McCreery's "What's it all about"

Jackson M Roper (jmrst38+@PITT.EDU)
Thu, 27 Jan 1994 17:09:30 -0500

Although I did not read McCreery's original message, nor am sure of the
context of that message (as I read part of it in a reply by another), I
feel compelled to respond to his statement that "the existence of `us' vs.
`them' distinctions is prima-facie evidence that a culture exists". Why
is this so? High school adolescents all over the United States form into
us vs them groups as part of their identity, as do inner city gangs. Does
this mean that each gang or clique that maintains as part of its
identification a view of other gangs and cliques as `them' is a separate
culture? This doesn't make any sense, particularly in cases of two rival
inner city gangs whos experience, beliefs, traditions, etc. might be very
similar. IN addition, it is also common for kinship within clans to be
subdivided into phratries where there is at least some `us vs them'
mentality in terms of economic activities, marriages, ritual, etc. But
certainly one would not suggest that this means they are separate
cultures. So does it make sense to say that such `us vs. them'
distinctions are prima-facie evidence that a culture exists (or separate
cultures are present)?
- J.M. Roper