooperative workers,
creating small parcels. However, collision with reemerging
customary inheritance laws based on kinship frequently led
to conflicts with neighbors and the law.
Kin Groups and Descent. In the traditional highland regions territorial and patrilineal kinship principles overlapped.
Genealogical knowledge of patrilineal descent from a common fictitious ancestor, facilitated by mnemonically efficient
naming practices, justified claims to territory. Postmarital
rules of virilocal residence assured the reproduction of corporate residence clusters of agnatic groups. Concentrically organized, segments included the extended house (shpi), the
brotherhood (vëllazeri) or neighborhood (mehallë), and the
patrilineage or tribe (fis). The patrilineage was called "the
tree of blood" (lisi i gjakut), and the matrilateral kin "the tree
of milk" (fai i temblit). Kinship in the southern and central
regions tended to have more bilateral orientations shaped by
Greek Orthodox or Islamic rules. Communist modernization

practices promoted nuclear families. Crises, poverty, and the
migrations of the postcommunist era have resulted in further
nuclearization of family ties while temporarily strengthening
traditional bonds in Kosovo and Macedonia.
Kinship Terminology. Traditional kinship terminology is
classificatory with bifurcate and merging features and is governed by the principles of age seniority, fratristic (brotherly)
coresidence, and gender differentiation. Patrilateral cousins
are referred to as brother (vëlla) and sister (motër), siblings'
descendants as grandchildren (nip/mbesë), the mother's
brother as dajë, and the father's brother as mixhë. Bacë is used
to refer to the oldest brother or uncle or sometimes the father
(whoever has the highest authority in the shpi); dadë is the
female equivalent. Originally, the zot i ships, the "lord of the
house," called all young men of the shpi "my son," the girls
"my daughter," and every married woman "my wife." Nusë
was originally the name given to a young bride who had not
yet given birth, but it later was used to designate all inmarried women.
Marriage and Family
Marriage. Northern traditions included ideals of seven- to
fifteen-generation exogamy that were subverted by the forgetting of matrilateral relations. Marriages are still arranged
in the rural regions of Kosovo and Macedonia and in northern Albania. Postmarital virilocal patterns of residence determine power relations within families. Traditional customs of
bride-price payment, ritual lamenting during separation, the
bridal procession, and the symbolic subordination of the
bride at the ritual stage of integration into the husband's family's house have been reestablished in the north. Rare relics
of precommunist practices include swearing eternal virginity
and becoming a classificatory male to escape unwanted marriage ("sworn virgins"), the levirate, the rejection of infertile
women, infant betrothal, and bridal kidnapping. In the 1990s
the regional reemergence of traditional practices may have
facilitated trafficking in women. Turkish, Greek, and West
European marriage styles have influenced most Albanian
weddings. Divorce, which formerly was almost unthinkable,
is increasing.
Domestic Unit. The traditional rural domestic unit was
shaped by fratristic, patrifocal, and virilocal principles subsumed under the originally Slavic-derived term zadruga. In
the late 1990s the average family had two rooms, with two
people sharing each room. Restricted space and deficits in
the social security system explain the presence of threegenerational domestic units, although young people express
a preference for neolocal postmarital residence. Remittances
from migrant labor are preferably put toward home improvement, particularly sanitary improvements.
Inheritance. Traditionally, inheritance of land was corporate and patrilineal. Pressures involving land resulted in the
expansion of territory, the splitting of a family, or migration.
Women were materially compensated only through a dowry.
Both communist and precommunist reforms introduced
equal rights but had little sustainable success in rural areas.
Socialization. Traditionally, children seldom addressed
adults and owed respect and servitude to their elders. During
adolescence boys were given a weapon; girls were expected

8 Albanians

to produce needlework as a contribution to the dowry. Baptism, the first haircut, and in Muslim areas circumcision were
important rites of passage. In early communist times an 80
percent illiteracy rate was fought (and ideological control established) by providing daycare and kindergarten, and primary, middle, and high school education to every child.
Schooling was based on the ideological "triangle of education, productive work, and physical and military training."
Postcommunist schooling has suffered from teacher shortages in rural areas and overcrowded classrooms in urban
areas, high rates of dropping out, and the survival of authoritative or nationalistic teaching methods. Nevertheless, education is highly valued.
Sociopolitical Organization
Political Organization. Traditionally, every "lord of the
house" and the village elders of the patrilineages had a voice
in the village or tribal assembly (kuvënd). Ottoman military
rankings regionally coexisted with or substituted for the kinship-based sociopolitical representation system. The "standard-bearer" (bajraktar), regionally a vojvod or bey, had
administrative and juridical functions in peacetime and exerted leadership during war. The Communist Party replaced
traditional authorities with functionaries at all levels and
maintained control through totalitarian methods, including
an omnipresent secret police (sigurimi). Party pluralism,
which was introduced in 1990, inaugurated a highly polarized
political landscape dominated by the Socialist and Democratic parties. With the exception of 1997, elections were internationally considered relatively free and fair, although
crises provoked widespread political fatigue. Nongovernmental organizations such as cultural, labor, sports, and other associations are gaining influence, although they rely heavily
on foreign sponsors.
Social Control. Village gossip, slander, and ignoring were
used to sanction improper actions and words. "Honor"
(ndera) was a social status assigned to someone who conformed to the collective values of kin and friendship solidarity. This was also expressed in distinctions between the
"faithful" and "traitors." The concept of besa covers social
relations that extend kin ties to former strangers who have
become friends (mik, plural miqe). The meanings of besa include word of honor, security guarantees, hospitality (and
protection of a guest), alliance guarantees, friendship ties (including to a former blood enemy), and responsibilities to
one's wife's agnates. Ndera described not only qualities such
as personal strength, masculinity, dignity, family integrity,
hospitality, and the capacity for defense but also a person
generously sharing the profits from the sheep trade. Maintaining a facade of "honor" was as significant as displaying
readiness to kill in retaliation for transgressions. The option
of feuding was understood to deter transgressions in the highly competitive and resource-poor northern highlands.
Communist ideological practices differentiated people
into those "faithful" to the regime and "traitors." Individual
liability was introduced with postcommunist legal and police
reforms aimed at implementing the rule of law and providing
internal security.
Conflict. Local feuding and revenge killings emerged after
1991 over private land conflicts, irrigation rights, injustices

suffered under communism, and conflicts of interest and
power in the informal sector. Although in the north these
events were explained through revitalized kanun customs of
feuding, urban hot spots such as Shkodër, Vlorë and Tropojë,
situated on international trafficking roads, suggest more
modern causes.
Religion and Expressive Culture
Religious Beliefs. Apart from the Muslim Sunni Islam majority, there exists the historically influential Islamic Sufi
community of the Bektashi, a Dervish order (previously 15
to 20 percent of the population). The nation is 8 to 10 percent Catholic in the north and 15 to 25 percent Orthodox
in the south. During the national renaissance in the nineteenth century (the rilindja) the notion that "the faith of the
Albanians is Albanianism" was established. Meant to integrate national religious divisions, this idea recalled syncretistic pagan and crypto-Christian beliefs. In 1967 the
communist state imposed the doctrine of "scientific atheism." Religious freedom was relegalized in December 1990.
Numerous adult baptisms, conversions, and strategies of
shifting identities and names were prompted by Islamic scholarship, Greek working permits for the Orthodox, and international missionary work.
Magico-religious beliefs were shared across the religious
denominations. They find expression in practices that protect against evil, such as the worshiping of patron saints, pilgrimages (a prominent destination is Baba Tomor, a
personified mountain), the wearing of amulets, soothsaying,
euphemistic naming, and the placement of dolls in the eaves
of new houses to distract the evil eye. In the 1990s, such
practices became more common and fertility magic prospered. Historical practices such as couvade (the father acting
as if he had borne the child) survive only in sayings.
Religious Practitioners. When in need of advice, comfort,
or education, people historically consulted priests, wandering
monks, or Muslim clerics, depending on local availability.
After 1948 religious practitioners suffered persecution. After
1991 Albania became a major destination for missionaries
from the United States, the Vatican, and Saudi Arabia. Informal practitioners such as magical healers found new niches.
Ceremonies. With regional variations, life-cycle rituals on
the occasions of giving birth, the first haircut (and nail cut),
baptism, weddings, and funerals have syncretistic features in
terms of Albanian modernity or tradition and Western or
Eastern influences. In the 1990s old church festivals, processions, and pilgrimages were revived, as were local oath-giving
ceremonies, reconciliation rituals, and purification rites for
new land or harvests. Nevertheless, there are still communist-introduced secular rituals such as the International
Women's Day, May Day, and particularly the New Year,
which compete in significance with religious holidays.
Arts. Polyphonic and epic traditions of singing and folk
dances were nationalized through changing texts and framed
in competitive performances on the stages of national folklore festivals (every five years in Gjirokastër) during the communist period. Literature, prominently represented by Ismail
Kadare, offered novels in which metaphors of history and cul-


ture served as subtle criticism. Theater, film, sculpture, and
painting were vehicles for ideology. With the postcommunist
crises, theaters were transformed into bingo halls while interregional cooperation profited from the flourishing oppositional activities of Macedonian and Kosovar Albanians.
Tirana's National Art Gallery featured a critical exhibition
of socialist realist paintings at the turn of the millennium.
Medicine. Diseases were attributed to evil spirits (vile) that
often symbolized the illness and had to be ritually distracted,
predicted, diverted, or exorcised by ritual specialists such as
folk doctors (hekim), dervishes, and "wise old women" with
inherited herbal knowledge. Communist health policies replaced such traditions with a network of hospitals, research
institutions, care centers, and maternity stations and by providing free medical treatment. However, in postcommunist
times many underpaid medical personnel emigrated, particularly from rural areas; new diseases and drug abuse spread;
and pharmaceutical and medical supplies were lacking, all of
which opened niches for informal or traditional ways of practicing medicine.
Death and Afterlife. Across religions, female ritual specialists guided the chorus of wailing women in repeating poetic
antiphonal two-verse death chants. Regionally, face scratching, the cutting or tearing of one's hair, and other mourning
rites were practiced. Northern collective male rituals included vocalizations and gestures in unison that might have indicated the loss of means of communicating (hearing, talking,
seeing) with the deceased. The deceased person was presented in his or her best clothes, sometimes with items attached, such as an apple, cigarettes, a rifle, or money, which
were meant to ease the journey. The deceased was always
buried in a grave that faced the sunset (to the west). Old
graves featured wooden crosses decorated with pre-Christian
symbols. Cemeteries were usually situated at elevated sites at
the periphery of villages or cities. Mountain sites associated
with murder were indicated with stone piles {muraria). In the
communist era private ritual mourning was done without religious references. National remembrance days honored the
"heroes of the liberation war" (prominently partisans) at
monumental "martyrs' cemeteries" at elevated parts of cities.
For the original article on Albanians, see Volume 4, Europe.
Durham, Edith (1909 [reprint 1985]). High Albania. London:
Edward Arnold [reprint, London: Virago].
Elsie, Robert (2001). A Dictionary of Albanian Religion, Mythology, and Folk Culture. London: Hurst & Co.
Gjonça, Arjan (2001). "Communism, Health and Lifestyle:
The Paradox of Mortality Transition in Albania,
1950-1990." Studies in Population and Urban Demography No.
8. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Grothusen, Klaus-Detlev, editor (1993). Albanien: Südosteuropa-Handbuch, vol. VII. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und
Hahn, Georg von (1854 [reprint 1981]). Albanesische Studien. 3 vols. Jena: Friedrich Mauke Verlag [reprint, Athens:
Hasluck, Margaret (1954). The Unwritten Law in Albania.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Schwandner-Sievers, Stephanie, and Bernd Fischer, editors

(2002). Albanian Identities: Myth and History. London: Hurst
Tirta, Mark (1996-1997). "Survivance des rites païens chez
les albanais," Bulletin, Association internationale d'études sudest européen, Bucharest, 26-27, pp. 85-93.
Vickers, Miranda, and James Pettifer (1997 [reprint 2000]).
Albania: From Anarchy to a Balkan Identity. London: Hurst &
Internet Sources
Albanian Human Development Report 2000, UNDP Albania.

ETHNONYMS: die Elsassiche (Alsatian), les Alsacien
(French), die Elsässer (German), Alsatians (English); place
names: Elsass (Alsatian), Alsace (French), Elsass (German),
Alsace (English)
Identification and Location. There are several theories
about the origin of the name of the province (Alsace) that
is home to the Alsatians. The French name Alsace is derived
from the earlier German name Elsass, believed to mean "seat
of the I11," the I11 River being Alsace's major inland waterway.
The I11 River arises in the High Vosges in the southwest of
the province and flows northeast to the Plain of Alsace, passing through the provincial capital Strasbourg and emptying
into the Rhine River north of that city. The historic province
of Alsace is bounded on the north by the forests of Hagenau
and Wissembourg, on the east by the Rhine River, on the
south by the Alsatian Jura and the Alps, and on the west by
the heavily wooded Vosges Mountains. This area lies between 7 and 8° E longitude and between latitudes 49 and 47°
Ν latitude.
The Vosges Mountains fall rather precipitously to the
foothills below. The foothills in turn give way in the east to
the Plaine d'Alsace, which ranges from 10 to 20 miles (16 to
32 kilometers) in width (east-west) and is 80 miles (130 kilometers) in length (north from the River Lauter, south to the
Alsatian Jura). Underground water tables provide water supplies of great depth and reliability, making the province virtually impervious to drought. In the many river valleys of the
foothills and along the eastern face of the foothills, the grapes
are grown for the production of the five varieties of Alsatian
Historically, Alsace stood at the crossroads of the east
to west route over the Rhine. With the opening of the St.
Gothard Pass in Switzerland, the area became the axis for
north-south trade and travel in continental Europe. Because
of its east-west and north-south routes, the city of Strasbourg



for centuries has been called the "the crossroad of Europe."
In the last years of the twentieth century, its designation has
changed due to the location of a number of premier European
Community institutions including the Council of Europe and
the European Parliament. It is now known as the "capital of
Demography. Alsace as a whole has a land area of 3,210
square miles (8,310 square kilometers), which represents 1.5
percent of the total land area of France. In 1999 the province's population was 1,734,145, and the population density
was 540 inhabitants per square mile (209 per square kilometer). In 2000, some 75 percent of Alsatians lived in cities,
44.5 percent in its three largest cities: Strasbourg, Mulhouse,
and Colmar. Twenty six percent of the provincial population
lives in Strasbourg, the eleventh largest city in France, with
264,115 inhabitants in the city proper and a total of 427,245
in its Unité Urbaine (UU). Mulhouse has 110,359 inhabitants and 234,445 residents in its UU, and represents 13.5
percent of the provincial population. Five percent live in Colmar, which has 65,136 inhabitants and 86,832 in its UU.
Linguistic Affiliation. Aside from the small pocket of
Flemish-speakers in northern France, Alsatian is the only
Germanic language spoken in France. Dialects of West Germanic and thus Indo-European languages, the two Alsatian
dialects are closely related to Swiss German and to the transRhine dialects of Baden (Baden-Wurtemburg) and Bavaria.
They have been spoken in the province in various forms since
about 600 C.E. In 1963, 80 percent of the inhabitants of Alsace spoke one of the dialects. Most Alsatians also speak
French and/or German. By 2000, the great decline in Alsatian speakers was notable.

History and Cultural Relations
A common assumption is that the province of Alsace is intimately related to that of Lorraine, hence the common reference to "Alsace-Lorraine." However, while the prehistory of
the two areas has much in common, the early history of these
provinces shows sharp divergences that have had an enduring impact. Lorraine (from the Latin, Lotharii Regnum; Greek
Lotharingia), named after Lothair, its Carolingian ruler from
840-855, came under French influence and control much
earlier than did Alsace. From 1279 until 1776, when France
gained official possession of Lorraine, the eastern province
had been dominated by French influence and the presence
of French citizens. The major dialect of Lorraine is Langue
d'Oïl, or Northern French, primarily spoken in the southern
part of the province around Metz.
Religion is another difference between the regions. Since
the time of Clovis, the Carolingian ruler, the people of Lorraine have been Roman Catholic. Alsatians followed Rome
in the beginning, but most of them turned to Protestantism
during the Reformation. Alsace and Strasbourg were, in fact,
the centers of the Reformation in the Rhineland.
Economic differences also separate the two provinces.
Alsace developed early on a commercial and industrial economy and an urban (and Protestant) bourgeoisie, whereas Lorraine's economy focused on mining and agriculture and
much less on commerce and industrial production. When the
two historic provinces were annexed by Germany in 1870,

Alsace's economic dominance led to the submergence of Lorraine's interests under those of Alsace during the annexation.
On the eve of the Franco-Prussian War (1870), Alsace
and Strasbourg were governed by a still largely indigenous
Protestant upper class. The lower classes were predominantly
Catholic, both French and Alsatian. The most important Alsatian industry, imprimerie indienne, the Protestant-owned
textile industry, employed no Catholics (a condition which
lasted as late as 1949). The exclusion of one group from an
entire industry is indicative of the problematic relations between the two major religious groups in the area at that time.
As events began to lead to war between Germany and
France, some Protestant elites openly favored the German
annexation of Alsace for economic and religious reasons.
The German annexation, in 1871, lasted until the end of
World War I, when Alsace was returned to France.
World War II once again saw the annexation of Alsace
by Germany in 1939. The Third Reich did not wait to gauge
the "Germanness" of the Alsatians, but immediately deported them to Poland and Russia, and replaced them with
"good" Germans, both military and civilian. German rule
during World War II was much more severe than that exercised after the Franco-Prussian War, for the Germans had
learned that, although the Alsatians were a Germanic people, they were not Germans. Several prison camps in occupied Russia held Alsatian prisoners exclusively.
With the return of Alsace to France at the conclusion
of World War II, Alsace entered a "new" phase. The French
government eliminated German language instruction in the
primary schools. This stricture still stands today. It manifests
a still persistent fear of the French that Alsatians are too involved with what the French regard as "German" culture.
However, through all the changes wrought by history, much
in Alsace has remained the same. An Alsatian Protestant
elite still maintains control of economic and political life in
the province.
An autonomist party developed at the end of the war
and was still functioning in the 1970s. The membership of
the party was secret. It was widely believed that its membership leaned toward Nazism. Hence, while some Alsatians
voiced autonomist sentiments in the 1970s and 1980s, many
preferred to do so outside of the autonomist party.
The history of the area shows the imprint of both Latin
and Germanic cultures in a fundamental way in terms of ethnic identity. The determination of ethnicity in Alsace differs
for Germans and French; Alsatian ethnics must be able to
show a lineal tie to an Alsatian ancestor. No other elements
of performance (such as residence or language proficiency)
are necessary to claim the identity. French identity, on the
other hand, is entirely performance based; one's origins are
not important if one manifests central elements of the identity, which for the French is language ability.
Traditional Alsatian buildings and homes are half-timbered
structures, some dating to the 1300s. These are made of
rough masonry (made from a mixture of clay, animal furs, and
straw) and wood, with all exterior and interior structural
members being of the latter. The wealth of the province is
shown in the major houses of the cities of Alsace. These are


notable for their elegance and, in particular, for their Oriel
windows (overhanging bay windows) and stair-step gables.
These structures dating from the fifteenth century are in
stone rather than half-timbered as in earlier times. Subsequent construction is largely in stone and follows the development of French architecture for the last four centuries.
The exceptions are the buildings in German Second Reich
styles that were built during the annexation by Germany
(1870-1917), and which include parts of the University of
Religious architecture in Alsace includes examples of
Romanesque, Gothic (with the Cathedral being one of Europe's best examples), Flamboyant Gothic, and Classical architecture, with only some examples of the Baroque style.
Subsistence. The Alsatian economy is a fully developed industrial economy complemented by major viticultural, pomocultural, and agricultural activities. Preeminent are the
chemical, electronic, and automobile industries. The province also produces electricity for export to Germany and
Switzerland from its many hydroelectric plants along the
Rhine, which produce seventeen billion kilowatts per year.
Commercial Activities. The area has a strong and diversified agricultural industry and a broad-based industrial sector.
One of the prime ingredients of the economy of Alsace is its
port, which is important not only to Strasbourg and to Alsace, but to all of France. Strasbourg City has some seventeen
kilometers of territory that borders directly on the Rhine.
The Autonomous Port of Strasbourg is the second largest
port in France, though it is an inland port. The three principal countries to which it ships goods and material and from
which it receives cargo are Germany, the Netherlands and
Belgium. A major export, petroleum, some of which is produced locally and most of which is refined locally (the two
refineries just north of Strasbourg were producing 8.1 million
metric tons of refined oil annually in the 1970s), is sent to
other countries such as Switzerland. Some oil is transshipped
south to North Africa via the Sud European pipeline, which
has terminals in Strasbourg and on the Mediterranean Sea.
Canals also link the Port to the Rhone and Marne Rivers.
Other products of the region include meats (one of the
most common meats in France is Saucisse de Strasbourg),
dairy products (which include Muenster cheeses—there are
several villages named Muenster in Alsace), and its fine ceramic tradition. The city of Strasbourg is top-most of all
French cities in banking and insurance; it is second only to
Paris in the proportion of the population engaged in research
(scholarly, medical, etc.), and first in the proportion engaged
in private research, especially in industry.
The University of Strasbourg includes schools of Law,
Medicine, Letters, and Science; and colleges or institutes for
pharmacy, nursing, political science, agriculture and chemistry as well as European studies, and its various technical institutes that serve industry. The university has some 25,000
students and is second only to the University of Paris in stature and in the number of foreign students in attendance (primarily Swiss, German, American, and Scandinavian).
The French state's tendency toward centralized control
over the economic affairs of its constituent regions has

caused problems for Alsace as well as for other provinces.
Some writers argue that the Alsatian economy's integration
with the national economy is weak. It is also suggested that
Alsace allows "too much" foreign industrial implantation and
investment (German, Swiss, Japanese, and Dutch). Germany
and Japan have major investments in the province, German
investments being preeminent. The economy of Alsace is
often discussed in the context of the "Upper Rhine" (French,
Le Rhin Superior) economy, which includes neighboring areas
in Germany.
Industrial Arts. Textiles are of great importance to the
area's industry and include 5,300 different establishments, 48
of which employ more than 500 people and 14 of which employ more than 1,000 workers. The three largest industrial
enterprises in Alsace are Automobiles Peugeot in Sausheim,
General Motors Powertrain in Strasbourg and INA Roulements of Haguenau. Its agricultural industry also includes a
vigorous and world-renowned wine sector which specializes
in white wines.
Trade. Forty percent of Alsatian industrial production is
exported. Most trade is with nearby countries, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, but a significant
portion is also with the United Kingdom and Italy. Automobiles, chemicals, rubber, potash, and electrical and electronic
equipment are the most traded items from Alsace that find
their way most often to international markets.
The agricultural and consumable (alimentaire) industries
of Alsace are notable for candies, especially chocolate, and
beer, such as Kronenbourg and Mutzig. The Alsatian wine
industry is also of note, producing for export white wines
(Pinot Gris, Tokay, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner, a Crémant
[sparkling wine], Muscat, and Reisling), which have a characteristic floral nose without the typically sweet taste of (German) Rhine wines.
Division of Labor. Alsace's economy is an industrial one
with a large agricultural component. Generally, work is done
by adults, except on farms and in family vineyards where
younger family members may contribute. Adolescents may
also join in at harvest time (la vendange).
Land Tenure. Farms and vineyards are often family
owned. Single heirs, who may be of either gender, are chosen
to carry on the tradition rather then split apart the holding.

Kin Groups and Descent. Alsatians practice the typically
Western European form of bilateral kinship with a patrilateral emphasis.
Kinship Terminology. As in the rest of Western Europe,
kinship terminology is Inuit with cousins distinguished by
gendered terms. Ascending and descending generations are
distinguished by generation and gender.
Marriage and Family
Marriage. Marriage is normally among people of the same
religious group. If not, it is referred to as a marriage mixte
(mixed marriage). Cases exist where individuals were excluded from their family of origin for religious exogamy. Marriages
may be civil or religious or both. Postmarital residence of cou-

12 Alsatians

ples has differed among the Protestants and Catholics. Protestants (specifically Lutherans and Reformed) are neolocal
after marriage. Among Catholics, daughters tend to take up
postmarital residence near their mothers. Sons tend to live
near their mothers-in-law postmaritally. In the last half of the
twentieth century, serial monogamy has become increasingly
common, as divorce laws have been relaxed.
Domestic Unit. Both Protestant and Catholic groups tend
to have nuclear family-based domestic units for part of the
domestic cycle. As the family ages, senior members no longer
able to live on their own may join a nuclear family, making
it an extended family. The area has a relatively high number
of co-resident extended families in comparison to the rest of
Inheritance. Inheritance is generally patrilineal for farms
and firms. Among Protestants daughters are likely to inherit
as well. Among the rural people, inheritance has been under
a system of male primogeniture but augmented by selection
of a single heir, male or female.
Socialization. Among the elites, childcare is often entrusted to a nanny or two. In general, children are regarded as a
blessing. Childrearing has not been studied per se in the area,
but the ethnography of urban areas suggests that key values
are instilled at home and at school and include the importance and value of family and one's place in it. Physical punishment is meted out to correct the errant child, usually by
swats on the rear, but not the face, unless the misbehavior
is extremely severe. The emphasis on family cohesion is more
pronounced among Catholics than among Protestants.
Schools follow the dictates of the French educational
system. Only since 1994 in Alsace has education been permitted in the German (but not Alsatian) language at the primary level. Until 1990, instruction in German before the
equivalent of high school was legally proscribed in France
only in Alsace.
Sociopolitical Organization
Social Organization. The social system of Alsace has historically been based upon three dimensions of stratification:
wealth, prestige, and political power (not unlike other Western European societies). However, the upper classes, and to
a certain extent, the lower classes, are also divided by religion. Thus, one speaks in Alsace of "high society" (Haute Société) as High Protestant Society and distinguish it from High
Catholic Society. Religion thus serves as an organizational
principle (in marriage, somewhat in residence, occupation,
and employment) and as a structural principle in Alsace.
Political Organization. The province of Alsace is divided
into two départements, Bas Rhin and Haut Rhin (Lower and
Upper Rhine, respectively) and represents two of the ninetynine such administrative and political units that compose
France and France d'outre mer (Overseas France). The préfet
(prefect) is the chief administrator of a department. The prefect is defined as a high functionary named by decree to administer a department and to represent that department to
the central government. The Alsatian departments are subdivided into fourteen arrondissements (administrative districts) , under a sous-préfet's control. The arrondissements are
further divided into cantons, of which there are sixty-nine in

Alsace. Within cantons are found communes. In Alsace there
are some 945 communes.
Alsace is administered by a central government comprised of legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The
legislative branch consists of a bicameral Parlement (Parliament) that includes the Senat (Senate) with a total of 321
seats and the Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly) with
577 seats. The members of the Senate are indirectly elected
by an electoral college and serve nine-year terms. One-third
of the Senate is elected every three years. Members of the
National Assembly are elected by popular vote and serve
five-year terms. The executive branch is headed by the chief
of state, or president, who is elected by popular vote for a
seven-year term. The head of the government is the prime
minister who is nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by the president. The president also appoints members of the Cabinet, or Conseil de Ministres, on the
recommendation of the prime minister. The judicial branch
is composed of the Cour de Cassation (Supreme Court of Appeals) whose judges are appointed by the president based
upon nominations from the High Council of the Judiciary
(Conseil Constitutionnel). Three members are appointed by
the president, three by the president of the National Assembly, and three by the president of the Senate and Council of
Social Control. Prior to the Reformation, the inhabitants
of the province were largely Catholic, with a small Jewish minority whose presence was most notable in the cities of Alsace. After the Reformation, the urban areas became largely
Protestant. While the conflicts between the religious traditions could have become insurmountable, they have not, apparently due to the fact that the two countries that have vied
for control of the province, France and Germany, represent
different religious traditions. In times when Alsace is under
the control of one or the other, the Alsatian religion out of
favor is supported and defended by the religion in favor, i.e.,
Protestants defend Catholicism when under German Protestant domination and the reverse occurs when Alsace is under
French Catholic domination.
Religion and Expressive Culture
Religious Beliefs. Religious affiliation has changed much
over the last five hundred years in Strasbourg and in Alsace.
Before the Reformation, the provincial urban populace was
largely Catholic with a strong minority of Jews who lived
there in part because of the persecution they experienced
elsewhere in France. This situation changed completely during the years of the Reformation. For some 150 years, Strasbourg and ten of the other major Alsatian cities (the
Decapole) were almost exclusively Protestant, the largest
group of Protestants being the Lutherans. With the acquisition of the province (and later Strasbourg itself) by the
French crown, the balance began to shift. By the time of the
French Revolution in 1789, the numbers of Protestants in
Strasbourg had declined such that they represented little
more than 50 percent of the total. In 2000, some 65 percent
of Strasbourgeois were Roman Catholic. The next largest is
the group of Églises de la Confession d'Augsbourg, the Luther-

ans, who represent about 25 percent of the municipal population. The Église, the Reformed Church (who do not refer to


themselves as "Calvinists"), represent some 4 percent of the
urban population, and Jews represent approximately 2 percent.
The two World Wars of this century have seen a very
large member of Alsatian Jews killed and displaced. After
World War II, many Jews left (or were taken from) the area
and did not return. Hence, many of the Jews of Alsace today
are not Alsatian Jews, but post-war arrivals. However, there
are a number of old established Jewish families in Alsace.
One of these is the family of Pierre Mendes-France (né Mandelbaum), former Prime Minister of France. Mendes-France's
change of name suggests that while pursuing a career in politics, one might maintain one's Alsatian ethnicity but perhaps
not one's Jewish identity in Catholic France.
Islam was brought to Alsace by workers from North Africa. The number of adherents represents less than 5 percent
of the urban community.
The people of Strasbourg and Alsace are a religious people. There has never been fervent anticlericalism in Alsace
as has appeared elsewhere in France (except in the Vendée).
The dominant Catholic tradition, as well as the Jewish, Lutheran, and the Reformed (Protestant) have a special legal
status in the two départements of Alsace and in Lorraine.
This status allows individuals to make donations to their respective churches or temples by having a designated sum of
their income taxes allocated thereto.
In Lutheranism, there is a notion of divine omnipresence. This form of pantheism is said to be typically Germanic.
Divinity is seen as infused throughout the natural and social
environment and, as such, is not localized, or localizable, in
any one place, person, object, or time. Hence, Luther's notion of consubstantiation was developed in opposition to the
Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, or the power to call
forth divinity in the Mass. This calling forth attributed magical powers to Catholic clergy which differentiated them from
ordinary men and women. In the Protestant tradition, clerics
have no special powers; they do not form an elevated clergy
Religious Practitioners. Religious specialists include
priests and pastors, for the Catholic and Protestant traditions, respectively, and rabbis of the Jewish faith. While positions in the Catholic tradition are appointed from without,
leaders of Protestant and Jewish traditions are chosen by
their respective congregations.
Ceremonies. A variety of religious practices typical of Judaism, Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism animate
Alsace's social life. The Catholics have a place of pilgrimage
in Alsace, to the convent of the patron saint of Alsace, Sainte
Odile. A statue of the saint stands, arms outstretched, on the
mount where the convent is located in the Vosges Mountains, overlooking and protecting the Plain of Alsace. Saint
Odile's feast day is 13 December, which is assumed to be the
date of her death. Her remains are said to reside in a sarcophagus in the convent. She is a focal point for religious pilgrimages and is sought after for her intercessions, especially by
those with eye problems or diseases, because of the myth concerning her development of sight after being born blind.
Catholic villages also have yearly festivals (fetes patronales) on the day of their respective patron saints. In the north
of Alsace, such festivals are called messti but kilwe or kilbe in
the south. Today, these festivals allow one to see the trad-


tional costumes including the famous schlumpfkeppe, a bonnet made of black folded ribbon worn by women.
Historically, baptism was an important ceremony. In the
nineteenth and early twentieth century, it was presumed that
the high infant mortality rates were due to malevolent forces.
Babies were considered especially susceptible to evil influences until they were baptized. Thus, baptism was seen as an
important event that should not be delayed lest an infant's
life be placed at risk.
Arts. Alsace contains a number of monuments of Christian
religious art. The Musée de L'Œuvre Notre-Dame, the museum of the Cathedral of Strasbourg, contains "Christ's Head,"
the oldest known example of repre