Marc Swartz takes us for the first time into the homes and neighborhoods of the Swahili in the East African port of Mombasa. At the same time he develops a new model for the operation and transmission of culture.
In asking how cultural elements influence the social behavior of those who do not share them as well as of those who do, Swartz points to the mediation of status. The many types of status available to individuals provide guidelines that help explain, for example, why the broadly shared elements of Swahili culture (Islamic religion or the nuclear family) do not alone translate into behavior. The Way the World Is demonstrates in a highly original way how culture "works."
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1991.