one question for Dwight Read

Sun, 15 May 1994 06:09:49 EDT

possibility that Peoplehood is not necessarily embedded in culture, which
may be correct so far as I know: If other people are not meaningfully different
in culture, why should they be defined as Other? They would still be enemies
in a city-state system like the Greek or the Medieval Italian; but of the
same People. On the other hand, recognition of cultural alienness is a
historic variable, not a constant. Five hundred years ago, "country" and
"county" were alternative usages in England. "Foreign" applied to people
in another country/county, whose speech was perhaps barely intelligible, if
that much. Intermarriage, where the Moabite woman, Ruth, married an Israelite
man, both Peoples sharing a common language, Hebrew, and becoming distinct
not too long before the period of the story, for example, entailed one party
adopting the spouse's culture: "Thy people shall be my people, thy god my
god." Culture, Peoplehood, endogamy were all of a piece.

This is confused, I'm tired. The Meaningful Differences which constitute
cultures in which Peoplehood is embedded may be asymmetrical. For example,
natives of the USA may not recognize Anglophone Canadians as a separate
People, no matter how often they are told otherwise; but do regard Mexicans
as Foreign however much Ontarians are not.

In practice, how do the rules of who's a what, where work out?

Daniel A. Foss