chapter  V
Age Groups in Familistic Societies
Pages 21

This hypothesis relates, then, mainly to the authority struc­ ture of the family unit and to the extent to which it impedes the attainment of full social status by its junior members.

It should, of course, be quite obvious that age groups which exist under these conditions differ considerably from those existing under the conditions described in the first major hy­ pothesis (i.e., under universalistic criteria of integration of social systems). The main difference is in the extent of their universality and of the emphasis on universalistic criteria. Those age groups which arise because of an authoritarian family struc­ ture are seen to be more closely tied to that particularistic struc­ ture and have a somewhat narrower universal span than hitherto-

discussed age groups. Secondly, since these age groups arise as a result of strong tension between the generations, a somewhat stronger deviant potential is indicated. At this stage, however, we shall refrain from drawing a sharp comparison between the two types of age groups, first presenting the basic material bearing on this second hypothesis. This material is much scarcer than that relating to the first hypothesis, although there exists quite a lot of information bearing indirectly on this problem. The analysis found below is based mainly on material relating to the following societies: the Murngin tribe of Australia,1 the Tiv Tiv tribe of East Africa,2 the Nyakyusa age villages of Africa,3 Irish peasants (mainly of Clare county),4 and some ad­ ditional peasant societies.5 In so far as possible, comparative material will be presented, as well as other material bearing indirectly on some of the problems that arise.