Comparison of single-family house marketing in France and in the U.S.A. : an anthropological approach

Comparison of single-family house marketing in France and in the U.S.A. : an anthropological approach

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Comparison of single-family house marketing in France and in the U.S.A. : an anthropological approach
Nisolle, Joelle E.
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Tampa, Florida
University of South Florida
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xi, 457 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Housing, single family -- Marketing -- United states ( lcsh )
Housing, single family -- Marketing -- France ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Applied Anthropology -- Doctoral -- USF ( FTS )


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Includes vita. Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of South Florida, 2000. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 403-452).

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
027360853 ( ALEPH )
45318603 ( OCLC )
F51-00210 ( USFLDC DOI )
f51.210 ( USFLDC Handle )

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COMPARISON OF SINGLE-FAMILY HOUSE MARKETING IN FRANCE AND IN THE U.S .A. AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL APPROACH by JOELLE E. NISOLLE A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor ofPhilosophy Department of Anthropology College of A11s and Sciences University of South Florida May 2000 Co-Major Profes so r : Alvin Wolfe, Ph.D. Co-Major Professor: Dominique Roux, Professeur Agrege


Onice of Gra du a t e S tudi es Lnivcrsity of South Flor ida T c unpa Flo rida CT RT I I : IC ;\TE OF !\PPR0\.:\1. Ph. D Disse rtati o n Th is is t o cenif'y that the Ph. D Disse rtati on of .JOFI l F E 1\1 SOI. I.L ith a major i n A p plied ,-\nthropol ogy has b ee n appro v ed f or the dis s ertation requ ir ement on \!o, cmbcr 17. I<)<)<) for the Doc t o r o f Philosophy deg ree J ::-;aminin g C o mmitt e e -------Co-1\' l ajor P rofessor : A lvin vVo l l c Ph. D ------Co -1\' l ajor P rofessor : D o minique R o u:-;, Professor :\ grc_ge ------------------:vk mbcr S t c,e Baumgarte n Ph D \ em b e r : .lcan-\ 1 arccl Dalbara de. Ph J) \ kmbcr Suzan Grccnbau1n P h D . -\ l cnlhL'r .lh J) ---------\ kmbcr J>at ri(ia \ \ .atL' rman J>h D


Copyright by Joelle E. Nisolle 2000 All rights reserved


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS lam grateful to my major professors Dr Alvin Wolfe and Professeur Dominique Roux and to the professors on my Supervisory Committee for their valuable direction and encouragement. I am a l so gratefu l to the Fulbright Institute for International Education (liE) with Ms Emma Bauarschi in Washington and the Commission Franco-Americaine w ith Ms Franvoise Gaul me in Paris, for their financia l supp011 in the form of a Fulbright Grant. I acknow l edge the confidence entrusted in me by the College ofBusiness Administration at U. S .F. and particularly by the Dean Dr Robert Anderson and the Director of Graduate Programs Dr Steve Baumgarten who hired me as adjunct facuity and by Dr Myriam Stamps Professor of Marketing who shared her teaching notes with me. Finally I am proud and thankfu l to have been granted the opportunity to pursue this d e gree under the auspices of a co-tutelle" agreement signed between the University of S o uth Flo r ida and the Univ ersite Paris Dauphine There are many more individuals to whom 1 wou l d like to express my deep gratitude for their valuab l e help and support I thank them all.


To my parents my chi l dren my spouse and my family To my teachers and professors in America and in France To those who know that what we have i n common i s greate r than a l l our d i fferences


TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF FIGURES ............. ......... ..... . ........ . .. ........ .. .. .............. ....... vm ABSTRACT ........ ............. ......... ...... ............ . .. ........ ............................. ix PART 1: INTRODUCTION ..... ......................... . ........................................ 1 CHAPTER 1 : PRESENTATION ....... ................. ....... . . .................. ........... 2 Stat e m ent of Probl e m .. ............ ................ . ................................. 3 Purp os e of Study . . ... ..... ....... ................ .......... ........ .. .. ................ 5 Fie l d of Research ... . .. .................................................. .. .. .............. 6 Applied anthropology: a contro vers ial dis ci pline ...... ..... ....... .. ........ 6 Brief history .. ...... ....................................... . .. .......... 7 P ract ic e or the theory of practice ......................................... 8 Propose d definition ............................. . ......... . ......... . 10 T h e practice of applied anthropol ogy .................. . .. .. .. ...... 12 Applied anthropology and marketing ........................... . . . . ....... 14 Applied anthropology and bu s iness a nthropology ......... .......... 14 Historical r ev ie w .................. .............................. 14 Di ve r se face t s ofbusiness anthropol ogy .... ........ .. .. ..... 1 6 Business anthropology and m a rketin g ............... ... . . . .. ...... 21 Hi storica l review of the relationship ......... .. ......... ..... 21 Possible cont ributions of a nthropolog y to marketin g ...... 25 Role of e thnograph y in consumer behav ior research ....... 26 Spec ificit y of market oriented ethnography .................. 28 Evaluation of anthropology from a business point of v iew ...................................................... 31 Housin g an d built-environment s tudie s .. .............. ....................... 35 Emergence of bui l t e n v ironment s tudie s . ............ ... .... .. ...... 36 The differen t theoretical approaches ................... .. ............... 44 R esea rch Basis .......................................... .. ................................. 46 Work expe rienc e gained i n F ra nce and in the U.S.A. ..... ................. ... 48 Real estate m arketi n g in France ....................................... .48 Builder-developer in France ......... .. ......................... ...... 51 Flash back ......................... ......... .. .......... .. ...... ........ 52 Builder-developer in Florida .. ............................ .. .. ....... ... 56 Anthropology ...................... ....................................... 57 Fieldwork research.. .. . ..................................... ............. .. 59 Ons it e visits ............................................................... 59 P artic i pant observation in sal es office ... . . ................. 59


Int e rvie w of Americ an builder in France ................ ..... 61 In t e rv iews with informants .............. ........ .... ........... 61 Parti c ipatin g and in vesting in the real es t ate market in the two c o untrie s ........ ....... . .. .. .. .. .. . .. ........ .... ..... ...... 61 In the U. S .A. ....... . . ...... . .. . . .. ..... . . .. ..... ... 61 In Fra nce ............... . . ..... . . .. .... . .... ....... ..... . . 63 Library re search and anal ys i s o f builders and re a l estate brokers' documents .......... . ... .................. .......... .......... .. ...... 64 C H A P TER 2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: ...... ................ .. . .. .. . ....... .. . 65 The Framewo rk : Thi s R e s earc h i s Comparati v e and E thnographi c .. . .......... . . 65 C o mparative: The comp a r a tive meth o d in a nthropology ............... ..... 66 Historical r eview .......................................................... 67 Earl y E v o luti o ni s t s ................................................. 67 C ritiqued by His t o ri c al Empiric i s t s ....... .. . .. ..... .. ......... 69 Still u se d world w ide ...... .. .......... .. . .. ................... 7 0 1950s' c o mebac k .. .. ............. .. .. .. .. .................. .. 7 1 Diffe r e nt inter p r e t atio n s of the comparati v e method ................ 7 5 Fr o m c ompari so n s .. ................ .. ..... .. ....... .......... 7 5 T o more rigorous comparisons .. .............. . . .. .. . ...... 77 T o c r osscultural comparisons ........ ... . .. . . .. .. ..... .. 78 T o m o d e rn c ross-cultural studies . .. . .. ....... .. .. . . .. .. 82 E thno g raphic : ethnography in anthropology . .. . .. ..... .. ....... .. ..... ... 83 Ethnography is a composite method .. . . . . . .. ............ .. . . 83 E thnograph y i s both a p roc e s s and a product .......... .. .. ........ 8 6 The p roc e ss o f fieldwork ............... ......... ........... .. . 87 The pro du c t: t h e ethnog rap h i c mo nogr aph .................. 88 The re a d ership ............ .............. ..... .. . . ..... . ..... 8 9 Hi s t orica l rev iew: f r o m M a linowski to p o s tmoderni s m ............. 9 1 Tra diti o nal .ethnogr a ph y a nd posi t i v i s m ... .. ...... .. .. . .. 9 1 The m o d e rn is t p hase: 1 945-19 7 0 ................ . .. .. .. .. . 9 5 Blurre d genres of e thnography: 1 9 70 -1986 ........... . . . 98 P ostmo d e rni s m the crisis o f r e prese nt a ti o n : 1 9 8 6 1 990s .......... .. ...... .. . .. ... . .. ................ 99 The fifth m o ment: now ... .. .......... .............. .......... 1 01 And t h e futur e ? ....... ..... .. .. . .. .. . . . ............ ...... l 02 Post mode rni s m a n d e thnogr ap h y ........ ........ ......... .. ......... . 107 The im pac t of p ost m o derni sm o n e thnogra p h y .... ........ 10 7 C h arac t e r istics o f postmo dern e thnogr a ph y .......... ..... 1 0 9 Ev aluat i o n o f e thn ographic qualit y .............. ........... 1 2 1 Lim it ations o f e thnogr ap h y ... ............................ .. .. 1 2 5 Conclusi o n : lt i s a "ga g eure a wager ........... ............................. 12 7 The T h e ories U se d .......................................................... ............. 129 G e neraliz ation theories .............. .................... .................... .. .. 130 Func tion alis m .............. .. . . .. .......... . .......... ............... 130 Functionali s m : Malinowski ........... ............. . ........ 132 II


Structural-Functionalism : Radcliffe-Brown .. ........... ... 135 Characteristics common to functionalism and structural-functionalism . .. .. .. ............... ..... 138 Differences between Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown .... 141 Critique of functionalism and structural-functiona lism ... 142 Functional explanation in marketing .......................... 146 Conclusion .............. . .. . .. ... .. .......................... 148 Structuralism ............ ... ................. .. ..... .. .. ............ . . 149 Definition of structuralism ... . ............................... 151 Structures ....................................... .. ............. 152 Structures and models .............. .. ......................... 153 Structural analysis ............ ........................ ... ..... 155 Structuralism and comparison of housing .................. 161 Cross-cultural analysis based on value orientations ......................... 162 Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck's model.. ......................... ........ 164 The five major values and their variat ion .... .. ........... 166 The behavior spheres ....... ... ............................... 173 Conclusion. .... . . . ......... . . ..... .... .. ......... 175 Hofstede s model ....... ........ ....... ....... ............ . .. ....... .. 175 The four factors. ... . . .......................... .. ......... 177 Additional dimension : Confuc ian Dynamism ......... .. ... 180 Hall's cro ss -cultural communication models .... .......... ... ............. 180 Culture i s communication ... ... ........... ..................... ...... 181 The underlying structure of culture : the major triad ................ 181 Communication in cross-cultural perspective ....................... 184 F irst model: the five lan guages in international communication .................. .............. ........... . .. 185 Language oftime .. . . ................. .................... ... 185 Language of space ........... . .. .. .. .......... .............. 186 Language of things .......... . . .... ............. ...... .. . ... 186 Language of friendship .......................... .. ........ . 186 Language of agreements ......... ........ ....... . .......... 186 Hall s second model: context and time ..... .. ........................ 187 High versus low context.. ............ ....... .. .. .............. 187 Polychrony vers u s monochrony ........ ......... ............. 188 Hall s analyses of space ... ................... .. ..................... 191 Orientation to space...... ........... ............. ......... 191 The star and the grid systems of space ...... . . ........... .192 The four distances in man: proxemics .. .................... 1 95 Rapoport : the non v erbal communication model of analysis ... ... .... ..... 199 Meaning and the built-en v ironment.. ........ ............. ......... 200 Which meaning ? .... ........... ...... ... .................... ... 200 How to study mean in g ? ... ................. ......... . ....... 202 The nonverbal communication analysis ......... .................... 202 Reasons for using a non verba l communication model. ... .... .... 206 Examples of applications .................. .......... ......... 208 111


Cues identification and analysis ....................................... 210 Some American cues identified b y Rapoport .............. 21 0 Importance of low density cues .. .. .......... ........... .. . 211 Interpretation of the cues .. ........................ .......... 212 Evalu ation of the model. ............................................... 214 CHAPTER 3 : METHODS ..................... . .. . . . . . . ...... ..... . .................. 217 Metho dology of Data Collection ..... .. .......... .................... .. ... .......... 217 P art icipant observati o n ............. .. .. ....................... ................ 217 Definition of fieldwork .......... . .. .. . . . ........... .. ..... .. . ..... 217 My experience of fieldwork ...... ...................................... 219 Sanjek's three canons of v alidity .. .. .. ........ .. . .. .. .. .. .. . 221 Int e r v iews .......................................................................... 222 Selecting and protecting informan t s ................................. 223 T h . e mterv1e w process .................................................. 227 Library r esearc h ......... ......................................................... 229 Meth odology of Cross-cultural Anal ys is: Raymonde Carroll. .. .................. 229 Principle s of cross -cultu ra l analy s is ........................................... 230 S t eps in c ross-cultu ral analysis .. .................. . ........................ . 233 Identify the c ultur a l text to b e analyzed ... . .. .. .................. 233 The analy s is . . .. ................... ...... . . ........... ............. 234 Methodology of Data Analysis ...... .. ........ .. .......... ............................ 236 Domain analysis .. ................................................................ 236 T axo nomic anal ys is ......... ... .. . . .. . . ........ . .......................... 238 Compon e ntial anal ys i s .... .. ................. .. ....... .......................... 239 Theme a n a lysis ....... .................. .. .. . . ......... ............. ... .. ..... 240 Information process ing anal ys i s ...... .. .... ..... .. . .......... .............. 241 Transac ti onal anal y si s . .. ....... .. .. . . . ...... ............ ............... 242 PART 2: RESEARCH FI NDINGS ........ . ......... .. ..... .......... ......................... 246 CHAPTER I : ANTHROPLOGICAL APPROACH TO HOUSING C H ARACTERISTICS DISPLAYING POSSIBLY RELEVANT VARIATIONS IN THE TWO CULTURES ............ .. ............. .. ................................................... 247 D e finiti o n s of Hou sing ........... ................................ . .. ........... .......... 248 H o u sing characteri s tic s ....................... ................................. 248 It i s a composit e phenomenon ...... ...... . ....... .. .. ........ .. .. . 248 I t serves a continuou s need ...... ............... . ............. ......... 249 lt is a permanent product ......... .. . ....... . ..... .. .............. . 249 Housing is mediated .............................................. ..... 250 Hous in g i s a heterogeneous and indivis ibl e product ............... .250 It i s technicall y complex ................. .. .. ......................... 251 Houses as mark e tin g products ....... .......................................... 252 Houses as cu ltur a l products .................. ................... .. .. .. .. ..... 253 Compar ative Approach to the Location Factor ........ ............................ ... 256 The at titu de towards th e s uburb s ................ . .. ...... .. ........... . ... 256 I V


History of social segregation pattern s i n France and in the U S .A. ............................................................ 257 In France ......................................................... 257 In the U.S .A. .......... .. .. ..... .. ........................... 258 The web and the grid patterns of space organization ............... 259 The web or star system ........ .. .. .............. ........... 260 The grid system .......... .. ........................... .......... 261 Segregat i on of space ......................................................... .. 262 In the U.S A ........... .. .. .. .. ......................................... 263 Functional segregat i on of space ............... .. .......... .. 263 Micro-l eve l soc ial segregation ........................... .. . 264 ln France .................................. .. ........ .. .. .. .. ........ .265 Functio na l integration .......................... ................ 265 Social seg re gation at a macro-le vel. .. ....................... 266 Anal ys is of th e Core Product. ............................................................ 272 The house and its interior. ...................................................... 272 The different kinds of h ouses ...................................... . .. 274 The French emblematic co un try-house ...................... 278 The famil y-es tate-house ................................. ...... 285 The hou se as a stab le p la ce and investment .. .. . .... .. .. 288 The different kind s of r ooms .......................................... 291 Description of the two houses ....................... .. .. . 293 Big and bare house or small and cramped ...... ............ 295 Interpretati ons ......... .. ..... ........ ......................... 298 Space specialization based on formality or on activity ... 301 House as embodiment of genera l cultural t hemes .................. 304 Large house or small and beautiful house ................... 304 Traditiona l or new .................... .......................... 306 Con c l usion ...................................................... 310 Out side th e h o u se : fenc ing sys t e m s ........................................... 311 Brie f re v ie w of principl es o f a nal ys i s ................................. 311 The fence system in Ameri ca n subdivisions ......................... 314 T h e fence sys tems in French s ubdi visio ns ....................... .. . 316 Interpretation of the physica l differences ............................ 318 Ident i fication ... .............................................. ... 3 1 8 Homogeneit y ... .... ............................... ............ 319 Pri vacy ................................................ . .. . .. .. 320 Status ............. ....... ................ ........................ 324 Conclusion ............................ .. . ............................... .. 326 Fina n c i a l Aspects of H o u sing .................................... ........................ 328 H ouses a s cap i t al o r co n s umer good s ........... ............................... 328 The ladd e r of life .................................... .. ... .............. 329 E n joy n ow! .................. .................................... .329 Or deprive yo urself first to enjoy more later ................. 334 F i nanc ing real estate i n France and in th e U.S A. .............. ..... 337 Main lendin g practices .. ..................................... 337 v


Buy now pay later ....... ...................................... 340 Conclusion ............ .......................................... 342 Life cycle of houses in France and in the U.S.A .................... .. . .... 343 Preference for the new: financial conseq uences .................. .. 344 Obsolescence .......................................... ..................... 346 Physical planned and location obso l escence in the U.S.A ... ............................................... 347 Physical, planned and location obsolescence in France .................................................. 350 Real estate as enrichmen t source ............................................... 353 From capi tal gain t o foreclo s ure ...................................... 353 The foreclosure sale in Hillsborough Florida ............. 354 Foreclosures as investments ................................... 356 Causes a nd cultura l signification of foreclosures in American society ..................................... 362 Homeowner ship in France and in th e U.S.A: the real situa tion . 367 Houses as family-estate or cash source ......................... . ..... 370 Houses as source of cash ...................................... 371 Fami l y-estate production and reproduction st rategies ...... 374 CHAPTER 2: HOW DO THESE RESULTS TRANSLATE INTO MARKETING? WHAT CA N AN THROPOLOGJSTS DO FOR MARKETERS? ............................ 377 Pr od u ct....................... ......................................... 378 Identify secondary functions .. .................................................. 378 Help predict and adapt to change ..................... .. .. ..................... 380 Identify new niches and new market segmen ts ............................... 380 Practical examples derived from this re search ............................... 382 'Ready to be finished' or 'ready to live in ........................... 382 The evolv in g house ..................................................... 383 Pr o motion ........................................ .................... . ................... 3 84 Diverse adve11ising th e m es .................................................... 384 Netwo r k analysis as a promotio n method ................ . .. ........ ........ 386 Pric e .......................................................................................... 387 The best price ............................................................... ...... 387 Pr actica l examples derived from this research ......................... .. ..... 387 Place ......................................................................................... 388 Circ uit s of production and sal e ............... .................................. 388 Marketin g real estate on the world wide-web ............... .. . ........... 390 Marketing Real estate Internationally and not for Profit.. ........................... 390 Marketing real estate internat ionally ........................................... 390 Working w ith not for profi t and government organizations ................ 392 P A RT 3 : CONCLUSIO N ....... ......... ..... ............. .. ... ..... . ............... ......... 393 CHAPTER.!: RESULTS ............ .......................... .................................... 394 Summary of the Interpretations ............. ............................................ 394 VI


Structural organizing of space and world view in France ................... 394 Functional structuring of space and world view in the U.S.A. ....... ....... 396 Verified Hypotheses......... . . . . . . . . ........... .. ......... ...... . ..... 400 The built-environment is a nonverbal communication system ............ .400 Studying cultural differences improved our understanding of each culture .... . ............................. .. .. ....................... .. .400 The study of culture opens to the understanding of otherness ............ .400 CHAPTER 2 : SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: PRACTICE OFFERS A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR ANTHROPOLOGY. .......................................................... .401 Anthropology and Comp l ex Fields ... .. .. ... . ............................ .401 Ant hropol ogy and G lobalization . . . . . . .. .. . .. ........................... 401 REFERE N CES CITED ....... .. .. ......... . .. ....... .403 APPENDICES ........ .. .. .. .. .. ............................................................... 453 Appendix A: The Grid Pattern ........................................................... 454 Appendix B: The Star System .......................................................... .455 Appendix C: Country house Density in France ....................................... 457 ABOUT THE AUTHOR ......... ... ... .......... .. ....... .. ....... ............ End Page VII


LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 1 : The traffic signal color triangle and the culinary triangle ..... ................. .. 156 FIGURE 2 : American house floor plan ...... .. ............... . ........................ ..... ...... 293 FIGURE 3: French house floor plan .... ........................................................... 294 F I GURE 4 : American and French hou se life-cycle ........ ... ................................ .344 F IGURE 5: R eading road s igns .................................................................... 398 VIII


COMPARISON OF SINGLE-FAMILY HOUSE MARKETING IN FRANCE AND IN THE U.S.A. AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL APPROACH by JOELLE E. NISOLLE An Abstract of a dissertation s ubmitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philo so phy Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida May 2000 Co-Major P rofessor : Alvin Wolf e Ph.D Co-Major Pr ofessor : Dominiqu e Roux Professeu r Agrege I X


"'Anthropological concern with the built env ir onment i s at least as old as th e fir s t formal i zat i o n of theories of cultura l evolu tion during the 19th ce ntu ry" (Law r e n ce and Lovv, 1990 45) Yet, few anthropolog ical studies ofth e built environmen t if a ny, had an appl i ed concern espec i ally i n econom ics or business. Today, the pressu res of g lobali za tion impact wor l d markets. To prospe r businesses need to acqui r e refin ed know l edge of foreign consume r s a n d pr od u ce rs. This r esea rch is based on fieldw o r k d one in France a n d i n the United Sta t es, with builde r s and buyers of s ingle family h ouses. Cross cultural compariso n s are e l aborated between these t wo countries using partici p ant observation ethnographic inter views, complementa r y libr ary resources a n d nati onal s tati stics Different models of cross c ultural analysis ar e used t o ident ify rel evant cultural diffe r ences as well as Rapoport's model of the bui It environment as a non-ver bal communicat i on system. The analysis proceeds i n tvvo steps. l t s t arts with the exist i ng built env ir o nment o f eac h countty to b etter unde r stand the cult ure of the country. Then it exa m i ne s the cult ur e of each cou ntr y and goes back to t h eir built e nvir onment, with the a p p lied purpose of improving the n ew building desig n and of faci litating the marketing ofhouses to the local homebu y e rs. ln t h e pr ocess, we review the three main factors l ocat i on, core product and financi n g identifi ed i n the marketi n g defi nit ion of the h ouse as a bund l e of serv i ces. X


In conclus ion, we confir m that the built environment i s a non-verbal communication system that gives access to the deeper la yers of cu lture to those who know how to decipher its m essages. We demonstrate that anthropology and its qualitative research methods contribute to the better understanding of consumers in foreign markets. In the g lobal v illage the business world needs anthropologists. Although bu ilt environment studies are many, an applied appro ach i s st ill v ery original. The purpose of thi s s tud y i s t o demonstrate that applied a nthropology i s relevant to the professiona l world and that anthropological research can concretely help international bu s ine ss p erform better, and become more profitable Anthropology, because it is holistic, i s \"-' ell adapted to the study of complex fields s uch as real estate. Abstract Approv ed : ______________ ________ Co-Major Professor: Alv in Wolfe, Ph. D Professor, Department of Anthropology Date Approved: /1 I 7-Y T Abstract Approved : Co-Major Professor: Domi niqu e }lgn:!ge Universite Pari s Dauphine, Paris France Dat e Approv ed : _ 3""'-""'-o_,fllD V .1 911 X I




CHAPTER 1 : PRESENTATION "Anthropological concern with the built environment is at least as old as the first formalization oftheories of cultural evolution during the 19th century (Lawrence and Lo w, 1990 : 45). Anthropologi s t s ha v e certainly been studying housing almost since the origins of their discipline when it was mostly concerned with traditional societies. Since culture is a theoretical construct (Rapop ort, 1990 : 10) it is necessary to approach it through its effect s and products. H ousing is one of them and a particularly rich one. Whatever ma y ha ve been th e n th e focus of the anthropologists housing as a reflection of climat e or technology or psychology or physiology or ideology or social organization or symbolism, the final goal was alwa ys to better understand the culture of a particular people through its built environment (Kent 1990: 34). On th e contrary when busines s a nthr o pologists loo k at housing nowadays the y often are in a rever se position. They try to u se whatever knowledge they have about a particular people (or more likel y a particular subgroup thereof) in order to improve the adaptation of the final housing products to the need s of its final users (Esber 1987). However, s till today, few anthropological st udie s ofthe built environment have an applied concern especially a conc e rn relevant t o e conomics or business although 2


business anthropology the "anthropolog ical practice that applies the theories and methods of the discipline to problem so l v in g acti v it y in the private sector organizations" (Serrie, 1986 : 273) can be particul a rl y r e levan t a nd u s eful. Today, because of the pressures imposed on the business world by the globalization of markets, acquiring refined know ledge of f o reign consumers and producers is of p a r a mount imp o rtance. The qua litative m e thods o f investigation practiced in a n t hropology may be particularl y adapt ed to t h e discovery and understanding of foreign business partners' n eeds. This applies particularly to real estate, which is a complex and c ul turally sensitive field Reviewing w hat an anthropological approach could bring to the marketing of real estate seems, th e refore, to be b oth inter est in g a nd innovative and can contribute to the g eneral s tore of knowledge. Statement ofProblem In complex, s tratified societie s wit h adva nced diver s ified economies, the production of h o u s in g h as become a specialist's j o b A house i s n o lon ger produced ( built) b y its final users or own ers. Whatever w a s the case in earlier human societies houses are no longer a rather s h ot t live d unsophisticated s tru c ture. On the contrary man y s pecializ e d task s hav e t o b e accomplis hed by many va ried specialis t s, u s u ally i g n o rin g w hom the final user w ill 3


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In other words can business anthropologists be good housing marketers? Being a good marketer means being good at und erstand in g people's n eeds and providing products and services to meet those needs. The traditional definition of marketing specifies that meeting consumers needs comprehends the organizing offour activities namely: product price promotion and place They are often referred to as the four 'Ps' of marketing. The first one re l ates to the product itse l f from its technical definition to its packaging and after-sale service. The second relates to the pricing of the product and includes varied pricing strategies The thi rd one envisions the promotion of the product, which i ncludes advertising publicity and public relations Finally, the l ast P stands for place and refers to the mode of distribution se l ected for the product. Purpose of Study The first purpose of thi s research i s to identify cultura l differences between French and American housing markets in th e three areas mentioned above: location core product and financing It is applied anthropology, practiced to provide practical and co ncrete answers to questions of real estate marketing. T he second purpose i s to demonstrate how the study of the built environment in a g iven country contributes to the understanding of that particu la r cu ltur e It is an attempt t o illustrate how principles and techniques of applied anthropology work and are useful in a give n applied context. It is a reflection on the techniques of applied anthropology. 5


The third goal of this research is to show how the application of anthropology can help devise more efficient techniques for international marketing and cross-cultural business communication and understanding It is a more encompassing goal at the level of the philosophy of applied anthropology. To achieve these goals, the study will proceed in two steps. First starting from the existing built environment of a given country it will analy z e the culture to better understand it. Second, in a reverse strategy and using what has been learned in the first phase, it will proceed from the culture of each country, back to their built environment with the applied purpose of impro v ing the adaptation ofthe new buildings and of facilitating their sa l e to the local homebuyers Field ofResearch Applied Anthropology: a Con tr oversial Discipline Applied anthropology is what applied an thropologis t s dol Tautological formula which does not tell us much ... "It is anthropology put to use (van Willigen 1986 : 7). I don't say that ethnology cannot be u se ful. But it is not what I am asking from it nor the reason why it satisfies me" (Levi-Strauss and Eribon 1988 : 99). 6


Brief Hist01y Van Willigen reminds us ofFoster' s statement, the current forms and place [of applied anthropology] wit hin the broad discipline can be fully appreciated only with knowledge of the several stages of its development (Foster 1969) There is a broad agreement within the discipline to date applied anthropology, as far back as anthropology proper to the 1860's. Traditionally also, four stages of development are descri bed : first the pre-disciplinary stage, before 1860 when a small number of persons used cultural knowledge to attempt to solve a practical problem. The second period or 'research-cons ult a nt period, goes from 1860 to 1941 and is that of the emergence of anthropology as a distinct discipline It ends with the creation in 1941 of the SfAA (Society for Applied anthropology) w hich signals the birth of applied anthropology as a separate branch of the discipline. During these times anthropologist s were frequently invited to bestow their knowledge on various government agencies Y e t the role of applied anthropologists remained quite limited in scope, although it dramatically expanded into new topical areas" (van Willigen, 1991: 4) The third period is labeled the extension role' period and covers 1941 to 1970 a period deeply marked by World War II It saw the apparition of new patterns of practice called 'action research ', intended for social intervention and direct in vo l vemen t in community development. Action anthropology was notably associated wit h Sol Tax Finally, the present period s ince 1970 is characterized by a sub s tantial increase in the numbers of trained applied anthropologists engaging in applied work for a liv ing It is also called 'policy resear c h period because it emphasizes policy research done outside of academic employment or new applie d anthropology (Angrosino, 1976) because of the development of ne w methodological skills more time effecti v e and utilization oriented 7


" Ironically as application became more common amongst anthropologists, the idea of applied anthropology' beca m e increa sing l y awkward indeed some might say obsolete More and more it seems that applied work is done in the context of specific multi di sc iplinar y networks of social scientists who do both applied a nd basic research work" (van Willigen, 1991: 7). So in this context, what is applied anthropology? P ractic e or the Theory of Practice A French anthropologist addressing this question some years ago had a clear idea ... of what it should not be (Bastide 1971: 187-188)! He de scribes two conceptions of applied ant hrop o l ogy both inad equate ; the liberal o ne by which onl y general anthropology deserves to be called science and applied anthropo l ogy "just an art a rational art certa inly, but an art at the service of politics (Bastide 1 971: 187)). The second more modem conception i s drawn from Marxism which link s thought to action, reality judgments to value judgments, a nd sees applied anthropology as the science of r evolutionary or reforming praxis. Between these two conceptions and over the decades the attitudes of anthropologists have evo l ved. Evans-Pritchard pretends tha t if an anthropolog ist investigates practical problems, he must realize that he is no longer acting wit hin the anthropological field (in Benedict, 1 967). But Chambers affirms: Th e ultimate and primary aim of applied research is to help 8


people make decisions of the moment in regard to specific problems" (1989 : xi). It is not to test theory An array of positions has been expressed. They differ on seve ral points : on the definition of a focus of activity either introducin g or interpreting change ; on the definition of the level of intervention either research on change or manipulation of reality; on the definition of the goals for action, either test hypothese s or achieve social improvement; and finally, even on the names to be given to the actors, applied anthropologists administrators or social engineers and on their sta tus as scientists or technicians. There are two main questions: first i s applied ant hropolog y a science of manipulation of reality or is it also the practice of this manipulation ? And second, should practitioners still be considered anthropologists or not? In other words, are you just what you do or is it how you do it and also what you have learned and you have been trained to do w hjch matters? It can be argued that both theory and practice belong to applied anthropology and that it is precisely thi s comb ining which provides applied anthropology wi th its originality, depth and strength It is possible to reconcile Chapple wit h van Willigen by taking the former's definition of applied anthropology as that aspect of anthropology whlch deals with the description of changes in human relations and in the i sola tion of the principles that control them and includes an examination of tho se factors whic h re strict the possibility of change in human organization (Chapple 1 953: 819 in va n Willigen 1986: 8) not as an oddity -as it characterizes anthropology as a research discipline, not an application strategy(van Willigen 1986 : 8) but as one and only one facet of applied anthropology 9


The othe r facet is mor e in agreement with van Willigen's d efin i tion "a complex of r elate d r esearch-based, i ns trumental meth ods wh ich produce cha n ge or sta b ility in specific cultural syste m s through provision of data, initiation of direct act i o n or / and the formation of policy (van Willigen, 1986: 8). This definition should however d escribe i nst r umenta l methods' as methods put to use and not as a reflection on these methods. Proposed Definition Applied anthropology encompasses two movements : one of reflection a i ming at establishing the t h eory of p ractice and one of action, aiming at manipulation ofreal ity The difference bet wee n basic a n thro p ology a n d app l ied anthro p o l ogy, which is fun damental enough to ju stify the split betwee n th em, lies in the atti tud e of the anthropologists They are observers trained to m aintai n their distances from those observed and with an ideal of non intervention in their affairs, for basic anthropology Applied anthropology on the contrary i s a science and a practice of intervention Bast ide describes very accurately the first moment of applied anthropology, that ofthe science o fpra c tice (1971: 187) which is his whole conceptio n of appl ied an thr opology He bases his demonstration on other disciplines lik e medicine w h e r e clinical re searc h link s the art of medical practice to sci entific research, o r like economy w here market planning i s a science of practice or else as in psychology where group dynamics "bridges the gap betwee n resea rch and social practice ( 1 971: 188). In the same way "theo r etical appl ied anthr opology" wou l d then be a scientific discipline split t h eo r etically from ge n e ral ant h ropology and practically from the t echniq ues of planned acculturation. "Its objec t would be the theoretical, not the practical, understan din g of the 1 0


alteration of cultures and of societies by the ethnologist planners a nd the anthropologist practitioners" ... (l971: 190) "A basic sc ien ce s tud ying the actions of men on nature sea rching for its laws its processes of action and its limits (Bastide 1 97 1 : 194). According to Bast ide, th eoretical "applied anthropology must follo w the ex perimental methods thro ug h all its stages, observation, e laboration of an hypothesis -a practical not an explanatory one--and the expe rimental ve rification of that h y pothesi s within the field of research, w hich becomes a l aboratory" (Bastide, 1971 : 199) Once again, it is the science of planned action more than the scie n ce of planning thought... It is a bra nch of anthropology, w ith a new c h apter, that of Homo moderator rerum' which is not aiming at action and planning but at their very analysis" to provide the theory of ant hr opologica l practice. (Bastide, 1971: 200). This is close to Chambers definition of applied anthropology as "the field of inquir y w hich is concerned with the r ela tion s hips between anthropological knowledge and the uses of that knowledge in the world beyond anthropology" (1989, x). Finally in an attempt to answer the initial question the following definitio n of a pplied an throp o l ogy is proposed: 'it is, at a first le ve l what the applied an throp olog i s ts research a nd know (understood as construct in theoreti ca l knowledge,) about the work of practicing anthropologists who manipulate realit y'. In m y opinion ther e is another level ; applied a nthrop o l ogy goes beyond theoretical knowled ge and include s also action. So the definition s h ould go on: app lied anthropology also includes w h at applied a nth ropolog ist s -now commonly r ecogn i ze d as "pr act icin g anthropologists" (Ch ambers 1989 : x ii) -d o w hen they themsel ves manipulate realit y II


7he Practice cif Applied Anthr opo logy This practice engages in changing the structures of a society so as to cause it to evolve toward other patterns, deemed more desirable of relations between peop le and groups It applies programs built after anthropological models of intervention to specific societies. Its intervention s tarts with the definition of the program and goes down to the evaluation of the resu lts. In so doing it utilizes the knowledge accumu l ated by theore tica l applied anthropology conceived as a science of conscious and purposi ve manipulation of men and their societies" Furthermore because of the acceleration of the pace of change today's applied anthropology has to concentrate on prediction of consequences of change instead of being sat isfied wi th addressing these consequences when they appear (Bastide 1971: 207) Using a medical a nalogy Adams ( 1964) contends th at to be effective applied anthropology must develop a preventive capacity to complete its traditional curative attitude, which was efficient in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, a time of traditions and slow change Emphasiz ing practice practicing anthropo l ogists have sometimes used this name in order to distinguish them se lves from academic anthropologists doing applied anthropology. This distinction does not seem relevant, as the context of action can be seen more important than the em plo yment sta tus of th e anthropologist. When academic anthropologists are employed to solve an applied problem they have to behave accordingly They have to accept the conditions set forth by the employers, who see the work as defined by the problem to solve, 12


not the discipline "There are no such things as anthropological problems, there are only clients' problems or community problems" (van Willigen, 1986 : 215) In front of definite tasks to perform employers care little about the differences between sociology and anthropology (Angrosino, 1976) or any theoretical preconception ofthis kind! Drawing from m y own experience, I would argue that the same indi v idual can p e rfectly well be a theoretician of practice and a practitioner ; but neither at the same time nor for the same project. I agree then with Barnett (1956) that the applied anthropologist cannot enforce a rule and at the same time inquire into reactions to it with the hope of getting genuine responses Indeed the attitudes required from the one involved in action and the one involved in critical thinking are different a nd incompatible simultaneously On the contrary, the same applied anthropologists can exercise them at different times in different contexts In this research I will refer to applied anthropology as the ensemble of both theory of practice and practice itself I will recognize that applied anthropologists may be "people who think of themselves more as specialists of a particular field than as applied anthropologists (van Willigen, 1991: 7). I w ill expect them to have 'gone native' in other fields of research and intervention valuing them for their ma ster ing of varied qualitative research methods. I will also assume that the main goal for practicing anthropologists is not to test a hypothesi s but to get the practical results aimed at by the project, or to be as close as poss ible to reaching them. This is precisel y what is expected from anthropologists working in business and marketing 13


Applied Anthropology and Marketing "The present period is witness to a new sense of mutual need between anthropologists and businessmen this time oriented towards problems of international as well as domestic business Enough anthropologists are working in the area of business anthropology to warrant its identification as a newly grow ing sub-field of the discipline (Serrie, 1986: 274). Applied Anthropology and Business Anthropology Historical review. This optimistic statement does not contradict the many historical reviews published in the last fifteen years (Baba, 1986 ; Chambers, 1985) which show that the development ofbusiness anthropology was as hesitant and controversial as all applied anthropology The Hawthorne studies considered by U.S anthropologists as the first business anthropological studies were performed more than sixty years ago. Despite the 19401950s decades seen as "an early florescence of industrial research and practice" (Baba, 1 9 86: 5) or "a veritable golden age of industrial anthropological research, especially in the Chicago area (Moore 1988 : 7), few anthropologists were in fact employed by private corporations until the mid-1980s This is not to say that in the meantime anthropologists did not contribute va luable research to industrial and business knowledge. Their studies may even have been sup ported by 14


grants from major corporations and private sector associations (Gardner 1977). Yet, they remained outsiders to the corporations. Many of the most significant contributions were the results of traditional and basic studies performed by traditional anthropologists working on topics or in fields meaningful to business The results could be later used or transposed to serve businesses' practical interests. This is particularly the case ofthe studies of foreign cultures performed by academic anthropologists in the 1960-1970s' precisely a time when American multinational companies were developing their foreign direct investments. But, ironically" notes Baba (1986 : 7) the simultaneous rush of academic anthropologists and corporations into adjacent areas of the developing world did not lead to increased cooperation and the transfer of knowledge between academic and industrial sectors". Ethical resistances caused the discipline to question the appropriateness of a commercial use of applied anthropology. These ethical stances still persist today. An increasing number of anthropology graduates face a decreasing number of academic positions and the 1980 s younger anthropologists have migrated into the private sector. Already, according to the American Anthropological Association survey of 1984, 10% of the 1984 cohort ofPh. D. graduates indicated consulting in business and industry as their primary work setting and only 60% hold academic positions. The same figures for the 1971-72 cohort were respectively 2% and 86% The last survey of A.A. A. in 1998 shows that the majority of anthropologists are now employed outside of academia 15


The decrease in academic opportunities is not the only explanation Large corporations' interests and needs have evolved during the last half century. From goods production to service provision the economy as a whole has shifted its concerns From a quantitative to a qualitative perspective, from technical problems and production management to psychological attention paid to human capital and consumer satisfaction, corporations have had to adapt to new demands of their constituencies These demands require more attention be paid to notions dear to anthropology: quality, culture values, identity, diversity, authenticity They mandate the use of qualitative as well as quantitative research methods Baba is indeed justified in viewing today's private sector business anthropology as "a discipline sufficiently matured to be characterized both as an international activity and as one involving the transfer of basic knowledge to industry through practice" (Baba, 1986 : 9) She also identifies the main openings for business anthropologists as being concentrated in three broad areas: marketing and consumer behavior organizational theory and culture and finally, international business which entails international marketing, and cross-cultural management and communication (Baba, 1986: II). Diverse facets of bu s iness anthropology. Beyond Baba's list many classifications of business anthropology specialties have been proposed. They may be based on the scope of application: marketing product design and consumer behavior versus organizational theory and culture and employees relations (Baba, 1986) Others are based on geographical areas of application, international and domestic business anthropology. Still 16


others depend o n the perspective adopted: research as opposed to practice They may sometimes be based on the end products put out b y the bus iness anthropologists: information contrasted with policy or action (van Willigen, 1986) Some other classifications are based on the form of employment of the business anthropologists: consultant versus in-house employment (Chambers, 1989) or else business anthropology as a 'commodity-like se rvice for a fee' versus 'professional mind power for wages'" (Baba, 1986 : 15). They may finally depend on the strategy used such as social accounting versus evaluation or social forecasting and social impact assessment (Chambers, 1989) Distinction will be made here between research and action first and then between international and domestic business anthropology Then th e manner in which these different approaches relate to marketing will be reviewed Research refers to a situation in which anthropologists are employed to contribute their s pecial skills to enhance knowledge about a specific problem area. This knowledge will in turn ena b le others to take adequate action or orient other spec ialists' researches and actions. The end product of the researcher in busin ess anthropology is information provided to others as a basis for action or as an explanation of their own action. This kind of activity is sometimes called 'applied industrial anthropology' that is, anthropological research focusing on the industrial domain" (Baba, 1986 : 1) Industry is defined as "a distinc tive branch of productive work an d h ab itual e mplo yme nt on a large scale includin g capital and labor (Gamst I 980 in Baba, 1986: 16). 17


The research may be performed within a consulting firm, which underwrites the research for itself in order to sell the results later to onetime consumers or to subscribers. The Boston Consulting Group is an example of such a company, which produces systematic studies of social evolution in France and other European countries The consulting firm may also detach the anthropologist into the client's corporation for the necessary length of time or finally in the case oflarge companies, the anthropologist may be an in-house employee Whatever the employment s tatus the anthropologist is likely to work in a multidisciplinary team usually based at the company's headquarters These anthropologists enjoy a rather high professional status they are able to retain their anthropological identity and produce their results (information) in a rather anthropological form with a minimum of translation required This definition contrasts with that ofbusiness anthropology defined as anthropological practice that applies the theories and methods of the discipline to problem-solving activity in private sector organizations (Baba, 1986 : 1 ) Action refers to a somewhat different situation where the anthropologists have to master another specialization in addition to anthropology such as marketing human resource management or law It is often these additional skills which are put forward and which directly lead to decision making and direct implementation of the decisions, whereas the anthropological skills are of a more qualitative nature that influences the way the problems are approach e d 18


This kind of employment will usually be in-house If it is a consulting assignment it is a long-term one, usually based at the client's premises. The anthropologists are usually not identified as s uch which does not mean the y s hould lose their identity The final product of their activity is action. The status and the position in the hierarchy are usually linked to that of the complementary specialization often slightly improved It ma y be observed in this situation that anthropolog y w hich appears only as a plus', does change dra st icall y the results and the performances ofthose so employed. For the sake of anthropolo gy, they should document the specificity and greater adequacy of their methods with their employers and share with their fellow anthropologists their successful strategies. U nfortunately, this is rarely the case as the overriding attitude is to go native in their field of employment. The distinction between international and domestic business anthropology is interesting in that it seems to oppose two different situations. As much as the former seems to be an evident target for business anthropology the other seems to be just the contrary! And still the same methods that achieve wonders in international business development may do just as well in domestic companies w hen g i ve n th e opportunity For several decades no w, anthropologists ha ve contributed to the better understanding of international business particulariti es. Be it in international market i ng where intense competition requires genuine adaptation of export products and international cooperation or in management of foreign subsidiaries employing a mix of national and native employees 19


or in training and preparation of future expatriates or finally in the creation and management of international joint-venture or even the preparation of recruitment plans attractive to foreign employees All these issues are rising concerns in our globalizing world All this us eful knowledge was provided to the international business field by anthropologists most of which were not specialized business anthropologists! They often played some of the roles listed and defined by the theoreticians of applied anthropology, such as research analyst policy researcher plann e r manager culture broker change agent trainer or eve n thera pist or advocate! Most ofthese roles also make se n se in domestic businesses and anthropologists are better prepared to play these roles than most of the indi v iduals traditionall y recruited to fill these positions The fact is that domestic or international, A large organization is in itself an occupational subculture and contains subgroups with micro -cul tures of their own (Serrie, 1986 : 275), which can benefit from cultural analyses aimed for example at increasing communication and understanding between the different subgroups Such a subgroup often studied by anthropologists today is that formed by the consumers of a particular product. 20


Business Anthropology and Marketing Marketing and business anthropology entertain several different kinds of relationships. We will focus on what anthropology can contribute to marketing, although anthropology could use the techniques of marketing to promote itself as a relevant and efficacious discipline in the business world Historical review of the relationship. At a general level relationships seem to be d e veloped between the two academic disciplines "All international marketing texts and even some of the introductory principle texts devote a chapter to stressing the importance of understanding the cultural dimension of marketing (Arnold Costa and Bamossy 1995 : viii) The knowledge of culture does not go much beyond this conce s sion as marketing research ha s first and foremost borrowed concepts and method s from economics to study transactions It has mostly ignored a dimension which is at the heart of all enterprises and that makes all economic activity possible : human relationships (Arnold Costa and Bamossy 1995 : viii) There are books which are d ev oted to the study of the relationship between culture and international business. They address these issues either in general (Ferraro 1990 [ 1998]; Lane and DiStefano 1992 ; Harris and Moran 1994) or as they apply to specific countries (Hall and Hall 1990 ; Condon, [ 1985] 1997 1994 ; Richmond 1995, 1996; and generally 21


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environment to act in certain manner s ... before psychology [to explain individual beha v ior] come culture, family and group norms Psychological approaches to consumer behavior are a curious blend of reductionism mentalism and naive empiricism (Venkatesh in Arnold Costa and Bamossy 1995 : 29). Also up front were outstanding sociologists such as Lazarsfeld Katz or Merton, interested in mass communication and influence Anthropologists per se were less v isible ... (S h erry 1 995 : xii ) These psychological and sociological contributions enriched the body ofknowledge, but the dominant paradigm was still positivism (Anderson I 983) the methodology used quantitati v e and based on testing and the problems tackled of the assess ment type (Dickens 1982 : 5) Until th e advent of anthropological approaches in marketing and consumer research most of the research produced followed a constructiv ist view of scientific knowledge in which the truth is basically the result of cumulative confirmations of studies following a logical positi vist paradigm and conventional methods (Arnold Costa and Bamossy 1995 : ix) This perspecti v e did not favor research in which culture i s the main focus An anthropologist might think that the aforesaid pleading against the psychological approach of consumer behavior would ha ve led Venka tesh to argue for the bringing together of marketing and anthropology ... But, despite his cit in g of Geertz in his two headings and starting his artic l e by referring to th e se minal work of Geertz (1983) which raised the important i ssue of the native's point of view ( 1995 : 26) he quickly disclaims the anthropological ernie perspective or the point of view of the insiders of a 23


culture It is a loose term that refers to the subject's point of view but is limited to strategies of data collection, and rarely leads into a discussion of an y deeper interpretive issues ( 199 5 : 28) Thus it bears only a superficial resemblance to ethnoconsumerism' the 'new paradigm' that Venkatesh wants to promote to study cultura l and cross-cultural consumer behavior from the point of view of the social or cultural group that is the subject of the study ( 1995 : 27) Researchers did not need ethnoconsumerism though to adopt an interpretive paradigm and to begin to focus on meanings as seen from the perspective of the consumers involved and from that moment "they were able to tackle problems of understanding through qualitative methodologies (Dickens 1982 : 5). This shift in perspective brought anthropology closer to marketing In fact marketers disco v ered the p o wer of ethnography and of participant-observation As of now, it is generally accepted among marketers that there is a growing demand for scholarship more tuned both to the empirical and practical realities of consumer culture which results in the emergence of an anthropolog y of contemporary marketing and consumer behavior (Sherry I 995 : xv) Furthermore anthropologi cal paradigms such as structuralism functiona li sm or semiotics are inv estigated by marketing researchers Leymore ( 1975) described advertising in structuralist terms and found that advertising works as myths do A ld erson ( 1964) provided a functional analysis of the marketing system ; Katz ( 1960) analyzed the functions of attitudes in consumer beha v ior. In the 24


semiotics vein, Kotler ( 1987) established the relevance of semiotics for marketing analysis and applied it to the marketing of persons and that of nations These newl y created schools of thought are usuall y regrouped under the label interpretive consumer research (Ozanne 1989 : 1 ). Possible contributions of anthropology to marketing. First marketing ma y be considered as a particular culture and be studied as such The descriptions and analyses can be focused for example, on the integration and functioning of the different institutions of the discipline their mo de of reproduction and their relations with other instances of the general culture ( Sher ry 1 99 5 : x v) An example of s uch work is Hunt's 1983 proposal for a Three dichotomies m odel" of m arke ting (in Sherry 1995 : 11 ) Second mar keting ma y be s tudied at the level of the group of marketers focusing for e x ample on t h eir language (professio nal jargon) on the ir va lues and on their behaviors and stressing the differences w ith other subgroups ofthe corporat io n B oth these approaches make marketing th e object of study There is another approach, which uses anthropology as a too l of marketing rese arch We differ e ntiate market oriented ethn ography from ethn ogra phi es of marketing Ethnographies of marketing study pe ople in orga nizat ion s carrying out the acti v ities of marketing management : plann ing product developm en t and strategy exe c ution ( Mintzberg 1973 ; Kunda 1992 ; 25


Workman, 1 993) sales activity (Sutton and Rafaeli I 988) and service delivery (Arnoud an d Price, 1993 ; Spradley and Mann, 1975; VanMaanen and Kunda 1989) Both can contribute to theoretical knowledge and marketing practitioner strategies, but in different ways (Arnould and Wallendorf, 1994: 485) There is an area of marketing which has been particularly hospitable to anthropologists ; it is that of consumer behavior. The fact is rather recent less than a decade old. The a nthropol ogi s ts rise in the tield has followed the increase ofthe marketers' concern for an in-depth understanding of their product customers This follows a general trend in the economy of growing attention being paid to qualitative aspects of the products over more technical aspects Anthropo l ogists use market-oriented ethnography as their method of choice. Role of ethnography in consumer behavior research Market-oriented ethnographies focus on the behavior of people comprising a market for a product or service Stud y ing and interpreting the subjective experiences of the market segments served by specific marketing programs is a useful step in establishing enduri ng effective exchange relationships (Denzin 1989 : I 05) and an organization wide market orientation (Kholi and Javorski 1990) 'There is no better way t o get closer to the con s umer ( o r any other market place stakeholder for that matter) th a n by using ethnog r a p hy as a br i dge'' ( Sherr y 1 9 95 : 15) 26


Ethnograph y allows observing the real behavior of the people through participant observation and it provides subtle information on cultural variation across subgroups allowing for regional niche or lately e v en particle marketing (Sherry 1995 : 27 ; Russel 1990) Ethnography i s both a proce ss a nd a product It i s not only a form of data collection but also aims at clarifying the ways culture simultaneousl y constructs and is formulated by people's beh avio rs and experiences in a reciprocatin g relationship L'espace des po s ition s socia les se retraduit dans un espace des prises de po sition par l intermediaire de I espa ce de s dispositions ( ou des habitus)" or socia l positions reproduce and express themselves b y making positi o n statements through the space of disp os itions or habitus (Bourdieu 1994: 22 ; m y transla t ion ) Ethno graphy aims t o explicate the patterns of ac tion that are cu ltural and /or social rather tha n cognitive It no t only establishes the c ont ext an d su bje ctive significan ce (ernie) of experience for particular groups of persons but also seeks to convey the comparative and interpreted (eti c) cultural significance ofthis experience (Denzin 1989) To giv e a n account of differences betwe en th e wor l d of th e group be in g studied and that of an a udi ence (sci entific ma n age r ial or p opular ) which is grounded in culture ethn ograp hy employs distin ctiv e methods of data collection an d int erpreta tion (Tedlock 1983) 2 7


Specificity of market oriented ethnography. Arnauld and Wallendorf (1994: 485) identify the four distinctive features of ethnography which are the most relevant to marketing First it uses systematic data collection of human action in natural settings. Second, it involves participant-observation. Third ethnography produces interpretations of behaviors that the persons studied and the intended audiences find credible and fourth, it incorporates multiple sources of data Ethnography uses them to generate varying perspectives on the behaviors and context of interest rather than to achieve convergence in interpretations Ethnography does not stipulate a universal sequence of data collection methods. Rather this s equence i s dictated b y the nature of the phenomenon (complexity ubiquity frequency and durat i on ) the researcher's prior ( undocumented) experience and degree of conceptual understanding of it and the research questions that emerge during the research project. Ethnographic interp ret ation is constructed fr o m two m ajor sources of data : observation and verbal reports Observation includes pani cipam-observation non-participant observation and mechanica l observatio n It p ro v ides information on people's actual behaviors and on their settings Obse rv a tion doe s not pro vid e direct access to the p erce p t io ns v alu e s and beliefs of informants and re v ea l s little about informa nt s internal states Only v erbal reports elicited during ethnographi c intervie w s pro ide ernie p erspectives of action Unstructured 28


interviews and structured surveys are the two frequently used types of ethnographic interviews Interpretation aims to make sense out of all the data collected through observation and verbal reports of subjective experience. This process typically starts in the field as soon as some data ha ve been collected It is an iterative process from fieldnotes and ernie under sta nding to the interpretation into etic terms Redundant and varied data are needed to permit a dynamic ernie representation. Ethnographic interpretation identify simultaneously operating layers of meaning that are complementary rather that mutually exclusive This multi-layered rich cultural interpretation is what Geertz ( I 973) calls thick description But in market oriented ethnographies, the goal is not to establish an exhaustive convergent account reconciling all the data sources. On the contrary the interpretation of an ernie cultural scene into an etic credible account will give voice to different perspectives Ethnographi c c redibilit y with the people studied is most lik ely to be achieved by pluralistic interpretations that embrace and explain cultural va riati on" (Amould and Wallendorf, 1994 : 485 494) Credibility and trustworthiness must also be achieved with the audiences and particularly marketers Through cod ing and tropin g interpretation builds to an understanding that incorporates both div ergent and conve r gent elements in a thi ck multi-la ye r e d repre se ntation of market 29


behavior. Disjunctures between observations of actual consumption behavior in context and verbal reports containing overgeneralizations glosses and claims of idiosyncrasy are shown to have multiple strategic implications (Arnauld and Wallendorf 1994 : 501). Market-oriented ethnographies have produced marketing strategies with respect to three types of managerial goals Thick descriptions provide marketing managers with more information about the meaning of particular consumption constellations to part i cular market segments They describe sequences of associated consumption behaviors usually displayed by specific subgroups of consumers. They are useful in impro ving market positioning and promotional strategies based upon cross-product complementarities. Thick transcriptions are useful to managers who wish to generate evocative representations of consumption behaviors to deve l op line extensions, product reformulation and more effective promotional stra t eg i es. Finally thick inscriptions are an on going process. They are useful to marketers seeking to develop strong niche marketing strategies especially with well identified segments of the markets having strong insider-outsider boundary mechanisms (Arnauld and Wallendorf 1994 : 501) As a conclusion, market oriented ethnographies are a very promising tool for developing actionoriented applied research in marketing providing the y are conducted with sufficient rigor. There are no universal context-independent rules that can be spelled out to warranty the qualit y o f all ethnographies But the anything goes approach is not acceptable" (Arnauld a nd Wallendorf 1994 : 501) Ethnographies may vary in quality and rigor. With qualitative research the personal skills of the indi v idual researcher are w hat the client is primarily buying These skills are the most important determinant of the va l ue of the results of the study" ( Dickens, 1982 : 5) 30


In quantitative research, the technical knowledge and skills of the researcher and the resources of the research company appear to be critica l but in qualitati v e research it is the pers ona l quality of the researcher that warrants the quality of the results (Dickens 1982 : 4). Are anthropo logists fit, equipped and ready for the challenge? Evaluation of anthr opology from a busin ess point of v iew. Anthropologists appear suited t o co ndu ct the se qualitative s tudies because anthropology ha s some intrinsic strength that ca n be s hared with other disc iplines These strengths are well known and ha v e been describe d e x tensively (Chambers 1985; van Willigen 1986 ; Baba 1986). In anthropological terms the y include their holistic approach, which provides for each problem to b e set in it s w ider context of significance The double point of view from which to perform analyses: the ernie which is th e insider's point of view, an d t he etic which provides an outsider s point of v iew of a given problem or a cultural trait. The cro ss cultural communication skills are another strength of anthropologists which I ha ve already evoked when acting in their cultural brokerage capacity. On th e p lane of methods, ethnography w ith its participant-observation technique provides anthro pologists with a powerful tool direct ed at qualitati ve studies Finally anthropology has a strong theoretical frame to offer to business ; the culture theory with its multiple models (structuralism functionalism semiotics ecological evolutionism, 31


cultural materialism) each of which provides a unique means of conceiving and investigating organizations (Baba 1986 : 14) is one ofthem. Cross-cultural communication theories are another. Furthermore it is important to remember that anthropological concept s are pertinent at different levels Whether at the level of an individual a small group, a div i s ion a c o rporation or an entire society anthropological anal y ses reveal patterns of regularities and differences contrary to psychology our main competitor w hich has a limited le v el of pertinence Then w h y are the re s o few happil y emplo yed business anthropologi s ts ? Or are there so few? It is a fact th a t a number of anthropologi s t s are so well integra t ed in the business field that it is difficult to keep track ofthem ... because the y go native (Baba, 1986 : 16) and call themsel v es managers, executives marketers anything but anthropologists! Should we reproach them for not sta y ing in contact with a discipline that has for years looked do w n on an y co rp o rate or go v ernment employment considering it an impossible compromi s e or s urr e nder ? Attitudes need to be changed at the discipline level but also at the indi v idual one To become successful in business anthropologists ha v e to overcome specific weakness es. Some spread directl y f rom the discipline and are a consequence of its specificit y and some are m o re per so nal and com e from the personalit y of s ome anthropol o gists. In the fir s t category w e may list the slowness of the traditional ethnographic method It is an effective tool and the hallmark of anthropology but if it is imposed on all projects as an 32


unavoidable necessity a 'rite de passage', it may become a terrible drawback because in business more than anywhere else, time is money'. Other weak n esses of the discipline are its tendency to see the real world as a dialectic opposition between oppressors and oppressed and its tendency to formulate findings and results in polemic terms and nuances marked by obedience to a specific school of thought (structuralists against functionalists or sociologists against anthropologists). It often does not make sense to business people. In other words, because of its long-term exclusive commitment to basic research, anthropology has a real difficulty thinking in terms of problems to be solved rather than described and analyzed. As Angrosino puts it : "It is too often an act of condescension rather than an act of conviction for the anthropologists to descend from the ivory tower to solve problems" (Angrosino 1976 : 3). The last weakness that belongs to that category is the uneasiness of anthropology to deal with its own society and culture, for its analytic tools need cultural distance to be at their utmo s t efficiency. lt is also the result of a personal factor. Often anthropologists were attra c ted to anthropo l ogy because of an uncomfortable feeling in their own world Levi Strauss (1955) as mentioned before admitted it and Angrosino acknowledges the fact that their own society is ironically the society that most anthropologists are less equipped by training or instinct to deal with (Angrosino, 1976: 6) The most frequent weakness that stems from anthropologists personalities is a difficulty to engage in act ion beyond study and to get directly involved as they maintain the traditional 33


distance be rw een the observer and those studied. Traditional avoidance of involvement ... also made anthropologists impotent" (Angrosino, 1976: 4) was Angrosino's severe v erdict. This withdrawal from direct action is often worsened by a strong individualism which makes teamwork difficult Simultaneously anthropologi sts also have a difficult y to abdicate the leading role in any enterprise. The final \ V ea kn esses to b e reviewed now are more s uperfi cia l and can be easily remedied as they stem from personal attitudes rather than from a structure of personality. I want to refer to the systemat i c u se of an throp ological jargon where esoterica and exotica are emph asize d ( W o lfe 1989). Separate b ut related is the frequent lack of any specific business know l edg e and fin ally the unusual resistance to making money in a manner directly lin k ed to specific results especially if it is good money It seems that a n thr opo log is ts have de ve loped a kin d of romanticism for low wages, un less they push th eir identification \vith their trad itio nal subjects up to asceticism. Anyway in the business w orld success is associate d with good salary benefits an d first class travel in tailored suits B usiness an thropo logi sts mu s t go na tiv e there too. T o reme dy all the weakness e s ide ntified a nthrop ol ogists s houl d develop a time / cost effec tiv e proble m s olvi ng capacity (Baba 1986 ) be willing to actually do the work in add ition to the stud y even if it is qu ic k and dirty and v alue laden ". They should be willing to com promi se their tra ditional power over the kn owl edge produced as well as over the subjects s tud i ed T h ey a ls o shoul d b e willing to abandon some of their freedom such as choosing the topi c for study or intervention and furth ermore accept bei ng only the 34


facilitator, n o t the director of s pecific projects Anthropologists are used to being the central figure in the community they study or the classroom they teach ; in the corporate world, they must often go unnoticed to be successful. Finally, they should feel at ease in their own culture, civilization and economic system and what is even more important, they should to a certain extent embrace the ideals of the corporation they work for Not doing anthropology for the sake of it but for specific goals such as increasing productivit, social consent mot iva tion and competitiveness Anthropology put to specific uses or as the French call it finali zed anthropology (Ortsman 1978) anthropology used to a definite end Training programs in applied anthropology have an important role to play in the production of effic ient b u s ine ss a nthrop ologists (Wo lfe 198 0) It is encouraging to see specific applied bu si n ess anthropolog y program s bein g created such as that ofWayne State University and to know that some older ones like that ofEckerd College International Business MA, which has a strong emphasis on anthropology in a multidisciplinary context, are doing well. This prob a bly reflects the grow ing awareness of decision-makers, business executives and marketin g m a n age r s of t he extraordinary challenges impo s ed b y a globalizing world. Housing and Built-environment Studies "The physical environment of m a n especially the built environment... [is] a result of ve rnacular architecture ; [it] has been largely ignor e d in a r chitectural history and theory which i ns tead has concentrated on monument s, on wo rk s of men of genius on the unusual, the rare ... Even in a rche ology w here the intere s t ha s shifted a while ago from temples, palaces and tomb s to th e whole cit y as an exp res s ion of a culture and a way of life 35


the house, the most typically vernacular building type is still frequently ignored ( Rapop ort, 1 969 : 1 ) This was the rather pessimistic opening statement of Rapoport's 1969 book House Form and C ulture which is still regarded as a landmark in the anthropology of hou si n g It is ironical to find out that this book was published in the Prentice-Hall Foundations of Cultural Geography Series' by an "architect-turned-anthropologist as Sol Tax qualifies Rapoport in the introduction of one of his subsequent book (in Rapoport 1 9 76 : v). Eme1gence of Built-environment Studies It is a more op timi stic Rapoport who as editor of The mutual interaction of p eople and th e ir built e n v ironment notes in the preface durin g the last six or seven years a new field of study has developed concerned with an interdi scip linary stud y ofthe mutual interaction of people and their built environment (1976 : x) It draws scholars from diverse disciplines : architecture planning p sycho lo gy, sociology geography, ethology psychiatry ... but except for Rapoport' s own input one thing is striking : th e absence of anthropology and a nthropologi s ts among the disciplines involved (1976: x) Given the potential imp ortance of anthropological approaches data and insights for the field of man-en v ironment studies it was then decided to provide a deliberate imp etus to an throp o l og ists' invo l veme nt by organizing the IXth 36


Internation a l Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences Conference (1975) and d e dicatin g it to man-environment stu dies Again anthropologists were deliberatel y and specially in v ited to addre ss the problems of man-en v ironment relations, and deliberately also restricted to sociocultural variables studied from an anthropological perspective The conference was most successful according to Rapoport, in that it effectively involved anthropologists and created some long lasting intere s ts and creati ve interactions It also suggested some possible future contributions of anthropolo gy E thnographers could provide adequate descriptions of environments and in vestigate the ways they are used They could clarify how the choices for specific environments are made and identify some ofthe mechanism s s uch as family st ructures and sex roles which link people to their environments They could document the relation between culture change and changes in the environment a nd help understand concepts such as privacy and crowding The Conference also pointed out that given the complexity of man-en v ironment s tudie s they s hould be conside red a highly interdisciplinary endeavor although, anthropologists and non-anthropologists conferees alike agreed to acknowledge the special place of anthropology Conce ptually, there is a particularly good cono ruence betwee n man-environment studies and anthropology (Rapoport 1976 : 0 485) This i s owed to its concentration on relation s hips (of peop l e and ofthings), its holistic approach and the efficie nc y of ethnographies to render man-environment 37


interactions Ethology, geography, history and architecture are the other disciplines that are also relevant. Rapoport then concludes the book, which regroups some ofthe papers ofthe Conference in stressing "an urgent need for conceptual models and theories to help organize thought and empirical data (1976 : 487) Because ofthe complexity ofthe interaction it seems necessary to use the widest range of approaches and methods coming from different areas and to call for international cooperation. At this point anthropology in sp ite of its apparent utility is reproached with not having contributed enough to the study despite the grea t need for comparative data Ten years l ater, in 1 985, it is a much different outcry that Rapoport releases : "It is difficult to think about home environments because theory and explicit conceptual frameworks are scarce; the numerous environment behavior relation (EBR) studies have not been cumulative; indeed their very number ha ve become counterprodu ctive. In the specific case ofhome environments there is a particularly daunting amount of diverse and non integrated work ... A conceptual framework no matter how primiti ve, is thus urgently needed to help think about the subject. An inductive approach is unlikely to succeed ... because the sheer amount and diversity of the material precludes the development of a fram ewo rk through a literature review (Rapoport 1985 : 255) What h as happen ed to the issue of h ous ing in anthropolog y over these three last decades? Has the field of man-en v ironment studies ab so rbed or diluted the problem? Is the amount of environment and housing studies really overwhelming and unmanageable? Scholars still identify Rapoport as the best known pioneer (Kent, 1990 : 3) If the study of 38


housing did not start with the publication ofhis "semina l work, dating as early as 1969" (Kent, 1990 : 3), it really took a turn Curiously though, Rapoport has generated few actual progeny" (Kent, 1990: 3) This may be due to his loner's personality. Before, anthropologists had long been looking at the dwellings and shelters of the people they were studying, but their approach was rather different as it is in fact reflected in the v ocabulary they used : dwelling and shelter versus housing house and built-environment. Of course anthropologists did not need to wait for Man-environment studies to figure out that the built en v ironment conveys meanings and encodes information about the social structure and value systems of its inhabitants Since the beginnings of the discipline dwellings and shelters as well as settleme nt patterns, were required part of a well-rounded ethnography Yet they were not studied for themselves but rather in relation to kinship or economy. Thus traditionally ethnograph y textbooks identify four main chapters for a well designed ethnographic monograph : Technology and Economy of which Physical Environment, Settlement Patterns and Settlement Size are subchapters Family and Kinship where belong Residence and Household types next to Marriage Kinship, Kindreds and Descent Groups the third and fourth chapters covering Polity and Warfare and World View and Life Cycle (Otterbein, 1972 : x, 10). 39


These holistic studies were usually descriptive, mainly focusing on the physical forms ofthe buildings rather than on the relation between housing and inhabitants Physical structures were often poorly described, sometimes mentioned only in an accessory fashion, as a complement to the description of the marital residence system: "If a girl is past puberty at the time of her marriage, she usually resides with the groom at his father's house .. After several years of marriage a couple builds its own house and sets up a household next to that of the groom's parents" (Gamst, 1969: 1 09) In any case, their raison d etre is to contribute to the holistic picture ofthe culture studied But with the man-environment orientation, the approach is reversed Houses are studied for themselves in order to yield an understanding of the relation linking people to their environment. The focus is on the relation and knowledge ofthe culture which will be used to improve the understanding of the system man envirorunent. The built-environment is usually considered as a system which is why the word built-environment is preferred to housing It is constituted of different related elements such as the house, its front yard its back yard, the streets around the block the subdivision each element playing a part in the global relation and contributing to the total meaning. The second shift effected by the Man-environment studies concerns the focus of 'the observed'. Far from looking for primitive and exotic cultures the new 40


ethnographers ofthe built-environment tend to study complex contemporary s o cieties The book Family and Kinship in East London (Young and Willmott 1957) can be regarded as an early manifestation of this trend. It was acclaimed as grou nd breaking because it precisely studies relationships : that of the inhabitants to their lodging, that ofthe div erse members of families to each other and to their n eighbors, and finally the r e lation s hip o f familial tie s to the procurement and obtainin g of hou s ing in a complex m o d e rn en v ironment a s uburb ofLondon. The third shift is the emphasis on cross-cu ltur a l comparisons ofthe builtenv ironment which will yield information on how people express such things as identity priv acy s tatus belonging ... (Perin 1 9 70, 1977 1988 ; Low and Chambers 1 9 89) Rapoport's seminal book Hous e Form and C ulture (1969) is exemplary of the new trend in that he used a mixture of data drawn from traditional societies as well as from modern complex ones to make his points lt is then obvious that the cul t ure s that pr o vide the data become accessory to the main purpose of the stud y. They are used in the same way as the Human Relations Area Fil e s data were concei v ed to be exploited According to Duncan, "It would be of great v alue to ha v e a compilation acros s a whole range of societies of rich and 4 1


detailed data on housing and the important social characteristics of each society, in the fashion of the Human Relations Area Files, but devoted exclusively to housing; this would at least provide a common base upon which to build our common frameworks (1985: 149) A cross-cultural perspective should be privileged since the comparison of similar data is necessary to identify patterns especially across modern complex societies; although Duncan (1985 : 140) stresses that fast changing under-developed societies may offer special opportunities to document social with parallel environmental changes. Fourth difference : Since the field is particularl y complex multip le and various methodologies and approaches should be encouraged and attempted. Methodologies used in man-environment studies are not limited to participant observatio n but they tend to incl ude more and more dive rse methods such as statistical analysis (univariate, multivariate or factorial. .. ) or the newer sophisticated network analysis. The latter has been particularly successful at encompassing and extracting patterns from very complex relationships. Research such as that of Wellman ( 1982) or Greenbaum and Greenbaum ( 1985) illustrate this state of facts Man-environment is the interdisciplinary field par excellence ; it should attract scientists from all dis cip line s from the humanities and the arts to the social sciences and even from the technical fields. 42


In the realm of theory, the assessment is less optimistic. There is a daunting amount of diverse and seemingly unintegrated works" (Rapoport, 1977) There seem to be a consensus in the discipline to re cogn ize that a real effort is ne eded. "One of the urgent research tasks that faces those interested in this topic (house meaning), is to assemble and make some sense of these housing data that are scattered throughout the literature collected by anthropologists w ho se principal interests lie not in housing per se, but whose ethnographic nets have yielded a rich catch of housing data, nevertheless" (Duncan, 1985: 133) In order to improve this body of knowledge Duncan suggests that it would be profitable for scho la rs to continue to search for analytical frameworks with which to analyze the data already collected by anthropologists and others, especially using a variety of different perspective s suc h as structural and interactionist, idealist and materialist liber a l and Marxist and also a dialogue among them" Duncan (1985: 149). This kind of dialogue depends in part upon a good accessible body of data on h ousing. Since the 1980 s built-environment resear ch has also benefited from the contribution of a relatively new discipline: Women Studies First were addressed issues related to gender inequalities in the housing market but later, the debate broadened to consider the relationship between gender roles and the form of the built-environment (Gilroy and Woods, 1994 : 4-5) Specialized issues such as safety in architecture and design (Little et a!., 1988) to more theoretical questions such as 43


gender division of space (McDowell 1983) or the impact of the home characteristics (location, environment) o n the women's available lifestyle options (MacKenzie and Rose, 1983). Indeed "a wealth of information on the use ofthe houses can be found in the field ofWomen Studies (Duncan 1985 : 134), approac hed from the different perspectives of hou sing needs or of varie d experie nce s of housing services or of specific points of view of particular subgroups: young mother s (National Cou ncil for One Parent Families, 1989), Black women (Rao 1990) or elderly women (Darke 1987) Often these studies underline the strong identification of women with the home, even if such identification creates contradictory feelings of love and resentment associated with pride and plea s ure in housework whic h coexist with a se ns e of exp l oita ti on (Darke, in Gilroy and Woods, 1994 : 23) In any case the meaning of home as a nurturing a n d safe h eaven is not the same for men as it is for women, contrary to Saunders' affirmat i on ( 1990). The Different 1/1eoretical Approache s As a contribution to theo ry bui ldin g Rapoport ( 1 982) has delineated the main or i entat i ons of the existing stud ie s ; they may be regrouped in three thematic categories : the stud ies focused on meaning, tho se focused on the relat i on between environment and behavior and those which envision housing in relation to networks 44


Firs t the studies focused on meaning For example, how does the meaning of home relate to l arger societa l forces or e l se, how to deal with change and temporal qualities of homes. According to Rapoport ( 1982 : 3 5) there are three main methodologies to study meaning One is the sem i otic approac h : which uses lin guistic models t o study the human world in term s of signs This is the more common approach but is severely criticized b y Rapoport I f everything can be a sign, then the study of signs becomes trivia l (1982 : 37) Some of the well-known semioticians having stud i ed housing or the built enviro nm ent are Barthes ( 1970 1 985 ) J encks ( 1 977), Baird ( 1969), Choay ( 1 972), Baudrillard ( 1968, 1970 1 986), Bonta ( 1 979), Preciosi ( 1979) and Broadbent (1977 1980). The seco nd is the symbo lic approach whi ch has been ofte n u sed in th e stu dy of highsty l e arch it ecture and traditional vernacu l ar environments It stresses structure over co nt ext a nd requires the symbols to be discursive or socially shared and n ot too multivocal. This is the most useful approach "in traditional cultures in w hich fairly strong and clear schemata are expressed throu g h the bu ilt e n v ironment (1982 : 43) .lt was used by Levi-Strauss (1958, 1 962, 1 973) Bourdieu (1970, 1 980), Wallis (1973) and Ryckw e rt (1976) And finally, the use of non verbal communication mod els which is the one chosen by Rapoport b eca use it is conc e ptuall y s impl e and it i s multi-channel (Rapoport, 1982) 45


The seco nd direction identified i s that ofthe relation s hip b e tween the environment and b ehavior: how the psych ologica l o r phenomenological experience of dwelling s i s to be understood focusing o n 'what it feels like to be at h o me' or else on the express ion s of identit y, pri vacy status, belon gi n g and sati s fa ct ion. The la st direction sees h o u sing as a means of s upp o rt o f socia l relationships and communi cations among p eop l e lt focuses on houses as a s upp ort of familia l and cultural re lationships while s imul taneously representing them or else on the role of homes in the development of fami lial neighb o rhood commu nity or even country rel at i o nship s This is the d o main of network analysis Finally "the rich s ub sta nce of the topic of home environments the relevance of this e n v i r o nmental setting to most peop l e and cultures th e div ersit y and the breadth of perspecti ves brought to bear o n the study of h omes from many disciplines, and the potentia l design implications ofwork i n this fie l d p o rt end a promisin g a nd cha llengin g future for continued re s earch and th eory on home environments (A ltm an 1 985 : xxii) Research Basis "An ethnography is first of all a fu n ction ofthe ethnographer w h o brings to his or her work, the trad iti o n in which h e or she participates includ ing t h e tra inin g received in professional soci al iz a ti on (Aga r 198 6: 18) 46


Many social scientists have stressed the importance ofthe researchers' personal life histories their research. (Devereux, 1967; Agar 1986 ; Kohn and Schooler, 1982). These histories include the scientific and ideological paradigms prevalent during their upbringing and formal education as well as the professional training they received and more generally the specific culture ofwhich they are a part Because we, ethnographers are, ourselves the tool of study the 'measure instrument or the reactive ingredient' to use physics or chemistry metaphors "the knowledge we formulate about the other' is bound to be refracted through the knowledge we have built to define ourselves" (Crick, 1982 : 293) We are interpreters of cultures and can observe others only through our own cultural and experiential lense s" (Kohn 1994: 13). In Altheide and Johnson s view (1994 : 489) it even becomes a question of ethics to account for the ethnographers understandings contexts and sense-making processes Validity in ethnographic research should therefore be understood as "validity as reflexive accounting (V ARA), [which] places the researcher the topic and the sense-making process in interaction The social world being an interpreted-rather than a literal-world always under symbolic construction, the ethnographic ethic calls for ethnographers to substantiate their interpretations and findings with a reflexive account of themselves and the processe s oftheir research (Aitheide and Johnson 1994 : 489) Therefore, it seems necessary to me before embarking with the reader on this subjective trip between two cultures to describe the kind of scientific acculturation I received as 47


well as the kind of professional skills I developed through a brief recollection of the relevant passages of my life history Work Experience Gained in France and in the USA. Real Estate Marketing in France In 1970, when I graduated from the Institute ofPolitical Studies in Paris -one of the French 'Gran des Eccles' -I had a lr eady been working in real estate for five years Working before graduation was in tho se days ve r y unu s ual in France Internships were a lmost unheard of, and as a twenty-two yea r old female married with a one-year old son1 would not have had any chance of getting hired especiall y in the very macho, male dominated, construction business if it had not been a family bus in ess Indeed, my father was a developer who, having started his own company a few years before, was in need of cheap labor. From 1968 to 1973 I worked for his company as a sa l es consultant. These were exciting years when the demand for housing was strong the supply rela t ivel y limit ed in part because of the scarcity of financing resources available to builders The solution t o this problem was the u se of a l egal structure that transformed the potentia l buyers into assoc i ates of the builder These would-be associates had to be convinced of the soundness ofthe project. The bui lder' s good mana ge ment and techn ical sk ill s, honesty and straightforwardness ofthe whole dea l were th e currency need ed to lure potential buyers 48


t o take such a financ i a l risk especially as th e whole process from building permit to ac hie veme n t was u sual l y s ch eduled t o last between two and four years. The compan y was based and operated in t h e southwest su burbs of P aris Th e area, cal l ed 'Vallee de Chev r e u s e ", was r epu ted for its beautiful env ironm ent, res idential c h a r acter a n d the hig h l eve l of educat i o n o f i t s r es i dent s M os t were employees o f the National R esearc h Laboratorie s such as the Atomic Energ y Commissa riat (C.E. A.) the 7\atio nal Sci e ntifi c R esearc h Center (C. RS.), and the Unive r sity of Sciences in Or say Our compan y o ff er ed m a i n l y 'condo' apa rtm e nts Eac h was co mprised ofthree t o five r ooms (acco rdin g to the French tax o n omy, wh ich defines r oo m s as eithe r bedrooms o r liv i ng rooms and counts each individuall y t o get to the final numb e r ) The y were traditio nall y bui l t ', r eg r oupe d in small bui l dings of four l eve l s max i mum w ith tw o units p e r no o r m ax imum a ccessibl e fro m the s ame s tair c ase. J\ b uilding would usually h ave o n e t o thr ee staircases. T h e ref ore, the num be r o f unit s was limite d to eigh t t o tw enty four units per build i ng J\ typical r esidence' (th e Frenc h equi, alent with bourgeoi s co nnotation t o the American mor e neutral subdi,isi o n'). u s ual!: co n s isted oftwo t o f ou r suc h buil d i ngs for a t ota l of t wenty four to for t y eight apan m ents In the late sixties, the compa n y also stan ed t o buil d single family houses With their 'lie de f-rance style. and their traditional co n s tru ctio n m a t e rials, the:-.' fea tured four. five or six r ooms ,,ith a o necar garage attache d lvl ost of the houses we r e attached o r i n r ows of thr ee t o five houses; a typical r esi d ence. comprised twe n t y t o Cotty houses 49


By 1973, business had developed and the compa n y had g ro w n delivering over a hund red units per year employing twe nty five to thirty people, among w h om were t hre e sale s consultants, who m I was managing as the sales-manager of t h e company. I n 1975, lleft the family bus i ness and specia l ized in sa le s technique s trainin g for rea l est a te marketing teams. From 1975 to 1 978, I ac ted as an independent co n su ltant while st u dying t owar d a graduate degree in ps ycho logy at P aris-Nante rr e Unive rsity. Then, i n 1978 1 joined o n e ofthe two l a r ges t buil ders in France spec i a l izing in sing le famil y house s the Groupe Maison Familiale' I had come to know the G.M.F. thr oug h training appointmen t s of t h eir sales forces wh ich I had cond u cted as c on s ultant In the spri n g of 1978 they offered me t h e position o f Training Dir ecto r a t their headquarter s in Camb rai (a small town located in t h e Nort h ofFrance halfway b etween Pari s and Brussels) l occupied the position briefly, until November 1978 w h e n une xpecte dly one of th e two prom inent P rod u ct Managers l eft; his position became availab l e and h ad to be filled w ith out delay. 1 got the jo b In the capacity of Prod u c t Mana ge r l vvas i n charge of coordinating and o ve r seei n g half oft he compan y s p r od ucti on of h ouses the ones built i n subd i vis i ons (ca l led 'secteur groupe') ; this represented so m e 8000 h omes pe r yea r scattere d all over France The orga n iza ti on of my d epartment co n s i s ted of21 l oca l b ranches, (c alled' Antenn es'), s taff ed with 150 s ales people, 21 sa l esm anagers, and 5 reg i ona l sal e smanag e rs. Th e positioning ofthe product was 5 a n d 6 room h ouses with a one-ca r g arage, on s mall lots 50


built for lo w to lower middle-class families, mostly eligible for subsidized government financin g. The main prob lem the company and the other builders faced during these years was the increase in building costs, which had made the new houses unaffordable for the targeted buyers We adapted the product by red ucing to bare minimum the equipment pro vide d with the hou ses, to lower their price. Then we developed our lobbying of the government to improve the rules of financing and public subsid izin g Builder-developer in France After three years in Cambrai I wanted to move back to Paris. I compete d for the available position of 'Branch Manager' ('Chef d' Antenne') for the South of Paris area, based in Melun. This was a challenging venture. As the first and only female 'Chef d 'Antenne', I was under high scrutiny. The Melun branch h ad been newly created when I took it over. It had been developed from a local sa les ce nter into an independent branch; one year earlier. It was organized, as all the othe r branches of the company in a functional mode, comprised of four divisions : Land procurement Finance and Administration, Marketing and Sales, and Construction Each department had its own ob j ectives and my role was not only to coordina t e them, but also as we were in France, to make all the important decisions that would be carried out by th ese divisions. When I l eft Melun to join Maisons Phenix, G.M.F. 's direct competitor the branch was pr od ucing 270 houses per year for a tota l income of90 millions French Francs 51


Maisons Phenix, the other largest French builder of sing le family houses hired me in 1983 to be the President of their American joint venture with U S Homes, located in Clearwater, Florida. Flash-back This was the big adventure I had been longing for all those years ... I hate travels and explorers" says Levi-Strauss in Tristes Tropiq ue s (1973 : 9), "there is no room for adventure in the ethnographer's job ... it is only one of its servitudes ... which should rather be considered as the negative side of our job" .. but to me this was the opportunity of a lifetime the very kind of assignment I would not even dream to hope for Indeed foreign countries, with the opportunities the y offer to discover other ways of doing things and thinking, had always attracted me This fascination goes far back I was born in Africa, where my father a yo ung civi l engineer had been hired as a plywood factory manager. Jobs were scarce in France just after World War II. A s far as I remember my preferred bedtime stories were the description of my parents' hut, by the river O go ue the recollection of my mother's trip across the jungle in an old jeep to the hospital of the capital city Libreville, where she was to deli ve r her baby or else, the dramatized incidents such as "wh en the boa ate all our chicken s or w hen my mother panicked thinking I had been kidnapped (ou r 'boy' -name given b y the French co l onists to their male servan ts in Africahad taken me out of m y crib and brought me to his village to 52


proudly show me around -I was the first European baby born in this area of the Gabon jungle, and had blue eyes and light blond hair -). So much for the exoticism later built into a quasi birth myth by my family ... Later, during my growing up years, three other situations (formative instances) contributed to develop my almost native intere s t for the other real people over there '. First I remember the amazement and shock felt through m y teen years, at the horrible stories of the war told by my family and friends living in the north ofFrance (an area which in the course of seventy years had been invaded occupied and destroyed three times by the Prussian and German military). I remember their hostility toward and hatred of 'the Germans (still nicknamed les boches '), as well as the anger that these comments were generating in me. I could not yet verbalize what I was feeling but confusedly I was se nsing that this kind of resentment and the unwillingness to try to forget coupled with a harsh stereotyping of the modern Germans could onl y be an obstacle to the development of peace and harmony which the young people of my generation were so anxious to secure. Second m y astonis hment w hen at fifteen on m y first trip to England, I fell in love with the country despite all the jokes and criticisms of the Briti sh w hich were then trendy in certain French circles. I knew this rivalry had been on going between the two countries for centuries but after my sharing ofthe daily life of a Dorset family for a month each 53


summer for several years I could no longer understand nor accept the ethnocentric shortsightedness of such misconceptions. Third, my disbelief, when at 17 I had to witness the behavior of my French student colleagues on a trip to Moscow. We stayed several weeks in a 'Komsomolsk' summer camp, under communist rule (1965). Their attitude was that of an absolute reverse ethnocentrism, which backed by totalitarian ideology led them to denigrate and devaluate-even through blatant liestheir own country. I was puzzled; the French often considered by foreigners to be chauvinistic were in this instance, just the extreme opposite. I then discovered the 'lens effect' of ideology and had a first glance at relativity of viewpoints and diversity of world views I remember also the deep interest, and almost greed of our Russian hosts (students like us) for any kind of information concerning the West. They wanted to know everything about everything ... and when told in the discussion "you should come over, visit us and see for yourself' their answer, a little embarrassed was: "well, we first need to know our own country ... it is so big ... and there is so much to see ". Their interest in 'otherness or 'Westerness was in direct proportion to their inability to travel abroad, but their respect for their country would prevent them from acknowledging it in front of foreigners. These were my three formative e x periences . .. They probably are less sophisticated than Levi-Strauss' self-admitted "mistresses geology Mar x ism and Psychoanalysis" (Levi Strauss 1973 : 61) but they strongly contributed to develop my interest in 'otherness' and my preference for real experience. That is why I prefer to share the host-country people's 54


everyday life, rather than enjoy the luxuries oftourism. A kind of participant observation, with prolonged stay in order to discover who my hosts really are how they see their world. In a word, to understand and to communicate rather than remain an outsider I guess I was born to be an anthropologist! Not because, as many before me, I did not feel adapted in my own society or I had chosen to opt out of my own civilization" (Levi Strauss 1973 : 451) as a "consequence of a radical choice to question the system in which one is born and has grown up" (Levi-Strauss, 1973 : 450). I did not feel alienated from my own culture and would probably fit better in the s econd category of people enjoying doing ethnographic research identified by Agar ( 1980). These ethnographers "are a product of multicultural environments who grew up in and became accustomed to, cultural diversity Rather than feeling threatened by the different lifewa y s they encountered they became fascinated by the differences" (Agar 1980 : 4) l like ethnography because it justifies my interest in exploring different lifeways I also feel that through the discover y of others I am offered the opportunity to enrich my own visions diversify my points of view increase the range of possible behaviors .. and in a word, be freer! Indeed I was born to be an anthropologist .... And it took my next professional assignment to understand and identify this vocation 55


Builder-developer in Florida In September of 1983 I boarded a plane bound for Clearwater, Florida with my three children aged 9 11 and 13, to take up my new position as 'President-General-Manager' ofMPUSH-U.S. A. The joint venture Maisons Phenix-U.S. Homes was two years old and already very troubled The goal of the endea vor was to build using a French pre engineered system, homes that would be acceptable to American customers with minimal adaptation To achieve thi s result Pheni x had e x patriated all the necessary management except for the Finance Director ('because accounting systems are so different'). As General-Manager I made ever y cross-cultural mistake possible and soon learned by trial and error to question every assumption or taken for granted situation. I remained in this position for 2 y ears until December, 1 9 85 when the v olatility of international financial markets and the sudden craziness' of exchange rates caused the U.S. dollar to skyrocket against all other currencies and crushed the French Franc down to 10 50 Francs to a dollar. This occurrence provided Maisons Phenix the opportunity to terminate the joint venture repatriate t hei r inv e s ted funds and cash in on exchange rate profits rather than continue building in the United States and incurring operational losses I emerged from this first U.S experience puzzled and shaken ... what had gone wrong? Why did a well-rounded technical process and seemingly well-elaborated business plan fail in the United States while the same process and business skills worked wonders in France? 56


As for me, in the course of the two years, I had learned by trial and error to adapt some of my ways of acting and working. I had discovered 'tips, cultural behavior recipes and had accumulated lists of dos and don 'ts' methods of transacting business These were useful and mostly effective tools. Still I had not found a 'fil directeur' a common thread, which would have enabled me to organize and structure all my fragmented insights or even better, reveal to me a general rule of thumb to measure and predict the cultural reactions to expect. This is when I discovered applied anthropology. Anthropology Through my former formal education I had been introduced to economics and finance which provided explanations for the monetary aspects ofhuman experience and their relation to flows of goods and services. Through marketing and consumer behavior studies, I had learned to organize and increase people s access to those goods. Through psychology and psycho-sociology l had approached individual motives conscious or unconscious and the secrets of group dynamics. 57


But, there was a missing link in the chain from individual personal and psychological explanations to universal and mechanistic laws of economics And this missing link was embodied in the concept of culture which accounts for the production and sharing of meanings, values and worldviews in a given social group Through the study of culture I could understand that accepted assumptions could differ from group to group as well as the very definition for what is 'natural or evident' The idea of 'natural' is universal the onl y problem said Carroll is that our natural ways do not coincide" across cultures (Carroll 1 9 88 : 3) Furthermore, through cultural analysis I could learn to identify these differences in behavior and value and decipher their embedd e d meanings. Thanks to the use of models I could e ven reach some level of predictive adequacy and make educated guesses at the probable behavior to expect under specific circum s tance s of people from different cultures. Finally through cross-cultural training I could educate myself to identify and understand cross-cultural differences and to become more malleable and tolerant in order to adapt more easily to new cultural environments I could become a cultural broker dealing not in exotica but in 'otherness' and expert at translating one culture in terms of another in order to help people from different cultures communicate 58


In the fall of 1987 I applied for a Fulbright grant to study applied anthropology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and was later admitted in its Doctoral Program. During the course of my studies at U.S. F and later in my teaching assignments I focused on cross-cultural approaches to varied topics and fields of studies and among them, business This interest coupled with my work experience in several countries, naturally led me to international marketing and international management which in turn in a self reflexive manner, led me to reinterpret m y forme r experie n ces in international business as an expatriate manager. Fieldwo rk Research My fieldwork was accomplished in France and in the U.S A., under different circumstances. On-site Vis its Participant-observati o n in sales offices. First I wanted to refresh m y memories about customer tas tes and pr efe r ences as they are expressed in their housing choices I used participant-observation in the sales office of one builder in the Tampa Bay, and of another one in Paris western suburbs 1 also visited, posing as a potential customer, several sales offices ofthe only forei g n (and American) builder successful in France. 59


The participant-observation sessions in the on-site sales offices consisted of regular sales interviews, during the course of regular weekend open houses in subdivisions under construction at the time The usual course of an interview started with touring the model home, explaining the floor plans and their possible variations showing samples ofthe materials used and the different choices offered, detailing the construction process, and finally studying the financing available to each different customer. After each interview, (and depending on the level of customer attendance in the model home) I summarized the questions asked, noted the particular comments and criticisms or compliments made by the prospecti v e buyers Usually, on a typical weekend half of the visitors were tourists' ('looky loos ', the English equivalent i e people with no intention to buy, just taking a leisurely tour). Another 25% were ju s t starting their search for a home and would not seriously be in the market for several more weeks or months ; of the 25% remaining 10 to 15% could not afford the product. This left 10% real potential buyers ready, willing and able according to the popularly accepted definition of what a customer is for real estate people in the U.S .A. (the same is just called 'un vrai client' a real customeror 'un acheteur -a buyer-in French opposed to a 'tourist'). The sessions which took place in the fall of 199 3 in Tampa and in the fall of 1994 in Paris and again in May and June of 1997, reminded me of my job 25 years ago Nevertheless I noticed some changes in the needs and wants of the French customers which I will discuss later. 60


fmerview of American b uild e r in France. As for the visits to the builder of American or i gin, the goa l was first to assess i f the 'American-ness' or 'othern ess' was stressed as a selling point or on the contrary was underplayed or eve n ignored The secon d goal was to eva luat e the product offered : was it different? Were the diff e ren ces turned int o a major selling argumen t ? And finally we r e the sales people themselves aware of the foreign or i gin of their employer? These on-si t e visi ts we r e comp l emented by interv i ews with the Marketing Dir ec tor at the French headquarters ofth e co m pany, in La Defense. Interviews with informants 1 conducted a series of in-depth interviews with t wo homeowners in each co untry, in orde r to discover and record the representatio n s they had ofth eir homes and t o construct taxonom y ofth e different t y pes of housing in the t wo countries l also used the information collected to perform domain analyses. The info r mation provided by these in-depth interv i ews was later matched for verifica tion with diverse interviews of h ome owners and home buye rs, in the two coun tries. Fa rti c ipatin g and Investing in th e Real Ma r ket in th e !iva Countries In the U.S.A. Since 1 985 l have h e l d a R ea l esta t e Broker License iss u ed by the Flor i da Rea l es t ate Commiss i on It was continuously ren ewed and valid until 1 999. The origina l licensure course is a six t y hour class which co v ers Florida real es t ate laws 61


and regulat i ons agency s employment standards, commiss i on computation and sharing, market analyses, contract w riting clients' r i ghts and protection and real estate tax. The course is concluded by a two hour examination followed several weeks later by a formal fou r h o ur exa m i n O r l a n do for eac h r e n ewal completing a twe l ve h o ur cou rse a n d passing a two hour self-administered e xam is required. Since I 985 1 have been acti v e l y managing real estate inves tment for a partnership c omprising foreign investors whi ch was started and based in T am pa F l orida In the United States t he activity has consis ted mainly in buying for eclosed properties either o n the steps of the courth ouse, or ju st before foreclosure t o spare their owners the infamy and the financiall y invalidating procedure I n o rder to get familiarized with the ve r y closed wo rld of foreclosure actors, 1 conducted fieldwork research in Hillsborough County F l orida over a period often months, from March o f 1989 to January of 1 990 T his research used participant-observation attending everyday the for eclosure sales as well as interv i ewing the different s t akeholders in the process. The y we r e name l y the title co mpanies real estate lav,, yers, sales mas t ers banks 'R.EO ('real esta t e offices', the depanmen t of the bank !n charge of disposing of the foreclosed rea l estate) the County Clerk's office which maintained public r ecords and filed l iens the County P roperty Tax office as wel l as rea l esta t e sal es people and brokers whos e cooperation in t h e resa l e part of the business was always invited. 6 2


In 1989, thanks to the knowledge acquired through participan t observ ation and persistenc e in my negotiatin g I was able to help U.S. F Cred it Union organize and close their first t ime fina ncing of a foreclosure acquisition. Once the houses were acquired and the redempti o n per i od over, the task went to remodelin g the properties, an d putting them back on the market. This business which sta rted slowl y, one hou se at a time every twelve or e ighteen months has no w e vo lved to the l evel of s i x to eight hou ses on the market at any sing l e tim e It has also switched it s g eographical location to Albuq u erq ue New Mexico s ince 199 6, following my move to thi s part ofthe country In France. I also pursued rea l e s tat e investments but on my own and wit h a much s lower cyc l e T he activity co n sists in buying run down apartments i n P a ris in t ramuros' ( in s ide the w alls or the center ofParis area) r e modeling them, and re nting t hem for at least 15 yea r s before resa le (for tax rea sons) Since 1987, I have acq u ired six p roperti es w hich I manage t oget h er with two prior ones, an d have so l d one. Keeping up wi th the ups and downs of the P arisian rental and for sale markets requires frequent int erviews ofthe l oca l professionals and re v i ews ofthe spec ialized literature It is a l so necessary t o maintain c l ose r e la tionships w ith a small numb er of strateg i c all y positioned real estate agents and rea l estate l awyers (locally known as notaires ). 63


Libra!y Research and Analysis of Builders' and Real Estate Brokers' Documents A systematic review of monographs, books and dissertations, published in France and in the U S.A. has been conducted. As for the professional documents, they were gathered over a period often years, in a non-systematic fashion: the selection being governed by my assessment at the time, of their interest and relevance to my research. They consist of professional newspaper articles, advertising materials, classified ads, sales training documents . etc. Finally a number of photographs, taken in both countries to document some of the aspects analyzed in my research complement and support the linguistic descriptions of real estate artifacts. They are not included in this document because of reproduction requirements 64


CHAPTER 2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK The Framework: This Research is Comparative and Ethnographic Both the comparative meth od and ethnography were described at one time as the distinctive method' of anthropology, embodying that one feature which would set the discipline apart from the o ther socia l sciences Then later after having been used extensively over several decades each came under critical fire and attempts of elimination. Such was the fate of the comparative method in the first half of the twentieth century and that of ethnography in the seco nd half The comparative method fell victi m to the criticisms addressed to the unilinear evolutionists, criticisms which mostly confused the method used with the goals assigned to the research Ethnography did not succumb but it has been seriously challenged since the end of the sixties and its ep i stemo l ogical foundations were completely reconstructed Nevertheless in both cases the critique was questioning more the prevalent scie ntific paradigms of the time than the methods themselves even i f the questioning brought along some technical improvement s which l ater benefited the methods 65


In the end, the death sentences were not carried out. The comparative method made a comeback in the late seventies under the new name of cross-cultural or cross-national comparisons. The ethnographic methodology was re-appropriated by anthropology, stripped from its arrogant pretense ofbeing a definitive representation of reality and opened to new possibilities of representations through creativity of its renewed forms Furthermore, at the end of the nineties there seems to be a new synthesis of the two methods, ethnography and comparisons Postmodern critique stresses the intrinsic comparative nature of any description and redevelops the practice of comparison by using juxtaposition techniques and by redefining cultural translations (Bourdieu 1980, 1990; Marcus and Cushman 1982 ; Marcus 199 4 ; Sanjek 1990). It also stresses the contingency of the results so obtained There will always remain a certain amount of cultural difference which is irreducible even to the most thorough comparative analysis; it can only or best be approached through multivocal multi-sited and fragmented ethnographies (Marcus 1995) Comparative: th e C omparative Method in Anthropology Although anthropology has for a long time been equated with the comparative method the understandings of this method have been varied and sometimes contradictory. From the use of the term by the 1 9 th century e v olutionists to Franz Boas and Radcliffe Brown, the perspectives and approaches seemed to be very different (Sarana : 1975 : vii) and there is a need for an analytical study of the different comparative methods (Sarana, 1975 : 1). 66


Historical Review Let u s r eview first the evolution of the definition and under sta nding of the term comparative method" in the la st century a nd the diffe rent ways this method was used or reje cted and abandoned by the diffe rent schools of anthropologists. As it is difficult "to escape the interplay oftheory and meth o d" (Herskovits, 1954 : 64), it will be necessary, in o rd er t o better understand the con te x t of the compa rative method utiliz at ion to briefl y relate it to the main theoretica l frames used conjointly wit h the meth o d at differe nt times Earl y Evolutioni sts Althoug h tra v e ler s missionaries and phil osop h e r s had been co mparin g exotic people to th e ir own "developed cultures for over two centuries, Whiting traces back to Tylor the first sci e ntific, systematic use of the comparative method "The cross -cultural method was first u se d by E.B. T y lor (1889) w h o presented a paper entitled: O n a m ethod of investigating th e d evel opm ent of i n stitu tions, app lied t o law s ojmarriag e and descent (W hi ting 1966: 287) ... then for the n ext fifty yea r s was almost co mpletel y neglected (Whiting, 1968 : 693) In its origin, the conte x t in which the co mp a rative method de ve loped was that of a positivistic approach to anthropology mainly conce rned with the question of the origin of mankind Tylor a nd Morgan th e prime figures then bel ieved in the notion of ps y chic unity oper ate d w i thin an e v olut i o n ar y frame w ork and wer e interested i n the t otal cu ltur e 67


In other words, they believed that culture had evolved through successively progressive or increasingly complex stages, that the conte x t of the sequences was very much the same for all and that the basic p sycho lo gic al structures for a d vancement were common to all people They used living triba l people as examples of prehistor i c societies to document their positions When comparisons revealed discrepancies w ithin a stage of development these were classified as "survival s" (Eggan, 1965: 363). Despite sharing common goals and common theoretical premises t heir methods differed considerably in the gathering of data and in the analytic proce sses. Herskovits describes Morgan as an inductioni s t drawing his theorie s f r om his field data -ei ther his own or the observations which others on the spot obtained at his reque st. Spencer as complete a deductionist as science has ever seen documented his preconce i ved theories b y citing only supporting evidence Tyler was b etween the two, inducing principles from his readin gs, but stimulated by early first hand cross-cultural experience"(Herskovits, 1962: 408) Opposed in their analytical pr ocesses and in their gathering of data the early anthropologists ma y, ther efore be regroup ed and labeled comparativist, only beca use the y shared a teleological per s pective in their enterprise. Indeed th e ir goal was to compare the stag es of de velo pment of human soc ieties with an or derl y progression, from primitive to civilized as g u i din g principle and orde ring of the data b y reducing to systematic treatment the hod gepodge of facts. 68


Critiqued by Historical Empiricists. Then in 1896, came Boas' attack of the comparative method, in his article The limitations of the comparative method in anthropology The assumptions of the unilineal evolutionists, together with their comparative method, fell under severe criticism IfBoas, at first agreed that the development of society obeys laws, (beliefwhich he abandoned later) he criticized the generalizations of the early anthropologists as being much too s impl e and too broad Furthe rmor e they did not re spect the principle of method that uniformity of processes is essential for comparability. Anthropological research which compares simi lar cultural phenomena from various parts of the world in order to discover the uniform hi story of their developments makes th e assumptions that the same ethnological phenomena has eve r ywhere developed in the same manner. Here lies the flaw in the argument of the new method for no such proof can be given (Boas, 1940 : 273) Although they a l so used comparisons th e historical empiricists were generally cri tical of the comparative method They were dissatisfied with the attribution ofv alue to the different stages of development the failure of the evo lution ary approach to incorporate adequately the factor of cultural borrowing and the J ack of investigation of the history of culture. They proposed that comparisons be l im ited to the reconstruction of cultural history within small cultural a r eas" (Eggan 1 965 : 364) and once documentation of particular cultu res i s sufficien t then general laws of cu ltural growth which are psycho l ogica l in character may be found through comparisons (Boas 1940: 78-79) Later 69


in his life Boas was no longer optimistic about finding any laws of historical development and his criticism had effectively killed the comparative method in American anthropology (Eggan 1965 : 364). Since that time the term 'comparative method' is prominently associated with the early anthropologists of the nineteen century, the evolutionists such as Morgan, Tylor o r Spencer to designate the practice of comparing living noncomplex (also called primitive then) societies with extinct groups, precursors of current developed societies. This method, criticized in the twentieth century became also known and ridiculed as 'the contemporary ancestors' or the 'liv ing fossils', but in the context of the end of the nineteenth century, and of the discovery of evolutionism in biology, it seeme d to make sense. Even more, it repre se nted a progress in t h e recognition ofthe continuity ofthe human race e v o lution It must be remembered that in those days, it was the bestiality of primitive humans that used to be stressed and the savages were then equated with animals, and presumed to not have a soul. Still used worldwide. If Boas effectively killed the comparative method in the U.S. A. thi s was not the case worldwide Eggan in 1 953 r emarked that al though in the U S the comparative method has l o ng been in disrepute and was supplanted by what Boas called 'the historical method ', in England o n the other hand, the comparative method has had a more continuous utilization (Eggan 1 966 : 113) Sir James Frazer, A.C Haddon, W M Ri v ers, in England F Graebner and W Schmidt with in the 70


Kulturkreisl e hre school in Germany and Durkh eim in France, all u sed some variati o n of a comparative method, after refining the rules of co mparisons It was Radcliffe-Brow n in Great Britain "wh o made the co mpar ative m et hod central to the study of social anthropology (Eggan 1 965: 365). He defin ed soc i al anthropology as the investigation o f the nature of human society by the systematic comparison of societies of diverse t ypes, with particular attention to the simple r forms of society of primitive savage or non lite r ate people" (Radcliffe-Brown 1958: 133). As to the methodology he makes a clear distinction between comparisons used in formulating a historical or gene t ic h ypo the sis a nd comparisons to arrive at classifica ti ons and generalizations. "The purpose of compariso n s as used b y the soc ial anthropologists is t o arrive at valid gene ralizati ons abou t the nature of society and social phenome n a b y sys t ematic stud y of resemblance and d i fferences. By the use of abstracti v e gene r a lization s the more gene ral essential and permanent c h arac teri s t ics of social life are di s tingui shed from the accidental and va riabl e ( R adcl i ffe -Bro wn, 1 9 58 : 165). 1 950s co m eback. F r om co mparati ve m et hod to comparisons' the meth o d m akes a comeback in t h e fifties After Boas's critici s m of the comparative method it too k fifteen years for the method to be u se d again As before by Ty lor, i t was to test evo l utionary theory w ith H o bh o use, Wheeler and Ginsberg in 1 915 Then after another l apse ofnearly 25 years Simmons (1937) and Murdock (1937) re v i ved the method ; but in his test of the evolutionary pri o rit y of matrilinea l and p a tri lineal evolution Murdock s goal was still to test evolutionary theory 71


In 1954, Whiting would note "In the last fifteen years, the cross-cultural method not only has become more popular but also has changed in its theoretical orientations It has drawn upon the theory of general behavior science rather than that of cultural evolution" (Whiting, 1966 : 287). And he cites the work afFord (1937 1945), ofHorton (1943), the first study to be concerned with the testing of hypotheses derived from behavioral science, and finally Murdock' s Comparative Social Structures published in 1949 which represents a landmark in cross-cultural research (Whiting, 1966 : 298) In 1968 Whiting could confirm Since that time ( 193 7), studies using the cross-cultural method have appeared at an ever increasing rate" (1968: 693) ... He would also state "but recently it has been used more and more by psychologists to test psychological principles ; the benefits ofthe cross-cultural method in this endeavor being first to ensure that one s findings relate to human behavior in general rather than being bound to a single culture, and second that it increases the range of variation of many variables ... Furthermore, the cross-cultural method by studying cultural norms holds individual variatio ns constant. Psychological studies of individuals in a single society do just the opposite Cultural norms are held constant and individual variations are studied Thes e two methods in combination should s upplement and correct each other in the development of general theory ofhuman behavior" (Whiting 1968: 694). It is interesting to note th at th e terminology used by Whiting cross-cultural method" is different from the more largely used term 'comparative method' His definition of the term is also more general as it encompasses the comparative method as one variant of the cross-cultural method. He defines it as follows : "The cross-cultural method utili zes data collected by anthropologists concerning the culture of various people throughout the world to test hypotheses concerning human behav ior Some ofthe h ypot he ses tested have been derived from theories of cultural evolution others from theories concerned with the integration of culture, and still others particularly in r ece nt years from theories of indi v idual 72


developmental physiological and socia l psychology". (Whiting 1968: 693) (Developmental and physiological being added in the text of 19 68, when compared to the text of 1954) In the fifties back in the U.S.A. the method becomes a topic of high scrutiny (Eggan, 1 965 : 367). Many prominent anthropologists of the time published articles critically reviewing the former use of the comparative method and defining the conditions under whi ch comparisons should be performed in anthropology Oscar Lewis in 1956 also remarks that in the last 5 years there have appeared an unusually large number of theoretical writings dealing with the comparative method in anthropology This observation was repeated almost word for word by Eggan seven years later (1962 : 357) but extended to the last decade : there has been in the last decade an unusually l arge number oftheoretical writings in anthropo l ogy concerned with the comparative method (Eggan 1965 : 357) Among the 248 writings dealing with comparisons, studied by Lewi s and covering the period 1950-1954 he found 28 dealing primarily with theory and method in comparative anthropology As examples ofthe numerous art icl es ofthe fifties, we selected the following : Murdock, So c ial s tructure (194 9 ) ; N adel The foundation of social anthropology (1951) ; Radcliffe Brown The comparative method in so c ial anthropology (1951) ; Fred Egg an, Social anthropology and the m e thod of controlled comparison (1953) ; Schap e ra Comparative method in social anthropology (1953) ; Lowie, Some comments on comparative method in social anthropology (1953); Ackernecht 7 3


Ethnography, cultural and social anthropology (1954); Kroeber, On the comparative method in anthropology (1 954) ; Herskov its, Cr itical summmy and commenta1y (in Spencer 1954) ; Whiting Some problems of method in ethnography (1954) and The cross-cultural method which was reviewed and republished in 1968 under the title Methods and problems in c ros s -cultural research and finally Oscar Lewis, Comparisons in cultural anthropology ( 1956) Oscar Lewis (1956) goes on to see in this renewed interest a sign of the growing consensus to recognize the usefulness of comparisons in anthropology, if not of the comparative method as pre v iou s ly under s tood This co ncentration of interest in the comparative method is a reflection of the growing maturity of anthropology as a science, the ever increa sing concern of anthropologists with problems of theory and methods and the accumulation of great mas ses of data which cry out for systematic comparative analysis (Lewis 1 956: 52) Let us note again that new term s are now used to replace the old depreciated label 'comparati ve method '. Fred Eggan speaks ofthe "met hod of controlled comparison in his 19 53 presid e ntial a ddr ess to the AAA (1954: 743 763) and John Whitin g prefers "cro ss-c ultur al method", whic h term he applies even t o Tylor. E B T y lor was the first to u se statistical method s for cross-cultural comparisons (1954 : 693) O scar Lewis s imply selects "comparisons but goes on to affirm : "There i s no distinctive comparative method in anthropology ... we prefer to discuss co mpari so ns in anthropology rather than the co mparative method. This simple semantic change makes a difference for it highli g hts the fact that the method of a comparison i s on l y one aspect of comparison ; other relevant aspects 74


being the aims or objectives, the content and the location in space of the entities compared" (Lewis, 1956 : 259) The variety of terminology reflects the considerable va riati on and even disagreement in the conceptions held by different anthropologists as to the nature of the comparative method and how it should be practiced Different Inte1pretations of the Comparative Method From co mparisons. From Ackernecht to Kroeber there is w ide interpretation Ackernecht sees the comparative method as ha v ing been generall y abandoned by the functionalists in cultural anthropology, and deplores it as it is pote ntiall y useful. Finally, he recommends the solu tion that "consis ts not in abandoning but in using and impro v ing it (Ackernecht, 1 954: 273) Kroeber sees the comparative method as never gone out but ha ving only changed its tacti cs'' (Kroebe r 1954 : 273) Lewis' affirmation, cited above, that there is no distinctive comparative method in anthropology" may be seen as a tentati ve to start from anew rather than try to reconcile suc h diversified points of view. He proceeds to set up an agenda for the critical review of comparisons as scient ifi c too l s of analysis and basis for generalizations. He th inks that comparisons should be classified and analyzed in order to determine the major types of comparisons, their objectives meth ods, research designs and the loca tion in space and time ofthe entities compared" (Lewis 1956: 260) 75


Lewi s later indicates afte r an extensive review ofthe available literature that "Nadel offers b y far the most sys t ematic and comprehensive treatment of comparative method (Lewis 1956: 263) For N adel th e comparati ve method is th e equ i valent of the experiment for the s tud y of society. He defines it as the syste m a tic study of similarities and difference s through the use of correlati on and co-variation But "comparison s need further refinement -planned selec tion s and rigorou s checks and controls-to approach the ac curacy of a qu as i experime ntal m et h od" (Nade l 1 95 1 : 222). Following Durkheim he distinguishes three applications of th e m et hod o f covar iati on. Fir st, it may be used in the st udy of broad var iation s in particular mode s of action or r e lati o n s hip s within a sin gle socie t y Second it may be applied to the s tud y ofthe same soc ie ty at different periods o f tim e or of se veral esse nti a ll y s imil a r s ocieties whic h differ only in certain r es p ec t s And the th ird appl icatio n co n cerns th e study of numerous soci eties of a wide l y different nature (1951: 226) Nadel b e li eves t hat regula ritie s may be deri v ed from all three appl icati o n s He further discu sses the techn i ques a nd limit at ion s of the comparative m et hod a nd the natur e of the r esults that may be obtained from its app l ication. 76


To more rigorous comparisons. The new consensus as to the validity of the comparative method which developed during the 1950s and the 1960s', is based on several different reasons First the method has changed : comparative anthropology can no longer be defined as a library method but is becoming increasingly based upon fieldwork. .. most anthropologists have had first-hand experience both in the intensive study of small communities and in comparative cross-cultural analysis (Lewis 1966 : 74). This improves the quality and the reliability of the data used as the basis for comparisons Second, it can serve the urgent need for more sophisticated testing of ideas and hypotheses, which lies behind the front lines The comparative method, with the modern controls that are available is an important instrument for this purpose" (Eggan 1965 : 369). "My own preference is for the utilization of the comparative method on a smaller scale and with as much control over the frame of comparison as it is possible to secure .. using regions of relatively homogeneous culture, or working within social or cultural types and controlling the ecology and the historical factors as far as it is possible (Eggan 1966 : 114) Third comparative methods offer specific advantages in the elaboration oftheories. According to Whiting (1968 : 694) these advantages are two-fold First, they ensure that one s findings relate to human behavior in general rather than being bound to a single culture; and second, it increases the range of variation of many variables To illustrate these affirmations he uses the example ofthe study ofweaning habits by Sears and Wise 77


done on Kansas city children in 1 950, and shows how the use of cross-cultural data pertaining to the same behavior brought about a completely different re-interpretation of the results To cross cu ltural comparisons. Granted that the cross-cultural method is useful there are some basic assumptions involved in its use and some practical problems in its application that should be considered. The method is not essentially different from any correlational study. The sample must be s elected, the v ariables chosen scales defined judges trained reliability established, care taken to avoid bias in judgments . plus a few specific precautions taken The first precaution is rather s impl e It deals with the proper identification of the society from which data are used It is a problem of exactitude in sampling as the same society may be called different name s in different sources A recommendation in point: make sure that the group being studied is well identified as it is often the practice of many anthropologists to use in their titles some larger g roups than the ones really studied. On the contrary the group, which is actually studied is in ge neral well defined in the first chapter ofthe ethnography. Hence, the sample should be chosen from this identification in the introductory chapter rather than from the title 78


The second precaution also relates to the choice of the sample, in relation with the problem ofthe independence ofthe cases and is traditionally known as the 'Galton' problem. "If two societies derive from a common origin or have extensively borrowed from each other, they should not be counted as two different in stanc es but only as one" (Boas, in Whiting, 1966 : 295) Nevertheless, this position is quite extreme as is the opposite attitude : as long as two societies are politically distinct they are independent. These definiti o ns can be adapted. A simple precaution is to avoid using two cases which are known to have derived from a common origin within the recent past that is such a s hort time that their c ulture s have not had time to change Choosing no more than one case from one linguisti c area in which the l anguages are still mutually intelligible, m ay be a solution Another method is to get a fairly equal representation of the five major areas of the world. A third methodological precaution relates to the reliability of sources. Comparisons demand analyses into simple enough units so that certa in attributes may be seen to vary a long a single dimension Comparative anth r opologists usuall y use culture traits which are much s impler units than the ones used by n on -c omparativists. Customs are such cu lture traits. A c ustom defined as the basic unit of culture is a specia l case of a habit. If ones makes the assumption that a custom is the habit of a t ypical member of a soc ie ty, then it becomes imp ortant to verify that its essential attributes are generally recognized as categories by the members ofthe said society and thus ide ntified from indi vid ual habits. 79


Consequently, the nature of the ethnographic data and the methods by which they are collected become of prime importance In large and complex societies e laborate sampling techniques should be involved but not in the small and relatively homogenous societies usually studied by anthropologists In this case the quality of the data is a direct function ofthe anthropologist's skills. This is the reason why the report of a trained ethnographer who has lived with the people for a year or more and has l earned to speak their lan guage should always be given more credence than less identified sources In fact, Whiting is confident that a reasonably reliable estimate of the typical behavior of people in small homogeneous societies or subgroups thr oughout the world can be made on the basis of ethnographic data The fourth precaution is to be taken when variables under consideration depend upon a judgment of presence or absence of certain beliefs or practices If nothing is reported, it does not necessarily means that the belief or practice is absent. It may just not have been reported It needs to be stated as absent to be sure. Lewis (1956) in his enthusiastic defense of comparisons minimizes this problem and considers that to assume that no information means absence, on l y increases the input of error variance but does not introduce a bias He also notes that if the H R.A.F. files are used this problem should not exist as they are standardized. The fifth precaution concerns the question of the stabi lity of one's observations : are there enough in s tances of the phenomen o n under s tud y (during the w e aning study there were 80


only two children being weaned; it was not enough to rule out individual variation bias) Thus, the need to use informants to verify the behavior as the norm or not. The use of informants compensates for this defect as informants say what people usually do. But then there is the bias of the informant. All information must be checked with a number of informants with particular attention paid to instances of disagreement. Sixth, there is another basic assumption which underlies the cross cu ltur a l method (Whiting, 1954), it is that customs can be compared from one society to another. But one custom, which looks the same as a custom in another culture, may really mean something quite different. Dealing with the whole character of culture (like psychologists with the "whol e" c hild ), scientific investigation is based on the assumption that attributes ofthe whole can be abstracted and compared (the example of snowflakes is suggested). If many anthropologists agree that a culture can be analyzed into its component customs they are concerned about the comparisons of customs across cultures because actions that are formally identical have quite different meaning. Cross-cultural comparisons require equiva len ce in meaning rather than forma l equivalence. The problem may not be as difficult as it first seems. If the categories are established in pan-human dimensions they can be compared across cultures (for example insult instead of belching). Such universal dimensions are aggression, affiliation, achievement and dependence, or for our purpose of housing comparisons privacy, identity homeyness .. (Duncan 1985; McCracken, 1989) 81


To modern cross-cultural studies Thus far cross-cultural research based upon available ethnographic literature has been under consideration. There is another interpretation of the method being developed It consists in gathering material in a sample of societies for the particular purpose of testing a hypothesis or a set of hypotheses. It cannot be undertaken by a single person, as to learn a language, develop rapport and then gather data is a long and arduous task, feasible only through cooperative efforts This method was used by Kluckhohn Roberts and Vogt in their Comparative study ojvalues infive culture s (1957) using the same variables relating to an overall theory ofvalues and applying them in the five different cultures This type of project has the advantage of increasing the comparability of data gathered from different societies and also permits the testing and re-testing of hypotheses based on individual differences in a number of different cultural settings. In conclusion this method promises to greatly increase the power of cross-cultura l research since a particular theory can be tested within a society at the same time that an additiona l case is being added to the cross-cu lt ural sample Although still in its infancy the cross-cultural method shows promise of being a useful adjunct of a general science of human beha v ior (Whiting 1966 : 299) 82


Ethnographic: E thnography in Anthropology In the late nineties ethnography is alive a nd well. It has either transformed itself into the 'new' ethnography, influ e n ced by postmodern crit icism or it has adapted as a rigorous but flexible qualitati v e enterprise. It is a t ool well adapted to the characteristics of the contemporary world. As such, it is now being borrowed by a vari ety of disciplines in the social sciences and makes frequent incursions in the n atura l sciences b enefit in g from the prevalence of qualitative concerns and con sequently the endearm ent of q ual itative methods. E thnography i s a Composite Method Qualitative methods are in vogue at this end ofthe seco nd mill ennium; suffice it t o review the number of books recen tly published on the subject (VanMaanen, Dabbs and Faulkner, 1982 ; VanMaanen, 1 988; Strauss an d Corbin 1 990; Denzin and Lincoln, 1994; Alasuutari, 1995 ; de Munck and Sobo, 1998) This qualitative fad may be considered ir o nic It develops preci se l y at a time when researchers have at thei r disposal powerful computers eq uipp ed with sophisticated softwar e They finally are ab l e to perform complex stati stical anal yses They can in a ver y s hort time perform all k in ds of multivariate a n a lyses and investigate large correlation matrices. The techn i cal resources a re there, but they d o not make up for the lack of substance. 83

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VanMaanen, as early as 1982 n otes there seems to be something of a growing disenchantm e nt w ith the results of quantitative s tudies as currently conducted ". He later id e ntifi es som e of the rea sons T h e r e are the re lat ive l y tri v ial amounts of explained variance, the abstract and r emote c haract e r of key variables the la c k of co mparabilit y across s tudie s, the failure to achieve much predi ct ive validity, the high l eve l of technical and notati onal sophistication r e nd eri n g m a n y research publications in co mprehen s ible to all but a h ighly trained few a n d finally the causa l complexity of multivariate analysis ( 1 9 82 : 13) One r e di scovery at th e end of the twentieth cent ury may well be this: yo u m ay be able t o correlate at a 5% level of error anything w ith anything. It will not however improve your under sta nding i f i t i s not ba cked by an underlying theory which makes sense of the mathematical results. In the de b ate quantitat i ve against qualitative m et h o ds the general agr eeme n t seems now t o be th at they both have a scientific va lue, provided th ey are rigor ous l y utilized. Thus they should ha v e an equa l sc ient ific status Qualitative re s earc h ers are in a sense ou t of the closet! (VanMaane n 1 982 : 13) Furthermore, in the social sc i ences b o th methods ar e u se ful and complement each other "'Qualitative r efers to th e meaning the defin it ion or ana log y or model or metaphor chara cter i z in g something whi l e quantitative assumes the meanin g and r efe r s to a measure of it. Quality i s the wha t quantity th e how much T he difference i s rel a t ed t o Tuk ey's (J 9 77) dis tinction b et ween e x pl o r atory and confirma tory analysis ( D a bb s 1982 : 32) 84

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Aunger (1995) also, stresses the need for a rec onciliation ofthe two methods The formal methods, s uch as standard s tatistical a nal ys is provide generalizations in the form of correl at ions between v ariabl es but a r e unabl e to provide adequate causal explanations On the other h a nd the interpretive a nd n a rrati ve approaches trace the causal developm ent of a sing l e case, but are unble to account for the reflexivity of data collection procedures and t o pro v ide solid generalizations This is w h y h e o utline s a new st rate gy that seq u e ntiall y utilizes both app roache s preserving their independ e nt and complementary v irtu es, w hil e provid in g formal lin ks that allow the results of one approach to inform use of the ot h er direcly (Aun ger I 995 : 97) Alasuutari goes further and considers that in fact th e w hole di v ision into qualitative and quantitative research is increasin gly ofte n challenged-and blurred (1995 : 3) He cites the wor ks of D avi d Silverman ( 1985) w h o uses counting of cases percenta ges and even sta t istica l relations alongside qualitative anal ysis in drawing co nclusi o n s from the data Charles Ragin (1989) with his method of' qualitative comparison based on Boolean a lgebra mo v es beyond the dichotomy (Aiasuutari 1995 : 3) As we have noted the ne w sy nth es i s of the comparative and ethno g raphic methods we can a l so point ou t the ne w truce between q ualit at i ve and quantitative methodologies. One i s n o longer con si dered scien tifi c, rigorous, hard and high status a t the expense of the other. It ha s been proven th at both can be used rigo rou sly and scie ntific a lly but both ca n a l so be use d wrongly and produ ce mea nin g l ess results. It is the quality of the researcher whic h warranties the quality of the m et h odology (Dickens 19 82 : 5) 85

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Ethnography is Both a Process and a Product Every author describes the two components of ethnography as fieldwork and its written result the ethnographic monograph "anthropology semi literary product of research" (Marcus and Fisher, 1986 : 6). Postmodern scholars add a third component, the readership. "Ethnography is a research process in which the anthropologist closely observes records and engages in the daily life of another culture-an experience labeled as the fieldwork method-and then writes accounts of this culture emphasizing descriptive detail (Marcus and Fisher, 1986 : 18) Ethnography portrays one culture in terms of another. "It re s ts on the peculiar practice of representing the social reality of others through the analysis of one s own experience in the world of these others. It is therefore hi g hly particular and hauntingly personal yet it serves as the basis for grand comparison and understanding within and across a society" (VanMaanen, 1988: i x ) Ethnographies are portraits of diversit y in an increasingly homogeneous world They display the intricate ways individuals and groups understand, accommodate and resist a presumably shared order. These portraits may emerge from global contrasts among nations societies, native histories subsistence patterns religions, language groups and the like Or they may develop from the more intimate contrasts of gender age community occupation or organization within a society I take it as self-evident that there is as much deep and di v isive cultural misund e rstandin g and frighteningly real confli c t of interest among people within our own society as there is between our society and others (VanMaanen, 1988 : xiv) 86

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7he process offieldwork. "Ethnographers are fieldworkers who live, observe and describe the daily life, behaviors and language of a group of people for long periods of time. Ethnography, the written product of their work, is a researched study that synthesizes information about the life of a people or group (Chiseri-Strater and Stone Sustein, 1997: 3). "Fieldwork usually means living with a nd liv ing like those who are studied lt demands the full time involvement of a researcher over a lengthy period of time (usually unspecified but understood as a year minimum ) and consists mostly of ongoing interaction with the human targets of study on their home grounds" (Van Maanen, 1988 : 2). Ethnographic researchers conduct fieldwork in an attempt to understand the cultures they study. Through their pursuit of an understanding of these ver y different cultures, t he y also learn about the cultural patterns oftheir own cultures. Historically, ethnographers, especially anthropolo gists, have studied exotic foreign cultures, isolated and faraway and less economically develop ed. They often positioned themselv es as marginal native s" (Freilich 1970) or professi ona l stra ngers (Agar, 1980) as "set f-rel iant loners (Lofland 1 974) or "self-denying emissaries (Boon, 1982) or as eccentrics dissatisfied with their own societies and searching refuge in more authentic environments (Lev i-S trauss, 1 955). "Why should a contented and sati sfie d person think of standing outside his or any other society and s tudying it?" ( P owderrnaker 1966) "To do fieldwork apparently requires some of the instincts of an exile, for the fie ld worker typically ar rives at the place of study without much of an introduction and knowing few people if any ... Accident and happenstance shape fieldworkers studies as much as planning and foresight ; numbing routine as much as living theatre; impulse as much as rational choice; mistaken judgements 87

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as much as accurate ones. This may not be the way fieldwork is reported, but it is the way it is done" (VanMaanen, 1988: 2). Fieldwork is the stiff, precise probably too visual, but nonetheless double-edged notion of participant-observation This is less a definition for a method than it is an amorphous representation ofthe researcher s situation during a study (VanMaanen, 1988 : 3). "Since Malinowski the method of participant-observation has enacted a delicate balance of objectivity and subjectivity The ethnographer s personal experiences are recognized as central to the research process but are firmly restrained by the standards of observation and objective distance" (Clifford 1986 : 13) The pruduct: the ethnographic monograph. Returning fiom the field the fieldworker must display the culture he studied. He does so in a narrative, a written report of the fieldwork experience with self-consciously selected words. Ethnographies join culture and fieldwork In a sense they sit between two worlds or systems of meaning the world of the ethnographer and readers and the world of cultural members (who are also increasingly readers, although not the targeted ones) (VanMaanen, 1988 : 4) Ethnographies are documents that pose questions at the margins between two cultures They necessarily decode one culture while recoding it for another (Barthes, 1972). They are an interpretive project. Ethnographies are shaped by the scientific paradigms prevalent in the environment ofthe writer and they are also politically determined. More 88

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specifically they are shaped by the narrative and rhetorical conventions assumed by the writer (VanMaanen, 1988) Ethnography is the result of fieldwork "but it is the written report that must represent the culture, not the fieldwork itself Ethnography as a written product then, has a degree of independence (how culture is portrayed) from the fieldwork on which it is based (how culture is kn own). Writing an ethnography is office-work or deskwork, not fieldwork (Marcus, 1980: 4). The ethnographic fieldworkers "who mix the art and sc ience of cultural representation are the obsessional profess ional s of the social sense making and translating trade" (Van Maanen, 1988: xiv). "In classical ethnographies, the conventions oftextual presentation forbade too close a connection between authorial style and the reality represented The subjectivity of the author is separated from the objective referent of the text" (Clifford, 1986: 13) This convention of representation will start to be questioned in the 1970s'. The readership. Postmodern critics emphasized the point that a text is written with an audience in mind. This audience influences the choice of a strategy for the constru c tion of the text. 89

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Writing i s intended as a communicative act between author and reader. "Ethnographies are written with particular audiences in mind, and reflects the pres umptions carried by the authors regarding the attitudes expectations and background oftheir intended readers" (VanMaanen, 1988: 25). The recepti vity theories which have developed in literary criticism are now applied to the analysis of ethnography readership They suggest that the meaning of a given work e merges from the interaction of the symbo lic properties of the work and the cognitive categories of those who experience the work. For eth n ographies there are three main readerships the collegial readers who are academic fieldworkers and often colleagues of the author, they provide the most careful and critical readers. The second group i s soc ial science reader s who read specific ethnography for the information they supply on the group studied Their evaluation of the work will be based on the sheer amount of information reported The third group, the largest, is the general readers re groupi ng non-specialists, and la y people who occasionally may be e nticed into reading ethnographic tales These readers look for familiar format (like trave ler's tale, adventure story) reject specialized jar gon and want to be entertained Authors attending a general audience are often rejected by th e specialized collegial audience which views their wo rks as being inefficient or unscientific In general, it seems that the size of the audience and the degree of specialization are negatively correlated. 90

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In conclusion let s agree with VanMaanen (1988 : xi) that method discussions of ethnography must explicitly consider the assumed re l atio nship between culture and behavior, (the observed) the experiences ofthe fie l dworker (the observer), the representational sty le selected to join observer and observed (the tale) and th e role of the reader engaged in the acti ve reconstruction of the tale (the audience) Historica(Revi ew: From Malinowski to Postmodernism Traditional ethnography and positivism Durin g the ear l y twentieth century a methodolo gical shift which became to be known retrospectivel y as a revolution (Jarvie, 1 964), estab1ished ethnography as the distinctive method the center of socia l and cultural anthropology (Marcus and Fisher 1986: 18) Boas was the first to emphasize the importance of et hnographic data : his objective was total recovery through intensive fieldwork He discouraged his students from proceeding to generalizations and comparisons until the existence of a l arge body of first-hand data "Once documentation of particular cultures is sufficie nt then general laws of cultural growth, which a r e psychological in char acter may be found through comparisons (Boas 1 940: 78-79) But later in his life Boas was no l onger optimistic about finding any l aws of h istorical development and documentation of as man y cultures as possible see med a sufficient goal to assign to anth r opology. 91

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It is Bronisla w Malinowski who is recognized still today by both American and British anthropologists as the founder of the ethnographic method (Marcus and Fisher 1986 : 19; Pratt, 1986 : 27) In the introduction to his first major work -"the book of the Genesis in the fieldworker s bible -(VanMaanen, 1988 : l 0) Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922) he celebrates the advent of professional sc ientific ethnography" (Pratt 1986 : 27) "The time when we could tolerate accounts presenting us the native as a distorted childish caricature of a human being are gone .... This pictu re is false and like many other falsehoods it has been killed by Science (Malinowski, 1961: 11) In describing the method he heralded a practice for the profes sio n emerging in departments ofBritish and American universities (Marcus and Fisher, 1986 : 19) Ethnography is the result of prolonged fieldwork during which the ethnographer engages in participant-observation participating in as many local activities as possible and carefully observing the interactions and behaviors of the people studied. Immersion in the local lifeways fluency in the native language isolation in an exotic, faraway and self contained culture were the basic requirements of the new method The end product was to be a written account d esti ned to the country nationals professional colleagues of the ethnographer. The text privileging description over narrative had to provide detailed information on the different institutions in order to allow 92

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for a holistic understanding of the culture studied. The overall goal of ethnography was to achieve a realist holistic portrayal of all the diverse cultures of the world The expectation seen as fallacious now, was that "ethnography should be this neutral, tropeless discourse that would render other realities exactly as they are, not filtered through our own values and interpretive schemas (Pratt, 1986 : 27). Often, this new definition of ethnography was established by contrast to prior works such as travel books, ex plorers' accounts or missionaries diaries used in anthropological investigations and criticized for being too subjective and non-systematic. It developed also in contradistinction to the methods employed by the early anthropologists, known as the unilineal evolutionists, who often did not have any contact with the cultures they studied During the 1920s and the 1930s American cultural anthropology proceeded under the covering perspective of Cultural Historicism as elaborated by Boas. British social anthropology developed under that ofFunctionalism as defined by Malinowski and later by Radcliffe-Brown. Anthropology was assigned descriptive and comparative purposes The goal was to systematically de s cribe cultural diversity across the world, while achieving a generalized science ofMan. During these years anthropology and ethnography were embedded in a positivistic view of the world where science eventually brings answers to all questions and where experiment, as in the hard sciences is the model for all scientific inquiry 93

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"The idea that there could be a value-free social science was very popular until the 1950s but started to be challenged in the 1960s" (Marcus and Fisher 1986 : 20) Boas, Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown were committed to anthropology as a science. Ethnography was central to their idea of what was scientific about anthropological work, it involved the collection of first-hand data The prime motivation on the part of all three founders was their rejection of speculation in favor of empirical investigation a theme that has always been a central characteristic of empiricism though not exclusive to it. All also took the natural sciences as an important model for anthropology, though not one to be followed slavishly. At the same time they all three believed that social and cultural phenomena were different in character from physical phenomena and had to be understood in terms of their distinctive nature" (Atkinson and Hammersley 1994: 250) This period corresponds to the first of five described by Denzin and Lincoln (1994 : 7) which they labeled traditional and which covers the first half of the twentieth century from the early 1900s until World War II. It is also described as that of the lone ethnographer in a distant land who, after enduring the ultimate ordeal of fieldwork, returns home with his data to write an objective account ofthe culture studied (Rosaldo 1989 : 3031). The ethnographic texts were then organized around four beliefs and principles : a commitment to objectivism, a complicity with imperialism a belief in monumental ism (the ethnography creates a museum-like picture of the culture under study) and a belief in timelessness (the culture described would not change) (Rosaldo 1989). This characterization o f the period is critical and negatively evaluative because it is voiced from a postmodern point of view. To be fairer to the ethnographers of that period the consciousness ofthe time should be e v oked and taken into account. 94

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At the same time the paradigms that h a d until then dominated anthropology were wearing out. "At the end of the fifties the theoretical bricoleur's kit (Levi-Strauss 196 6 : 17) [ofthe anthropologist] co n s isted ofthree major and somewhat exhausted para di g ms : British s tructural-fun c tionali s m (descended from A. R. RadcliffeBrown and Broni s law Malinowski), American cultural and psycho-cultural anthropology (descended from Margareth Mead, Ruth Benedict, et al.) and American evolutionist anthropology (centered around Leslie White and Julian Steward and having strong affiliations with archeology)" (Ortner 1984 : 128) The subsequent history of ethnography both in anthropology and in sociology reflects the continuing tension bet ween attraction t o and rejectio n of the model of the natural sci e nce s (Atkinson and Hammersley 199 4 : 251) Thi s debate pervades the ne xt three phases of the development of ethnography until the en d o f the century when a truce finall y seems to be w ithin reach The secon d his torica l phase ex t ends from the postwar era to the 1 970s and is called the m o dernist phase" b y Den z in and Lincoln (1994 : 8). The m odernist phase 1 945 -1970. The combination ofnew ideas and intellectual aggres siveness l a unch e d three m ove m e nts which de ve loped in the sixties S y mbolic a nthropology was dev e lop ed by Clifford Geert z and his colleagues at the University of Chicago, a nd by Victor Turner at Cornell. Cultural Ecology was represented b y Marshall Sahlins and Elman Serv ice and its va riant Cultural Materialism, by Ma rv in Harris and 95

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Roy Rappaport. And finally Structuralism "the more or less single-handed in ve ntion of Claude Levi-Strauss was the only genuinely original new paradigm to be developed in the twentieth century (Ortner, 1984 : 135) During that period within this renewed theoretical landscape three separate strands o f critique started to develop in American anthropology (Marcus 1994 : 564) "The first strand was the exposure of the messiness of fieldwork as a method of social science through an outpouring of trial and tribulation' and confessional accounts (VanMaanen, 1988) Both the epistemology of fieldwork and its status as a method were questioned" (Marcus and Fischer 1986 : 34). "The seco nd strand in vo l ve d the contextualization of anthropology in the history of colonialism, particularly during the period of decolonization for the British and of the Vietnam War for the American s (Asad, 1973 ; H ymes 1969). Anthropol ogy was criticized for its insensitivity or ineffectiveness in dealing with issues of historical context or political economy .. especially in relation to colonialism" (Marcus and Fisher, 1 986 : 34) "The final strand encompasses the not-yet-pointed critique from hermeneutics of anthropological styles of interpreting language culture and symbols (Geertz, 1973) It shifted the emphasis of anthropological analysis away from beha vio r and social structure toward the study of symbols, meanings and mentality" (Marcus and Fisher, 1986 : 35) During thi s modernist period social realism and naturalism are still val ued and continue to exist. The ideal ofthe natural sciences model for ethnography generally prevails. Ethnogra ph ers, be they anthropologists or social scientists s tri ve to improve the rigor of their qualitative methods and try to formalize them in an attemp t to imitate their quantitative counterparts Causal narratives combining qualitati v e methods, such as participant-observation and structured interviews with quantitative statistical methods for the rigorous analysis of the data are t yp ical of this period 96

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The modernist phase came to an end with the meeting ofthe Chicago irregulars at the San Francisco American Sociological Association convention of 1969, at a time when the Vietnam War was omnipresent in American society (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994 : 9). In the 1970s', anthropology was influenced by the diverse political and social crises that shook the world. "Anthropology was more obviously and transparently tied to real-world events than that of the p r eceding period. In the late sixties, both in France and in the US (less so in England) radical social movements emerged on a vast scale. First came the counterculture, then the antiwar movement, and then the women's movement . Everything that was part of the existing order was questioned and criticized" (Ortner 1984: 138). The first critiques in anthropology addressed the historical links among the discipline and colonialism and imperialism but soon moved to a deeper l evel where the theoretical frameworks of anthropology were seen to embody and carry forward the assumptions of bourgeois western culture. The rallying symbol of the new criticism was Marx. "There were at least two distinct Marxist schoo ls of anthropological theo ry : structur al Marxism, developed mainly in France and i n Britain, and political economy which emerged first in the U S .A., and later in England as well. .. A third movement that might be called cultural Marxism worked out l argely in historical and literary studies but was not picked up by anthropologists until later (Ortner, 1984 : 139). The 1980s' was the decade of practice. Bourdieu's book, Esquisse d'une theorie de Ia pratique, was published in 1972, and translated into English as Outline of a Themy of Practice in J 977 The work l ed the ca lls for a more practice-oriented anthropology in reaction to the v ery theoretical and intellectual structuralism and the Marxist rhetoric. 97

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Modern practice theory seeks to explain the relationships that evolve between human action and some global entity called "the system", in order to understand where the system comes from how it is produced and reproduced and how it may be changed in the future The shaping power of culture (or structure or system) is viewed rather darkly in terms of constraint hegemony, or symbolic domination consistent with a Marxist influence The modern versions of practice theory appear unique in accepting all three sides of the Berger and Luckmann's triangle : Society is a human product. Society is an objective reality. Man is a social product" (1967 : 61). In other words, the society is a system the system is powerfully constraining and yet the system can be made and unmade through human action and interaction as humans retain some degree of freedom (Ortner, 1984) Blurred genres of e thnography 1970-1986. In ethnograph y, this period is that of blurred genres It extends from 1970 to 1986. "The metaphor of cultures as texts popularized by Clifford Geertz (1973), served to mark vi v idl y the difference between the social scienti s t and the cultural interpreter (Marcus and Fisher, 1986 : 26) Qualitative researchers had a full load of paradigms methods and strategies at their disposal. Theories ranged from symbolic interactionism to constructivism phenomenology ethnomethodology semiotics and feminism among others. Applied research was developing and gaining in s tatu s and the politic s and ethics o f qualitati v e research were topics of considerable concern (Denzin and Lincoln 1994 : 9) 98

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But the golden age of the social sciences was over, replaced by the new age ofblurred interpretive genres The essay as an art form was replacing the scientific article and the author's presence in the interpretive text an d his authority were questioned There were no longer any firm rules concerning the text, its standards of evaluation and its subjec t matter (Geertz, 1988) The naturalist, postpositivist and constructionist paradigms gained power during this period Influenced by literary theory and by a renewed interest in the history of anthropology itself, a group of anthropologists, among them Clifford, Marcus Fisher and Tyler, brought to the surface from the mid-1980s on in an articulate way, profound discontents with the state of anthropology (Marcus 1994 : 564) Postmodernism, the crisis of representation : 1986-1990s A profound rupture occurred in the mid-1980s, with the publishing of three books Writing Culture by Clifford and Marcus (1986) which is often viewed as the seminal work in postmodern ethnography, 1Y1e Anthropology of E xperi e nce b y Turner and Bruner (1986) and Anthropology a s C ultural C ritique, by Marcus and Fisher (1986) They were followed in 1988 by Works and Lives by Geertz and The Predicament of C ulture by Clifford and by Rosaldo s Culture and Truth (1989) These works called attention on reflexivity in ethnographic work and on issues such as gender, class ethnicity and all sources of diversity. 99

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This 1 986 rupture marks the beginning ofthe fourth moment i n the history of ethnography It is that of the crisis of represen tatio n brought about with the postmodernist paradigm and it spreads into most ofthe 1990s '. Postmodernism is not exclusive to anthropology; it deve l oped in literary criticism and s pread to ail of social sciences as we11 as art, architecture and history "In the US, discussions of postmodernism have grown ove r the past decade and a hal f from their spec ific references to aesthetic sty le s in art architecture and l iterature to a general s i gn of radical critique concerning s t yles of discourse and research in all the discip l ines ofthe humanities and s ocial sciences. P ostmodernism has been given theoretical substance by t he works of the French post-structuralists (who themse l ves had little use for the term save momentarily Lyotard) which only became available through frequent translation in the early eighties (Marcus 1994 : 564). Although postmoderni s m is very influential it is not a notion w ith a clear definition Perhaps because it is pluralistic which signifies the end ofthe Grand Recits of liberation and emancipat i o n as Lyotard (1979) pointed out. It i s impossible to give a pos iti ve definition of post-modernism becau se that would be a contradiction in term s (Geuijen Raven and de Wolf, 1995 : ix) There is no center no possibility of defining what is true and untrue and desi rable or und esirable. The world has become decentered fragmented comp r essed flexible refractive postmodern (Harv ey, 1 9 89) It i s easier to state what po s itions postmod e rnism rejects The power of postmodern intervention is in critique rather th an in defining a new paradigm or setting a new agenda The critique has legitimated n e w objects new styles of re search and writing and a shift in the historic purpose of anthr o pological res earch 100

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towards its long standing, but underdeveloped, project of cultural critique "The specter of postmodernism has held anthropology accountable for its own radical, critical possibility, which it had submerged in its legitimization as an academic field" (Marcus, 1994: 564) "It has also tended to reorient the relevant interdisciplinary interests of anthropologists towards the humanities, especially as it became obvious that the most energetic thinking about culture, especially in cross-cultural and trans cultural frameworks had come from among literary scholars such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha" (Marcus, 1994: 564). The fifth mom e nt: now The present period is shaped by two crises inherited from the previous period One is the representational crisis which critically evaluates the link between direct experience and the text. The second is the legitimization crisis, which rethinks the definition ofterms such as validity generalizability and reliability in anthropological research and which questions the way qualitative studies are to be ev aluated in the po s tmodern age Does the text represent what it is supposed to including the interests of those studied ? Besides these two crises Lincoln and Denzin (I 9 9 4 : 576) see four other fundamental issues embedded in these ten s ions, which define the pr e sent o f ethnography. First the continuing critique of positi v i s m and post-positivism is coupled with on going selfcritique and self-appraisal. Second, the continued emergence of a cacophony of voices speaking with a varied agenda from specific gender race class ethnic and third world perspecti v es Third, the borders between science and reli g ion two systems of meaning 101

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are becoming blurred Critics increasingly see science either from within a magical, shamanistic framework (Rosaldo, 1989: 219) or science is moved to a critical, interpretive project that stresses morals and moral standards of evaluation (Clough, 1998 : 136) The fourth issue is the increasing impact of technology w hich will continue to m ediate define and s hape qualitative re searc h practices There is an embarrassment of choice in the field of qualitative research as to the paradi gms, strategies of inquiry a nd methods of analysis to draw upon and use. "Qualitative research can no long e r be v iewed in the positivist neutral objective perspective: class race gender and ethnicity s hape the process of inquiry making research a multicultural process (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994 : 15) The consequences are that multiple evaluation criteria compete for attention in the field and theories are now read in narrati ve terms as tales ofthe field (VanMaanen, 1988). And the future ? "We cannot predict the future but can speculate about it because the future never represents a clean break from the past" ((Lincoln and Denzin, 1994 : 581). The field of qualitative research i s still defined b y a series of tensions contradictions and hesitations which work back and forth between the broad doubting postmodern sensibility and the more certain traditional positivist post-positivist and naturalistic 102

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conception of the research project. The new age seems to be that of 'messy' texts (Marcus, 1994) uncertain multi-voiced texts, multi-sited ethnographies (Marcus, 1995) cultural criticism and new experimental fieldwork. "More reflexive forms of fieldwork and new experimental works will also become more common" (Lincoln and Denzin, 1994: 583). Lincoln and Denzin (1994: 581-83) indicate four directions in which the future might develop. First, anthropologists will abandon the idea and the express ion of'going native' it i s a category that spea k s volu mes to both our dis t orted senses of scientific objectivity or our colonial pa s t. . Today no one takes serious l y talks of going native .. in its place looms the 'Other', whose voice researchers now struggle to hear. The disappearance of the word nati v e i s significant its s ilence deafening We come to terms with our own critical subjectivities' .. We have also admitted our guilt and complicity in the colonizing aspects of our work, pointedly subsumed b y the term native itself. . Even using the term is offensive (Lincoln and D enzin 1 994 : 581) l have to sa y that I strong l y disagree with the authors on this point, and I interpret this fear of words as another hypocritical stateme nt of individual pretense: inte llectuals pretending to be what they are not underprivileged To me it is another instance of political correctness, which may be at best interpreted as a wis hful statement about 'how things should be a nd at worst as pure hypocrisy of condescending and otherwise wealthy (in economic or cultural capital) bourgeois belonging to a domineering culture Even if the word native' had disappeared from the anthropological vocabulary (which remains to be proven), i t has not from the gen eral culture as can be attested by the reading of any 103

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I.N.S. (Immigration and Naturalization Service) form, and other administrative or journalistic reports And the fallacy goes on today we are trying to live ever closer to the lives about which we write ... sure! And Academia is moving to third world countries or teaching to the underclass of our developed world! Let us acknowledge and recognize on the contrary, that as members of Academia, we belong to a pri v ileged, sheltered, and somewhat isolated from realit y, class of individuals. We can try to s how and I insist contrarily to Denzin and Lincoln, can succeed in showing that we can live those lives but the experience is not equivalent: w hen we a re done, we leave the field and come home . to our sheltered home The time-limited experience ha s a completely different meaning specifically becau se of it s t em poral limitation. Also, the perspective we bring to the experience is different: it is precisely an experience, not our real life and all' our life I agree with Lewis (1999) that this kind of attitude stems from a gross misconception and leads to a misrepresentation of anthropology". The po s tmodern criticisms went too far in lumping together as positi vis t sins ofthe past (Taussig, 1987) the Enlightment project, which exoticized the ot her an d neglected the "oppre sse d and the powerless" and the complicity of anthropologists in the "Colonial project Lewis denounces further the influence exercised by philosophers such as Nietzsche and Heidegger, by the critical theory of the Frankfurt school or by the more r ecent French writers such as Foucault Derrida and Lacan, who were all obsessed with power and domination. Anthropologists must therefore unma s k these alienating practices in all human discourse and intercourse 104

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(Lewis, 1999 : 716).Bourdieu's The01y ofpractice is in line with these philosophies of "sla ves and herd moralities (Nietzsche 1973 : 178, in Lewis, 1999). As a result "an athmosphere of intolerance and generalized condemnation of anthropology and anthropo l ogists has become more than fashiona b l e ; it is v irtually obligatory both within the fie l d and outside (Lewis 1999 : 717) This atmosphere explains I think Denzin and Lincoln' s position; it is a bow to the prevailing trends Their analysis however curiously resounds in me as a surviving remnant of the l ate positivist paradigm: the wrong against the right the good expression 'other' against the demeaning native the power of science through the power of words. In a postmodern context there is n o right and wrong expression ; the words are not important in themselves the behaviors are. Pastiche irony and parody the typical forms of postmodernism play with words distort their meanings and dislodge them from their conventional acceptance. 'Using the term and pla y ing w ith it is not offensive it is informati ve! A final comment: no matter how well intentioned the whole argument was, it may also be interpreted as the product of an incredible patroni z ing ethno c entrism It takes for granted that the 'natives' are the und e rpri v ileged the exotic primiti ves or local urban unde rclass those American anthropolo g i s t s t yp i ca lly stu dy. But let us not forget t hat there i s also a so called "native anthropology (Said 1978) which although it mainly studies its own 105

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culture, could decide to 'study up' ... American or Western European society for example and 'going native could mean being successful at getting integrated I also think about applied anthropologists who study and work in economic and business settings Going native may be to them a sign of integration and to their 'natives' a sign of acceptance and recognition as equals Hastrup's comment on the same issue, the use of the expression "her people" in a paper, was more laconic than mine and much to the point a term which I incidentally do not find disturbing"(Hastrup in Geuijen Raven and de Wolf, 1995 : 127) Being Danish, she cannot be suspected of colonial reminiscences but being European she is probably not subjected either to the diktats of political correctness The second direction identified for the future is a deeper consciousness of the way tales ofthe field are constructed. Trying to avoid the flaws of realist and confessional tales experimenting with form format v oice shape and style will develop further, and proliferate taking into account the social historical political and cultural situatedness of the texts in the representation of the Other We care less about our objectivity as scientists than we do about providing our readers with some powerful propositional, tacit intuitive emotional historical poetic and empathic experience of the other via the ) ' ) texts we write (Lincoln and Denzin 1994 : 582) The third direction is a confirmation and development of the return of spirituality to science reconsidering the modernist idea of separation of science and religion (Reason 106

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1993) The concern ofthe spirit will increase in all humanistic disciplines. "A sacred science is certain to make its effects felt within the emerging discourses of qualitative research (Lincoln and Denzin, 1994 : 583). Finally, the fourth direction is the increased mediating role oftechnology, which will continue to mediate fieldwork and analy sis phases of qualitative research. Electronic and video technologie s with interacti v e capacities will radically transform every phase and form of ethnographic research. Electronic mail ha s already created new communities of qualitati ve researcher s w ho depend on text mediated communication. "In the electronic space of hyperte xts readers become writers, bricoleurs who construct the text out of the bits and pieces and chunks of materials left for them by the writer. The writer now disappears receding into the background (Lincoln and Denzin 1 994: 583) Postmodernism and Ethnography The impact of pos tm odernis m on eth nography The core of postmodernism is the doubt that any method or theory, discourse or genre, tradition or no ve lty has a universal and general claim as 'the right or the privileged form of authoritative knowledge Postmodernism suspects all truth claims of masking and serving particular interests in local cultural and political s truggles (Richardson 1994: 5 17) What postmodernism means for interpreti ve ethnographic practices is not clear : the only sure thing i s th a t things will ne v er be the same (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994 : 15) 107

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"In anthropology postmodernism has centered on the critique of ethnography, as both a mode of enquiry and of writing" (Marcus, 1994 : 563-64) First, and very importantly for the discipline the practice of ethnography is validated and confirmed as the central identity ofthe discipline in its new interdisciplinary, postmodern milieu even if ethnographic authority is often questioned Postmodern innovation is limited to multiplying the different conceptions of ethnograph y and the fieldwork it entails. Despite the decade-long influence of post-modernism in anthropology "it is rare that anyone will claim for him-or herself a postmoderni s t personal intellectual style and will ind e ed say I am a postmoderni st' ... The hostile term often has a phantom indefinite referent but certainly not oneself except for Stephen Tyler who is the only one to explicitly champion postmodernism and to enact it in his writing (Marcus 1994 : 566). Second, postmoderni s m has liberated creati v ity both in the data collection phase by urging the u s e of multiple methods and in the writing phase by encouraging new styles forms and voices to be devel o ped in ethnography "What postmodernism has meant specifically in anthropology is a lic e nse to create (Marcus 1994: 565) Third the postmodern notion of juxtapositions or blo c king to g ether incommensurables as advocated by Lyotard (Re adings 1991) serves to renew the practice of comparison long neglected in anthropolog y Juxtapositions emerge from putting questions to an 108

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emergent object of study ultimately mobile and multiply situated "This move firmly deterritorializes culture in ethnographic writings and also stimulates accounts of cultures composed in a landscape for which there is, as yet, no developed theoretical conception" (Marcus, 1 994: 566) Fourth, the searc h for grand narratives i s replaced by small-scale theories fitted to specific problems and local sit uation s (Linco ln 1993). Finally, postmodern critiques of ethnography promote it as 'an emergent interdisciplinary phenomenon'. Its authority and rhetori c have spread to many fields where culture' is a newly problematic object of description and critique. This includes historical ethnography, cul tural poetics cu ltur a l criticism, the analysis of i mp licit knowledge and everyday practices the crit ique of hegemonic structures of feeling the study of scientific communities, the semiotics of exotic worlds and fantastic spaces, and all those stu dies that focus on meaning systems, disputed traditions o r cultural artifacts" (Clifford and Marcus, 1986: 3). Characteristics ojpostmodern ethnography. The first of the three crises denounced by postmoderni s m is the crisis of representation Many authors agree to consider the problem of representation and the selection of discursive strategy as fundamental in postmodern ethnography (Derrida, 1 978; Lather, 1991; Richardson, 1992, Hammersley 1992 ; Atkinson 199 0; VanMaanen, 1 988). 109

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Postmodernism questions the ethnographer's capacity to directly capture lived experience. Such e x perience it is argued, is created in the social text written by the researcher. (Denzi n 1997 : 3). "The genre ofthe ethnographic text is closely implicated in its methodological and epistemological warrants. The ethnography is especially dependent upon discursive formats to inform and persuade the reader (Atkinson 1990 : 11 ) I now regard these (representational) problems as downright central to the ethnographic enterprise, certainly as central to the ethnographic enterprise as any problem faced in the field (VanMaanen, 1988 : xi) All factual or authoritati v e ac c ounts whether they deri v e from natural or cultural disciplines depend upon conventions oftextuality" (Atkinson, 1990 : 175). Ethnographic authority is determined in six ways according to Clifford. They are, "contextually rhetorically institutionally, generically politically, and historically These determinations gov ern the in s cription of coherent graphic fictions The word fiction suggests the partiality of cultural and historical truth the ways they are systematic and exclusive" (Clifford, 1986: 6). In classic ethnographies the authority ofthe fieldworker as author is displayed through the peculiar amalgam of intense personal experience and scientific analysis (Clifford 110

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1988: 34). The superior style of reportage favored by positivists generates a one dimensional and depersonalized text. On the contrary, postmodernists will favor pictorial and humanistic styles The text incorporates the subjects' speech and the author's commentary to interpenetrate in complex ways. There is a direct relationship between modes of textual representation and the distance between ethnog raph ers and their subjects (Brown, 1977: 66 67). The persuasive force ofthe ethnographic argument is sustained by the repeated interplay of concrete exemplification and discursive commentary (Atkinson, 1990 : I 03). In modern ethnographic writing, the use of personal narrative and objective descriptions is crucial because it mediates a contradiction within the discipline between personal and scientific authority" (Pratt 1986: 32). Theory and method are inextricably linked ; "they are equally closely tied to modes ofwriting" (Atkinson 1990 : 178) There can be no neutral language of description especially when the socia l and cu ltural domains are in question. Writing practices : messy texts and reflexivity The researcher is no longer aloof and transparent to her research, "as an objective authoritative politically neutral observer s tanding outside and above the text (Bruner, 1 993: 1 ) The false di v ision between the pe r so nal and ethnographic self is denounced. All texts are personal statements (Linco ln and Denzin 1994 : 578) The author is in the text. 1 1 1

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The ex perim e ntal ethnograph y can be seen as a result of the use in ethnographic writing ofthe no w classic modernist techniques employ e d in art, paintin g, l iterature poetry and theater since the 1930s '. At that tim e artists dis t anced themselves from natura lis tic aesthetics ... and explored the means of representations as such The means of c reati on and the artistic proces ses th e m se l ves becam e the o bject of their work" (Geuijen, Raven and de Wolf, 1995: xii). The Picasso, Matisse Brec ht, Bret on, Dada and other Surrealis ts experimented with form breaking the narrati ve and fragmenting identity and subjectivity "The innovative move in so ca lled experimental et hnogra p h y so far. .. i s the open u se of modernist sensibi l ities and t echni qu es having to do w ith refle xivity, collage, montage, and d i a logism within an empir i cis t genre with a stro n g, scientific claim to const ru c t reliabl e knowledge about oth er f o rm s ofli fe (Ma rcus, 1994: 565) On e of the most complex and i nterest in g form s of experimentat i o n with ethnographic writing now being produ ced is lab e l ed messy texts by Marcus ( 1 994) Messy texts are many s it ed, open-ended they refuse theoretical closure and they d o no t i ndulge in ana l ytic theorizing They make the writer a part of th e writing and they are often grounded in the st ud y of epip h ana l mom e nt s in people's lives" (Denzin 1997: xii). Marcus identifies severa l reasons for constructing s u ch messy texts (Marcus, 1994 : 566 567) Under conditio n s of p os t m o d ernity th e object of s tud y always exceeds its a nal ytic circumscription and there remains a surplus of difference beyon d A work's messiness 112

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and 'many-sitedness' is a manifestation of its contingent openness as to the boundaries of the object of study, its concern w ith position, and its derivation/negotiation of its analytic framework from indigenous discourse Messy texts arise simply from confronting the remarkable space/time compression that defines the conditions of peoples and cu lture globa lly. This raises the problem of how an account is to be g i ven of everyday life in which what was formerly incommensurable is brought into relationship or at least contact ; the globa l or aspects of g l obal process is now encompassed by the local and purely local meanings are no longer a sufficient object of study. Messy texts wrestle with the loss of a credible holism, so important in previous ethnographic writings especiall y functionalist accounts. In messy texts there is a sense of a whole, without evoking totality that emerge s from the re searc h process itself The territory that defines the object of study is mapped by the ethnographer who is within i ts landscape moving and acting within it rather than drawn from a transcendent, detached point. Finall y, messy texts are messy because they in sist o n an open-endedness an incompleteness and an un certa int y about how to draw a te x t t o a close Such open endedness often marks a co n cern with an ethics of dialogue and the partia l knowledge that a work is incomplete without critical and differen tl y positioned responses to it by its vari ed readers 113

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"However, it should be clear that messy texts, aside from the features that I ha ve listed, are by no means uniform in their sensibi liti es o r theoretical influences nor are they models for a new genre of critical work. I find them interesting as symptoms of strugg l e w ithin given formats and practices of analytic writings to produce unexpected connections and thus new descriptions of old realities" (Marcus 1994 : 568). The critical turn in the experimentation of mess y texts has been th e position taken toward self-critical reflexi v ity in ethnographic writing Reflexivity marks a departure from the ideology of objectivity, distance and the transparency of reality to concepts. It affirms the need to explore the ethical political and epistemological dimensions of e thn ographic research as an integral part of producing knowledge about others Pos tmodernism is se l f-critical and has a se lf-conscious awareness of reflexivity with s pecial reference to the work of texts. The notion of reflexivit y recognizes that texts do not simply and transparentl y report an independen t order of rea lit y; rather they are themselves implicated in the work of reality construction. There is no possibilit y of a neutra l text or ethnography. "The te x t is just as much an artifact of co n ve ntion and co ntri va nce as is any other cultura l product (Atkinso n 1990 : 7) "Reflexi v ity i s not so much a methodological matter as an ideological one, part ofthe complex politics of theory. The ideological dimension of reflexivity either is dismissed, or is an object of competition : mo re reflexive than thou note s Marcus who proceed s to id entify four sty l es of ethnographic reflexivity (Marcus, 1994 : 568 -570) 114

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The basic form of refle x ivity i s asso ciated with the self-critique and personal quest. It emphasizes subjectivity, experiential venue s and empathy. Its detractors dismiss it as self-indulgence, narcissism solipsism and navel-gazing Marcus grants it limited benefits. It opened the way in anthropology for critical hermeneutics, but once its initial critical function has been absorbed, it loses its power. "At most, such reflexivity opens the way for the so-called polyphonous tex t or the completely collaborative project. But ofte n as not it e nd s by rei nforcing the perspective and voice of the lone intr os pe ctive field-worker without challenging the parad ig m of ethnographic re sea r c h at all-to the contrary (Marcus, 1994 : 569) The second form of refle x i v it y identified by Marcus is that found in Pierre Bourdieu's sociology Bourdieu is hostil e to refle x ivi ty as touching to the s ubjective It is valuable only in methodological terms as a research tool. To reach his goal ofunderstanding the logic of practices it is also necessar y to understand the specific logic ofthat form of 'understanding' without experience that comes from mastery of the principles of experience ... to objectif y the objectifying distance and the soc ial conditions that make it possible, such as the externality ofthe observer, the objectifying techniques that he u ses etc ... The di sta n ce between observer and observed is insurmountable. Theory is a spectacle that can only be understood from a viewpoint away from the stage on which the actio n is p l ayed out and the distance lies in the gulf between two relation s to the world one theo retical the other practical (Bourdieu 1 990: 14) In absolutely opposing any sort of identit y between the worlds of the observer and the observed, w hile at the same time privileging perhaps as the manifestation of reason the domain of distanced theory', Bourdieu is outs ide postmodernist se n s ibilitie s that find value in various strategies for collapsing high and low c ulture, the theoretical and the p rac tical and the identitie s ofthe narrator and tho se narr a ted (Marcus : 1994: 570) 1 15

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As such reflexivity Bourdieu's style, has a restricted theoretical function which is to critically appraise the contexts that produce objectifying modes ofthoughts or reason. It is indeed a valuable analysis with many possibilities regarding how to expand and reconstruct the ethnographic research project, but it is a very different approach to reflexivity, theoretical instead of subjective. It is finally qualified of "null-form of reflexivity" by Marcus (Marcus, 1994 : 570). The most interesting form, according to Marcus, of self-critical reflexivity in anthropology emphasizes the intertextual character of any contemporary ethnographic project. This is reflexivit y as politics of location as Fred M ye rs (1988) has termed it. It questions the principle of"one tribe, one ethnographer" despite its character of forceful sensitive etiquette (one does not work on another anthropologist's people) On the contrary, this v intage of deconstructivist ethnography is a comment, a remaking or an alternative of a more standard realist account. Therefore the best subjects are those that have been heavily represented narrated and made mythic by the conventions of previous discourse. By making historically sensitive revisions ofthe ethnographic archive the experimentation seeks to reveal the intertextual nature of any contemporary ethnography and evidence the fact that representations are social facts, defining not only the discourse of the ethnographer but his or her literal position in relation to the subjects. Finally, the feminist version of the ba s ic form of reflexivit y highly values subjectivity t he experiential and empathy. It leads to the practice of positioning which is not that 116

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different from the politics of location advocated b y Myers Feminist positioning is most committed to the situatedness and partiality of all claims to knowledge. Hence, it contests the essentialist rhetoric and the binary (male / female culture / nature) cognitive mode that rigidly and infle x ibly transpires through language when addressing questions of gender or otherness The ethic and practice of positioning defeats the se rigidities of language and opens possibilities for different sorts of identities and concepts ofrace culture and gender to emerge. It also invites critical response to its partiality since it assumes that all work is incomplete, and requires respon se and engagement from others positioned differently. Haraway's (1988) visionary program define s such an analytic vision constantly monitoring its location and partiality ofperspective in relation to others" (Marcus 1994 : 572) Finally it might be noted that the most intense polemics about reflexivity nowadays occurs in academic departments among dissertation committees over graduate student projects Is reflexivit y a self-indulgence or an aspect of method? How to deal pragmatically with refle x ivity? How much reflexivity? Where in a text? And what forms can it take ? Finally w hy? The different styles of ethnographies, 'the tales of th e field I use the folky term tales to refer to ethnographic writing, quite self-consciously, to high! ight the presentational or more properly representational qualities of all fieldwork writing. It is meant to draw attention to the inevitable choices made by an 117

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author when composing an ethnographic work. This does not of course imply that ethnography is mere fiction, but underlines that there is no direct correspondence between the world as experienced and the world as conveyed in a text, anymore than there is a direct correspondence between the ob se rver and the observed"(Van Maanen 1988 : 7). The three main kinds oftales are the realist the confessional and the impressionist. Other residual forms of ethnographic tales are, the critical formal literary and jointly-told tale. Realist tales are the most familiar, prevalent and traditional form of ethnography They are also the most criticized by postmodern scholars. They typically feature a single author narrating, in a dispassionate third-person voice, the coming and going of the members of the culture observed. They also provide some theoretical coverage of certain features of the culture and usually propose a hesitant rationale for undertaking the work (Van Maanen, 1988: 45). Realist tales draw a rather direct matter of fact portrait of the studied culture The realism i s conveyed through tex tual representations of the co ncrete the local and the detailed. Such details, almost pre-coded to serve as instances of something important, accumulate systematically and redundantly to convince the reader (VanMaanen, 1988 : 48) This style is based on four conventions : recognition of experiential authority, selection of a documentary style focused on minute details of every day local life, adoption of an ernie point of view and finally the interpretive omnipotence of the narrator who has the final word (1988, 46-51). 118

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Confe s sional tale s are an increa s ingly popular genre characterized by highly personalized style and self-absorbed mandates This mode is often employed in self conscious opposition to realist representations (Atkinson 1990 : 34) They focus far more on the fieldworker than on the culture studied The fieldworker's point of view is foregrounded and embedded in realistic accounts. The attitude con v eyed is one of tacking back and forth between an insider's passionate perspective and an outsider dispassionate one"(Van Maanen 1988 : 77) The y can be seen as an attempt to demystify fieldwork, by showing how it i s practiced in the field and interpreted as a result of implementing reflexi v ity But confessional tales have also been criticized as being too subje c tive or even narcissi s tic and na v el-gazing. Thi s s tyle of writing is based on three c onventions : the authors are personalized they are present in or close to the text. It is the fieldworkers points of view including their eventual changes of mind which are represented in the text. And the third convention is naturalness : fieldworkers argue that despite all the problems encountered in the field and exposed in the tale the result s of their work are adequate and the y finally made the match w ith the culture s tudied. This i s w h y confessional tales usuall y end on an upbeat positive if not fully self-congratulatory note (VanMaanen, 1988 : 79) Confessional accounts do not replace rea list tales ; the y exis t next to them sometimes as a complement, or even within them as an opening chapter for example Confessional tales show the fie ldwork odyssey that was accomplished by the researchers to con v ince the audience oftheir human qualities including pe rs onal fla w s which v alidates the rest. The y call for characterization of the persons involved in the story The fieldworkers as well as the 119

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supporting players need to be dramat ic highly personal characters The tone is modest and unassuming instead of omnipotent. Tales ofthe third kind are the impressionist tales They are personalized and vivid accounts of fleeting moments of fieldwork cast in dramatic form Impressionists of ethnography are out to startle their audience with striking stories (Van Maanen, 1988 : 10 1). They are b ased on four main conventions The first o ne concerns the textual identity The form of the tale is dramatic recall. Events are recounted roughly i n the o rder they are said to have occ urred The goal i s t o imaginatively place the audien ce in the fieldwork situation (VanMaanen 1 988 : I 03 ) The second co n ve ntion dea l s w ith t he idea of fragment e d kno wledge The ta l e unfold s even t b y event without preordained methodology. The audience l ea rns in irregu lar and unexpec ted ways The next conve ntion is that the author will often need to give individual voices to the nati v es displa ye d in an impressionist tale (VanMaanen, 1988 : 1 05) The la s t convention defines the characteri s tics of the drama tic co ntrol. The s tandard s for the s tory are those of interest coherence and fidelit y more than that of co rrectness. Impressionist tale remains a sub-genre of ethnographi c writing whic h is t yp icall y enclosed within realist or more often confes s ional tales It is close to fiction Of course a s alwa ys an y class ification ris k s being int e rpr eted as s implistic This i s why it mu s t be stressed th at th e et hnographic genres that are proposed are embedded in the practi ces of the eth no grapher and not in the text ( which can mix genres) or the person 120

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(who can work in several genres). Ethnographic writing is far more complex, overlapping ambiguous and multifaceted than it appears her e VanMaanen 1 988: 8). Evaluation of ethnographic quality. The second crisis denounced by P ost moderni s m is the crisis of le gitimation (Denzin 1997 Marcus 1994 VanMaanen ' ) ' 1 988) "It makes problematic the traditional criteria for eva luating and interp r e ting qualitat i v e research (Denzin 1997 : 3) "we seem now to be in a period of considerab le uncertainty and change for what was once good enough ethnography" seems to man y not so good anymore ... Unsettled and co nte s ted notions ofwhat constitutes high and low grade ethnography are b e ing brought to the surface ... high priests of cultural t heory are quest i oning in print the p r evious l y unquestioned epistem o l ogica l assumpt i ons on which cu l tural representations rest (Van Maanen 1988 : x-xi). The legitimati on crisis involve s a serious rethinkin g of such term s as internal and e x ternal valdity, reliability, generalizability and objectivity the traditi ona l positivi s t criteria of eva luation for quantitative and qualitative research alike. How are qualitative studie s to be e va luat e d in the c o ntemp ora r y pos tm odern and poststructural world ? Ther e are four responses to the legitim atio n crisis ( Denz in, 1997). Fir s t there a r e s till some pos itivists who see no difference between q u antitative and qualitative r ese arch They b e lie v e that the same se t of evaluative criteria including interna l and externa l validity reliability and objectivity shou l d b e applie d to b o th scie ntific inquiries. Validity in general refers t o accuracy of measurement Internal 121

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validity refers to whether the treatment administered caused the predicted outcome, external validity refers to w hether this causal relation s hip can be generalized to other cases. Reliability refers to consistency of measurement through the r e plication ofthe experiment. The second group, the postpositivists, argues for the development of evaluative criteria distincti v e t o qualitative research. Hammersley proposes to r e t a in the criterion of validity, but redefined to fit in a naturali st i c research context focused o n understandin g and discover y and s h e adds to validity the criterio n of relevance ( 1998 59 -7 0). "By validit y I mean 'truth the extent t o which an account accurately repre se nt s the phenomena to which it refers (Hammersley, 19 98, 62). As for rele va nce according to Hammersley, it is rarely mentioned explicitely in di sc u ss ion s of criteria assessment. It i s nevertheless, indispensabl e to compensate for th e fact s that our int e r es t in facts i s se lective, that all description s are for some purpose and that all ethnog r aphic accou nt s a r e communications addressed to an audience (1998 : 7 1) There fore to be ofvalu e research findings must not only be valid but also relevant to issue s of actual or potential public concern" ( 1998 70). More generally "postpositi v i s t s assess research inquiri es in t e rm s ofth e ir ability first to generate generi c an d formal theory secon d to be emp irically g r o unded and sc i e ntificall y cred ibl e third to produc e findin g s that can be g e n e rali z ed o r t ra nsferred to other settinos and f our to b e internall y reflexive and account for the effects th a t the 0 ) researcher and the research st r a t egy hav e on the findings produced (Denz in 1997 : 8). The third positi o n i s the postmodernist whi c h see m s to reject the very is s ue o f s t andards (Hammersley, 1 998 : 5 8). "The ve r y idea of asse ss in g qualitative r esearc h is 1 22

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antitheti ca l to the natur e ofthis r esea rch and the world it attempts t o study" (Smith, 1 98 4 : 383). The va lidity or a uthority of a g i ve n observation is based "on glimpses and slices of c ulture in action" (Denzin 1 997 : 8) and cannot be generalized The understandings produced are always particular an d s itu ated but nonetheless important and worthwhile. The fourth position, that ofthe poststructuralists' seeks the construction of an entirely new se t of evaluative c r iter ia whic h should st r ess subjectivity emo tio nalit y feelin g and o th e r anti fou ndati o n a l crite r ia (Seidman 1991, Richardson 1994) There are different t rends in poststructuralist eva l uation One i s represen t ed by th e Po st Marx ist an d Feminist school ofth oug ht whose efforts co nc e ntr ate o n str ippin g the text from its authority traditionally ba sed o n epistemological va lidit y T h e ir focus is on und e r standing how power and ideology o p e r ate thr o u g h sys t e m s o f dis co urs e They conc lud e that sc i ence i s governed by va lues and politics rat h er than by objective epistemology To th em a good tex t exposes how ra ce class and gende r wo r k their ways in th e liv es of i nte r acting individuals They l abe l thi s form of validi ty, cata liti c validit y or the d egree to whic h a r esearch project empowers and e mancip ates a research community The second evaluative propo s iti o n r ep l aces validity with veri s imil i tude Verisimilitude is t h e ability of a text to reproduce and map the r eal. There are two l eve l s of verisi militude At the m os t na'ive le ve l veris imilitude describes a t ext s relationship to reality. A second le ve l r efers to th e relationship of a particular t ext to some agreed upon o pinion H ere it is 123

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understood that separate interpretive communities have distintively unique standards or versions of verisimilitude as proof, truth or validity There are as many verisimilitudes as there are genres (Todorov, 1 9 77 : 83). Verisimilitude can also be described as the mask the text assumes, as it convinces the reader it has conformed to laws of its genre. In doing so it has reproduced reality in accordance with those rules. Veri s imilitude is independent from truth. Verisimilitude c an always be challenged because texts are always sites of political struggle over the real and its meanings Truth is political and verisimilitude is textual. There is a fifth trend That of the c o nstructi v ist s chool which is o n e ofthe interpretive styles A good constructivi s t interpretation (or text) is based on purposi v e sampling, a grounded theory, inductive data analysis and idiographic (conte x tual) interpretations. The assessment criteria based on tru s tworthiness comprehend four elements : credibility transferability dependability and confirmability. These are the c o ns t ructi v ist equi v alents of internal and external validit y, reliabilty and objectivity (L i n c oln and Guba, 1985: 300). In conclusion, I agree with Denzin (1994) that the age of putative value free social science appears to be o ver. The methods for makin g sense of e x peri e nce are always pers onal and the researcher, as a w riter is a bricoleur (Denzin 1994 : 501). The evaluation criteria used by the poststructuralists seek a morall y informed social criticism a sacred version of science which is humane caring holi s tic and action based 124

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Poststructuralists celebrate uncertainty and try not to impose through their texts, a theoretical framework on the world (Denzin, 1994) No picture is ever complete, and the modernist dream of a grand master narrative i s now a dead project. The truth is in pluralism with its metaphoric symbol of the crystal, which diffracts multiple images of the same reality Limitations of ethnography. The postmodern premise that there is no possibility of fixed final or monologically authoritative meaning has radicalized the critique within anthropology of its own forms of representation by challenging the authority on which they ha ve been based This imposs ibility of a final account' also undermines the kind of interpretive practice earl ier promoted by Geertz in anthropology that constituted cultures through the metaphor of text and the practice of interpretation through the metaphor of reading. "Ethnographi es s it b etween two worlds or systems of meanin g the world ofthe ethnographer and the world of cultural members . they pose questions at the mar g ins between two cultures (VanMaanen, 1 988 : 4). Ethnographies necessarily decode one culture while receding it for another (Barthes 1972) They, however, never achieve a radical cultural translation that fully assimilates the difference In any attempt to interpret or ex plain another cu ltur a l subject a surplus of differe nce remain s partly created by the process of ethnographic communication itse lf. Difference can never be fully consumed, conquered or experienced and thu s any interpretive framework must remain partly 1 25

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unresolved in a more serious se n se than is usually s tipulat e d as a matter of good manners in d o in g interpretive work. Because they are 'tex ts e thnographi es, as any form ofwriting, are subjected to certain co nstraints, which VanMaanen (19 88) anal yzes as limitation s" for ethnography "Ethnographies are obvious l y experientially driven in that writers see k to draw dire ctly f rom their fieldwork in th e c ulture of st udy. Y et there are very real limits to w hat a particular fie ldworker can and cannot l earn in a g iven se tting. Gender a nd perso nal working h ab it s mediat e th e cultural sce nes that unfold in their pre se nce. The re s ult s achieved ar e al ways experientially continge nt and hi g hly variab l e by sett in g and by person ... Ethnographies are po l itically mediated since the power of one gro up to represent another i s always in volve d F ieldw orkers are typica ll y one up on those they study (Nade r 1969). Moreover, sponso r s or l ack thereof, s u ggest and enforce domains for prop e r eth nogr aphic work. The practica l worlds o f b udget sc holarl y int e rests a nd academ i c politics all attac h them se l ves to fie ldwork ... Ethn ograp h y m ay i rr evocably i nfl u ence the interests and l ives of the people represented in them ind ivid u a lly and collect i vely, for bette r of for worse. Writers know this a nd self-i mp osed limits mark all ethnogra ph ies .. E thnogr a phie s a r e s hap ed as well b y the s p ec ifi c traditi o n s and d i sc ipline s from w h ic h they are l aunched. Thes e in stit uti ona l m atters affec t th e current theoretica l position a n a uthor t akes (or resists) r egar din g suc h things as th e orig ins of c ultur e its c h aracteris ti c forms, a nd its consequences (Clifford 1983) Such pre-t ex t assumpt i o n s h e l p deter min e w h a t a fie l dworker will find int eres ti ng a nd h e n ce see, hear a nd eventually wri t e (Da vis, 1 971 ) The narrat i ve and rhetor i ca l co n vent i o n s ass um e d b y a writer a l so s hap e et hn ography Ways of personal expressio n c h o i ce of metaphor figurative a llu sio ns, semantics decorative phra s ing o r p l ain speaking t extual o rganization and so on all work t o s tru c t u r e a cu l tura l portrait in parti c ular ways. Style i s just as much a matter of c hoice w hen the experim e nt alis t wri t es in a se l f-co nsci o us, hyper-realistic attention grabbing dots a n d dashes fashion ... as w h e n the traditi o n alist fa ll s b ack on th e n e ut ral pa l e-be i ge, just the facts fashion of sc i e ntifi c reporting Some s tyles are at any g iven time more acceptable in ethnographic c ir cles than others .. but theoretical fa shio n s v ary ... All these eth nographi c co n ve nti ons are h is t orically si tuat ed and c h a nge over time Onl y during t h e first third ofthi s cent u ry did et hn ogra ph y itse l f become a reco g nizable topical and lit erary genr e se t off from simi l ar written products suc h as travel and 1 26

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adventure stories, fiction biograph y, social history journali sm, statistical surveys and cultural speculati o n s (Clifford 1 983; Marcus and Fisher, 1986) ... An ethnography i s a means of representation Yet, any claim t o dire ctly link fieldwork (and the immediacy o f it s experience) to the ethnography itself, unmediated or untran s form e d by narrative convention s, will not hold No transparency theory can be confirmed by ethnography (VanMaanen, 1 98 8 : 4-7) In conclusion, "Beyond the therapeutic value of postmodernist critcism I am convinced that the f o rm that ethno graphies mi g ht t ake remains a key concern in generating theore tical and re searc h de s i g n discussions that especially confront issue s of postmodernist sty l e of knowledge production and of real socia l conditions of postmo dernit y among our subjects. The mos t intere s ting arguments sometimes in spite of themselves confront the problem that ethnography which is centrally interes ted i n the creativity of social action through imagin at ion narrativity and perform a nce, has usually been produce d throug h an a n a lytic imag ination that, in contrast is impoveri s h e d and is far too r es tricti ve especially under cont e mporary cond itions of post-modernity" (Marcus, 1994 : 568). Co nclu sio n : it is a 'Gag e ure ', a wag e r This research is a gambl e, a ve r y parad ox ical e nterprise. To describe a part ofU.S. c ulture (the observe d ) from a Fren c h poi nt o f v iew (the observer's) a nd to report t o U.S. Academia for eva luation b y them, 'the Natives' ... may sound risk y if not vain .... Expect the same reac ti o n th an in n at ive a nthr o p o logy (Said 1 986). The observed usuall y d o not r ecogn ize th e d escr ipti o n w hi c h i s done oftheir c ultu re This disagreement does n o t di sprove the val i dit y ofth e o b servat i ons It onl y r eaffirms t he s ubjecti v it y of an y 127

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observation. In any description, there is always a part of interpretati on. The postmode rni s t s have confirmed thi s fact, after the phenomenologists. This undertaking would not be a s ustainable positi o n i f the claim were to establish definitive truth. This i s not the case as the goal h e r e is limited to helping unders t a nd the other culture, through a very particular cultural domain the built e n vironment. The hope is to generate a reciprocal enlightenment for the reader s, French and Americans, who mi g ht be better ab l e to und e rstand some of t he ir experiences in the other country o r to answer some of their quest i ons about their own cu lture and cultural su bgroups whose behaviors resemble the other culture. The intent i s also to share the often-reported effect ofthe field exper ie n ce, namely the increase ofthe ethnographer's understanding of h e r own culture. Again, the primary ambition here is to expose different facets ofthe two cultures' values and attitudes, to propose different interpret at i ons, some ofwhich might make sense for some readers and some of whic h might not. It i s only through the exposure of multipl e points ofview that some light w ill be s hed on some cultural differences for some people. The ambition i s ver y limit e d in it s sco p e but s till ver y real in its desired effects. Even if the reader adheres t o only o n e explanati o n and discovers only one new facet of the other culture the en terprise w ill h ave been worthwhil e, as mu c h as it is true that it is rare to be 128

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able to understand one another cross-culturally and share the authentic meanings embedded in each different cu ltur e The Theorie s Used The theoretical reference s made in this research are drawn from different levels of anthropological knowledge. From the more general t o the m ore particular, they c an be grouped in three l eve l s They are, from the more gene ral t o the more particular First, generalizing theories such as functionalism and structuralism, which are abstract construct s and are aimed at accounting for the role of culture in human societies They answer question of the "What" type s uch as "What is the role of culture"? Their specific answers provide both their own definition and interpr etation of cu lt ure, seen in its en tir ety, as a whole encompassing e ntity. Culture is treated a s the dependent variab le being studied within the context of philosophical premises s u c h as the role of science, o r the nature of reality which cons titute the independent va r iables. The second level ofthe the ories used in this re searc h addre ss questions ofthe t y pe "Why", such as "Why do French people prefer an integrated e nvironment ?" They try to exp lain how cu lture taken as a global construct works. Their units of analysis are "the 129

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cultural dim e n s ion s" w hich they o rgani ze into a s yst e matic a nd anal ytical theory of c ultural variation (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck [19 61] 1976 : 3) These cultural dimensions a re analytical constructs which exist in every and each cul ture, but are expressed differently in each. At this theoretical level, culture, defined as an abstract system of basic v alue s is treated as an independent variable, and the dependent variables are the s pe c ific configuration of values pr od uc ed by each different cultural group. Kluckhohn a nd Strodtbeck's model as wel l as Hofstede' s or Hall's second model belong to this level of theory. The theo ries of the third lev e l will provide answ e r s to questions of the t ype "How". For exa mple "How do es the bu i ltenviro nment communicate? T he y are of a more applied k ind and foc u s on the s mallest unit s of a nal ys i s, the c ultur a l trai t s At thi s level a specific cu ltural group (such as "the Fren c h or "Women", or else "Blac k male college students) i s the independent variable, w her eas particular behaviors or artifacts will constitute the dependent variable s Rapoport' s m o del of nonverba l communication belongs to this level as well as w hat i s described be low as Hall s first model. Ge n eralizatio n Theories Fu nctionali s m "The bas i c way t o phrase th e functionalist approach : queries about the relation s hips of p a rt s "(Benn ett 1998 : 1 79) 130

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Functionalism is not restricted to anthropology. In the 1920's and 1930's it could be found in all social sciences, philosophy, sociology and also in physical sciences, physics engineering and in medicine and biology (Bennett, 1998 : 168) It is also characteristic of modern architecture and furniture design, holding that the purpose of objects should be apparent (Gabarino, 1983: 59). "La fonction fait Ia forme (function makes form) and "Ia maison est une machine a habiter (houses are machines to inhabit are Le Corbusier' s famous leit motivs (Le Corbu s ier, 1923) In marketing the concept of function is still today, fundamental since a product s function identifies the marketing system in which it competes (O'Shaughnessy, 1992 : 10 8). "Functionalism as a means of interpreting reality is fundamentally simple: a matter of inquirin g as to the relationship of somethin g to neighboring things and /or what the something means in larger contexts The phrases X andY are related through A and X functions thus and so in relation toY and A are examples of functiona l logic. This useful and mental habit became for a quarter of a century a major school of anthropological inquiry and interpretation (Bennett, 1998 : 168) Functionalist explanations ha v e long been used in anthropology. Most major works of the Classic era u s ed some type of functiona l explanation Linton s presentation of form m e an in g u se and funct ion i s an example He defined fun c tion as an expression of its relation to things within that configuration (Linton 1936: 404). But he did not go further, which demonstrates the difficulties of trying to make analytically precise, interpretive concepts out of descriptive classifiers that v ary in tense and reference This was a crucial epistemo l ogica l problem in C l assic e ra anthropology (Bennett, 1998) 131

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Linton pointed out that function is to some extent tautological in so far as anything that is shared in a group is automatically functional (whether people like it or not and need it or not) The function concept became elaborated in anthropology through the 1930s and into the 1940s as it picked up organismic analogies, biological ideas like homeostasis and temporal versus non-temporal analysis (Bennett 1998 : 170), under the influence of British Social Anthropology r epresented by Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown Functional analysis offered anthropology, which was floundering in a mire of descriptive details a means of explaining the why and wherefore, about social and cultural phenomena. The historical and geograp hical type of explanation as well as the deve lopm e ntalstage theories of change had been rejected by both American and British an thropologi sts. The s earch was on fo r ne w explanatory principles. Malinowski found them in his own e x tensive fieldwork and Radcliffe-Brown was inspired by the French School of Sociology organized by Durkheim. Functionalism: Malinowski. Malinowski is regarded as the archfunctionalist of anthropology and the founder of modern functionalism in anthropology (Bohanan and Glazer, 1979 : 274) 132

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As a result of his long stay in the field Malinowski saw the integration of the Trobriand society to an extent probably not possible in a shorter time. He concluded that no matter how strange or awkward an institution or trait might appear to the outsider, it had meaning and performed some tasks or function within its cultural context. Malinowski's functionalism is biologically and psychologically oriented. It is founded on the seven bas ic needs of man which arise as a consequence of survival requirements They are cl ass ified into biologic a l psychological and socia l categories Malinowski lists these primary need s as nutrition reproduction, bodily comforts, safety, relaxation, movement and growth. The individual needs are satisfied by derived cultural and social institutions whose functions are to satisfy those needs. From those primary needs, secondary needs arose which are culturally conditioned and which have all the force and the intensity of the prim a ry needs For example, eating is a primary need What you eat is secondary, as are food taboos Malinowski understands functionalism as a transformation ofthe needs ofthe individual into secondary social needs "Indeed functionalism is in its essence, the theory of transformation of organic th at is individual, needs into derived cultural necessities and imperatives (Malinowski 1939, in Bohanan and Glazer 1973: 291). Every social institution ha s a need to sat i sfy The corollary is that no functionless trait exists and traits cannot outlive their function. 1 33

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Malinowski's view of culture is also based on basic human biosocial needs. Culture functions t o satisfy the basic drives or needs of individuals who compose society; it is a tool that responds to the need s of human beings in a way that is above any adaptation. All traits and institu tio ns are integ rated into the cultural system, which is ordered and organized. "Pa11s have meaning from their relationship to each other and to the whole (Malinowski, [ 1916 ] 1948: 213). It contradicts Lowie's idea of culture as hodge-podge of shreds and patches. Malinowski looked for regularities and sought to fit particulars in to the cultural whole. For example, in Argonauts of the Western Pacific, he showed how the kula ring a seemingly bizarre insti tution, fit s in social setti n g and satisfies primary needs (Malinowski, 1 922). H e denies that understanding a society requires any historical explanation. 1t does not matter how forms came into e xist en c e or developed, but just how they fun ct i o n He agreed with Boas ians that nineteenth century schemes were too deductive and that more rigorous and extensive fieldwork was necessary. "Malinowski s idea of institution was often overlooked (Bohanan and Glazer, 1973 : 274) H e defines it as a group of people organized for a purpose and with the means of carrying out that purpose. Institution s have a charter or explanation and they have the technology with whic h to achieve or stri v e to achieve that purpose S ocial institutions are responses to the needs Social organization mu st always be analyzed into institutions that is, definite groups of men united by a cha1te r following rules of conduct, operating together a shaped portion of the environment and working for the satisfaction of definite needs This latter defines the function of an institution (Malinowski 193 9 in B o hanan and Glazer, 1973 : 134

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291 ) There can be individual beliefs, which are not embodied in institutions in which case they lack a social dimension But at the same time idiosyncratic beliefs can contribute to the whole by introducing novelty and change. Family is the fundamental institution. Malinowski's interest in family and psychology directed his attention to Freudian and oedipal theory His conclusion in "Sex and Repression in Savage Society (1927) is that the Oedipus complex is not universal, since it is inoperative in Trobriand among Trobrianders who have matrilineal descent patterns. He a lso applied functional anal ys is to religion Religion provides a response to survival needs, gi ving san ctions to cultural norms, bringing comfort under stress and explains events for which there are no other explanations. Having developed field methodology to a high degree of professionalism and notably defined the concept of participant-observation, Malinowski was able to use his fieldwork notes for two decades of pub! ication although he was later criticized for extrapolating too widely on the basis of one society only. Structural-functionali s m: Radcliffe-Brown. The other figure in functionalism is also British, and the force of his thinking caused British anthropology to be labeled as social in opposition to American cultural anthropology The focus of his research was 135

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social struc t ure, a te r m which he somet i mes used synonymous l y wit h socia l organiza ti on He was influenced by Comte and Durkheirn. Durkhcim's i nfluence shows in Radcliffe Brown's emphasis on determ i ning how the parts are integrated to support the who l e and i n h is argu m ent that socia l fac t s require explanations i n terms of socia l laws not in the psyc h ology of individ u a l s Radcliffe B r own s t udies social structures to formulate laws of behavior cross-c u ltura lly, as ant hropology for him is proper l y comparative socio l ogy His approach is synchron i c alt h ough he was not opposed to the judicious use of documented history. The content or subjec t matte r of social anthropo l ogy for Radcliffe-Brown is the whole s ocial life of a peop l e in a l l its aspects. A l l these aspects need to be investiga t e d as thoroughly as poss i ble and cons i dered in rela t ion to one another. An essentia l part of the task is the investigation of the ind ividual and ofthe way in which he is molded by or adjus t ed to the social life. The concept of function applied to human society is based on an analogy be t ween social l ife and organic l ife An animal organism i s an i ntegra t e d l iving who l e The structure i s thus to be defined as a set of relations amongst unit entities (Bohanan and G l azer, 1 973: 297). In human society the soc ial struc t ure as a who l e can only be observed i n its functioning. A socie t y in the course of its history can and does change i t s structural type w i thout any breac h of continuity. ln order to compare the usage of different peop l es or 136

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periods it is necessary to consider not merely the form of the usage but also its function, then and now. If he used at first the concept of culture (as in Andaman Islanders, 1922) Radcliffe-Brown later abandoned it because it was not a useful construct. To him, culture is an abstraction; it is the values and norms of a society, which can never be observed. Since a science of culture is impossible the unit in his research is social structures They are the underlying principles of organization among persons and groups in society, or the set of actual roles and relationships that can be observed. Finally, the three vital concepts used by Radcliffe-Brown are process function and structure Social process refers to a unit of social activity Social processes are synchronic and it is their regularities that matter. Important processes are maintenance operations that function to sustain the structural whole The concept of function is derived from psychology It is the connection between structure and life or in anthropolooy social structure and social life Function can also be defined as the relationship between social structure and process or else the contribution that an element makes to the whole social system 137

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The concept of structure is defined as a kind of organized arrangement of parts. In the social structure these parts are individual persons who participate in social life occupying statuses in the social network. The social structure is made of social relationships between the individuals of a society who are controlled by norms or patterns. Radcliffe-Brown was a leader in his use ofthe idea of structure. It was used by many others after him and paved the way to structuralism Characteristics common to functionalism and structural-functionalism. They share a common goal, to diagnose the social dimension of a belief, to show its role in institutions and its causal implications for behavior" (Bennett, 1998: 176) They are teleological. Everything has a purpose It is easy to see for material culture what the purpose is. For social organization the purpose is perpetuation of society They are integrative Elements are interacting within an integrated and articulated whole and are structured to maintain that whole. The whole is affected as parts change or disappear creating a ripple effec t or chain reaction like in mathematics where y= f(x). Like Durkheim, Radcliffe-Brown used the organic analogy to explain structural functionalism indicating the operations of organs in the integration and maintenance of the whole organism 138

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They contradict Lowie' s theory of culture that planless hodge podge, that thing of shreds and patches called civilization". This view is caused by "too much concentration of attention on what is called the diffusion of culture-traits which produces a conception of culture as a collection of disparate entities" (Radcliffe-Brown, 1952, in Bohanan and Glazer, 1973: 302) They involve two levels of abstraction when performing functional analysis. The first level is the purpose or intent of the members ofthe group and the second is the significance or utilit y for the society itself as perceived through scientific observation. For example on the first le vel the purpose ofrain dance is to bring rain when there is a drought. At the second level it is to unite people in face of adversity the feeling of union relieving anxiety through group action These two levels are simi lar to Merton's latent and manifest function (folk purpose) They are naturalistic institutions, roles and relationships must be st udied in their context. "The fieldworker observes human beings acting within an environmental setting, natural and artificial (Malinowski 1939 in Bohanan and Glazer 1973 : 276). "The understanding of the individual and the group, must be supplemented by including the reality of environment and material culture (Malinowski, 193 9 in Bohanan and Glazer, 1973:291). They are synchronic. The processes are not important in evolutionary or historic terms because the developmental sequences neither enlighten nor explain. The only 139

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explanation is functional. It determines how the parts institutions and roles function to maintain the whole, not how the whole and parts have developed They are holistic Methodological holi sm and functionalism are intimately related Holism claims t hat social facts ca n explain indi v idual behavior. The individual act takes it s meaning and it s sig nificanc e from it s contribution to the soc ial system of which it is part (O Shaughnessy 1 992: 109) They are anti-evolutionists Evolutionists should have looked for social laws not origins. Radcliffe-Brown's attack on evolutionism too k the form of kinship studies He showed the confusion of Morgan and suggested that kinship terms could be interpreted functionally as labels of expected behavior or traditional role behavior. Malinowski s main attack was against Tylor s concept of survivals that is, traits that endured from earlier society but lost their function. There are no non-functioning aspects to culture They criticize d Boasians too I f Malinowski agreed with Boas that nineteenth century schemes were too deductive and that more rigorous and extensive fieldwork was necessary both Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown strongly opposed historical reconstruction of culture history as conducted by Boas. They considered this method conjectural history as speculative as that ofthe evolutionists and worthless in functional a nal ysis 140

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Diffe rence s b e twe e n Malinow s ki and Radcliff e -Brown. The most important difference between the two approaches is the place assigned to the individual. Malinowski starts with the indi v iduals and their basic needs man in his full biological reality has to be drawn into our analysis of culture" (Malinowski, 1939, in Bohanan and Glazer 1973 : 275). Radcliffe-Brown does not pa y attention to the individual and emphasizes the social sy s tem. Individual needs are incidental to Radcliffe-Brown who regards the system of human interactions rather than human beings as being central in a functionalist approach to society In other words, Malinowski saw the cultural elements functioning to support individual need s Radcliffe -Brown is more interested in generalizations about social events than in what happens to individuals. This difference in perspective may be related to differences in the personality and the kind of activity priviledged b y the two men Malinowski did fieldwork and lived in se v eral different countries He i s best known for his inten s ive fieldwork in the Trobriands Islands ( 1915-1918) where he developed field methodology to a high degree of professionalism He perfected the concept of participant-observation to include immersion in the lifeways ofthe people studied observing the interaction and behavior of the natives and speaking their language 141

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On the contrary Radcliffe-Brown aloof and re serve d is desc ribed as temperamentally not well s uited for ethnography. His fieldwork accompl i shed in the Andaman Isla nd s between 1906 an d 1908 was mo r e survey oriented tha n participant-observation His intere sts were more theoret ical than Malinowski 's. C ritique of functionalism and structural functionalism. Maj o r c r i tical effort was directed at fu n ct ionali sm in the 1950s' and the 1960s' and s ince then the critic isms of functionalism have been relentless. The first c ri tic ism was vo ic ed by r e former s and socia l change ac t i vists, particularly those inspired by Marxism. Functi onal explana ti o n justifies the status quo and is unable to expl a in how c hange comes about. The y also regarded func ti onal analysis as insen s itive to in e qu a lit ies. Si nce the aim of functional analysi s i s t o describe the in t errelatedness of the elements of a c ultural system it does not in volve va lue judgements of those components For reforme r s and social change ac ti v i sts, th e awareness that change in o ne sect o r ma y ha ve severe repercussion in o ther s i s the essence of functiona lis m an d s h o uld be morall y e v aluated They accused functionalism of blindin g ant hr opology to dis tu r bances of colonization a nd to see the conque r e d people artificially ma i ntained b y European as societies fioz en in time. 142

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If it is true that functionalism largely ignored the effects of colonialism on tribal people it can be said that political evaluation was not the objective of functional analysis. F unctionalism how ever, ha s been proven s ince t he 1950s' to be les s relevant when applied to third world countries The cultural relati v ist stance of functionalism which states that societies are equally valid and should n ot be disrupted and that it was wrong to interfere was also criticized. Particularly critical wer e the co l onial administrators who were of an evolutionist persuasion and who were implementing policies ofWesternization on tribal people Another criticism stressed the fact that functionalist studies were not well rounded but focused specifically on social a nd political organization and r e ligion Nonetheless very few s tudied the implicati ons of colonialism on urbanization or racial interaction. This c riticism cannot b e addressed to the theoretical s tance itself howe ver, but really concerns the choice of topics studied Next came under criticism the v iew that there are no dispensable traits and that all elements support the w h ole. Do war and crime have a part to pla y? Liberals and Marxists cr iticized this aspect of functio nali sm and proposed as a remedy, to distinguish between dysfunctional and eufunctional traits Dysfunctional traits introduce stress and imbalance in a society whereas eufunctional traits are positively adaptive l43

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The teleological aspect of functionalism is questioned If the advocates quote the prevalence ofteleol ogical explanations in the life sciences as biology, the critics stress that they are grounded there in evolutionary theory (Rosenberg 1988) but that in the social sciences there is no such underwriting Miller ( 1987) reproached functional explanations with having no predictive value. They succeed only ifthe specified function can be shown to be an underlying cause ofthe maintenance ofthe component behavior in question Functional explanations on this basis de scri be a cause of ca u ses. Y serves function X causes the causes that preserve Y. But functional explanations are more typically employed to explain some enduring pattern of social behavior whose endurance is otherwise puzzling as it seems to violate the indi v idual self-interests of those in v olved. Functional explanation was reproached w ith not being causal. The synchronic quality of functionalism precludes explications of causality or causation requiring time depth, the effect following the cause. But functionalists never claimed to offer causal explications as in their view, functional analysis could be as good as causal. On the other hand, functionalism does not rule out comparison so time can be reintroduced It is not because Radcliffe-Brown and Malinowski did not u se his tory that it cannot be done. Changes in fun c tion ove11ime ma y be st udied (Garbarino 1983 : 60). A la s t remark, rather than a criticism The prevalence of social norms and their effectiveness has been questioned in today s world. Can they still be influential as they 144

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are counteracted by high mobility of group members in contemporary societies? It has been accurately remarked that casual acquaintances do not frown on the violation of social norm s as would traditional group and family members Severa l reproaches wer e spec ifically addressed to s tructura l -functionalis m Functional analysis frequently loses sight of the human individuals in its effort to clarify and explain the operatio ns of the social as structura l functionalism deal s w ith "abstracted parts of th e socia l s tru cture" (Kiuckhohn 1 944: 80) This view that the indi v idual is of n o account and t h a t it i s the social syste m alone that m a tt ers, particularly cont r a dicted American a nthr opo l ogy w h e n it was dominated by the c ultur e and personality school. More importantly structural-functionalism was reproached w ith v iolating c ultural integrity Due to the u se of second-o rd e r abstract conc epts, it in vo l ves a reality disp lacement as it transforms the p hen o menon und er s tud y int o something else For example, in Kluckhohn's st ud y ofNavaho witchcraft (1944) w it c h craft becomes an adaptive strategy. It may be true, but, according t o B e nnett genera lizations are at that price "if yo u want to theori ze abo u t cultural beha v ior you are goi n g to have to sacrifice some verisimilitude (1998: 1 85) Finally the ch ief villai n in structu r al-fu n ctionalism particularl y controversial to US a nthropologists was its o r ga n ismic turn They que s tioned the use of organic analogy to m ak e impo rtant theor e tical points and the use of the accompanying conc e pts of 14 5

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equi librium and homeos tati c fluctuation and feedback (Bennett, 1 998: 1 86). The biological analog y projects an image of cohesion T hese critics see function as being a t the same time both adaptive or disruptive depending upon those invo l ved, social positions and circumstances Wha t is equilibrium in one case m ay be social di s ruption in an other. In conclusion functionalism remai n s a v ital tool in social a nd c u l tur a l ana l ysis s ince at root, it i s simply a series of basic questions about rel a tion s hip s among obs e rv ed phenomena. It remains true today, even if many anthro p o l ogists w hile making perfectly reasonable functional analyses of their data have lately carefully avoide d the funct ionalist language Functionalism i s out of fashion in ant hropol ogy but functional a n alys i s i s s till used in other disc i p lin es Fu n ct i onal explanation in marketing. Ernes t Nagel defines a funct ional expla n ation a s one that accounts for the prese nce of some items in a system b y t he contribution the item makes to th e system ofwhich it is a component (1979 : 294). For example, consumer bu yi n g contributes to th e maintenance ofthe economic system w h ile individual purch ases contribute to lifestyle or th e consump t ion s ystem of the consumer The concept of function is fund a mental in marketing s ince a p roduct's function identifie s the market in g syste m in wh i c h it competes Consumers t ype -id ent i fy an item within a product cla ss on the b asis of its function 146

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A failure to explain functions adequately is a failure to explain the full potential of the product or tool, which in turn can be a failure in persuasion Any market segment is a system, which is a subsystem of a market Functional exp lan at i on explains the presence of a component by the function it performs showing i ts contribution toward maintaining or realizin g the goals ofthe system. Functional analysis is concerned with first identifying the functions of a component and second explaining a component's presence For example, value analysis ca rries out a sort of functiona l analysis to assess the buyer's benefits of a product's components to compare them to related cos t s lf we look at the func tion s of any product ther e are: design function use function, and service functions. For example the design function oftoothpaste is to clean teeth and prevent cavities The use function is the actual use to which the product i s put and might not coincide w ith the design function: toothpas t e removes white rin gs from furniture. Service function describe s what the product actually achieves. The three functions should coincide to match the performance expectatio n s incorporated in the design function Other examples of functional app ro aches in marketing are those of Lewis and Erikson, and th a t ofTalcott Par sons. 147

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Lewis and Erikson (1969) de scr ib e d the t wo function s of marketing as being first to obtain demand, includin g product plannin g, pricing and promotion ; and s econd to service demand with di s tributi o n order proce s sing inventory management, warehousing and tra n sportatio n Seve ral Parso nian insi g hts are int eres ting in marketing : fir s t Parsons s hows that peoples deepest need s are not f o r tan gible objects but for symbolic rewards that s u gges t love pr est ige etc. Hence, mark eters in their offerin gs s h oul d tap dee p values Second he analyzes the effecti ve ne ss of no s talgic advertising as a re s ult ofthe infant's identification to particular objects These objects or othe r s analogous will con t i nue t o provide a target for id e ntificati o n to th e adults. Third in his s tudy of role conflicts role s train and role anomi e Talcott P a rs ons ( 1 951) ex plains his concept of equilibrium in a d ya d When two people are int erac tin g th e expec t atio n s of th e t wo parti c ipant s mu s t b e complementary, o therwi se they wi ll withdraw and be frustrated. This ap plies t o the interaction of customer wit h sa l es p e r son in consu l tat i ve se llin g Co n clusion. Funct i o nal ana l ys i s as a n injuncti o n to seek functions i s very mu c h alive. Muc h more cont r overs i a l i s f un ct ionalism as a for m o f scientific explanation (O' Shaughnessy 1 992 : Ill). 148

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However, the concept of function is basic to market i ng and particularly to buyers behavior since people buy products to perform some function within one of the subsystems that make up their t otal l ife systems )'/ r 11 c I 11m I ism "Structuralism has now gone out of fashion. because it is a t ype of research very farawa y from the rnajor contemporary concerns" ( L evi-Strauss 1983 132). Neverth e l ess, "the vogue that was enjoyed by structuralism came with all kinds of unwanted consequences The term was depreciated. i t was used in ille!!itimate even ridiculous ways I cannot help i t (Levi-Strauss and Eribon 1988 I 0 I) Despite his warning that his theories had not been designed to be put to use in an applied context ( I ,cvi-Strauss and I 1988 99). I ,evi-Strauss sees for the future that a certain mult i -disciplinaritv mJu lcl be to
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empirical soup that is reality where disorder reigns" (Levi-Strauss and Eribon, 1988 : 143) What is more, Levi-Strauss adds, I know that m y kind of approach does not exhaust the totality ofthe phenomena" (1988: 144) because structural analysis studies the rules on which are based soc ial life and aims at const ructin g models But "the model is seldom applied as it is ; you must know what you choose to study. It might be the way things really happen, it may be what happens in people's minds who, without necessarily applying exactly their principles state what is the right behavior. It is this second aspect that I study ... not what people do but what they believe or state s hould be done (1 988: 144) It i s at thi s l evel ofth e rule s that Levi-Stra us s applies st ructural analysis not at the level of r eal it y. These comments, published in the book of interviews with Didier Eribon in 1988 represent points of view serio u sly milder t h a n those to which a com bati ve-maybe, also you nger-Le v iS trauss had accusto med us in th e pa s t l s thi s book introducing a new perspective or i s it a mise en per spective of Lev i Straus s works? In either event this ethnologi st (according to the French terminology), now aged 92, has become a 'liv ing institution', and ha v in g received the hi g he st French honors (College de France Academie Franyaise ... ) h as no w achieved the s tatus of the most eminent French soc ial scientist '. He (that i s his name rather than his theories) i s widely known by the general public to which he per so nali zes 'structuralism' and 'savage societies '. Indeed in the last 8 or 10 years Levi-Strauss ha s give n more interviews to popular magazines such as 150

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' !'Express and le Nouvel Observateur than ever before Maybe, he no longer feels the need to struggle to make his v iews accepted, and therefore can present them in a less proselytizing fashion. Whatever the reasons this new light shed on the old work is very enriching, having rubbed out the previous excesses of the structuralist doctrine Thus one can interpr et this shift as a mise en per s pective So what is structuralism, for Levi -Strauss, and also for others? What are its goals and on which principles is it based? How does structural analysis operate? To what extent is this sc hool ofthought relevant to applied anthropology? Finally does structuralism help in so l vi n g applied probl ems? What light does it s hed on the interpretation of housing differences in France and th e U S A.? Definition of struc turali sm. In Anthropologie Structurale (1958) Levi-Strauss defines the object of structural scie nces "It is what offers a character of system which is to say, any whole in which a m odificat ion of one ofthe parts brings a modification ofthe others He describes the method as the construction of models and the law of functioning as the transformation groups which commands equivalence between models and defines their junction and disjunction The structuralism ofLevi-Strauss has been influenced by the concept of uni versa lit y oflanguage, and its binary character revealed by synchronic linguistic analysis particularl y that of Saussure 151

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But for some, "such a definition is too wide" (Sperber 1968). It is bette r to define structuralism as the sciences of s i gn and of systems of signs ". Various anthropological facts do belong to them provided they go through language facts, that they get their structure from a system such as signifier/signified and are caught in a communication network (Sperber 1968) The structures we will talk about are those which are used in the human exchanges because of the signification the y generate by their articulation on two levels at least. It is not directly the object, which is aimed at but its representation throu gh signs. "To everything that owes to sign, structuralism gives a right to science" (Wahl 1968). Structures. Structurali sm takes its name from the notion of s tructure. Radcliffe Brown and the functionalist school had a lr eady used it befo re Levi Strauss who acknowled ges the fact. "The words social structure are in many ways linked with the name of Radcliffe-Brown, but it is obvious that his conce ption of social structure differs from (my) postulates. To him it is a means to link social anthropology to the biological sciences and to merge the two notions of social structure and social relations" (Levi-Strauss, in Kroeber, 1953) Or, as Appelbaum explai ns, Radcliffe-Brown was using structure within th e context of society, as a set of instit utions and organizat ional forms which preserved and maintained the stability of a soc i ety. Levi-Strauss uses structure as a set of universal characteristics innate structures of a psychological nature common to all human beings ( 1 987 : 40) For Levi-Strau ss, a structure is a system ruled b y an internal cohesion inaccessible to the observer of an i so lat e d system It is revealed in the study of the 1 52

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transformations by means of w hich similar properties are rediscovered in systems, which are apparently different (Leyon inaugurale au College de France, 1 960) Structures and models. Social structures have nothing to do with empirical reality. They relate to models which are built after it. Structures are cognitive models for reality. Piaget (1968) defines them as a system oftransformations having its own composition laws (wh i ch are different from associative addition of elements) and that gets richer by the interplay of these transformati ons within the sys tem. Structures have three basic characteristics: they are a totality the y are a s upport for transformations and the y are self-r egu lated which warranties their conservatio n Structures can be formalized in models at different l evels of abstraction from logic-mathematical equatio n s down to cybernetic models Structures are formed of elements subordinated to the law of the system. It is the relatio n between the elements within th e whole system which is imp ortant. Structures because they are unconscious mu s t be reconstructed deducti ve l y throu gh the construction of abstract models Structure does not belong t o conscience but to behavior. The indi v idual being has on l y a restricted knowledge of it, achieved by incomplete 'prises de conscience' which accompany temporary disequilibrium s Nevertheless structure is th e first fact oflife of humans in society. 153

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To C l aude Levi-Strauss models achieve the status of structure if they have four c h aracteristics : First, they must exhibit the characteristics of a system, made up of e l ements none of which can undergo a change without effecting all the other elements. Second for any given model t he r e shou l d be a possibi l ity of ordering a series of t r ansformations resulting in a group of model s of the same type Third the above properties must make it possib l e to predict how the model will reac t if one or more of its elements are submitted to certain modifications. Fourth the model should be consti tuted so as to make immediately intelligible all the observed facts These requirements for any model with structura l value bring in several consequences. First the observatio n and experiment l eve l s should be carefull y distinguished, in order to reso l ve the apparen t contradiction between the concreteness and individuality of ethnological data and the abstract and forma l characte r generally exhibited by structural studies. Second a structural model can be consc i ous or unconscious The paradox is t h at the more obvious structurai organization is, the more difficult it becomes to reach it because of inaccurate conscious model s called norms lying in the way. Third even if structural analysis has sometimes made it possible to introduce measurement in social sciences (by attaching numerica l va l ues to i ts invaria nt s u ch as i n Kroeber's studies ofwomen 's dress fashions a l andmark in structural research, (Richardson and Kroeber, 1940), there is no ) necessary connection between structure and measure Fourth models may be of different !54

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sca les They are mechanical when their elements are of the same sca le as the phen ome na. They are statistica l when their e l ements are of a different scale. These distinctions are interesting when applied to the compar i son of anthropology with history Anthropology uses a mechanical time, reversible and non-cumulative (making no room to evolution), w h ereas historical time is on the contrary statistical. It appears as an oriented and nonreversible process Thi s distinction also clarifie s the role of the comparative m ethod, whi ch does n ot n eed a l a r ge inducti ve basis" contrary to L owie's (1948) and Radcliffe-Br ow n's ( 1952) claims The difference is the care in the se l ection of the case to be patterned so a s to include elements ofthe same o r of a different scale as t h e mode l (LeviStrauss, 1953) Structural analysis. Leach ( 1 970) gives a s i mple and very enlightening example of a struc tural analysis of a cultura l product: the three co l o r traffic s i gnal. He explains the co l or system and the signal system have the sam e struc ture: one is a transformation of the othe r ... The color system ex i sts in nature as a continuum It i s interpre ted by the h uman mind as discon tin uous segments (the diff erent co l ors, from vio let to red) The brain searches for an appropriate representation of a binary opposition and sel ects green/red as the appropriate pair. 1t then searches in the original continuum, for an intermed i ate position and chooses yellow, perceived as a disco ntinuou s intermediate segment lying between red and g r ee n Thus the final cultura l product the three-color traffic signal is a simp l ified imitat i on of a natural phe n omenon the color spectrum a s apprehended by the human brain. By applying a structural ana lysis, we evid ence a triangular structure of the two sys tems that can be supe r imposed (co l or and movement) These messages are a l so differentiated along two axes: wave lent,rth (from s h ort t o l ong, and f rom movement to stop) and luminosity (from high t o l ow and !Tom cha n ge to no cha n ge in the s tat e of movement). (See diagram next page) 155

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Luminosity (con tinuity ) 111011 (IInge) (n o c hange) WAVE LENGTH (movement) SIIORT""''II .... t---__. ... LONG (move) (don't move) yell ow caution go stop THE TRAFFIC SIGNAL COLOR TRIANGLE ByE. Leach State of Material CULTURE .__. NATURE NORMAL THE CULINARY TRIANGLE B y C. Levi-Strauss THE TRAFFIC SIGNAL COLOR TRIANGLE AND THE CULINARY TRIANGLE FIGURE 1 In this example further note s Leach ther e are two special natural constra ints. One is that the color sequence is given in nature (green yellow red) and the second is that red has a tendency to mean danger because of its ancien t association w ith b lood This predetermines the correlation between the members of th e two t riads and we do not need to pay attention to alternative possibilities. But in the gen eral case a structura l anal y sis should need to set out all the possible permutation s and to proceed by examination of the empirical evidence on a compara tive basis The ultimate objects of the analysis are to discover how relations existing in nature and apprehended as such by the human brain are used to generate cultural products w hich incorporate the same relations (Le ach, 1976 : 75). There are other examples of triangular structures such as what Lev i-Strauss calls the cu linary triangle establishing relations between the state of the food (raw, cooked or rotten) 156

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and two axes : a culture/natu r e axis and a degree of elabor ation axis (normal/transformed). These formalizat i o n s all refer back to the l ingu i s t ic prototype of the "vocal i c and co n sonant triang l es" constructed after J acobson's t h esis of a simple system of oppositio n bet wee n con so nant s and vowel. L ev i-Strau ss desc r i be s the steps of a structural analys i s in Le Totemis m e aujourd'hui (1962, E n glish translation 1973) Firs t d e fine t h e phenomenon under s tudy as a relation between two or more terms real o r supposed Then construct a table of pos sible permutations be twee n these term s Finally take this table as the gene r a l object of a n alysis whi c h at this l eve l only, can yield n ecessary connecti ons The empir ical phenomenon considered at the b egi nning i s onl y one combi n at ion amo n g many p ossib l e others, the complete sys tem of which must be constructed befo r e hand (1962 : 89) In h i s works L evi-Strauss has successful l y app l ied this type of ana lysi s to thre e domains in particu l ar : kinship mytho l ogy and primitive t h ought. l n all ofthem he has introduced a new way o f l oo king a t things which has changed the elaboration oftheory I n kinship his parti c ular contribution i s t o have produced a theory of allianc es ( r athe r than o f descent) by foc u sing his attention o n t h e generality of the incest ta boo and o n s tru ct ur e of co n ventiona l rules of marri age He has a lso introduced some order in thi s complex fie ld. Kinship systems are reduced t o thre e possible solutions, base d on two forms of wome n exc h ange A grid o f a l l possible kinship sys tem s of w hich number woul d be finite co uld be b uilt afte r thi s sc h ema" ( L e v i -St raus s and Eribon 1988: 146). Thi s internal s t ructure of all kinship a l l i ances is seen as a struct ur e of c ommunicatio n through exc h ange of women b y whic h the groups s i gnify and achieve r elatio n s of r eciprocity the most elementary form of \57

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exchange which does not distinguish between the relationship signified and the symbol (Sperber 1968). Commenting on the importance of his contribution, the 1949 book remains a compulsory reference for any subsequent kinship study, Levi-Strauss precises that "The book Les Structures Elementaires de Ia Parente, was an effort to clarify a domain in which confusion reigned I attempted to organize a multitude of particular explanations into a few simple principles ... Now, I would take care not to write such a book, I have become too advisable to engage myself into such broad synthesis ... (1988 : 143) In 1991 nevertheless he added to this prior body of kinship research with an article "House Societies" There he describ e s the house as a specific form of social organization, mixing descent and alliance and linked to a building This new concept has the merit to "provide a jumping point allowing a mo ve toward a more holistic anthropology (Carsten and Jones, 1995 : 2) It brings together two aspects of the house previously treated separately the physical building and the social group inhabiting it. ln mythology Levi-Strauss was the first to consider myths, these stories of a time when a nimal s and men were not ye t dis tinct from each other ( 1 98 8 : 195), as so mething more than picturesque and exotic di v agation For twenty years up at sunrise gorged on myths I have really lived in another world (Levi-Strauss 1988 : 85). Myths have something to say about the society which is behind but their signification only appears through a structural ana l ysis not through a primary term for term compar i son 158

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Unlike the functionalists sea r ching for the 'goo d account', Lev i-Strauss poses that the existence of multiple forms is not an obstacle to the interpre t ation of myths (1988 : 196). On the cont rar y diversity provides for the study of the transformation systems and the identificat i on oftheir common structures. Transformations base and define myths (Sperber, 1 968). As usual, the s tructural method of analysis consists in using oppositions and pe r mutations, organized along a few dimensions chosen among those that the culture under study considers as relevant. Thus, mythological structure i s the interp r etation of an identica l frame over several semantic p l anes (o r codes). Levi-Strauss notes tha t m yths from all over the world are rigorous and comparab l e and t h erefore must obey the same specific ru l es which hav e to be the f ruits of an univ e rsal human mind". And fina lly at the en d of a twenty years long periple in mythology he concludes by a chapter on a Unique Myth", by which he means that he considers all myths as variations around a unique theme, that of the passage of natur e t o culture which had to be paid by the d efinitive rupture be tween the ce l estia l world and the earthly world. This ex plain s the problems around which are s h aped all th e myt h ologies" (1988: 1 90). The third domain is that ofthe primitive thinking Levi-Strauss ar_sTUes that primitive peop l e are capable of very elabora t e abstract thought. Furthermo r e the structures of prim itive though t are present in our modern minds We only have to consider the act i vity of bricolage as a n example According to Sperber (1985), the epitome of primitive abstraction for Levi-Strauss, seems to be abstract synecdoche, one of his own favorite figure !59

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of speech! And Sperber goes on saying that this peculiar turn of mind is a source of incomparable insights into the underlying structure of folk classifications and narratives In this way, Levi-Strauss' way of thinking and that of primitive people are complementary He represents a concrete object by one of its abstract properties, which makes him particularly apt at unraveling the thought of people who tend, on the contrary to represent an abstract property by some concrete object possessing it. According to Levi-Strauss, cultural symbolism is a mode of thinking shared by all humans, irrespective oftime and place The symbols used are open to a great variety of different and complementary interpretations and systematic relationships between symbols can be discovered through their abstract interpretation Rather than symbols it is the symbolic systems that should be studied. Primitive thought and developed thought are produced by the same kind of mind but trained and put to different uses In both cases, the human mind is able and liable to impose a specific kind of organization on its representation of the world (1988). From this review of structural theory, I would like to stress the ideas that were recurrent and most prevalent in Levi-Strauss thought and work, in order to evaluate how operational they can be in applied anthropology. First the goal of structuralism is intelligibility of reality It achieves this task by ordering reality and by using models Second structures do not exist at the level of reality, but only in the human mind as the source ofthe relations observed in reality. Third structures are unconscious; they are reachable through analysis. Fourth, structures are self-regulated 1 60

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systems, which entertain among them invariable rapport so as to make the passage from one ensemble to another possible through a group of transformations. The elements are subordinated to the system and it is their interrelation which is important. They draw their meanings from their relational positions in the whole system Fifth the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Sixth the nature of natural phenomena and of thought is homologous, and binary Seventh, human thought is produced by the human brain which is universal, whatever the level of development of human societies. Eigth, human relations are based on the principle of exchange which takes place at three levels: women, goods and messages. Finally because humans communicate by means of symbols and signs all cultural domains are pregnant with meaning Besides these principles, structuralism may be defined more as a mode of thinking than as a method, "a classifying approach of discovery, starting with simple oppositions, completed by calculated mediations (Clement 1974: 14). It is a way of looking at reality, a mental attitude as well as a method which wants to be scientific and rigorous. It is idealistic, intellectual, relational and mechanical (systematic) Structuralism and comparison of housing. Now the importance of structuralism for applied anthropology depend s on one's conception of applied anthropology. Does the practice of applied anthropology take p l ace at the level of reality or that of knowledge? 161

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rn both cases, the transformational models that are structures may help understand the mental representations of the people of other cultures. In the French case, the centralized web prevalent in the built environment and described by Hall (1966) may be considered such an underlying structure. We will analyze some of its transformations through different planes thus varying the content, but keeping the same pattern. The quest for invariants across cultures may be considered another form of structural analysis An example related to the French and American built environment would be the definition of the smallest unit of housing conveying the idea of home, in other words what does a shelter minimally need to have to be considered a home? Cross-cultural Analysis Based on Value Ori e ntations If comparing implicitly is dangerous using a comparative method to understand other cultures may be efficient. Units of comparison must be identified and defined and related to a frame of interpretation In their study of cultures, anthropologists such as K.luckhohn and Strodtbeck, Hofstede and Hall were interested in the variation of cultural patterns across cultures. Their assumption was that these variations are caused by culture By observing certain behaviors and investigating ce1tain beliefs cross-culturally, they believed the y would be able to account for these differences. Their goal was to identify some constant patterns by which humans deal with the crucial issues they face in all societies throughout recorded history and analyze how these issues were resol ved. K.luckhohn and Strodtbeck call these central 162

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patterns value orientations" Hofstede calls them "dimensions of culture". These central patterns are a basic feature ofthis research and they will be referred to as 'cultural dimensions', when used independently of the two models studied here. In this research cultural dimensions are defined as dimensions or traits that exist in each and every culture but vary in their expression between two opposite poles, sometimes mediated through an intermediary position, in the middle It is important to note that dominant values in one dimension are independent of dominant values in another, even if it is sometimes tempting to impose a correlation between some dominant values that seem to cluster across many cultures It must also be noted that next to these cultural dimensions which vary across cultures, there are other dimensions which are transversal and which can be considered as continuous across cultures. These transversal dimensions are gender, age, education level, class belonging, level of income ethnicity religion and status. They act as difference erasers or reducers in relation to specific domains and counteract the former cultural dimensions. The 'models' of cultural analysis regroup dimensions that should explain most of the cultural variation observed across cultures. Some of the models are aimed at culture in general such as the model developed by Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck (196 J) which regroups five dimensions Others are specialized 163

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in one area of culture, suc h as Hofstede's (1984) or Tro mpenaars (1993) which are devi sed to interpret managerial culture internationally Finally, other anthropo lo g ist s have contributed to cross cultural understanding by identifying areas of variatio n which can be assimilated to cultural dimen sio ns but which have not been organized into models per se. Such are Hall's important contributions (1959, 1966, 1976, 198 3). Three main models will be used in this research : Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck's value orientation model (1961), Hofstede's dimension of cu ltures (1984, 1 991) and Hall's underlying structures or lan guages of culture (1983 1 990). K lu ckhohn and Strodtb eck 's Model For Kluckhohn and Strodtb e ck culture consists of a shared commonly held set of beliefs a nd valu es that define the 'should' and the 'ought' oflife. At the same tim e there is a definite variability in the ways of life human beings build for themselves which i s not randomly There is a philosophy behind the way of life of each individual and of every relativ e l y h omo g eneous group at a n y g i ven point in the ir histories ... This gives some sense of coherence or unity both in cognitive a nd affective dimensions (Kluckhohn, 1 95 1 : 409-41 0) They wanted to organize a systematic and analytic theory of cultural variat ion (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck 19 6 1 : 3) and more precisely a "theory of var i at i on in va lue o rientation 164

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((Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, 1961 : viii) Thus, they had to provide analytical constructs different from the empirical generalizations used so far, such as worldview, (Redfield, 1953) or basic personality type (Kardiner and Linton, 1945) which would permit systematic comparisons between cultures and at the same time allow for the analysis of the variations within cultures. Their "more specifically delineated definition" (1961: 341) ofvalue orientation is: Value orientations are complex but definitely patterned (rank ordered) principles, resulting from the transactional interplay of three analytical l y distinguishable elements of the eva luati ve process-the cognitive, the affective, and the directive elements-which give order and direction to the ever-flowing stream of human acts and thoughts as these relate to the solution of' common human problems' (Kiuckhohn and Strodtbeck 1961 : 341 ). Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck further po s it that the conceptual scheme used for the c l a s sification of the value orientations and ofthe evaluation of their ranges of variation rests on three other major assumptions. First, there are a l imited number of common human problems which must be so lved by all human societies. Second although variations exist in the so lutions that are found there is neither random nor limitles s range of possib l e solutions. And third all variants of recurring solutions are present in all cultures at all times, but receive from one culture to another varying degrees of emphasis and are differentially preferred This model helps to understand the basic values of culture which guide everyday life 165

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The five major values and their variation. There are five major dimensions identified by Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck (1961) that seem to cover the general cultural framework of every culture For all orientations except the Human Nature one, the postulated range of variation is threefold, with two opposite values inter-mediated by a middle position Human Nature Orientation This refers to the inherent nature of humans and how their pairs evaluate them Are they Good or Evil, or Good-and-Evil ? The Good-and-Evil is a mixed category which, can be interpreted in two ways. One is human nature is neutral (neither good nor bad) and the other is human nature is mixed (sometimes good and sometimes evil depending on the context or the circumstances) Another characteristic of the human nature is its mutability or immutability In other words is basic human nature changeable, that is perfectible, or is it given once and for all? Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck see Americans as having inherited from their Puritan ancestors the view of human nature as evil but perfectible requiring constant control and discipline This view coexis ts now with a human nature as a mixture of good and evil, more inclined to understand lapses and tolerate them The French being of a catholic tradition see Human Nature as evil and marked by the capital sin; it can only be repaid for by hard work without attached reward and suffering 166

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during earthly life. Older and more traditional people share this view, but it is criticized and rebutted by younger more educated individuals. Man-Nature (Supernature) Orientation This reflects how people in a soc i ety ought to orient themselves to the natural world around them and to the supernatural. Three main variations exist: Mastery over Nature Harmony w ith Nature and Subjugation to Nature. lf Subjugation to Nature i s the preferred mode people see themselve s at the merc y of natural physical forces and/or subject to the will of a Supreme Being. Life is preordain ed pre-organized and one ought not to try to alter the ine vitab le o rder of things If it is Mastery over Natur e people see their environment as a commodity at their disposal and act under the premises that if they show enough determination and enough time money and brain are applied t o a goal ne arly anything is ach ie vab le Harmony with Nature seeks to reach an equilibrium between depletion and preservation of nature, a middle way be tween Man or Supernatural almighty. It orients people to respect and behave in concert with their physical environment which is conceived of as an extens ion of themsel ves 167

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According t o Kluckhohn and St r odtbeck, Spani sh Americans ofthe Southwest would fall in the first category, Subjugation to nature, co ntemp o rary Japane se and Chinese at certain times and Navaho Indians, in the middle category ofHarmony, and most Americans in the third category of mastery over nature (1961: 13). The French would also be long to the third category of mastery Time Orientation : Time is one of the most important dimensions differentiating cultures "It is by the meaning that it intuiti ve ly attaches to time that one culture is differentiated from another" (Spengl e r 1 926: 130). There are many ways to think about time The one referred to by Kluckho hn and Strodtbeck deals with one's general orientation toward Past, Present or Future, seeing past and future as opposed and present as an intermediary position on the continuum. Present is defined as relativel y timeless, tradition l ess and futu re-ignoring, or future as realizable w hereas Past place s primary emphasis upon the maintenance or the restoration ofthe traditions ofthe past. Obviously every society must dea l with all three kinds of time problems, but they differ in the preferential ordering of the alternatives. K luckhohn and Strodtbeck view Spanish-Americans as placing the most emphasis o n the Present, paying little attention to what happened in the past and view ing the future as vague and unpredictable His t orical China is given as an example of absolute Past 168

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emphasis, and many modern European countries as having strong leanings toward the Past. Americans, more strongly than most people of the world place the emp hasis upon the Future, which is a nticipat ed to be be tter and bigger. They ignore the past, and are seldom content with the present ( 1961 : 14 ) I use this dimen sion of time in a slightly different manner. I found that it is more discriminating for modern cultures to group the past and future and oppo se them to the present and very s hort-term future Al so, the definition of pre sent is ada pt ed; it i s a hedonic dimension which pro v ides a frame for action It exists by elim in ation of the other two dim e n s ions, which are unreal. The past is over and the future i s st ill far away American s belong t o the Prese nt thus defined The F r e n c h lean more towards th e P as t-Long-te rm Future This claim will b e illu s trated in the course ofthis dissertati o n Activity Orientation This o rient a tion centers on th e problem of the nature of man's m o de of self-expression in activity The acti vity dimension affec ts how people approach work and l e i sure, how preoccupied th ey are wit h work a nd the ex t ent to whic h wor k-re l a t ed concern s pervade their dai l y l i ves. T he range of va riation is the thr eefo ld one of Being Being-in -Becoming an d Doing. The B e in g o rientation favors the kind of activity th at is a s pontaneou s expression of what i s conce i ve d t o be a g i ve n in th e human personality. It i s a non-developmental conception 1 69

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of activity giving way to a spontaneous expression of impulses and desires Yet this definition should not be taken too literally No activity is ever pure impulse gratification The B e ing-in-Becoming places a great concern on what the human being is rather than on what he can accomplish. It emphasizes that kind of activity which has as its goal the development of all aspects of the self as an integrated whole. It is close to Fromm's description of"the spontaneous acti v ity of the total integrated personality It values the qu a lity of the creati v e activity which can operate in one's emotional, intellectual and se nsuous experiences and in one s will a s well. One premise of this spontaneity is the acceptance of the total personality and the elimination of the split between nature and reason". (Fromm 1941 : 258-59) Finally the Doing orientation values the kind of acti vity which results in accomplishments measured by s tandard s external to the acting indi v idual. It demands a measurable accomplishment achieved by acting upon persons things or situations and refers to the desirable focus of activity According to Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck Doing is the strongly prevalent orientation in American socie ty. Getting things done ', or Let's do something about it' are stock American phrases (1961: 16). The Doing orientation makes for a competition with others which is often extreme and intense. On the contrary Mexican society illustrates a preference for the Being orientation, through its widely ramified patterning of the fiesta activities The French would b e long to the Being in Becoming dimension as defined by the 1 7 0

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authors. Since the being dimension sounds maladapted to modern societies, I oppose Being societies, defined as the Being in Becoming, to Do ing societies. The French are on the Being side, so defined Relational Orientation The last of the common human problems to be treated is the definition of man's relation to other men It has three subdivisions : the Lineal, the Collateral and the Individualistic This dimension concerns the responsibility one has for and toward others In Indi v iduali s tic societies attention is given to the autonomy of the individual. One should take care of one's own needs Individual goa l s prevail over those of specific collateral or lineal groups It does not mean that individuals can selfishly pursue their own interests and disregard the interests of others It simply means that individuals' responsibility to the w hole society and their place in it are defined in terms of roles that are structured as autonomous that is independent of particular lineal or collateral groupings. A dominant collateral orientation calls for the primac y of the goals and welfare of the laterally extended group The group in this case is always moderately independent of oth er s imila r groups and the problem of a well-re gu l ated continuity of groups relationships through time i s not highly critical. Collatera lity is found in all societies. Biologically, sibling relationships are the prototype ofthe Collateral relationship. 171

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If the Lineal group is dominant group goals again have primacy with an added feature that continuity through time is the most important goal. Continuity of the group through time and ordered positional succession within the group are both crucial issues The most s uccessful means of ma i ntaining a lineal emphasis are those based upon hereditary factors s uch as primogeniture (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, 1961: 19) Roles are representative but diffe r from the collaterally defined ones in that they always relate to a definite position in a hierarchy of ordered positions In other words, this lineal dimension may be described as gro up oriented and hierarchical. The group is nestled in a hierarchy of other groups in soc iety and its position in this hierarch y i s stable over time. Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck not e that some examp les ofthese three types of relationships exist to a certain extent i n a l l societies. Nevertheless, what is important and w hat makes the difference is to know which of the three princip l es is stressed The authors also provide as an example of a lineal society the British aristocracy developed next to an individualistically oriented middle-class The Navaho extended familie s are examples of collat era l orientation Americans are on the ext r eme ofthe individual s ide whereas the French a re leanin g m ore towards the area of collaterality To conclude this review of the five-va l ue orientation, Kluckhohn and Str o dtbeck stress that the t ota l conceptual schema needs additional testi n g. This testin g could investigate further so m e quest ions left unans wered For examp l e the adequacy of the range of the problems se l ected and the alternative so luti ons for them the centrality of the influence of one or another of the orientations and the d egree of the independent variability of the orientations from one another. 172

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The former va lue orientation scheme must be completed by a consideration ofwhat Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck call the behavior spheres". The behavior spheres. These are broad areas, of more or less well-differentiated kinds of activities, wh ich are e ss ential to the function in g of a society. Tradi t ionally sociologi sts have identified five such areas which they labeled social institutions They are the Economic-occupational, with a spec ial emphas is on technology occupations and market place the Religiou s, the Intellectual-aesthetic the Recreational the Political and the familial. The relationship between va lue orientations and behavior spheres is a reciprocal one and a particular ordering of val ue orientations will be associated predominantly with a particular behavior sphe re Or reciprocall y the predominance of a certain behavior sphere will be indi cative of a particular ordering o f va lue orient atio ns. Both between and within cultures th e r e i s a r e lation s hip b e t wee n value or i entation emphases and the deg re e of dominance of particular behavior spheres which result s in an intricately ordered variation in cultural patterning A s an example Kluckhohn and Str odbec k (1961 : 29) describe the United States dominant value orien t ations as Individ u alism Fu tu r e Time, Mastery-o ver-N ature Doin g, and Evilbut Perfectible which mak e f o r a high eva luation of the occupational world conceived as a world of technology business and economic affairs in general. A validat ion ofthis 173

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analysis, according t o Kluckhohn and Strodbeck ( 1961: 30) i s the fact that the best single index for determination of c l ass position i s occupational status In s harp contrast stands the Spanish -A meri ca n emphases on Lineality, Pre se nt Subjugation to Natu r e and Bein g which a r e associated to prominent Religious and R ec reational spheres of behaviors ( 1961: 30). Or a l so the pre-war Jap a n which emphasized Being -in-B ecoming Harmony with Na ture Linealit y or C o llat e ralit y and a P ast orientation a ssociate d to the prominence of th e Intellectual-aesthetic behavior sphere ( 1 96 1 : 3 0). Comparatively, the F r e n c h who can b e character i zed as being Evi l Mastery over Natu re, P ast and Longt erm Future, Being and Collatera l emphasize first the Int ellectua l -aest h e tic sp h e r e and secon d th e R ecreatio n a l and the Economic-occupational. Kluckhohn and Str o dt beck a lso stres s that once the d ominant v alue or i entations are iden t ified for a g iven cultura l gro u p it should be r e membered t h a t w ithin this culture and next to this d o minant group are variant subg roups whic h adhere to ano th er exp r essio n of th e said value "Ethnic groups and soc i a l class r eprese nt only two of th e many p ossible t y pes ofvariantly oriented subgroups ( 1961: 28) Som e societies h ave many subgroups, som e very few but non e are without. "No dominantly oriented gro u p ever escapes being influenc e d by th e variantly oriented ones ... and no variant subgroup surv i ves without numerous r e lati onships to the dominantly or i ente d ones" (1961: 28) 1 74

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What is more, every society needs an assortment of variant subgroups to cover the whole range of the diversified activities which are required for the good functioning of modern societies This is why soc ieties clas sify orientations at variance with their dominant group into different categories : encouraged, permitted or forbidden These multiple variations and potential combinations allow for social dynamism and change. Co nclu s i on. The value orientation model shows the variety of ways in which the effects of values permeate people's assumptions and perceptions and influence their behavior in their everyday lives According to Kluckhohn and Strodbeck "the variation in value orientations is the most important type of cultural variation and is therefore, the cen tral feature of the structure of c ultur e ( 196 1 : 28). Our und e rstandin g of this model has been slightly modified as mentioned before to improve its discriminating performance and better suit its application to the modern, developed Western and contemporary societies ofFrance and the United States. Hofstede's Mode l The model of cross-cultural analysis elaborated by Geert Hofstede is comparable to the Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck model in its inspiration It can be used in the same manner to provide general information as to the dominant value systems of a given culture or cultural subgroup. Its specificity is to address more particularly the values that influence 175

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work related situations According to Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck's terminology, Hofstede's model is particularly suited to analyze business and occupational behavior spheres Hofstede conducted an experiment from 1967 to 1973, among employees of subsidiaries of IBM (identified as Hermes, in the survey report) in 40 countries around the globe. The total data contains more than 117 000 questionnaires, translated into 20 languages, collected from a wide range of employees Data were collected twice, once from 1967 to 1969 then again from 1971 to 1973 A factorial analysis was then performed which yielded three main factors, Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance Individualism and a residual one that Hofstede labe l ed Masculinity. Hofstede's factors are bi-polar dimen sions, on w hich the different countries studied are ordered. Finally, the factors are corre lat ed two by two and represented graphically on two axes The correlation of Power Distance with Individualism reveals three main clusters of countries : one characterized b y lar ge Power Distance and Collectivism regroups most le ss-deve loped countries of Asia South America and Europe, plus Japan. Another one in the extreme opposite quadrant is characterized by low Power Distance and Individualism and regroups most devel o ped countries clustered in two groups: the Saxon and the Anglo. The Latin European are absent from this g roup. They are located in the contradictory quadrant large Power Distance and Individuali sm. This mi ght provide an insi g ht at 176

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understanding the highl y confrontational work atmosphere t ypical of these countries (France Belgium, Italy and Spain joined by South Africa). The next corre l a tion is that ofPower Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance It creates six clusters of countries, opposing m a i n l y countries with high Power Distance and high Uncertainty Avoidance such as Latin European and most South American countries to countries with low Power Di s t ance and low Uncertainty Avoidance, such as Anglo and Scandinavian countries Two except i ons appear on this g r aph. In the upper quadrant char acterized by l arge Power Distanc e and low Uncertainty Avoidance a re the four newly industrialized co untries known as the Asian Dragons; and in the lower quadrant of small Power D i stance and hi gh Uncertainty Avoidance are the Germanic countries plus Israel. The third correlation re l ating U ncertaint y Avoidance to Masculinity does not yie ld v ery specific r esults; ten small clusters are sparkled over the four quadrants This result reflects the fact that the fourth fac tor is the residua l one and does not exp lain a consisten t part of the variance. The jour factors. Power Di s tance This is the first dimension It varies fro m low to high Power Distance Cultures with low Power Distance posit that ineq ualit y in society should be minimized all people shou ld be inte r d ependen t Hierarc h y is minimiz e d a nd means inequal ity of roles not of existential 177

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nature In these cultures, the use of power needs to be legitimate and is subjected to review. Superiors are accessible. Large Power Distance cultures h ol d opposite views and accept the fact that power in society is pervasive and very unequally vested. Latent conflict is widely spread between the powerful and the powerless In Hofstede' s graph, the United States is on the low Power Distance extremity and France is rather high on the high Power Distance side. Uncertainty Avoidance This second dimension varies from high Uncertainty Avoidance t o low. It in dicates the extent to which society feels threaten ed by uncertaint y and ambiguous situations. It assesses th e ways society tries to avoid these situations by providing greater career stability and establishing more formal rules. High Uncertainty Avoidance cultures do not tolerate deviant ideas, behaviors, nor oppositions and tensi o n s They believe in absolute truth s and promote consensus The y value experts and their knowledge France i s on the high Uncertainty Avoidance side and the United States on t he low Uncertainty Avoidance end 178

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Individualism Collectivism Individualism implies self-sufficiency whereas collectivism refers to group cohesion and cooperation. Individualistic cultures promote individual achievements and self responsibility for one-self. They recognize the right to privacy and personal opinion The involvement with the corporation is calculative. On the contrary, in collectivist cultures, the group is valued identity is based in the social system, and the involvement with corporations is moral. Family ties are preferred to outside expertise and value standards differ for in-group and out-group individuals. France and America are on the individualist side but America much more so, at the very end and France in an intermediary position Masculinity-Femininity This dimension is the residual factor produced by the analysis. Therefore it regroups all the variance which was not explained by the first three factors. This might explain its re l ative complexity This factor measures the degree to which society is dominated by (stereotypical) Masculine v alues as opposed to Feminine ones Masculine values include assertiveness, the acquisition of money and things, selfishness, independence ambition, achievements, quantity speed and big size. Feminine values are the opposite. American culture is on the Masculine and France more towards the Feminine side of the scale. 179

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Additional dim ension: Confu c ian Dynamism. A subsequent research conducted wi th Michael Bond, of the Chinese University in Hong-Kong has identified a new fifth dimension called "Confucian Dynamism (Hofstede and Bond, 1988) It is an acceptance of the legitimacy of hierarchy the val uing of perseverance and thrift all without undue emphasis on tradition and social ob l igat i ons that could imp ede business initiative This dimension received high scores in Hong Kong Taiwan, Japan and South Korea as well as Brazil India, Thailand and Singapore An intriguing find in g of the study was the link between Confucian D y namism and the leve l of economic growth in a country Confucian Dynamism appea rs to explain the re lat ive success of the East Asian econom ies like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea Hofstede s model i s particularly interesting to me for its first two factors: Power Distance and Uncertainty Control. Their consequences are common occurrences in the French cu lture and provide good explanations for varied behaviors These two factors also di sp lay s ignificant differen ces between the French and the American culture Hall's Cross-c ultural Co mmunication Models For Edward T Hall although cu ltur e is ex perienced personall y it is nonetheless a shared system (Hall and Hall 1 99 0 : xiii), and "cu lt ure i s communication (Hall 1959 : 97; Hall and Hall, 1990 : 3). 180

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C ultur e i s Com munica tion Edward T. Hall's approach is focuse d o n co mmunication defined as the ways in w hich man r eads me a nin g into w hat ot her men do (1959: 28). He sees c ulture a s a shared syste m o f informat ion management which pro vides a program for behavior'' (19 90: xiv) and mainl y relies on non-verbal mes sages. Members of a common culture not only share info rmati o n they share method s of coding, storing and retrievin g this informat ion (1990 : xiv). Hall's intere s t lies in breaking the hidden codes" of behav ior enacted by people f rom different c ultures. Knowing what kinds of information people from o ther cu ltur es req uir e is one key t o effect i ve international com muni cat i o n ( 1990 : xiv) The Unde rlying Structure of C ulture: th e Major T ria d C ulture hid es much more than it revea l s and w h a t it hid es, it hides most effectively from its own participants ( 1959 : 30) In fluenced by Freud s theory of the unconscio u s rev isited b y Harry Stack Sullivan (1947 ) and r ephrase d as "out of awa r eness", Hall stresses the fact that the uncons cio us is n o t hidden to an yo ne except the individual who hides it from himself There are si g nificant p o rtions of the per so n a lit y that exist out of one's aware ness but which are th ere f o r eve r yo ne t o see" ( 1 959: 62). When appl i ed t o cult u re th ese psychologica l theori es gene r ate d the idea that culture ex i sts o n two l eve l s ( 1 959 : 62) These b i po l a r categories were l abe led overt and cove rt (Linton 1 945 in Hall 1 959 ) o r ex p l i ci t an d implicit (Kluckh o hn 1 954, in Hall 1 959), or e l se inaware nes s and ou t-of-a ware ness (Sulli va n 1 947 in Hall 1959) 1 8 1

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Elaborating upon these studies, after thorough observation of different realms of everyday life Hall proposes his major triad" (1957 : 34) a theory [of culture] which suggests that culture has three leve l s (1959 : 63) Culture consists in a body ofrules organized as a pyramid It impacts diverse areas of human behavior such as le arning awareness, affects or attitude towards change At the top of the pyramid or the iceberg another common figure used by Hall, stand the technical rules They are learned in a conscious and effortful manner, often transmitted in explicit terms from the teacher to the st udent preceded by a logical analysis and proceeding in coherent ou tlin e form. They are fully conscious and explicit and thus would belong to the "conscious" category ofFreud's first topic The technical is also characterized b y a suppression of affect, since these tend to interfere with effective functioning. Technical rules are the easiest to c hange This remains true cross-culturally provided the c hanges apply to parts of the lives of the local people which are treated technically, or else they must be offered as entirely new systems complete in themselves The technical represents the smallest category of rules at the tip ofthe iceber g. Some examples of rules belonging to this category are le gal systems, drivin g codes and authority in general. In the middle of the pyramid stand the formal rules which are taught by precept and admonition The adult mentor molds the young according to patterns he himself has never questioned" (Hall 1959 : 68) Formal awareness is linked to tradition and the weight of \82

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the past in the culture; it is relatively limited in American culture, which emphasizes informality. When violations of formal norms occur, they are accompanied by a tide of emotions In time, as formal systems become firmer they become identified with nature and alternative behaviors are seen as unnatural or plain impossible. People who live in such systems are relaxed because the boundaries of behavior are clearly marked even to the permissible deviations These formal rules are very resistant to change, especially forced change and when change occurs it is very slow, almost imperceptible. If questioned about these rules o ne can mak e an effort and usually spell out the rule but most of the time these rules guide our behavior in an automatic manner. They would belong to Freud's "preconscious category in the first topic. An example of such rules is table manners In the base of the pyramid lie the informal rules They are unconsciously held and people are not aware ofthe manner in which they determine their behavior They belong to Freud's un consc ious ca tegory Whole clus ters of related activities are acquired at a time uncon s ciously by imitating models and without the knowledge of the patterns governing them. In informal activity the absence of awareness permits a high degree of patterning and of automatism Only when these rules are broken do people realize they ex ist and then anxiety follows with extreme discomfort The reactions will depend on the alternatives provided b y the specific culture for handlin g anxiety In the U.S. they include withdrawal and anger, in Japan nervous giggling A good example of such 183

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informal rules is proxemics, or the study of personal distances in situations of interpersonal communication. Communicat ion in Cross-cultural Perspective To communicate, people use three kinds of media : words, material things and behaviors "Words are the medium of business, politics and diplomac y, material things are usually indicators of status and power and behaviors provide feedback on how other people feel and include techniques for avoiding confrontation" (1990: 3). Verbal communication conveys le ss than ten percent of all the information excha n ged ninety per cent or more of all communication is conveyed by means other than l anguage" (Hall and Hall, 1990: xiv). Interactions with people from different cultures present a special challenge since there is potential for distortion or misunderstanding in these interactions. The challenge is to correct l y interpret the meaning intended by a person from a different culture. The major prob l ems of inter cu ltural communication occ ur in perception and attribution of meaning. People respond according t o their perceptions, not necessarily according to what the transmitter b elieves he or she is commun i cat ing Good cross-cu ltur al communication entails two basic requirements one must understand the cultur al influe nces a nd one must want to communi c ate cross-cult urally. 184

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The key to the adequate use of assumptions i s the accuracy of the assumptions. When assumptions do not equal perceptions, the ensuing feeling i s discomfort Discomfort usually causes emotional reaction which will in turn have an impact on what is perceived. This will distort the message and create miscommunication First Model: the Five Langua g es in International Communication This model is based on the early works ofEdward Hall (1959 1966) He himself never regrouped these l anguages in a formal model which is supposed to offer a comprehensive coverage of the whole culture in the way K luckhohn and Strodtbeck did w ith their value o ri entation model. Hal l on the contrary, offers these languages as tools to help impro v e the understanding of particular areas of other cultures I regrouped his varied obser v ations into two main models in order to impro v e the review and the p r actica l application ofhis concepts Language of Time. There are different l anguages of time just as there are different spoken l anguages in the world Time communicates just as surely as words, and the vocabulary of time is just as complex and changing as with words. Appointments dead lin es lead-time, schedules delays have different definitions, different meanings and are in terpreted differently in different cultures 185

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Language of Space. This a lso changes wherever you go. What Americans feel to be crowded, the Arab sees as spacious. Conversation distances also are different across cultures. Americans need more personal space than do Latin Americans, but less than northern Europeans. Language of Things. Things refer to material posse ss ions Americans place a high value on thi s aspect of life whereas other cultures do not. In the U.S.A., material posses sio ns are used to display status, whereas in cultures with rigid class systems, status depends on your appurtenance to a class Houses are an important medium for communication. Language of Friendship. Friendships ma y be formed more easi l y in some places than others. Also, their depth or intimacy changes depending on how you value friends Americans make and break friendships relatively quickly however Middle Eastern, Latin and French cultures are slower to form friendships but they are much more enduring, generally. Language of Agreements. This refers to contracts and/or legal arrangements. Agreements rest on a base made of a combination of three kinds of rules. First, rules that are spelled out technically as law or regulation Second, moral practices mutually agreed 186

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upon and tau ght to the young as a set of principles Third, informal customs to which everyone confo rms without bein g ab l e to state the exact rule Hall's Second Model: Co ntext and Time The dimensions regrouped in this second model were refined b y Hall i n his later works (1976 1 983 and 1990) They describe the structuring effect s oftime, s pace and context on people s behaviors and expectations High versus low context Hall div ides cultures into high con t ext and low-context cultures (Hall, 1976, 1983 and Hall and Hall 1 990) He says, in some cultures messages are e x plicit ; the words carry most of the information In other cultures les s information is contained in the v erbal part of the message since more is in the context (Hall and Hall, 1990 : 7) Context is the information that surrounds an event ; it is inextricably bound up w ith the meaning ofthat event (Hall and Hall 1 990 : 6) Communication in a h igh-context culture depends heavi l y on the context or non v erbal aspects of communication w herea s the low-context culture depends more on explicit verbally expressed comm uni cation. In a lo w context culture one gets down t o business very quickly The high context culture takes considerably longer to conduct business because the people have developed 187

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a need to know more about others before a relationship can develop They simply do not know how to handle a low-context relationship with other people. The confusion is on both sides because ofthe different perceptual frameworks of the communication process. Hall suggests that in high context cultures, one should be willing to take the time to sit down and have coffee with people One should learn to wait and not be too eager to talk business. "If you don t you can't go to the next step It's a little bit like a courtship", the preliminaries establish a firm foundation for a relationship (1976: 112-115) In low-context cultures too, communication is heavily dependent on cultural context, even if this is out of awareness. Hall suggests, since much of our culture operates outside our awareness frequentl y we don t even kno w what we know" (1976: 115) Communication mastery then, is not only the mastery of a language but also a mastery of the silent languages of customs, of nuance and implication. Such mastery can be developed only through long association with the other culture. Polychrony versus Monochrony. Many of the differences between U.S. culture and others center around the concept of time North Americans are a more time-bound culture than Middle Eastern and Latin cultures. The American stereotype of those cultures is they are always late", and their view of Americans is they are always in a hurry". Neither statement is completely true though both contain some truth. What is true however is that American culture is very time-oriented; time is money On the ' 188

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con tr ary, in some other c ultures, tim e is to be enjoyed rather than spent, the pace of life is slowe r ; taking tim e means paying more attent i o n and being more considerate o r trustworthy Edward Hall defi n es t wo time systems in the world monoc h ron i c and polych r o n i c time. M-time ( m o nochronic) typifies most North Americans, Swiss, Germans, and Scandinav i a n s Th ese Western cultures tend t o concen tr ate on one thi ng a t a time. They divide tim e into s mall discrete units and are concerned with promptness M-time i s u sed in a lin ea r way and it is experienced as being alm os t t ang i b le P eople save time waste time, b ide time, and lose time M os t l ow-context c ultur es operate on M time. P time, o r polychronic time, i s m o r e dominant in hig h -contex t cul ture s whe r e th e complet i on of a human transaction is emphasized more tha n hol ding t o schedu les. P -time is c har ac t er i zed by the simultaneous occurrence of many things and by a great invo l vement with peop le P-tim e allows for relationships to build and context to be absorbe d as parts of hig h -contex t cultu r es Th e Americans desire t o ge t s trai g ht t o the point, to ge t down to business and o th er indi cat i ons of directness are all manifestat i ons ofM-time cultures The P-time sys t em g i ves rise t o looser tim e schedules, deepe r involvement with i n d i viduals and a 'wait-and see-wha t -develops attitude. For examp le, two Latinos conversing wou l d like l y opt to be late for their n ex t appointments rather than abr u ptly termina t e the co n versat i o n befo r e it came to a m utua l l y comfortable conc l u sio n 1 89

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P-time is characterized by a much looser notion of 'on time or late '. Interruptions are routine delays to be expected. It i s not so much putting things off until 'manana' but the concept that human activities are not expected to process like clockwork. Most cultures offer a mix ofP-time and M-time behavior Just as some Americans are habitually late so me Latin Americans are routinely prompt. Cultures have a tendency however, to be more P-time or M-time in re gard to the role time plays. Some are similar to Japan where appointments are adhered to with the greatest M-time precision but P-time is followed once a meeting begins and such is the case with most other human interactions The Japane se see U. S business people as too time-bound and driven by schedules and deadline s which thwart the easy development of friendships. According to Hall M-time dominate s the officia l worlds of bu s iness government, the professions, e nt e rtainment and sports" (Hall, 1983 : 52) However at home for informal activities their time is less structured. The French are monochronic intellectually, but polychronic in behavior (Hall, 1983 : 58). The differences between M-time and P time are reflected in a variety of ways throug hout a culture. To avoid the a n xie ty and frustration that comes from being out of synchronization with local time takes patience and training 190

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Hall's Analyses of Space The study of space in its multiple aspects is probably one of Hall's most important contribution to anthrop o logy He is the one who elaborated the stud y of personal distance perception and coined the term proxemics Hall investigated multiple facets of the spatial dimension of cultures from the perception of space through the organizing of spatial relation s to the expression of human values One of the aspects of space originall y studied by Hall concerns the relation of humans to their surrounding space Is access restricted and tightly controlled or is it rather free and open? This dimension has been called Relation to space and added to Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck' s five basic va lue orientations model as an indispensable complement by researchers such as Lane and DiStefano ( 1992 : 4 7) Orientation to Space. This has to do with how one is oriented toward surrounding space. There are three orientations : private, mixed and public Private space is for the exclusive use of an occupant and it defines a large area surrounding the occupant as part of that person s exclusi v e territory In contrast public orientation sees space as available for anyone' s use and the sense ofterritory is small and weak. The mixed orientation is either a blend of the private and public perspectives which are used depending on the s ituation or an intermediate position where the territory exists but is limited This analysis of space will be particularly applicable to homes and houses to determine w hich are the pri v ate area s and h o w imp o rtant they are in the structuring of family life 191

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Another of Hall s approaches to space is at the macro level. It shows different patterns of space organizing the grid or the web also called star. The s tar and t he grid sy s tems of space. Hall in 1966 opposed "the radiating star system which connects all points and functions" (1966 : 146) to the grid system, which separates activities by stringing them out (1966 : 146) The star system typical ofFrance and Spain is sociopetal whereas the grid system typical ofEngland and the States is sociofugal. As an example of a sociopetal space Hall points to the French outdoor sidewalk cafe, where people congregate and enjoy each other' (1966 : 146) In a star system space is organized in hierarchi cal web pattern with a central point from which all originates or to w hich all end s In s uch a sys t e m th e c e nter i s more v alu a ble than the periphery This is true at differ e nt l e vels of spatial o rgani z ation, in an office building for example In France the center belongs to the man in power. In French offices the key figure is the man in the middle There is a centralized control (Hall, 1959 : 176) According to Hall th e r e are certain inherent advantages to the star s y stem : it is po s sible to integrate a number of different activities in centers with less space than with the grid s y stem Thus residential shopping marketing commercial and recreation areas can both meet and be reached from a central point.. France is a series of radiating networks that build up into larger and larger centers" (1966 : 148) 192

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To l ocate an activity or a point the French system emphasizes the roads, not the intersection, and Hall noticed that in France the name of a street might change without apparent reason (to an American observer)_ The example he gives is that of the rue Saint H onore in Paris which becomes rue du F aubourg S aint H onore further from the cent er of Paris His exp l anatio n i s that the Fren c h have a r i cher percepti o n of their landscape and therefore kno w thei r l a ndmarks and u se them as cues The explanation i s e ven more French than Hall imagin ed Th e name acts as an historic marker ; it date s back t o the times w h e n P aris was much smaller and the rue du Faub o urg S t H o nor e was be y ond the limits ofthe incorporated city thus the name Faubourg ', which means suburbs. Then, whe n it crosse d the city l imits it naturally was rue St H onore the real desirable name faubourg being on the contrary negati ve l y connoted with populous cheap and further away from the center. A l l this, of course wa s six or s even hundred years ago ; now both streets are among the most expe n sive real estate in France ln som e cities of France there are street names like rue des fortifications even ifthe fortified walls were d emolis h e d in the 1600s '. It is the French relation to t ime, which is inscribed in space Hall who has noted the interaction of the tw o c ultural dimen s ions e l sew here missed this one lt only prove s how difficult it is t o decipher the cues anoth e r culture takes f o r g ranted! 193

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Space in America is an informal cultural system The basic American pattern is uncomplicated. It is organized according to a grid pattern where any intersection is equiva l ent to and as valuable as any other The progression is l inear. Like time place in the U.S .A. i s diffuse so yo u never quite know w here its center is Like in much of the rest of the American culture, including the socia l ranking system, there are no clear graduations as one moves from one category to the next (Hall, 1959 : 168) In America no one direction takes precedence over another except in a utilitarian or technical sense. Americans pay attent i on to direction in a technical sense but formally an d informally they have no preference In other cultures, some direct ions are sac r ed o r preferred not in the U.S.A., and orientation i s not an important feature of a house contrary to France The American concept of space makes Americans use the edge of things rather than the ins i de. In an American office for example each individ u al desk w ill be arranged at the periphery wher eas the center will be reserved for gro u p activ iti es. Space is treated in terms of a co o rdinate system. Space is empty One gets into it b y intersecting it with lin es. Americans have canonized the idea of the positiona l va lue in almost every aspect of their lives . and compete to be first (Hall 1959: 179 ) 1 94

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In addition to positiona l value the American pattern emphasizes equality and s tandardization of the seg ments, w hich a re u se d to measure space or into which space is di v ided be i t a ruler or a suburban su b divisio n T h e American emphas i zes the int ersections a nd the directions As for t he identi ficat i on of st reets, numb ers are o ften u se d instead of names. Even w ith names, the st reet number s coincide with t he gri d s so that the number itself tells you where you are in the overall grid. Thus, any foreigner can easily find the l oca ti on he is l ooki n g for. This system i s so foreign to the French a supposed l y very logical people that it often takes them a while and some practice before even thjnking ofu s ing the double co-ordinate system t o orie nt themselves Finally, Hall notes th at t h e nam e of a s t reet c han ges w h e n something happens, when there is a cha nge of co ur se, at an inter section (Hall, 1 959: 171). The change is linked to some c h a nge in the b e h av ior of the user a turn or a merge ; the c hange is acted upon and actively s i g nifi ed Thi s entails a mo r e dynamic more present-oriented r elat i o n s hip o f the Americans wi th t h eir en viro nment th an the French have with theirs The third a pproach to s p ace d eve l o ped b y Hall is focus e d on the i ndivid u a l in s i t u ations of int e rp ersona l co mmunication The jour di sta n ces in m an: proxemics. Hall describes four distance zones co m piled from observatio n s and int erv i ews of adu l t Americans i n context relative l y 1 95

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neutral and stable. Each zone is s ubsequentl y divided in two sub-zones and typical behaviors are related to each sub-zone. Hall stresses the fact that beyond the behaviors, the perception senses prevalent in each different zone will also vary Not only the limits of these zones will v ary with the different cultural groups, but also the type of behavior associated with each distance Intimate distance The closest distance is the the intimate distance (six to eighteen inches) that of overwhelming stepped-up sensory inputs (Hall 1966 : 116) Sight often distorted is complemented with olfaction and sensation ofthe other person s body heat, and smell of his or her breath all combine to signal unmistakable involvement with another body (Hall 1 9 9 66: 116) In American culture the intimate distance is the private bubble ofthe individual and s hould not be entered, except in amorous situations Personal distance The second distance is the persona l distance (one and a half to four feet) It is the distance consistently separating the members of non-contact species (Heidiger, in Hall 1966 : 117) It may be thought of as a small protective sphere or bubble that an organism maintains between itself and o th ers. The distance at which peop l e stand in this zone signals their relationship 196

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The close phase (one and a half to two and a half feet) is reserved for close relationships (couples parents and their young children) The far phase (two and a half, to four feet) is the right one for discussion of personal subjects in a moderately low voice No body heat is felt, neither breath nor other olfaction is detected in American culture as perfumes are used sparingly Social distance Next com es the social distance (four to twelve feet) at arm's length ", outside ofthe limit of domination Voice le vel is moderately high (higher in America than in Asia, upper-class England and Japan and lower than in France, Spain, Russia, South India or Arabic countries) Discussions can be overheard at a distance of up to twenty feet. The close phase is the distance of impersonal business or that of casual social gathering The far phase is that of formal business the full figure of the body is encompassed in one glance, and the details of the face are still sharply in v iew The voice le vel is notably higher than in the close phase There is no more olfactory or heat sensation at this distance. A feature of the far phase of the socia l distance is that it can be used to insulate or screen people from each other. At more than ten feet from each other people do not have to converse They can carry on their occupation without being rude 197

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Public distance The last distance is the 'pub lic ran ging from twelve to more than twenty-five feet. It is well beyond the circle of involvement. At this d i stance carefu l choice of words and syntax prevails It is the officia l sphere. Thirty feet i s the distance automatically set around important public figures The detail s of facial expression and the subtle distinctions conveyed by normal vo ice are lost. The tempo of the voic e drops words are enunciated more clearly and the sty le becomes frozen which is typical of people who want to remain strangers (Hall 1966 : 125) Now, what i s interesting is to analyze how people of different cultures use these different distan ces. The variation s may come from two sources: first, the actual measurement of each distance and sub-distance will vary; for example, the French social distance starts closer than the American, and French people talking casuall y may t ou ch each other without conveying any sexual or amo rou s signal. The second source of vari ation comes from the fact that some behaviors that belong to one di stance in one culture may belong to another distance in another culture. For example, talking loudly with a moderately high voice belongs to the far phase of the social distance in America but to the close phase in France or even to the far phase of the personal distance in Spain When quieter culture witnesses conversati ons in a louder culture they inevitably conclude that these people are fighting. 198

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Another feature, extremely important in housing which is related to these distances is the feeling of crowding. The definition and feeling of crowding are culturally bound Nevertheless, the effects of crowding are quite similar in different cultures: it is the threshold which will vary, and as we will see, it applies differently to the French and American built-environments In conclusion Hall stresses that virtually everything man does is associated with the experience of space (1966 : 181) which results from a synthesis of many sensory inputs: visual auditory, kinesthesic olfactory and thermal. Since the patterning of people's perceptual worlds is a function of culture and of relationships, activity and emotion, there is great risk for misinterpretation of culturally foreign beha v iors. The study of culture in the proxemic sense, that is how people use their sensory apparatus in different emotional states during different activities in different relationships and in different contexts and settings should increase the accuracy of international communication. Rapoport: Nonve rbal Communication Model of Analysis The built environment is "vested with meanings", dwellings may as symbols, become part of the knowledge of daily life (Hummon 1989) and "vehicles of conception through which people define and interpret their reality (Geertz, 1973 in Hummon, 1989) 199

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In his book 1he Meaning of the Built Environment, published in 1982, Rapoport proposes a theoretical model using a nonverbal communication approach for the deciphering of the meanings embedded in the built environment and for their interpretation Let us review it in detail stressing the theoretical basis of the model, as well as the different steps of the analysis. "The subject of meaning in the environment after a long neglect is beginning to receive considerable attention .... I approach the problem from the perspective of man-environment studies which I see as a humanistic discipline concerned with developing a new theory of environmental design (1982: 9). Rapoport envisions this study as multidisciplinary and thinks it should lead to a science with predictive power Meaning and the Built-environment Which meaning? A relation exists between the meaning attributed to environment and the behaviors ofthe people living in it. People react to environments globally and affectively before they analyze them Since affect is read on the basis of the non-verbal messages projected by the actors, non-verbal communication analysis models will be used to read the meanings encoded in the built environment. There are two kinds of meanings The designer's meaning, which is based on perceptual aspects ofthe environment and the user's meaning which is based on associational 200

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aspects. In a user's perspective personalization through change, decoration ornaments is a way of establishing and expressing meaning "The centrality of schemata and images encoded in settlements and bearing meanings is constant; what varies is the specific meaning or schema emphasized or the elements used to communicate this meaning (Rapoport 1982 : 29). It i s the meaning ofthe subtle differences within an accepted system that is important in communicating group identity, status and other associational aspects ofthe environment w hile accepting the pre vai ling norms (Rapoport 1982 : 30) For example, in American suburbs, houses must not be too different a modern house is an aesthetic intrusion, but they should not be of an excessive uniformity either (trial against a house too similar) Meanings can be latent or manifest. The latent meaning of parks for example, makes them valued elements of the landscape because they participate in the perception of low density even if they are not used for recreation (1982: 34) Ration aliza tion s of the meaning attributed to environment qualities may be contradicting because they rely on unconscious level s of perception or interpretation An example would be the claim for clean air in a French study or the interpretation of tax productivity in a New Jersey study (Rapoport 1982 : 32) 201

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How to study meaning? Rapoport has identified three main methodologies to study meaning the semiotic the symbolic and the nonverbal (1982 : 36-48). He selected the last one, because it allows him to focus on the pragmatic level of the relationship between signs and people's behavioral responses to them. At this pragmatic level of meaning "the situatio n and the context explain the events and these are culturally defined and learned" (Rapoport, 1982 : 39) The Nonverbal Communication Analysis I take the n onverba l communication approach to environmental meaning to be something conceptually rather simple, which is the reason for using it (Rapoport, 1982: 87) It is inspired from psychological studies of nonverbal behavior accompanying linguistic comm uni ca ti on and of nonverbal communication in itself. It also draws from ethological studies which are by definition studies of nonverbal behavior. As in such studies, the methodology consists first in observation, that is, looking directly at the different environments and settings searching for elements that can be 'cues'. The second step recording is simple It may use verbal descriptions and photographs plans drawings, ske t ches or other visua l aids. The last step will be analysis and interpretation. It cons i sts in e x amining the meaning of the cues identified through their interpretation by the people and their translation into appropriate behavior. 202

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The concept of nonver bal communica tion in the oo 011\l '-\W@ ways The first one is in the sense o f analogy or l k nonverbal c ues to comp l ement other types o f ... (Rapoport, 1 9 82 : 5 0J There fore, r eal en vir on ments bottHn !!lliilrmll)\' of oommu nic:.atti0n cad tOIJ)-aatiil(i}]t1l.. .. :\"on verbal commu nica1iom, cmrl <'! l an guage ( 198 2 : 5 1} Itt i s n(l)l :5! llil;tagmm.anic .ma.clics

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Rapoport insists on the fact that all this can be done easily and directly, even without a major consideration oftheoretical aspects of nonverbal communication In order to help the anal ys is though different categorizations of environmental elements can be performed. One of them following Hall1s classification (1971: 103) distin g uishes between fixed feature semifixed-feature and nonfixed-feature spaces. Fixed-feature elements are those that are fixed lik e walls, ceilings roofs, floors for buildings. Str eets and buildings for cities a l so belong to this d o main. They communicate meaning through their spatial organization, size location sequence and arrangements. In so me cultures u s uall y traditional ones the y are core elements and will persist when other change. They t ell much a bout the culture and will change slower than more peripheral elements. The settle ment pattern of the Navaho or the dwelling structures of the Pueblo Indians are examples of suc h fixed-feature e l e ment s The buil de rs often supply fixed feature elements in a rathe r st a ndardi ze d fashio n and codes re g ulations designers and other profes s ion a l s instead of u se rs control them further (Rapoport, 1982 : 88). Semifixed-f ea ture elements cover a wide range From arrangement and type of furniture curtains, floor coverings in the house throu g h plants screens, patio garden and street furniture for the out s ide of the house to garden layouts advertising signs, window displa ys for the cities ( 1 9 82 : 89) 204

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These elements are more flexible and change more quickly and easily than the fixed-feature elements Although they have been used in this manner from the earliest times (Rapoport, 1982 : 90), they become particularly important for environmental meaning in our complex societies. They are the ones that express personalization. They are much more under control of the users than the fixed-feature elements for which users' participation in the original design is rarely solicited Semifixed-feature elements also play an important role in the definition and interpretation of context which, can entirely depend on changeable reusable semifixed-feature elements (1982 : 90) The third category the nonfixed-feature elements are related to human occupants or inhabitants of settings their shifting spatial relations or proxemics, their body positions and postures or kinesics and all the nonverbal behaviors accompanying or not, verbal communications (1982 : 96) These behaviors are the original elective domains of nonverbal communication analysis The questions traditionally asked in these studie s concerns what is being communicated and hidden and what roles these behaviors play in interaction When applying the nonverbal communication model we are going to ask these same questions to the realm of fixed and semifi x ed-feature elements What is being communicated why, and by what means, what role do the cues play in behavior and in social interaction (1982 : 97) ? 205

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Reasons for Using a Nonverbal Communication Model Rapoport starts from a fact that has now been amply confirmed (Royse, 1969) Physical elements in the environment are read easily and directly as indicators of social characteristics, and hence act as a guide for behavior. He then proceeds to state that the transfer of nonverbal communication model from nonfixed-feature elements to semi fixed and fixed-feature elements is justified. Thi s is particularly the case when the emphasis is put on the semifixed-feature elements, as they tend to co-vary with the nonfixed-feature while the fixed-feature elements on the contrary remain unchanged in the same situation. The ne x t question to be addressed is that of the cultural specificit y of these different elements and of non v erbal communication in general. From an interpretation of absolute cultural specificity with Lloyd, (1972) to a conception of pan-cultural whole-species validity (thus very different from language) with Eibl-Eibesfeld (1970) there is wide disagreement. An interesting model incorporating aspects of both positions was proposed by Eckman ( 1972) in his cross-cultural study of facial nonverbal communication system. He found that some elements of facial expressions are pan-cultural and seem to be non arbitrary and biologically based The elicitors of these reactions however, and the display rules are culturally variable. In other words the origins of these reactions may be pan cultural but their usage, on the contrary is clearly culture specific The coding identified three types of beha v iors: adaptors (signal like) ; illustrators (sign like) ; and emblems, (symbol like) These were shown to e x hibit an increasing culture dependency from adaptors the most intuitive to emblems the closer to language ( 1982 : 1 04) 206

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To address this question in the context of the built environment, Rapoport lists a series of potential cues and wonders whether they are culture specific or express a meaning generally recognized and accepted (1982 : 106-107) It seems that some ofthese dimensions are broadly accepted as conveying the same message and some others are very variable An example of some consistency can be found in the use of the built environment as a strategy to establish status hierarchy and prestige The strategy is widely used and in doing so, height and size, are very common cues. There is also a lot of variability as exemplified by the numerous reversals of meanings that can be found, for example, the meaning of centrality in France and in the U.S A (1982 : 111) It appears that as one moves from the nonfixed-feature element rea l m through clothing to the semifixed and finally fixed-feature space the repertoire or palette grows and there is ever more va riability and specificity related to culture. In other words the trend is to a more language-like model, but still less arbitrary than language (1982 : 118) At the same time there is a constant tenden cy to establish and stress differences in height, co lor age, location materials, layout and shape (1982 : 121). For they are the ones that express meanings For example domains such as sacred/ profane, front/back, and men/women are distinguished by distinctive cues The process seems universal but the means is variable (1982 : 56) The fact that many cues seem to be almost se lf-e vide nt ma y suggest the existence of some archetypal associations. This could eventuall y be an area of overlap between the study of 207

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environmental meaning in terms of non verbal cues a nd more formal structuralist semiotic sy mbolic and cognitive anthropology mod e ls. In conclusion, when int erpre tin g people s beha v iors, it s hould be remembered that it i s the social situation that influ e nce s the behavior but it i s the physical e n v ironment that pro vi des t h e c u es" ( 1982 : 57). People typically act in accor d ance w ith their reading of environmental cues The same people act differently in d iffere n t settings; ther efore the sett ing mu s t communic ate ex pected behaviors; the design of environment is seen partly as a process of e nc od in g informa tion The u se r s mu s t decod e it. For the communication process to work h owever there are three s t eps t h at mu st be accomplished First cues must be notic e d then the y need to be understood and last but not l east people mus t be w illing to obey" ( R apoport, 1 982: 59). Rapoport then proceeds to give so m e examp l es of application of this n onverba l comm uni ca ti on analysis t o the built environment. Exam ples of app li cat i ons. Som e of th em are 'small scale' exa mple s some others a r e urb a n exa mpl es. On a s m all sca le, Rapoport u ses the mod el t o study the sett in gs of co urt roo ms in diff erent cu ltur es focusing his atten tion on the semifixed feature e l emen t s These are the o n es co n veyi n g meanings b eca use they a re th e different ones. H e a l so exam in es the resu l ts of a 2 08

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study of dwelling personalization in Milwaukee, where the initial hypothesis was proven wrong. The South Side (white ethnic, blue-collar area) was more personalized than the East Side, (professional-academic and fairly high status) In other examples the method is applied to the study of space demarcation through planting and fences in subculturally different residential areas. Or to the comparison of houses in two parts of Africa differing by their religions; or else to the interpretation of the central role played by front lawns in suburban America and finally to the analysis ofthe image ofthe detached single-family house in American culture (1982 : 123-128) For the model to be applicable at the urban scale, Rapoport stresses that the areas studied have to be somewhat homogeneous in order for the personalization and human behaviors to add up and produce strong clear and redundant cues In heterogeneous areas, on the contrary these behaviors result in random variations with little or no meaning at the scale ofthe area. This is more often the case in contemporary situations than it is in traditional environments. At this urban scale the cues are collective rather than personal so they need to be more redundant in order to allow for individual variation, and still be significant (19 82 : 137) The cues may be constituted by the use of different materials for building as in numerous exotic cultures that Rapoport mentions (1982 : 139) In the U.S.A., maintenance judged through a whole set of cues is often emblematic of the desirability of an area Env ironments notes Rapoport communicate social and ethnic identity, status and so on. Immigrants often transform the landscape in a way that reminds them of their original 209

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settings and this helps them to be more successful in their settlement attempts. They benefit from a familiar, thus suppo rtive, environm ent. In "simpler cultures very subtle cues may suffice, because there is a consistency of their use coupled with a consistency of their location" (1982: 145) Everybody knows the environment, and the rules are the same. The environment may then have only a mnemonic function. In complex and pluralistic societies with weaker rule systems, and particularly in urban settings c l ear physical cues are needed with high level of redundancy. According to Rapop ort, it is surprising even in U.S. complex urban areas, how quickly easily and accurately people can make their judgments as to the quality of the environment and it is "striking and impressi ve" how they agree on a basic set of cues (1982: 146) C ues Identification and Analysis Some American cues identified hy Rapoport. For the U.S.A., the following list can be established: -The high qualit y env ironment is well maintained, has well maintained vegetation, little litter, few vacant l ots, good street upkeep adequate but not luxurious vegetation (Duncan, 1973), and few commercial structures (1982: 156). -The presence of recreation in the streets is ge nerall y seen a s a negative, low status indicator (leads to identification as slum). -Vegetation has a positive influence (less ident ification ofpublic housing) 210

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-Presence of black chi ldren has a negative influence (white children have no influence) -Maintenance is of paramount importance -Fences influence quality and friendliness but context i s important. -Lower d e nsity is positive for higher socia l c l ass people -Asphalt sh in g le s and aluminum screen doors are seen as negative for the higher and middle-class people but neutral to the lower. -Natural landscape is seen negatively by the middle-class group, which prefers highly manicured lawns but i t is viewed favorably by the higher group. -Noise traffic congest i on reduced green ope n spaces are seen as highly negative -Industrial and commercial developments outmig rati o n of'good people' and in migration of'bad people' are also negative -Generally in the U.S. A. there i s more agreement abo ut environmental quality of natural land sca pe and nature than about human-made landscape -Over the last 200 yea rs a complete reversal has occurred between the meanings of city and wilderness Importance of low density cues. Most of th e above cues are in accordance wit h a lis t of cues proposed as indicating lo w perceived density. "In the U.S .A, the basic positive meaning of residential environment is still summed up by the sub urban ima ge" (Rapoport 1 982: 162) It is typified by : -Low perceived den sity -C urved streets as opposed to the grids 211

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-Superblocks with cul-de-sac as opposed to pass-through streets. -Mixture of one and two story houses as opposed to all two story. -Mixed forms of housing but preferably of the universal suburban ranch-style rather than Midwest frame. -Low degree of enclosure -Absence of corner shops, churches and others. -Subdued co l ors as opposed to bright ones. -Low complexity of the environment versus high complexity -Lawns shrubs and a variety of trees arranged freely versus large elms in lines along the streets (1982 : 165). Interpretation of the cues It must be remembered that context is important for interpretation (a horse in suburban setting is seen as negative, but is positive in exurban setting, indicating high status through recreational patterns) (1982: 156). The consistency of the inferences varies with the socia l class of the observers: low groups are less consistent and high-class groups are more consistent in their inferences Meaning, like design preferences and environmental quality are culture specific Generally notions of environmental quality have to do with the meaning they have In this description of the cues, fixed-feature elements play an important role although semi fixed elements and particularly vegetation are also important. The density of areas is often inferred from a variety of physical associational and socio-cultural cues and may be 212

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quite different from the actual density in people per unit area. It is this perceived density which is matched against norms and ideals to make judgements of desirability and acceptability. The modern subdivisions try to communicate the maximum of the positive meanings associated with residential areas and as few as possible ofthe negative ones. The physical elements of suburbia winding roads, lawns, detached varied houses, types of front doors and mailboxes romantic rooflines, garden ornaments, coach lanterns, and many others-all communicate social status social aspirations personal identity individual freedom, nostalgia and so on" (Rapoport, 1982 : 172) The elements come from history, rural life patriotism and the estates of the rich (Venturi and Rauch 1976) Of course, these v ariables are s uch because they have social meaning and communicate identity. The suburban environment is intended to maintain the distinctions among groups, which are judged in terms ofthe environment in which they live and are once marked included or excluded In conclusion what is striking in all these analyses and descriptions is how easy it seems to be by using one's senses and thinking about what one notices to read the environment derive meanings, and make social inferences The similarity of this to the processes of nonverbal communication as commonly understood does indeed seem striking (Rapoport 1982: 176). 213

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Evaluation of the Model When Rapoport states that the whole endeavor is very simple easy and straightforward he probably refers to environments ofthe same cu ltu re People do read the meanings conveyed by their environment easily but they have to be accu l turated in a specific culture to be able to do so and this is a very long process Therefore when the model is to be used by anthropologists to interpret new environments it cannot be as easy and straightforward because it requires pre-existing acculturation of its users Rapoport agrees on the fact that some cultural knowledge is necessary but I think he greatly underestimates the need. In other words used in an exp lan atory a posteriori manner, the nonverbal communication model is very powerful but used in a predictive, a priori manner to decipher unknown environments it loses its power In my experience I have found that this model is most useful in the analysis of environments which are similar to familiar environments On the other hand I find it difficult to use in completely new foreign situations which require verbal communication first. Stretching the criticism a little further it can be said that this nonverbal communication model is very well adapted to the reading of subcu ltur al differences For examp le it discriminates between subgroups ofthe same culture (middle-class from working class Black Americans from Hispanics Americans) or between cultures of the same origin, within the Western developed world I have found it very useful to differentiate French from American culture but oflittle use on its own to read bui lt environments in completely foreign and unknown cultures The reason for this i s that the elements on which 214

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the reading is based 'the en v ironmental cues', cannot be easily identified as such without verbal communication There is another point which needs clarification Rapoport seems to take for granted once and for all, the definitions of the fixed semifixed and nonfixed-feature elements. Hall, who created this classification on the co ntrary states very clearly that "what is a fixed-feature space in one culture may be semifixed in another and vice versa" (Hall, 1973 : 111) and he takes for example the house walls in American and Japanese cultures (1973: 51). Halls also takes g reat care to explain that some fixed-feature elements are such only by the behavior that they elicit. He takes for examp le the limits of the private ya rds in suburban America (1973: 106). This definition offences and boundaries as fixed-feature elements corresponds better to my findings in a comparative study ofFrench and American systems of fencing But this is only a particular point, the general remark being that cultural knowledge is required before applying Hall's c lassification or Rapoport's model to specific cultures Still in the feature element realm there is another of Rapoport's affirmations that ma y be quest ioned It is tha t of the gradually increasing palette of elements when one mo ves from the fixed through the se mifixed to the nonfi xe d-feature realm (1982: 118). In other words, there would be more diversity and this diversity would ha ve more var ied meanings in the nonfixed-feature realm than in the fixed one I do not think this i s the case unle ss one only refers to variations occurring within the same culture, or the same type of cultures. On the contrary, if very different cultures are examined the fixed-feature elements vary a great deal from one to the other. For an illustration just consider an African 'case'. It is as 215

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different from an American house as the proxemic perceptions of their owners are from those of Americans. Or as different as a 'bou-bou'(African costume) is from a European dress to refer to another nonverbal communicatio n e l ement, provided such comparison makes any sense (which is not evident as it i s almost comparing apples to oran ges!) There is a last point which needs emp hasizin g a lthough Rapoport does not mention i t. It is the need, g i ve n the potential polysemy of the cues to va lidat e the findings obtained through nonverbal communication analysis by other means of inquiry such as interviews of the users and of the producers of the bui lt e n v ir onment. Otherwise, we run a great risk of cross cultura l misunderstandings. 2 16

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CHAPTER 3 METHODS Methodology ofData Collection Par ti cipant observation Pa11icipant-observation is the hallmark of anthropology, the technique that sets the discipline apart from other social sciences. Definition of Fieldwork This live-in form of socia l research is both a product of the cu l tu r al studies conducted i n th e mid t o late nineteenth century and a reaction to them (Stocking, 1 987, 1 992, i n Van Maanen, 1995: 5). lt i s often contrasted to two other modes of social and behavioral research; experimental research, w hich is performed in a laborato ry or sim i larly contrived setting and survey research which rely on brief information exchanges between an interviewer and a respondent (Chambers, 1989 : 6). 2 1 7

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If B oas was the first to develop field methodology during his stay in the T ro briands Islands it was Malinowski w h o re ally elab o rated and ad vocated, but n ot always practiced himself' (VanMaanen, 1995 : 6) the concept of participant-observation The r esearc her has to stay in the field for a peri od oftime long enough to become invisib l e like a fly o n the ceiling (Berg, 1989 61-64). "The nati v es saw me constantly everyday th ey ceased to be interested o r alarmed or made selfconscious by my presence and I ceased to be a disturbin g elemen t in the tribal life I was to s tudy, altering i t by my very approach as always happens with a newcomer to every savage commun ity" (Malinowski, 1961 : 7-8) The anth r o p o logi s t needs t o speak the n ative language and the stay s h o uld b e long enough a l so to span seasona l variations in activity, t ha t is a minimum of one year. Malinowski's marching o rder s" to the future fieldworkers "were blunt and to th e poi nt" (VanMaanen 1 995 : 6). Find out the t y pica l ways of thinking a n d feeling, corresponding to the in s t it uti o n s and culture of a g iven commun i ty a nd formu late the re s ult s in the most convincing way" (Malinowski 1961: 3) T he r e are three i mpli cit principles behind int ensive all enc ompassing participant observation (Edgerton and Langness 1 9 74 : 3 -4) Fir st, is the beliefthat the best too l fo r st udyin g an alien cu l ture is the in tell ect sensi t ivity and emotio n of another h um a n being A comm o n thread run s through all human cultures and given the cha nce o n e, especially a trained anthropolog i st can l earn the cu l tura l patterns of any one of them 2 1 8

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Second, is the conviction tha t the anthropologist must see the culture through the eyes of those stud ied Therefore, complete immersion in the people lifeways and participation in their everyday occupations is necessary to properly observe the interactions and behavior s that take place and thus begin to understand the native meanings shared by the members of the society under study. Grasping the ernie point of view requires participation, involvement and empathy. The third principle, holism dictates that culture must be seen as a whole and studied in its particular natural context, with minimum disturbance being caused by the study. Cultural behaviors should not be i so lat ed and studied separatel y from the whole culture. This principle ofholism was more easi l y applicable when anthropologists were studying small se l f-co ntained and isolat e d societies. It s hould nevertheless remain as a guiding principle which provides a powerful perspective for examining human behavior. My expe rience of Fieldwork I conducted my fieldwork in France, in the suburbs ofParis and in the United States, mainly in Tampa, Florida and in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I speak the local languages French and English quite fluently I alternated the sojou rn s in these two countries over a ten year period durin g which I conducted various sequences of participant-observation ln each ofthe locations listed be l ow, I observed naturall y occurring situat ions and inter v iewed more or l ess formall y, th e actors and specialists of the situatio n They were 219

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real estate agents and their French counterpart agents immobiliers real estate lawyers and the French notaires, builders and developers and the French promoteurs-constructeurs' contractors and the French entrepreneurs', mortgage brokers and the French banquiers', and finally the buyers, inhabitants and owners or as they are called in France 'owner to be', acquereurs, occupants et proprietaires or 'accedants a Ia propriete' I actively participated in several cultural scenes in the two countries, staffing model homes, in vest ing in th e foreclosure market acquiring, owning and disposing of real estate being a landlord and a tenant at times, and finally building and remodeling houses and condos. During m y fieldwork, I kept ajournal, in which I recorded m y own impressions feelings a nd sometimes frustrations l also noted the possible interpretations that were coming to my mind or which were offered by the informants or the people observed. The importance of recording one's first impressions is real as after a while, many differences n o longer appear. "Wit hout the help of a diary it is very difficult to bring the first imp ressio n ba ck to mind after one has become used to it, gone native as the anthropologists say" (Alasuutari, 1995 : 179) I kept this diar y on the left side of the pages of the notebooks where I recorded my field notes because I wanted to be able to remember the connection between my reactions and the field situations, which prompted thern. 220

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The field notes are an elaboration of rapid notes taken du ring observation sessions, and mental notes taken during participant activities I usually rewrote them shortly after the sess ion s, trying to recollect as exactly a s I could the details ofthe observation and activities I also recorded the remarks and comments mad e by American visitors in France and French visitors in the U.S.A, especially when they were related to space use and the built-environment I also taped severa l non-structured interviews and tried to videotape some sessions in the model homes but th e poor quality of the films make them u nu sable Many photograph s taken in different contexts i n th e t wo countries com plement the observatio ns. Sanjek 's Three Canons of Validity According to Sanjek ( 1990) the va lidit y of ethnography rests on three canons: the oretica l candor, making explicit the ethnographer's network and fie ldnote ev idence He mentions the preci sion with which Agar ( 1986) reported the (huge) amount of fieldwork notes used in his final ethnography, counting the segments and working out percentages But this is an exception "Direct fieldnote evidence h owever, ha s not been a crit erion of ethnographic renown ... R eviewers in fact often complain that the ethnographies are burdensome ifthey integrate too man y fteldnotes (Sanjek 1 990 : 403) Normall y the public colleagues as wel l as others finds the results credible o r otherwise useful to the extent that th e argument, reasoning and presentation are plausi ble, persuasive, clea r and without obvious contradiction or illogic (Honigmann, 1976: 244) 221

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Sanjek further remarks, with regrets, that "the canon offieldnote evidence requires only that the relationship between fieldnotes and ethnograqphy be explicit. Ethnographic val idit y i s served by, but does not require extensive fieldnote documentation (1990: 405) He believes for the future in the potential of wideranging fieldnotes under theoretical control to generate ethnographic description [as it] has been most effectively presented by sociologists (Sanjek 1990 : 404) ... who sometimes do a better job [of] articulating ethnography than we do (Agar, 1980 : 9). How does it apply to my field notes ? In the ethnographic account of m y research, l will try not to filter out fie ldnotes and informant voices (Sanje k 1990 : 402), and will avoid the role of the distanced ethnographer when narrating the account (Clifford, 1983 : 131132) I know however, that "it is difficult and requires much s pace (Agar, 1980: 134) In any case and as a conclusion it shou l d be remembered that despite seventy or so years of practice, fieldwork remains a sprawling, highly personal and therefore quite diverse activity" (VanMaanen, 1995 : 7). Intervi e ws The ethnograp hic int erview relies entirely on language which more than a means of communication about reality is a tool for constructing reality (Spradley, 1979: 17). It is "one strategy for getting people to talk about what they know" (Spradley 1979: 9) 222

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Through the ethnographic interview, ethnographers discover how natives categorize experience and how they use these categories in customary thought. The former learn the language of the latter Ethnographers understand the semantic differences from their own language and acquire the "translation competence which "is the ability to translate the meanings of one culture into a form that i s appropriate to another culture" (Spradley 1979 : 19). Ethnographers need to remember though, that their recording of factual reality transforms it. As Levi-Strauss points out, "the recording of any observation does not preserve the authenticity of facts recorded They are translated in another language and something is lost on the way" (1988: 215) Selecting and Protecting Informants Usually ethnographers become translators by interviewing informants. These are native speakers engaged by the ethnographer to speak in their own language about their everyday life They are ordinary people with ordinary knowledge built on their common experience The role of an informant is different from that of a subject in the social sciences Subjects are used by an investigator to confirm or disaffirm a specific hypothesis by studying their responses to questions set up with preconceived ideas The informant's role is also different from the role of a respondent who answers to a survey questionnaire or queries presented by an investigator in his own language ln this case the respondent also provides information about his own culture but the main difference lies in the language used in the questions. Finally, an informant is also different from an actor, someone becoming the object of observation in a direct setting, as in participant-observation for example. 223

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ln working with informants some ethical principles shou ld be respected in accordance with SfAA (Society for Applied Anthropology) guide lin es: 1-Consider informants first. 2-Safeguard informants rights interests and sensitivities. 3-Communicate research objectives. 4-Protect the privacy of informants. 5-Do not exploit informants 6-Make reports available to informants. l ha ve adhered to these requirements b y changing the names of the people involved and by transposing the settings of the act i o n In the course of the study when my interest came into conflict with those of my i nformants I respected theirs first. It meant an interruption ofthe study for several weeks and another round of interviews was simply cance lled I showed the final reports to all informants who were interested ; usuall y they did not read them Choosing informants is not an easy task; to ensure a sufficient reliabilit y of the information pro v ided some requirements should be satisfied First make s ur e the informants are thoroughl y encu lturat ed; an informant should have a year of full time involvement in a cultural scene" (Spradley 1979). This was not too difficult to achieve, as the cu l tural scene chosen i s common experience for most people 224

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Nevertheless, particular attention was paid to eliminate from the possible range of informants those who might have a mixed cultural background, such as bi-cultural couples recent immigrants or even Americans and French who have long lived abroad. Second the informants should be currently inv olved so that they do not need to rely on their memory This means my informants had to live in a single-famil y house at the time of the interview Third, the informants should have adequate time to devote to the interviews. Twelve interviews of one hour each were planned and the agreement of the informants on the actual s chedule was s ecured before s tart in each country. Fourth, the informants should be non-analytic They should not analyze their own culture but just report it as naturally as possible Of course, phenomenologists would argue that 'natural view' does not exist as the very gaze that we pose on things already transforms them and consequently what the informants may report is only a particular view their own The last condition which should be respected concerns the ethnographer. She should not be familiar with the cultural scene she intends to study. I think I met this condition since I conducted the interviews while I was still new in the U.S and had ne v er shared my liv ing quart e rs with an Ameri c an A s for the French cultural scene l think l met the condi t ion too since I had not except for a brief and distant period of my life, lived in a single-family 225

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house in the suburbs. There was also, between my informants and me, a significant difference in soc ial class, which is of great consequence in France. I decided to conduct interviews of an American and of a French housewife preferably homemakers with children of varied ages at home I also selected families living in a house built in s ubdivision rather than on an isolat e d lot. Furthermore, the house had to be of an average s i ze defined acco rding to the prevailing local s tandard s in each country It had to feature a rather typical floor plan and be in the average range of local prices Of course, these definitions of' avera ge, middle typical,' need further investigation. At the time I used my intuition s upported by my experience in the real estate business to make an 'educated guess', w ithin the limit s impo sed by the scarcity of consenting potential informants. My informant in the U.S.A., one of my friend's neighbors, was a hou sew ife mother oftwo c hildren aged 9 yea rs and 6 weeks. She apparently had spare time and was often looking for company. She was very friendly talkative, and open-minded. When I contacted her she s t a ted she was interested in the w hole project. Fond of trave lling she saw an opportunity to discover ot h e r ways of life. My informant in France was more difficult to secure. Seve ral attempts at contacting strangers' family were unsucces sful. Finally, a member of m y family introduced me to his secretary's s ister who corresponded to the conditions defined 226

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The Interview Process Ethnography is a cultural description based on, or in accordance with ethnographic theory. Ethnographic research proceeds in steps The first step consists in selecting a problem, a cultural scene to study. The second step is collecting data through interviews The last step is of course writing the ethnography which might well send back the ethnographer into the field as writing is often a refined process of analysis It is necessary to remember at this point that contrary to social sciences the collection of data with the ethnographic method begins before any hypotheses are formulated Therefore, the ethnographer starts by asking descriptive questions and records them in fieldnotes The following step is an analysis of the cultural data collected, which begins as soon as some data are collected It is a search for cultural symbols usually encoded in native terms and a search for relationships among these symbols. During the following step hypotheses will be formulated as they arise They propose relationships to be tested by checking back with the informants which means going back into the field as often as necessary Several kinds of formal analysis are performed on the data as an on going process during the course of the interviewing period They will be described later in the data analysis section Once the cultural scene is chosen, Suzan's and Madame Lafeuille's houses, the methodology defined, ethnographic interviews, the practical work needs to be organized 227

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1 followed some of Spradley's advice and set up a fieldwork notebook with only two sections ; one for condensed accounts and o n e for the journal. I recorded the expanded accounts together with the analyses and interpretatio ns dire ctly on the computer, using printouts whenever necessary The expanded accounts are tr ansc r iptions (almost lite ral) of the t ape-recorded intervie ws. The analyses and interpr etations focus on cu ltu ral meanings and insights into the culture s tudied ; they may reflect some particular theoretical perspective. The conde n sed accounts are the notes actually taken durin g the interview ; they often h ave the form of s hort phrases single words and unconnected sentences, especially so, as my informants spoke very quickly I sometimes needed vocabu l ary explanations during the interviews with Suzan. She gracefully provided them. The journal records my feel ings on a da y-toda y ba sis as th e work progresses ; each entry is dated and they constitute an intro s pecti ve r ecor d of fieldwork which will later evi dence p erso nal biases and e motions therefo re contribu tin g to th e general explanati on. The first interviews were quite difficult technically as I applied Spradley's recomm e nda tion to start and stay with d esc ripti ve questions for the thre e or four first int e rviews L ater, w hen more varied qu estio ns were used mi x ing structural and contrast questions th e interviews became more int e re st ing and more fruitful. 228

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Librmy Research Library research was conducted in France and in the U.S.A The resources ofthe universities Pari s Dauphine and U. S F (University of South Florida) were utilized together with some others; in France they include the libr ary of the Institute ofPolitical Studies and the library of the Beaubourg George Pompidou ce nter in the U.S .A., the library ofthe University ofNew Mexico. The publications of specialized pub l ishers were also investigated particularly the Intercultura l Press in the U.S.A and L'Harmattan in Paris Government sources such as I.N S E.E. (lnstitut Nati onal de Ia Statistique e t des Etudes Economiques) and C.N .AF. (Caisse Nationale d' Allocations Familia l es), in France, and Census Bureau in the U.S.A. were also used. Methodolog y ofCross-cultu ral Analysis : Raymonde Carroll Raymonde Carroll was born in Tunisia, reared in France, and is married to an American. An anthropo logi st she l ives and teaches in the United States She describes cultural misunderstandings between the Americans and the French in her book Evidences Jnvisihles tra n s l ated into Engl ish as Cultural Misund e rstandings, the lrench-American Lxperience. Th i s tran s lation of the title a l one is emblematic of the t wo cultures ; In v i sib l e Evidences is abstract witty, intellectual and poetic whereas the American version, 229

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'Cu l tura l Misunderst a ndings' i s down concrete, pragmatic unpretentious and rather unemotional but it exactly describes the book co ntent without r i sk ing unfulfilled promtses ... She proposes a model of cultura l a n a l ysis which is particularly efficient when applied to the c ultur es of F rance and the U S .A. 1 see cu l tural analys i s as a means of perceiving as normal things w hich initia lly seem 'bizarre' or 'strange' amo ng people of a cultu r e different fiom one's own ... To achieve thi s I must try to enter for a n instant, the cultural imag ination ofthe other" (Carroll 1 988: 2) Principles of C ultural Analy sis "My cultu r e i s the logic by which I give order to the world ... I learned to breathe this logic and to forget that I had learned it. I find i t natural (Carroll 1 988: 3). The most important part of this logic is tacit and invisib le. Other cultures have a different lo g ic which define what i s na tural for them Th e problem in cross-cultural co mmun ica t ion is that the n a tural ways' of di ffer ent cultu r es do not coincide. When conflicts arise the tendency is to attribute the diffi c u l t y t o some i nherent charac terist ics of the other person such as personality, upbringi ng or i ntelligence or to r esort to ste r eotypes. 'The French are ... 'The Amer ican s have n o sense of ... are exp r ess i o n s of suc h stereo t ypes. "The only shortcomi ngs for which I am reproa ching these French o r American s is the absence o f my culture (Carroll 1988: 6). I f s tere otypes a re 230

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so hardy, it i s not becau se they co ntain a grain of truth but r ather because they express a nd reflect the culture ofthose who esp ouse th em (Carroll, 1 988 : 4). When I observe a diff ere nt c ulture and try t o describe it, I compare the culture to my own I use m y own culture as s tandard of measurement of th e other culture The problem usu ally is t h at I am n o t conscious that I a m performing a compa ris on. I th in k I am describing objective fact s and r eal it y w h en in fact I am already interpreting in ter m s of my own culture The idea that my gaze transforms what 1 see is alm ost a cli che, bu t becomin g aware of the ways in whi ch my gaze t ransforms is very diffic ult" (Carroll, 1988: 4) Wh en the differences bet ween two cultures a r e dee p a nd num ero us, the distance be twee n these cultures is described as l arge, and the ensu ing cultural shock or feel in g of disorie n tat i o n is kno wn to be stro ng for the out s ider On th e contrary when the cultural distanc e between two c u lt u res i s small, the cultura l shock is l ess tro ubling but the risk of misinterpretation or overlooking differences i s much greater. In the case of French and American cu ltures, cross-cultural comparison deal s w ith sub tleties and nuances and is mu c h more difficult t o p erfo rm Another obstacle in performing cross-cultural analysis i s t he risk of overlook ing differences by assuming similarity Triandis (1980) desc ribed the p he nome n o n of"projected s imil a riti es" lt invol ves assuming, imaginin g and actually pe r ce i vi n g s imilaritie s w hen, inste a d differences ex i st. At the base of" projected s imilar ity" is a subco n s cious paro chial i sm. I a ssume that ther e is onl y one way to be and to see the wo rld mine I 23 1

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therefore view other people i n reference to me and interpret their behavior as I do mine I develop an illusion ofunderstanding while being unaware of my misunderstandings Then I project thi s misunderstanding on to the other, I under s tand you perfectly but you do not understand me! (Or you do not beha ve appropriately). Cultures, which develop an inductive logic (American) are more prone to "projected similarity mistakes than cultures with a deductive logic a nd a highly critical spirit (French). Analysts must also remember first that their culture is not some th ing exterior to them, but the y create it as much as it creates them Second cu ltural proposit ion s allow for and include a very wide range of variations at the level of experience People can act in very different ways and at the same time reaffirm the same cultural proposition at the level of production of meaning" (Carroll 1988: 5) Third, all behaviors and values exist in every culture but the frequency of their distribution varies w ith the culture. In other words, the in-group va rian ce is always greater than the between group variance, and any behavior will be found in any culture; it is onl y the frequency of the behaviors which is meaningful and can be compared cross-culturally The l ast difficulty to overcome when studying a different culture is the always present contradictory desire to deny the differences because we are all humans and t o affi rm I ha ve the right to be different and to preserve my difference (Carroll, 1988 : 5). Cultural analysis must navigate between these extremes. 232

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Finally, it must be reminded that the goal of cross-cultural analysis is not to explain why people behave as they do but only to understand what they mean through their behaviors The goal is to understand the messages and the temptation of providing deep-seated reasons for the cultural specificity should be carefully avoided (Carroll 1988 : 5). Steps in Cross-cultural Analysis Identify the C ultural Text to be Analyzed The first step in conducting cross-cultural analysis i s to id entify the cultural text to be analyzed This is not simp le because it i s the level of meaning which is concerned. As described before, the risks of overlooking differences are multiple. First the same behaviors may convey different meanings or conversely two different behaviors may convey the same meaning. Second, two behavior s which look the same, may be subtly different and conversely two behavio r s whic h look different t o an o ut sider may belong to the sa m e in side r's category To identify cultural texts, it is first necessary to be aware of one's own culture; that is to be sensitive to the norms values and behaviors enacted in one's own culture and to be aware oftheir possible range of variati o n in other cultures. ln other words, it mean s to be able to a ce 1 1ain extent to become d etached from one's own cu lture When thi s detachment is achieved one will recognize a cultural text at the strange feeling that it produces on the outsider of the culture. As an outsider, I feel uneasy I am 233

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disoriented and even confused. I am faced with a cultura l text when I am confronted w ith an opacity, which I cannot dissipate without resorting to stereot ypi ng It is its emotional resonance within the outs id er of the culture that signa l s most efficiently the cultural text to be analyzed To become an efficient analyst the outside r needs to distance herself from the culture to be analyzed and needs to overcome the emotional tension produced by the text. The Analysis The secon d step consists of the analysis itse l f The analysis proceeds in three stages First, remember all the details of the experience those related dire ct l y to the interaction and those related to the context and the settings. Try to see the experience in slow motion. "This requires some effort because we remember onl y the broad features of an experience and for the most part we remember it as we have alr ea d y interpreted it" (Carr oll, 1989: 7) Second imagine a context in w hich the experience becomes normal, the bizarre is no longer shocking. It is necessary to perform transpositions from the culture observed into the culture ofthe observer asking the questions : 'What was the deep meaning of the message (phrase or behavior)' and 'How wo uld 1 have expressed th i s meaning in m y own culture'? ln case the observer created the offending situa tio n, the questions s hould be rev e r se d : Which message did 1 want to send ? 'How would they express it in their culture'? Find a context where the situation would be acceptable in the observer's culture 234

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and then perform the opposite t r a n spos iti o n from the observer's c u lt ure back to the observed. Finally, to validate the interpretation find other contexts exp r essi n g the sa m e c ultural proposition but in differ e n t ways. The exi ste nce of multiple con t exts of different areas in the same culture confirming the same cultural proposition The strategy of the analys i s is to transpose some cultural s itu atio n identifie d as different in another culture, from one domain to another and the n t o severa l others in order to reach a cert ai n level o f generality It i s this generalization phase that valid ates the analysis. The value orie ntati o n models l ike Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck's and Hall s provide such general dimensions that can gui de the ana l ysts in the ir ide n t ifi c ation ofthe areas of misunderstanding. Thi s t ype of cultur a l analysi s may be analyzed as a n incessant come a nd go between the two interacting cul tures In concl u s i o n Carroll states that "cultural analysis is an act of h umility by which I temporarily try to forget my way of see in g the world, and briefly replace it by another way of con ceivi n g the world the validity of which I assert b y th is act" (Carroll, 1 989 : 9) 235

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Meth o logy ofData Analys is Several kinds of analysis were performed on the different data collected during the interviews and during participant-observation They are domain, taxonomic and componential analyses wh i ch apply particularly to verbal data recorded during the interviews and the la st three theme information processing and transactional anal yses were u se d with both verbal and non verbal data Rapoport' s non-verbal communication model was applied to the built environment, houses fence s, s ubdivisions and land use practices. Domain Analysis A domain analysis is a search for the larger units of cultural knowledge The search aims at identifying cultural symbols which are included in larger categories called domains, by v irtue of some s imi l arity A domain i s defined as any sym bolic category that includes other categories" (Spradley, 1979: 1 00) It is identified by its cover term and is defined by its included terms which entertain all the same semantic rel at ion sh ip Domains are also bounded; their boundary distinguishes w hat belongs to the domain and what is outside T h e task of identifying and analyzing folk domains is difficult because much of the knowledge on w hich domains are based is tacit and the different domains do not coincide 236

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cross-culturally. The ethnog r apher must remember that both questions and answers must be d i scovered from the informants. To identify d o mains and the i r semantic re lati onsh i ps, th e interviewer mus t ask first descriptive questions (What do yo u do as a housewife ? Tell me what yo ur house is like? Ho w do you call this?). To discover the included terms of the domain the interviewer asks questions on the semantic relationship: I s Y a kind of X or a p art of, or a reason for or a place in, or a result of, or a s tep in, or an attrib ute o ... Structural questions (Is Y a kind of X? What are all the kind s of Y?) enable the ethnog r apher to elicit from an informant suc h i te m s as cover terms and included ter m s (Spradley, 1979: 116 ) D oma ins may have different l evels of generality and they may be linked t o each other successively by different semantic rel ationships, therefore domai n ana l ysis may be unde11aken at different leve l s and from different points of view in order t o get an understanding ofthe a11iculation ofthc different domains. B ecause of the var i ability of the doma ins, i t i s t he r espo nsibility of the e t hnog r aphe r to sel ect the mor e meaningful, that i s the more prevalent i n her informant's mind. In doing so she must be ca r eful not to impose her ow n categories and so11ing principles. Thi s can be ach i eved by using sorting out t echniques by the means of inscribed cards for example, thus letting the principles of class ificati o n emerge natura lly. 237

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Therefore, another type of analysis is necessary. Taxonomic Analysis While a general understanding of the culture is gained through domain analysis a taxonomic analysis aims at in-depth understanding ofthe cultural meaning system. The goal ofthe analysis is to reveal all the meanings stored in each domain and the relationship they entertain with each other. Usually only a few ofthe domains are studied in depth. Taxonomic analysis describes the internal structure of a domain eliciting different levels of organization It leads to finding subsets of a domain and the relationships among these subsets th us defining folk taxonomies. Like a domain a folk taxonomy is a set of categories "organized on the basis of a single semantic relationship (Spradley 1979 : 137) "Folk taxonomies represent the meanings of symbols by showing their relationships to other symbols in a domain, but the degree of meaning revealed is minimal because it only reveals a single relationship among a set of folk terms" (Spradley 1979 : 155) A folk taxonomy can be represented in several ways : a box-diagram a set oflines and nodes, or an outline The ethnographer uses structural questions (what are all the different 238

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kinds of?) to establish taxonomic relationships and elicit new terms Once the tentative ta xo nomy is established it must be checked with informants Taxonomies always approximate the way informants have organized their cultural knowledge because ethnographers must decide how to arrange some ofthe data when the folk terms overlap or are too vague. Compone ntial Analysis A componential a nalysis is a systematic search for the attributes (components of meaning) associated with cultural symbols An attribute is defined as any element of information, which is regularly associated with a symbol (Spradley 1979 : 174) The focus is on elements th a t signal differences among symbols in a domain. The meaning of a symbol can be discovered either by asking contrast questions and how the sy mbol is used or by findin g out how it contrasts that is how similar or different it is, to othe r symbo ls. The se manti c contrast can be restricted or unrestricted ; it then contrasts with all other terms in th e language. The restricted contrast is a gold mine of cultural meaning (Spradley 1 979: 158) The differences in meaning depend on membership in different contrast sets A coup l e of those were studied in each c ulture 239

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Componential analysis focus on multiple relationships between a folk term and other symbols. There are two ways to carry out a componential analysis. The first has limited itself to discovering those attributes that are conceptualized by informants. The goal is to discover the psychological reality of the informants' world The second approach sees the formal or logical differences among members of a contrast set. The goal i s to di scover the structura l reality, wh ich does n ot necessarily coincide wit h the informants perceptions It is the path followed by structura l analysis, which was performed principally on kinship terms and myths The results of a componential analysis may be repre se nted graphically in the form of a parad igm that shows the attr ibu tes distinguishing the members of a con trast set. It is a box w h ere t he first column contains the co ntr ast set and the others the dimensions of contrast. Componential analysis is a useful step to theme analysis which is the next kind of analysis that we applied to our data. Them e Analysis A cul tural theme i s a postulate or position declared or implied, and usually controlling behavior or stimulating activity which is tacitly approved or openly promoted in a society" (Op l er 1945: 198). "It i s a cognitive principle tacit or explicit recurrent in a number of domains a nd serving as a relationship among subsys tem s of cu ltural meanings" (Spradley 1979 : 186). 240

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Themes may be identified because they recurrently emerge as dimensions of contrast. They also connect different subsystems of a culture ; they serve as a ge neral semantic relationship among domains They have a high degree of generality They are believed and accepted as true and valid b y people They provide a holistic view ofthe culture studied Spradley not es that the techniques for making a theme analysis "are less well developed than the others stud ied so far (1979 : 190). This is the area that invites the most expe r imen tat ion on the part of the ethnographer One of the stra tegie s suggested by Spradley amo n g others is participant-observation It is the one we selected As a result, several themes were identified for each country, and since they were different and sometimes even opposed, they gave u s a glimpse at the value system of the two co untrie s Information Processing Analysis The penultimate type of analysis information processing, concent rates on the processing of informati on as a basis for ma king deci sions. Information processing analysis is dynamic and shows th e meanings at work It provides an efficient way to describe how highly cu ltural decisions such as, 'how to entertain' and to whom to open your door' are made 241

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The results are presented in a flow chart which identifies each step of the decision making process as well as the criteria on which the decisions are bas ed. The diagram is an economica l way for r e pre se n ting complex processes and for displaying the re sults Another type of analysis has the same characteristics of dynamism and of eliciting the meanings at work in the people-environment relationship; it is a transactional analysis Transactional Analysis ln a transactional analysis events are treated as holistic units comprised of three major aspects: people/psychological processe s, environmenta l properties and temporal qualities. The key assumptions are fir st, that people and their environment s are an integral and inse parable unit and that they are mutually self-definin g The second assumption is that tempo ral qualities are intrin sic to people-environment relationships, therefore homes are conceived of as a dynamic confluence of people, places and psychological processes. Transactional processes (events activities meanings, eval ua tions ... ) occu r in the house at the level of action and at the level of meaning. People environment and time are inherently inseparable although depicted separate ly, for a reason of convenience in a chart. There are three general proce sses by which people can be lin ked to homes: social rul es and social relationships atfordances and appropr i ation practices 242

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Social ru l es and social relationships enco mp ass a broad r ange of dynamic interpersonal processes that occur in homes : social and cultural norms and rule s, affective, emotiona l and evaluative bonds, and cultural ritual practices E n viro nm e nt i s a complex and systematic organization of space, time meaning and communication (Rapoport 1982) and thes e four facets occur simultaneously in a variety of configurati o ns. For example orga nization and use of space in the house s up port different kinds of communication and m ea nings for r es idents ; th e same appl i es for the disposit i o n of h ouses in a development which foster different kinds of communications between neighbo r s Social rules d esc ribe what behaviors a r e appropriate and expected in settings at particular times there by, giving meaning to the settings people and their behaviors For example in all societie s social norm s and ro l es dictate how homes should be used, t he time s and places for entering, s leeping ente i taining, eating etc They a r e a ls o reflected in the d esigns and configurations of residences the t y pes and location of furniture and objects and the like. Persons are a l so linked t o their homes by affective and emot i onal bonds. Social relationships are manifested in spa tial psychological and int e rpers o nal terms, as pe ople use objects and areas i n the h o me t o engage in social interaction mu t ua l succora nc e and the like. 243

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The home can be a sy mb o lic repres e ntatio n of those relation s hip s, as it becomes associated w ith memories of p ast intera ctions and ties between people The home also refle cts cultural values r egar din g pers o nal and soci al identiti es. For example the home symbolizes a new household i t r e flect s the structu r e of the family 'Affordances', the term coined b y Gibson (1977 1 979), indicate that objects and environments are p e rcei ve d accor ding t o the meanings, actions and behaviors they impl y, rather t h a n according to th e ir spec ific phy s ical c hara c teri stics (for example the c hai r i s p erceive d a s so mething to sit in, rather th an a wood frame w ith upholstery). The emphasis is o n th e utilitarian functions and the ir psycho l ogica l significance The afforda n ces of a home can c h ange with c ir cumsta n ces, architecture, c ul t ure and history (places in a home can serve var i ed functions at different time s of a day o r yea r o r even l ife. Appropriation attachmen t and iden tit y r efers to the idea tha t p eople invest places with meanin g and s i gnificance and act in w a ys that reflect th eir bonding and l inkage with p l aces. Appropriation can inclu de var ied forms such as t aking control over, becoming familiar with, in ves tin g w ith meanin g, tak ing care of and displaying i d entity It often connotes ma s tery or efficacy as people gain efficacy thro ugh u s ing p ossess i o n s (Gre enbaum and Greenbaum, 198 1 ) Similarly t h e ideas of place attac hment an d place identit y suggest that when p eop l e a tta ch p sycho logical socia l and cu ltur a l s i gnificance to object s and p la ces, they th ereb y bond themselves and the e n vironment into a unity. 244

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In conclusion the three concepts of social rules and relationships affordances and appropriation reflect the transactional unity of the people and their environment. The home is an important repository within which these phenomena are manifested and indeed the home is partly described by and gains meaning in terms ofthese phenomena. Thus places and processes are inseparable and mutually defining aspects of one another These processes must be seen as occurring over and in time, they are time bound Their meaning nature and probability of enactment can change with the residents' own changes of life stage. Their meaning, nature and occurrence can change with social and cultural changes, that is from one historical period to another. This approach was followed when analyzing the fencing system in France and in the U.S A., together with Rapoport s non-verbal communication model. 245

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CHAPTER 1 : ANTHROPOLOGICAL APPROACH TO HOUSING CHARACTERISTICS DISPLAYJNG POSSIBLY RELEVANT VARIATIONS IN THE TWO CULTURES H o using is a basic need for all humans in the world It is addressed b y all through cultural practices that have long been recogniz e d a s embodying values, worldviews and social principles typical of each culture In the c ase of primitive cultures the settlement p a ttern s have ofte n been descr i b e d as r e produ c in g the cosmological v iews oftheir inh ab it ants. In the case of feuda l soci eti es the dwellings have been shown to reflect the social role of their tenants In contemporary, complex soci e tie s, the built environment has lon g been recogniz ed to be pregnant with meaning as attested by the housing and built-en v ironment s t udies re v iewed earlier in this dissertation work. H o usin g is a rich and complex field of study, at both the person a l and the collective lev el s in vo l v ing questions of land archite cture and planning costs and techn o l ogy, loca l a nd nati o n a l his t ory, among man y o th ers. Housin g i s of int e r est t o man y disci p l ines w hose specialists e mphasize particular po int s of view but rarely take into account that o f the fin a l users. 247

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"Hous ing is a product and a service ; a necess it y and a lux ury ; a nest and a nest egg. tangibl e It is a blend of private enterprise and government activity And it is a service whose value is derived from factors tha t the house doe s not provide ... At rock bottom, the hous e pro v ides s helter ... hou sing however i s much more than walls and spaces. It is a bundle of delivered services (Welfeld 1988 : 16-18) Definition s ofHousing Hou s ing C haracteristics Let us review the characteristics ofhou s ing evoked b y Welfeld (1973, 1988) It is a Co mposit e Phe n o menon First cha racteristi c, housing is a co mpo s ite pheno men o n that could be m o re adequately circumscribed by intr od ucing a dis tinction between housing and dwelling "All houses are dwellings but n o t all dwellings are hou ses, some are little more than a depression in the l o n g grass ... To dwell is to ma k e one s abode, to live in or at or on ( Oliver, 1 987: 7). Dwelling is both a proces s and a n artifact. It is the process ofliving at a location and it is the ph ys ical exp ression of doing so (Oliver 1987 : 7) which varies extensively in the forms it takes But the dwel l in g place is more than the structure. The bond between people and their dwellin g places tra n scends the ph ys ical l imitatio n s of th eir habitations The structure h as for primary role to meet th e need s of a bas ic desire for pr otec tive enclosure and r eass uring en v ironm e nt. This asp ect of proces s i s too ofte n b ypassed in hou s in g poli c ies 248

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most ofthe attent ion being devoted to the artifact facet of housing. D we l l i ngs have a double signi fican ce w hich enc ompasses the manifold cultural and material aspects of dom estic habitations. I 1 ,)'erves a Co ntinuous Need Seco n d c h aracter i s tic like the need for food h ous ing i s a continu ous need; people need to be s helter e d everyd ay But unlik e food, they cannot provide for i t on a da i l y basis. Th e fulfillm ent i s n o t divisible into daily pa y ments and cannot in a traditional urban cont ext, b e achieved progressively ove rtime If the y rent peo ple mus t pay rent wee kly o r m on thly. If t h ey build the expenses hav e t o be faced in larg e lumps. I f they buy, they must be able t o disburse a l arge amount at one time either by sec uring credit o r b y u sing previous sav i ngs It is a P e rmanent Product The third c hara c t eristic is that traditional h ousing has a s tr o n g per manence co mponent. Per manence is bo th temp ora l and s p atial H ouses a r e built t o las t the y are durable. E ven temp o rar y s helter s h ave a strong propensity t o last l onger than or iginall y p l anned. This tempo ral p e rman e nce i s the char acteristic that places housing on the bor derl ine between capital and co nsumer goods The second form of permanence is s p a tial. Hou ses are located ', they are built in a given place, spa tiall y s ituated and they are n o t m ovable. Even m obile h omes an U.S. s pecialty, ar e mostl y fixed after their initial deli very. 249

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Housing is Mediated Fourth character istic housing i s inter-mediated There is an outside intervention between the need and its satisfaction. The days are lon g gone s in ce the whole village would help the newly weds build up their own hom e and convene at sunrise to put up the frame structure and the roof trusses, in exchange for a hot meal and a share of strong community cohesion. In many societies as in Kabylia building a new house is a collective project, mobili zi ng the w h ole agnatic group, in a voluntary chore (transporting tru sses for example) which coincides w ith the starting of a new family" (Bourdieu, 1990: 7) Indeed people do not often build their own homes anymore Providing shelte r ha s become a specialist' s job, sometimes relayed by governments. Therefore there is a distance between the needs as the final users exper i ence them and as th e specia liz ed providers be they gove rnments or builders define them One of the reasons for inter-mediation in modern societies, is that providing hou sing has become a very complex task both at the l evel ofthe product itself and at the level ofits e n viro nm ent. Housing is a Heterogeneou s and Indivisibl e Product "Housing i s a h e terogeneou s commodity with a multitude of attributes (such as number of rooms, and type of heating sys tem) and not one ofthese attributes or any combination 250

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thereof associated with any dwelling unit is divisible into homogeneous units, even of a theor etica l nature (Pynoos, Schafer and Hartman 1 980: 211 ). Both housing and dwellings are heterogeneous. Dwellings vary in their size, their interior distribution their level of equipment, their age, their form collective or individual their location rural or urban and as a result of all these the y vary in their value and market price. But housing is also cla ssified according to the form oftenure (ownership opposed to tenancy) to it s sector (public opposed to private depending on th e intervention of government in the production ownership or financing of the residential units), to its financial status (owned free and clear opposed to mortgaged), and finally to its title status, and de ed quality (fee s imple warranty deed quit claim deed). It is Technically Complex Building is technically complex as well as legall y a very regulated task. Thus, it requires the sk illed in terve ntion of do zens of technicians and craftspeople as well as that of the regulating agencies often experienced more as interference than as contribution. Building a house requires a myriad of specialists. U rban planners, developers architects, landscapers designers, builders co ntractors carpenters masons roofers framers window in sta llers electricians plumbers heating and cooling systems installers dry wall hangers taper s, te)\1:ure sprayers painters flooring installers cabi net makers, appliance and fixture 251

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providers and installers security systems installers, even finishers ... but also mortgagors, Joan originators, city or county inspectors, city or county planning and zoning administrators, marketers, real estate agents ... the list is long but all these peop l e and more are needed in the process of building a home and delivering it to its final user. Thousands of tasks have to be organized and scheduled, tons of materials have to be delivered and processed, hundred s of days oflabor have to be orchestrated ... building a house is a complex enterprise A good reflection of the complexity ofthe housing field is provided by the abundance of words existing both in French and American language and relating to this field of study Particularly varied are the wo rds that designate the home and the house which attests to the richness ofthis artifact. Houses as Marketing Product s "Housing is a complex bundle oftechnically independ en t attributes" (Olsen, 1980: 235) In order to study the housing market, it is necessary to see it as one in which a hom ogeneous commodity is bought and sold". This i s why market researchers and economists introduce the concept of an unobservable theoretical entity" called housing service (Olsen, 1980 : 235). 252

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"Each dwelling unit is presumed to yield some quantity of this good during each time period. It is further assumed to be the only thing in a dwelling unit to which consumers attach value" (Pynoos Schafer and Hartman, 1980 : 211 ) Welfeld s definition of houses "as a bundle of delivered services" is consistent with the general definition of any product by marketing science : "a bundle of advantages for the consumer" (Kotler and Armstrong, 1993) Real estate marketers identify three broad categories of such advantages Beyond the core product the y include the location and financing Houses as Cultural Products Thus what can we learn about French and American cultures through a comparison of their built environment? The designs of houses their configurations as well as the types of furniture and objects used by people highly reflect social norms and roles (Altman 1976 1977 1983 1985 ; Altman, Rapoport and Wohlwill 1980 ; Altman and Low 1992). Social rules give their meaning to the settings, the people and their behaviors (Rapoport, 1982). 253

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First of all le t us say th at to an outside observer, the dwelli ngs that shelter the French and th e Americans are not grossly different to the point for example that it would be impossible to a French national to identify an American home for what it is, and vice -vers a. The fact that single fami ly houses make up to two third (68%) of the housing stocks in the Unite d States w hereas the y represent onl y 56 .2% (Plan Logement, 1997 1999) ofthe stocks in France has hi s toric al causes and will onl y be addressed briefly. The first important trait is that 75 to 800 /o of the French population s dream is also a single fam ily house (Segaud, B o nval et, Brun, 1998 : 152). This preference has been very stable over time but h a s only b een reflected in the production of housing recently since the end of the hou s ing cris is' (Ia crise du logement ) in the 1980s'. Indeed the situation that had been pre\al e nt in France s ince the First World War w as that of a severe housing shortage. The destruc tions s uffere d during th e Fi r s t World War had not been re store d when the Second \Vorl d War s t arted. In 1 945 the stock of e xi sting housing was deeply depleted standing at irs lowest level since 1 931, with 13. 5 million units for 40. 5 million inhabitants and crowding w as the rul e w ith 1 .15 pe rso n per room Only since the 1980s was the housing crisi s finally e radicated. The stock of housin g reached 24 million units in 1982 for 54 2 mi llion inh a biiants \\ith a b ala n ced rate of occu pancy at 0. 76 person per room In 1996 the stock has rea c h ed 28.3 mill ion un its. for a p opul ation of 58.4 million, the number of inh a bitant per room is 0.62, n-hich is in terpre te d as strong und e r occupation according to European nonn s. 2 5 4

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Thanks to a steady increase in their standard of living French people did finally get a real opportunity to choose their mode of housing And their preferences were clearly reflected in their purchases. Today, 80.4% ofthe owners own a single-family home and only 19.6% a multi-family collective dwelling (logement collectif appartement) The largest increase of individual houses privately owned over the last twel v e years has been located in communities (French communes') between 10,000 and 20,000 inhabitants and in the Paris area (increase of 17 and 14% respectively). These figures are no longer very different from those in America There is roughly a I 0% difference between American and French statistics of h o me-ownership and of single family housing ('maison individuelle ) share. The most acute difference is in the average square-footage ofthe houses : 103-m2 (1108-sf.) in France and 175-m2 (1883-sf.) in the U.S. A The difference is less acute in collective apartments: 66-m2 (710-sf.) against 80-m2 (861-sf) Thererefore, it is with subtleties that we are going to deal, with meaning rather than with broad phy s ical differences ; with degrees rather than with absolute dimensions and finally, with attitudes and with feelings The three advantages defined by marketing will be approached through the following characteristics ofthe French and American housing systems First the location will be studied through the spatial s y stems in which houses are built. 255

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Second, the core product will be reviewed through a comparison of the houses, their interior and their fencing systems. Third, the financing aspect will be analyzed through a characterization of houses as consumer or capital good. "By looking at housing we are looking at America" (Welfeld, 1988 : 16) . . And at France also, or at any other country through their housing practices Comparative Approach to the Location Factor "The dwelling is not only a cell where one lives, it is located in a precise space from which it cannot be abstracted Its economic affective and symbolic value depends on its localization and on its environment (Segaud, Bonvalet and Brun 1998 : 6). The three most important characteristics that define the value of a house are location location and location" (real estate agents wisdom). The Attitude Towards the Suburbs In their origins the urban forms prevalent in both countries were very much alike; an integrated city where people of different classes were working and living together and next to each other By the middle of the 19th century though, central cities had grown to be 256

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overcrowded and represented health hazards (such as cholera or plague epidemics) as well as political risks (social unrest in France and immigration threats in the U.S.A). The well-to-do families were ready to seek to separate themselves from the intrusions of the work place and the city (Fishman 1987: 9) These bourgeois families' attempt at separating themselves from the working classes was achieved through completely different means in France and in the United States Histmy of So c ial Segregation Pattern s in Fran ce and in the U.S.A In France. In Paris middle-class districts were created within the city thanks to the powerful intervention of central planning backed by the French government. A massive government intervention that ofHaussmann backed by Louis Napoleon into the French housing market cut wide, straight boulevards through the maze of narrow streets and made possible the construction of apartment houses near the center of Paris on a scale unprecedented . In the States, however, the middle classes followed the English model of suburbanization forcing the working-class into an intermediate factory zone sandwiched between the central business district and the suburbs (Fishman 1987 : 111 ). In both cases the ideals were the same: domesticity, privacy and class segregation. In Paris they could be achieved through urban apartment houses aristocratic in their facades and thoroughly bourgeois in their domestic arra ngements (Fishman 1987 : 11 0). There was no Evangelical movement to see urban culture as dangerous and dis solute and no Puritan tradition to oppose family life to the pleasures of urban culture 257

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In the USA. In the United States, the first half of the 19th century saw a significant separation of work and residence and a tendency for the middle-classes to move their residences from the core to increasingly prestigious areas of peripheral residence. They still resolutely favored the urban row house though "The march of brick and then brownstone townhouses up Manhattan Island remained the great symbol of urban growth in antebellum America They represent a collective self-confidence in their owners' ability to dominate the urban scene regardless ofthe poverty and commercialism constantly pressing in around them" (Fishman, 1987: 117) But after the mid-19th century they lost that self-confidence which had sustained residence in a disorderly democratic city. On the contrary, mass-immigration industrialization and ma chi ne politics in the cities prompted a return to the ideals of unspoiled nature and countryside "It brought about a desire for class segregation, which caused the suburban form to supplant the townhouse among the American bourgeoisie (Fishman, 1987 : 118) Furthermore to this strong impetus to suburbanization was soon added an equally strong eco nomic moti ve: cheap agricultural land could be turned into highly profitable lots Suburbia proved to be a go od investment as well as a good home (Fishman, 1987 : 10) In the twentieth century race became the dividing line in social segregation Black neighborhoods were confined to the less desirable areas of the inner cities. With time, racial segrega tion has developed and spread to all communities ofthe country and continues to pose serious problems today The issue has been intensel y studied by social scientists government agencies and varied civil or corporate constituencies (Greenbaum 1993 ; 258

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Bradford 1979; Galster and Hill 1992; Massey and Denton, 1993, Piven and Cloward, l 980 ; National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, 1968). Despite its importance to American urban life it will not be addressed here, as it is not relevant to our comparison These two different ways, the French and the American, of dealing with the same problem, urban promiscuity reveal a drastically different worldview, which is also manifest in the organization of space developed by the two cultures. In France space is organized in a web or star pattern In the United States, it is the grid pattern, which is prevalent. This is not a new finding ; Hall in 1966 already opposed the radiating star system which connects all points and functions (Hall, 1971: 146), to the grid system which separates activities by stringing them out" (Hall, 1971: 146). The Web and the Grid Patterns of Space Organization "The first question French visitors arriving at a local airport are likely to ask their American hosts is where is the center ? or Where are we in relation to the center?'('Ou sommes-nous par rapport au centre? ) 'Is your place far from the center? The Americans will probably answer 'You mean the downtown area ... it's 20 minutes away to the south ... Our place is 30 minutes to the west.. and they mean of course 30 minutes from here, the airport. A Frenchman picking up a foreign host in Charles de Gaulle would probably have answered the same question I live in the 16th it is in the west ofParis, about 25 kilometers from here". (Interviews with business people involved in international relations ) 259

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The implicit reference being, in the case of the Americans the place where they actually are (the airport), and for the French the city center from which everything is organized In the same manner, when you ask for directions in France, you are likely to be told for example : "It is quite far, it is in the other side of the city, in the north-east. Go straight ahead for about two kilometers to the center, you will see the church, then tum left on the street in front of the church Drive about three hundred meters and it will be right there on your right" In the United States you would be given the following instructions it is not too far to the north from here; keep going on this road ; at the fifth light go east and it will be at the southwest corner of the second crossroads" (Interviews with business people involved in international relations). The web or star system. Although French directions may sound ineffective to Americans, at first, Hall admits Once one learns to use the star system with its center-point co-ordinates, it is easier to locate objects or events in space by naming a point on a line In contrast the grid system of co-ordinates involves at least two lines and a point to locate something in space (often many more lines and points, depending on how many turns one has to make (Hall 1971: 147). Hall proceeds to give an example of the simplicity of the French system. "Meet me at the 50 kilometer mark on Route Nationale 20 (State Road) south of Paris, is all the information you need to give to be effectively able to meet the person" (1971 : 147) 260

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Hall is right in principle, but a French person would never give such directions : PK (kilometer points) are co-ordinates used only by police in case of accidents on highways, just like 22:05 connotes military time in the U.S A. A French driver would rather say, "meet me in front ofthe church (or on the market place or in front of the chateau) in Dreux ". The star or web pattern is hierarchical. It has a central point from which all originates or to w hich all ends. In a centralized s tar system the land situated at the center will always be rarer and thus more valuable than the one at the periphery What is more the closer to the center the more accessible and valuable the land is. The progres s ion is hierarchical. The star system is sociopetal and t y pical ofFrance and Spain (Hall, 1966) The grid system. On the co ntrary in a grid pattern any intersection is equivalent to a nd as valuable as any other The progression is linear, and when an area of the grid is full builders can move to another area without being ex-centered that is without loosing value. This can be verified in the practice of American developments When an area is fully developed the activity moves on to another location which therefore becomes desirable an d after a while, the former location ages looses its desirability and becomes marginalized The newer developments compete with the earlier ones by opening large portions of new land absolutely as desirable as the former ones and so contribute to keep land prices affordable 261

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Hall also notes that he grid system is sociofugal and typical ofEngland and the United States (Hall 1966) Segregation of Space ... Driving home from the airport on the local expressway the first-time French visitors to the U.S. A. are likely to be amazed at the succession of strip-shopping centers, fast food restaurants and even larger shopping malls which endlessly reproduce themselves hindering any of their attempts at spatial understanding They feel lost and this does not improve when the car l eaves the state road to enter a residential street, bordered by houses directly off the street, looking unprotected and 'all the same ', albeit all different. The question coming to their minds is Where is the closest bakery"? (Interviews with business people involved in international relations) The second characteristic which is going to strike our French visitors is probably the segregation of activities within urban space which creates specialized areas and separates them into different zones such as commercial or residential. The segregation goes further to distinguish between single-family and multi-family residences or between townhouses and the ape x single-family houses Indeed as far as urban space is concerned American preferences are for specialized, s e gregated suburbs, wherea s the French seem to prefer central polyvalent areas. 262

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In the US.A. American patterns are based on functional segregation coupled with micro-social seg re gation. Functional segregation of space. Americans' preference for the suburbs is linked to their segregated conception of urban space. As we have seen above, it is probably their Puritan beliefs which led Americans to protect their families from th e promiscuity of the city by i so lating them in the suburbs To remain a domestic ha ven the s uburb s had to be protected This was achieved by developing a conscious process of planning and design that would i solate a tract of undeveloped land from all undesirable uses and define that land as a s uburb suitable only for middle-class dwellings" (Fishman 1987 : 121). Once se l ected and marked as singlefamily land the parcel would remain isolated from any other land uses. This has led today to a strict exclusion from single-family areas of all other kinds of land use which would, it is believed, not on l y l ower t he values of the dream houses, but also be a threat to domestic tranquility. Commercial and residential spaces are carefully de limi ted and a strict separation of work and commercia l activ iti es from the hav e n of domesticit y i s enfo r ced. Commercial activities have to be located away from the residential parcels and e ve n home-based businesses are strictl y regulated and controlled. 263

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But the control goes further. Since there cannot be any contac t between sing lefamily houses and commercial activities, planners provide for buffer zones between these two extremes of land use and organize a sort of progressively denser and denser land use as one goes away from single-family zones. The specialization separates within residential areas rental apartments from owner-occupied dwellings, one-fami l y structures from multi-family units and finally, the apex detached single-fami l y -hou ses from other townhouses semi detached houses and row houses. Therefore, functional segregation l eads naturally to social segregation. Different modes of tenure are isolated from each other, tenants being located closer to commercial and professional zo nes, in multi-family structures such as apartments buildings Then come the owner-occupied multi-family units such as townhouses or high-density single-family units such as attached houses or zero-lot-line subdivisions, and finally, s ingle-family detached houses Micro-level social segregation Micro-level social segregation is based on the belief that "homogeneity is strongly associated with a lower probability of social conflict and land use compatibility reflects what is belie ved about land user s compatibi lit y" (Perin 1977 : 1983 ). The quest for homogeneity is very important in the United States because propinquity is the basis for man y relationships The neighbor i s actually quite close Being a neighbor endows 264

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one with certain rights and privileges and also responsibilities. You can borrow things includ in g food and drink, but you also have to take your neighbor to the hospit a l in case of emergency In this regard the neighbor has a lm ost as much claim on you as a cousin does Americans try to pick their nei ghborhood carefully, as they know that they are going to be thrown into intimate contact with neighboring people (Hall, 1959 : 175) But the segregat i on is not organize d on a grand scale as it i s in France. It is the result of successive waves of development, a few grids at a time Therefore all the various zones described above are juxtap osed w ithin relatively small areas, and as you t ra vel through the city the landscape unfolds repetitively the same chains of zoning configurations Hence, the suburban landscape appears to a French observer as an inordinate and boring succession of strip shopping centers fast food re s t auran t s and other shopp in g malls, endlessly stretching along highways which seem to lead nowhere. Of co urse the se linear la nd scapes defy understand ing to a centralized, stra tified French mind which feels lost and overcome in such surroundings In hance F ren c h pattern s are based on funct i onal integration and macro-level social segregation. Functional integration. French centralizers will promote a "wel l balanced space ( un espace bien equilibre) which according to their definition of ba l ance means functionally 265

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integrated. New home buyers are likely to demand being within walking distance to such amenities as shopping centers, especially the all important bakery' schools, government agencies and even emp lo y ment opportunities : "walking to work" is the most sought after comfort although rarely achieved any more especially for the new constructions The centralized star system is sociopetal. It is one of its advantages described by Hall ( 1966) It makes it possible to integrate a number of different activities in centers, in less space than with the g rid system Thus residential shop ping commercial and recre at i on areas can both meet and be reached from a central poin t ... France i s a series of radiating n etworks that build up into larger and larger centers It is a basic thread that tends to be woven through o ut the entire fabric of the society (Hall 1966: 148) The French are able to face such local functional land mixes without being threatened by undesired socia l intercourse because the y ha ve organized their socia l segregation on a gra nd scale. Undesirable people are far away and ha ve neither reason nor ea sy transportatio n to v i sit areas where they do not belong Social segregat i on at a macr o-level. The hierarchy of the spatial system defines broad areas of r e lative social homogeneity such as the West of Pari s which ma y b e qualified as opulent as o ppo sed to the North, which ma y be said t o be lower-class Within these large areas, the land prices dwelling standards and inhabitants social classes are rather consistent and homogeneous and therefore perceived as safe 266

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Second the decrea se in land val u es i s progressive and continuous It origi nates from the ce nter and f rom tradition a l opulent areas. Therefore w ithin broad a re as th ere is no risk of being in und esi r ab le company The spa tial syste m is co ntinuous instead of being broken-u p as in t he Unit ed States w h ere a mobile home park may be bu i lt next to a half million d o llar single-fami l y h o use s ubdi v i s ion protected only by i ts surrounding fences The t hird reason th a t the French h ave n o problem with functionally integrated space is that their hou ses a re conceived to provide a good amount of priv a c y and protec tion: solid wall s, shutters and fences are some o f the many o bs tacles that sta nd up in the way of a p ossible intruder Hall s description ofth e Latin h ouse bui l t aro und a patio that is next t o the sidewalk but hidden from o utsid e r s by a wall (1959: 175) could ap p ly to French houses The American reaction to this t ype of architecture definite l y applies too They feel left out of thin gs" o r "shut off'. Some wonder what i s going o n behind those walls" (Hall 1959 : 175). It is the same r eact i on that American business people have w h en t he y visit their F rench colleagues at P arisian headquarters The y feel rejected unwe l come because all the doors of the var iou s office s are closed an d the y h ave to walk along en d l ess co rridors without seeing one per so n They voice their unea s ine ss by saying that the French are co l d and unfrien dly. Actually it i s o nl y the buildin gs that are and on l y because the meaning of a closed door i s different in France and in the U.S .A. The last reaso n they can t o l erate so me limit ed diversity in th eir neighborhoods, is that the French do not re l y o n their n eighbors to de ve lop their soc ial networks You ma y live your 267

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entire life ne x t to the same family and never have to exchange more than a distant and cold "bonjour". In France, the relations between neighbors are apt to be coo ler than in the United States Mere propinquity does not tie people together" (Hall 1959: 175) This being said, socia l segregation is extreme in the highest-class residential areas 'les beaux quarriers as it is in the lowest public housing suburbs Extreme social classes do not mix at all. The highest class has organized its isolation during the last one-and-a-half centuries The lowest classes including many immigrants have been ghettoed by the rest of the low-class which does not accept cu lt ural and racial differences There is slightly more diversified social contact in the middle-class. A s oc iological study publi s hed in 1989 is emblematic and frig htening It shows how closed the wealthy areas ofParis are and how restricted as well : the ih, 16th and Neui ll y and to a lesser extent the 8111 and the south of the 1 i11. The prices per square meter are 2 to 5 times higher than in the other areas (arrondissements) the average square-footage of the dwellings is twice a s big the density of the population is onl y 30% of that of the most hig hly populated areas ; and parks public gardens tree s flow e rbeds and v egetation are eve ryw here (Pinyon and Pinyon-Chariot 1989 : 19-2 9 ) In these 'beaux quartiers live the surviving French aristocracy and the old bourgeois families Success and money have to be several generations old to belong here to ensure that the family is duly acculturated and has acquired nati v e elegance, discretion and cordiality in a phrase 'natural distinction which is s upposed t o set the s e s ocial classes apart from the rest of the population As a sign, fifty per cent of all those who pay the wealth tax' ('imp6t sur Ia fortune ', a special tax based on 268

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the amount of a family's total wealth) live i n the 8111 and the 16th. (Pin<;:on an d Pin<;:on C h a rlot 1 989: 28). Money i s not eno ugh to be accep ted in those circles which are subtly even more st r atified. Not onl y are these beaux quartiers extremely segregated, their inhabitants res trict their social contacts further by limitin g the m to the members of th e ir clubs. Different groups are th u s further identified ac cor din g to the private club s they belong to. O ne of them, the Jockey Club i s reserv ed for the a uth entic nobility (ance stry is dul y verified by the Association de Ia Noblesse Francaise) and accep t s only men introduced by two lon g time spo nsorin g members. It comprises ab out 900 members There a re a h a lf-d ozen of the se excl u s i ve clubs a nd circle s Some ofth em with lu x uri o u s sports equipment are located in t h e Bois de Boulogne on land ren t ed by t h e City of Pari s (le Cercle duBois ou Tir aux Pigeons l e R aci n g C lub l e P olo, l e Cercle d e l E trier ) Some others are j u s t prest i gious social places where these people can meet in a lu xurious calm and protected ambiance ('ambi ance feu tree' ) ( I A ut omo bile Club l e Cercle de I 'Union Int era lliee, l e Jocke y) All are o rganized o n th e principle of co-optation (new members need to be sponsored b y two lon gtim e members) charge hig h entrance and yearly dues, have waiting list s several year s l o n g a nd co ntribute to the continuation of the establishment' s soc ial system They h ave been in ex istence for ove r a century and i t would be inconceivable to see them di sappea r be forced to ope n their memberships o r be d e p r i v ed of their lan d pri vileges by the City ofPari s. T h e l inks bet ween the political power 269

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and these families are sufficient to control any threat of that sort (Pinc;:on and Pinc;:onCharl o t 1989). The study shows that the continuation of thi s soc ial system by the members of these circles is further accomplished by the strict monitoring oftheir children's education. Since a private preceptor is no longer an option, parents want to make sure that their children will be schooled among people of their own kind ('entre gens d'un certain milieu ) To that effect t h ey select private schools or invest and dominate a few local public schools They organize very selective 'rallies' (sorts of m eeting groups) for their teenage offspring, with organized and adult supervised activities such as art bridge, dance and horse riding or tenni s lessons These rallies transform into very forma l dancing parties when the children turn eighteen All these activit ie s a r e conce i ved of in order to deve lop the young peo ple's socia l skills and to teach them good manner s in a soft, patient, natural way which will ensure the development of their natural distinction', the disc rim inatin g social marker of thi s class "The building of social identity i s at stake in the system of instruction and education which i s s ele cte d by the parents (Pinc;:on and Pinc;:on-Charlot 1989 : 75) The urban landscape ofthese 'Beau x Quartiers' is consistent with the luxury ofthe interiors of the buildings Shops and boutiqu es are spec i a lized in luxury and specialty products, beautifully displayed and discreet l y promoted "Architectural aspects display the social speci ficity of the area and reinforce the effects of spatial segregati o n through the aesthetics of urban forms offering their social symbol i sm and displaying their good taste to passers-by ... The richness of the Haussmania n decor contrasts w ith the asceticism of the poors s uburbs ugly aliunments. ln l es beaux quartiers space i s s taged and d i sp l ayed There you learn to have room ample room and to ass ume th e role ('prendre Ia place' 'take the 270

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room in French) which i s owed to you in the city and in socie t y ('lei on apprend a avoir de Ia place toute sa place, eta prendre Ia place qui vous est due dans Ia ville et dans Ia societe') and Pinr; on -Ch arlot 1989: 4 7 48) And as will be see n later room a nd space are r are expe nsi v e and extremely h ig hl y val u ed in France! The only socia l diversity in the 'beaux quarti ers' n eig hborho o d i s th at created b y the p e rsonal service employees. Co n cie rges ofthe buildings, hou se cleaners cooks, chambermaids and chauffeurs are ten ti m es more numerous in the beaux quartiers than in the rest ofParis ( 12 % ofthe local population) Not orio u sly absent are the lower middl e class the middle-class a nd blue-c o llars (onl y 7% instea d of36%). Higherc lass and aristocracy repr esent 73% of the inhabitants (instead of21 % f o r all of Paris) The comparison with the rest ofPari s is a b i a sed comparison The differen c es would b e even hig her w i t h the total French population In conclus i o n it is obvious that the French spatial concept i o n s expre s s enact an d contribute to th e co ntinued stra tifi cation of their rigid socia l system American s pat ia l organ i zat ion displays a diffe rent concep t of segregation, l ess structured more bro ke n-up and fluid mirroring it s soci a l class structure Let us review the c o nsequences of t he se difference s in the house itself 271

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Analysis of the Core Product "In all societies social roles and norms dictate how homes should be used the times and places for entering entertaining, sleeping eating as well as of a myriad of other behaviors and symbolic practices (Gauvain, Altman and Hussein 1983 ; Altman and Gauvain, 1981). Because our informants-Suzan in the U.S.A. and Madame Lafeuille in France-are supposed to be thoroughly acculturated, we can infer from their remarks some generalities about the ways houses are use d and what they mean to the people of their culture T he House and its Int e rior Home, whatever form it may take is a shelter from rain sun or cold a protection from enemies, animals or humans It is a place to live to eat, to sleep to relax to get cleaned, to s tore one's belongings, to bring up a family It is a place to share with your close beloved o ne s and a place to entertain your friends It is also a way of constructing a family's image o f dis playing an individual s identity of establishing someone's statu s and much more . "Most ofus would agree on these basic characteristics. At least nowadays and in this country! stated Suzan without he s itation when she read this g eneral description I had m ade up from our first interviews The subject was exhausted . or so it seemed "Why choos e s uch a s ubject of stud y? Everyone knows what a house is what it looks like what it is used for e ven knows what problems it ma y bring (Madame Lafeuille) . It is common, widespread knowled g e ; besides, it is part of each person's everyday experience 272

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in all the countries of the world and has been so since time immemorial. Everything seems to have already been said, debated written printed photographed and filmed on the subject. These were the general reactions of most of my informants in both countries. In France, I had to repeatedly confirm that the purpose of the interviews was in no way to investigate the varied problems the homeowner had with the builder and in the U.S A I had to cut short the stories ofthe problems with the homeowners association To study the housing culture ofboth countries an ethnographic study was conducted in both the United States and France, using ethnographic interviews as a method of investigation At this point, it should be restated that one ethnography alone cannot be used as a comparative method. Each ethnographic study needs to be conducted independently in each country including data collection and analysis The comparative phase can only take place in a second phase analyzing and comparing the results of each independent ethnography. The second level of analysis comparing the results of the two ethnographies, revealed s everal areas of difference in the way houses are conceived and inhabited in France and in the US.A. 273

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In the course of the first interviews I was confronted with the contradiction evoked earlier Home is suc h everydays experience that it i s difficult to talk about it. So we started by discussing the product house '. I applied Spradley's (1979) re co mmendations to start and remain with descriptive question s for the first interviews, but it is only when I started to mix structural and contrast questions that interviews became more interesting and more fruitful. The first differences worth noting are provided by the comparison of the results yielded by domain anal ysis. Such analysis is a search on the basis of some similarity for the larger units of cultural knowledge called domains and the cultural symbols they include. /he Different Kinds of Houses The first domain identifi ed was KINDS OF HOUSES The included terms mentioned by Suzan were : 4bedroom/3baths 3bedroom/2bath, two story hou se one level s plit plan tri-level stilt-home, masonry structure, cement block and s tucco frame house wood house, indi vidua l house st u cco a nd masonry board and batten brick house conventional t ype of housing 2bed room/l bath 4bedroom/l bath, the house I will build the house I grew up in the newer house (I grew up in) m y sister's home. The included terms in the domain KINDS OF HOUSE a re in a relationship of strict inclu sion : Y i s a kind of'. lt seems to be an eas y o n e t o identify for my informants: "Oh l 274

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can think ofmany ... but we don't have that much time, and you don't need that many examples . said Suzan Madame Lafeuille repeated my question incredulously really you want me to spell out the kinds of hous es I know? There are lots! During the fir s t 2 interviews the questions asked were descriptive of the type ; "is Y a kind of Z". The an s wers were scattered all over the text, showing very little organization of the knowledge. A positive effect of structural questions asked later was to encourage the info rmants to enunciate their knowledge in form of categories and in a more or les s exhaustive way. When asked what are all the kinds of houses she can think of, Suzan first names different floor plans. "My favorite type of a house is a two story house, " then you have what you call a one level split plan", which is obviously not one she likes, "then what we used to ha ve was tri-le ve l and "we will build a large stilt home" Then she mentions the style ranch style is another one-level house" Then asked ifthe difference is the number of levels, she agrees but immediately states that there are other dimensions that can be differentiating. "Yes, and the different types of structures: the masonry, the board and batten with a rustic look, and a lot of frame houses are coming back brick houses th e stucco and masonry like ours ". Then, when the conversation goes on she happen s to mention the condo category which she immediately opposes to others "We never live d in a condo ourselves (before this one) we always lived in a private home ," "when we go back to a conventional type of housing ... I mean individual home as opposed to condo" ... 275

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Later, to answer my structural ques ti o n s Suzan draws from her pre v ious experience. She uses as man y examples as she can : m y sister's home ," the older house I grew up in "the newer house I grew up in", the hou se we will bu ild ", the other house we lived in before mo v in g he r e ". She also t ries to reach some le ve l of abs tracti on: the basic American h o me ". It is only when s he is asked about another domain KINDS OF ROOMS, exploring the different rooms of a h ouse that s he thinks of mentioning the compos i tion of the house 3 b e droom/2bath 2bedroom/l bath 4 b ed ro o m home". In F rance o n the contrary the first included terms to be menti oned by Madame Lafeuille are thi s house" ( c ette m aiso n) and immediately after and the country -h o u se" ( et Ia maison de campagne), family-estate (ma i son de famille) "vacation hou se" which is often at the sa m e time a "family -es tate ", (maiso n de vacan ces qui e s t a u ssi souvent une maison de famil le ), seaside villa (vi lla a Ia mer) beautiful anci ent property ", (belle pro priete ancienne) "new house (maison neu ve pavilion neuf) "sin g le-family hou se" (maison indi v iduelle) 4 5 6 and more than 6 rooms ", multi floor (a e ta ges) or o ne floo r' (plain-pied), "on your lot on my lot isolated ( diffus, s ur m o n terrain isolee ) in subdiv i s i o n (da n s une residence), o n a deve loper's lot (e n loti sse ment) p r imary r eside n ce" ( r es id e n ce principale) prefabricated hou se" (mai so n prefabriquee) o r t raditio nal h ouse", h ar d h o u se" (maison traditionelle, en dur) "block h ouse" or concrete hou se" or brick" (maison e n parpain gs, en beton o u en briques) or Meuliere s t one and carved sto ne hou se" but this i s t oo expensive, for us (ma i so n en meuliere en 276

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pierre de taille, mais r;a c'est trop cher pour nous), it's for castles (c'est pour les chateaux) "suburbs house in new developments" like here (maison de banlieue dans les nouveaux lotissements comme ici) "my brother's house" "my parents' house" (Ia maison demon frere de mes parent s), "suburbs subdivision condo house (pavilion dans une residence, en copropriete, en bani ieue ) property estate (grande propriete) "condo at a ski resort" (appartement au ski) but this term is immediately eliminated: "No it's not a house! And this brings in the next series of terms, "city condo (appartement en ville), "apartment or condo" (appartement) condo in a subdivision" (appartement dans une residence) or tower apartment as in the fift ee nth" (appartement dans une tour comme dans le quinzieme) Then comes the mention ofthe kind of tenure : rented apartment (appartement en location), "house or condo that I own (maison ou appartement dont je suis proprietaire). This list evidences the fact that the domain HOUSE is a very rich one for both my informants and it is multifaceted Several pieces of information are worth noting The first distinction that comes to the mind of my French informant is that between her primary residence and the country-house' which is a family country-house as I will learn later Vacation houses and family house or estate' follows it. My American informant never mentioned any ofthese categories. 277

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The French emblematic country -h ouse. The importance ofthis domain 'maison de campagne' can be interpreted in different fashions. The first obvious fact is the relatively high le vel of second residence ownership in France 11% ofFrench people own a country-house, versus only 3% of Americans (Segaud, Bonvalet and Brun, 1998: 150) It is a phenomenon which seems typically Latin". Portugal (16%), Ital y (14%) and Spain (13%) share it whereas Great Britain (#0%), Germany (0 5%), the Netherlands (1%) and Belgium (4%) do not. I first tried to relate high level of country-house ownership with the surviva l in the culture of trad it iona l patriarchal family structure. It certain l y did fit the Latin coun tri es. But Austria ( 12% ) Switzerland ( 10% ) Denmark (8%) and Sweden (8%) a l so have high percentages of country-house ownership I then thought of relating this feature with the preference for quality li festy le leisure time and more generally a Being orientation according to K l uckhohn and Strodtbeck s model or with the Hofs tede' s Feminine orientation Thus countries high in Feminism would also have high rates of country-house ownership This fits very well for Sweden and Denmark; they achieve with Norway and the Netherlands, the highest scores on Hofstede's scale and for Germany which ranks high in Masculinity and, therefore has few country houses. However it does not fit for the Nether l ands which have very low rates of country house ownership and very high scores on Femininity (Hofstede 1 991: 84). 278

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Finally the best correlation I could find was with the percentage of indi v idual housing as opposed to collective housing (that is, the percentage of single-family hous es compared to the percentage of apartments and condos in the whole housing stock, which is the second perc e ntage indi ca ted below) Country house ownership and related proportion of individual housing in each country : High leve l : France ll% -56 %; Portugal 16%-61% ; I taly, 14% -32 % ; Spain 13%-36%; Aus tri a 12 % -48 %; Switzerland 10 % -21 %; Denmark 8%-61 % ; Sweden, 8% 54% ; Low lev el: Great Britain #0%-79% ; Germany, 0 5 %-46%; the N etherlands 1%-71 % ; Belgium 4%-73 %; U.S A 3%68% In gen e r a l hig h percentages of country-house ownership are associated with high level of collective hou s ing; it holds true for Italy Spain Austria and Switzerland It is less obvious though for France Portugal Denmark and Sweden and it is absolutely irrelevant for Germany In the German case complementary argument s are obviously needed They would be first the l eve ling of most ofthe housing stock during WWli and the pressures of reconstruction w hich favored collective housing and second the recent reunification with Eastern Germany (communist countries forbade for seven t y yea rs th e buildin g of indi v idual house s for i deolog i ca l reason s) 279

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On the contrary, when most people live in single-family houses they do not own a country house It holds true for all countries with high rate of individual housing : Great Britain, Belgium the Netherlands and the U.S.A The most accurate way to account for the exact situation in each country is probably to consider the interplay of several of these factors in the final result, and to introduce another one, inspired by Hall's models the degree of spatial centralization. Spatial centralization will be evaluated in this case as the level of the urban population concentration. It can be evaluated in two ways First, the number and size ofthe country s cities and second, the percentage of the urban population and the duration of the urbanization process in the country. Thus in countries with a small number of very large cities, urban housing is more likely to be multi-family, whereas countries with many medium-sized cities are more likely to develop suburban single-family housing without imposing long commutes on their inhabitants. Also, countries having accomplished their industrial revolution early are more likely to have urbanized more of their populations earlier. Therefore the contact with the original village is out of reach for the memory of the living generations. On the contrary, the countries that are more recently (less than a hundred years) industrialized and urbanized may still have the grandparents' generation liv ing in the v illage house This is the case of 280

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the four Latin countries. As an example, as late as 1946 in France 48% of the population was still rural and only 52% lived in cities (Debbash and Pontier, 1989: 605). The low rate of country-house ownership in America is perfectly consistent with the high rate of individual housing. Most Americans, like the British the Belgians and the Dutch live in single-family houses therefore they do not need a country-house Incidentally three ofthese four countries also rank very high on Hofstede's "Individua lism scale, respectively first (U.S.A) third (Great Britain) and fourth (Netherlands) out of a total of fifty countries Belgium ranks eighth approximatel y at the middle of the twenty-three industrialized countries of the sample (Hofstede 1991: 53) The high rate of country-house ownership in France coupled with a rather high rate of individual housing would then ha ve to be explained by the interpla y of se v eral secondary factors They are first the relatively strong survival as in the other Latin countries of the patriarchal extended family model, which favors and values the house as family-estate The second factor is the v ery centralized organi z ation of space and a relatively late industrial re vo lution. Therefore, the French urban landscape consists of a few very large cities and lots of very small towns and villages. France was indeed known as the country with a hundred 281

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thousand communes" (le pays aux cent mille communes) 'commune' being the generic term for an incorporated local entity regardless of its size. Nowadays, France still counts 36,600 'communes', for sixty-three million inhabitants that is an average of seventeen hundred inhabitants per village, and if you deduct the sixteen or eighteen million living in Paris Marseille and Lyon areas, this leaves less than twelve hundred persons per 'commune'! The lower limit for being considered urban' in most statistics is 2 500 ' inhabitants As a comparison, France has more 'communes than all the rest ofEurope put together! It also ranks eleventh on Hofstede's "Individualism" scale (Hofstede 1991: 53). A third factor that applies also to the other Latin countries is the relatively high proportion of secondary residences linked to tourism. These four countries enjoy a better climate than Northern Europe and a rather low density of population. The de ve lopment of the European Union has made it easy for European neighbors to acquire vacation houses in these countries France is the first country in the world for the number of tourists (63 millions last year or over one per inhabitant). There are entire regions which are now revived and developed as tourist residential areas. Besides the traditional Cote d Azur, areas in Perigord, Britanny, Artois Alsace and many more are being 'colonized by hordes of tourists ', British, Germans, Swiss and other Swedish nationals who buy traditional village house s and remodel them completely, up to modern norms of comfort. In whole provinces (administrative entity which compares to a state in the U S.A.) the percentage of country houses in rural areas equals or surpass 30% of all housing (see maps in appendix C). 282

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Of course these factual explanations were not the ones mentioned by my informants Rather the French rationali ze owning their country-houses by using hygiene and health reasons. French families who live in rather small apartments in the center of big cities consider it a health requirement to flee the city during weekends and any holidays or va cations "to get some good air" ("etre au bon air"), "clean their lungs ("se nettoyer Jes poumons") and give their kids the opportunity to recover their appetite and their good red cheeks" ("pour que les enfants retrouvent leur appetit et leurs boones joues rouges") (French informants). To achieve this goal, every Friday afternoon they get in their cars, pick up their kids at school and rush to the doors of the city, onto the packed main hig hways and dri ve two to four hours (one way) in traffic jams to get to their country homes. According to Zeldin (1983) one family out ofthree among executives and one out often among blue collars own their weekend retreats. "If the Englishman s house is his castle, for the French it's their country-house (1983 : 193) Zeldin and others have often made fun of the se week i y exo du ses that put hundred s of thou sa nd of pe o ple on the same bumper to bumper roads, at the same time, leaving the same place and going in the same direction Their pursuit of fresh air first puts them in a gas exhaust-chamber-like atmosphere for hours every single week. In Paris for example the South and West highways are blocked in the exit direction every Fridays from 5 to 9 and every Sunday from 6 to 9 in the reverse direction lt tak es two h ours to complete a reg ular fifteen minute dri ve P eo ple know perfectly well about the situation, but they s till get ritualistically into their traffic jams, 283

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every single Friday and Sunday night. It works almost as a rite de passage', when you have t o suffe r thr oug h an or d eal to ge t access to a be tt e r highe r sta t e o f being Oh we l l it is the price to pay to s p e n d a good weekend" ("c est le prix a pa ye r p o ur passer un bo n weekend") (French informant) Th rough my interviews in France I identified two main pattern s of fun ctioni n g for th e country-hou se Either th e h ouse i s ide ntified with and belongs to a nuclear famil y or i t i s a f amily-estate h o use. If it i s the individual pr operty of a part i c ular co uple they probably acquired it for the mselves, instead of inheriting it. They usuall y use it for relaxing and s ocializing Fre n c h pe op l e, who are in general quite private and reluc t ant to o pen their h o m es in the city, w ill m ore easily open their coun t ry-ho uses. T here, they ca n behave l ess formally and be friendlier w ith out risking l osing o r co mpromising their author ity. O wning a beautiful property (be lle pr oprie te) will add to their res p ectability will attest t o their good ta s t e and finally will co ntribute to their pr estige in a sociall y app r ove d f ashion F or the ric h (especially the new money) acquiring a chateau or othe r imp o rtant estate ( dem eure ge ntilhomiere) i s one of the best and only way t o displa y one s finan c i a l success w i t h out the ris k ofbeing called nouveau riche '. I t i s a sign of soc ial confor mity, enacting the idea l o f family perpetuati o n b y attemptin g to found a new Maiso n (Levi Strau ss 19 9 1 ) Thi s s trateg y will b eco m e more s uc cessful with time. At the second generation the prope11y will be eligibl e f or promotion to the rank of' famil y -es tate 284

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This is the exact strategy that was used by the bourgeois after the French revolution After confiscating the aristocratic estates, for the benefit of the state the y rushed to buy them back from the bankrupt government. Through the Biens Nationaux' the regicides appropriated some of the respectability and aristocratic prestige they had fought to bring down. In any case, whether a modest house (chaumiere) or a chateau, the French country-house plays an important role in developing and stabilizing social relationships It may also pla y a role similar to that of th e family-estate and s trengthen family tie s The family-estate house. The importance ofthe country-house in France is often link ed t o the notion of family-house or family-estate Typicall y a famil y-es tate is either a co untry-hou se bought long ago by the grandparents or the great grandparents or it is the house that belonged to some ascendants and is located in the village where the fam i ly comes from, linked to the lineage s origin and roots ln both cases the house is informally shared by the extended family which regular l y co nvenes to spend weekends and school vacations especially when there are young children and teen-ager s in the family Often if the mother does not work outside the home she spends school and summer vacations in this family-estate with her children and maybe the grandparents and other relatives ; the fathers join their families on weekends 285

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The character of family-house or house opened to all of the adult children with their own children and possibly grandchildren enables about one half of the French population to have such a 'foundation place' where they feel their roots are Despite the term 'famil y estate these house s may be small and sometimes rudimentarily equipped ; nevertheless they have a deep symbolic meaning to their owners and users who do not want to part with them. In such a family estate house everyone feels 'at home'. It is each one's house and home away from home. Each adult member of the family has a key to the house and does not need to be invited to come to stay. If the pattern of use is irregular (the members do not go there every weekend) they only need to inform each other of their plans. Using the house is a right no invitation nor authorization is needed. The maintenance expenses and various real estate taxes may be s upported by the oldest generation or by the oldest son, or shared by the different adult children or else provided for by the wealthiest member of the clan. Often this is considered a duty, carried on by the one who has the greatest financial means. By assuming the responsibility of the house the individual in question also gets the aura of the family chief' (chef de famille) These family settings are regularly rein ves ted with meaning as the family cycle unfolds ; marriag es and funerals will often take place there as well as seasonal celebrations like Christmas or Easter, with all the extended family in attendance. 286

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Levi-Strauss has described how the concept of 'Maison' ('house, a s in the house of Windsor') collapses the ideas oflineage and building in the definition of a new family concept. This concept is based on the co mbined principles of alliance and descent i n a dir ec t or fictitious line instead of that of descent alone. The house is primari ly a moral e ntity which owns tangible property suc h as estates a nd dom ains and intangib l e property, suc h as tradition s, beliefs and names (Levi-Strauss in Lam aison, 1987 : 34) This interpretation is also confirmed by B o urdieu "The perpetuation of the 'Maison' with all it s material belongings directs t he existence of th e w h ole hous e h old and th e family tend ency to pe rpetua te its own being It i s inseparable from the te ndenc y to perpetuate the integrity of its p atrimo n y always thre ate ned by possible dilap i dati on or dispers i o n ... Family preserves its unity for and by transmission to b e able to transmit and be cause of being able of tran s mitting. It is the principal actor o f reproduction stra tegies. An example to the point i s the transmission of family name primary element of the h eredita r y symbolic capital. . Famil y pla ys a major role in determining t h e maintenance of social order and in biological as well as social reproduction that is the reproduction of social space structures and of social relat io nship s The family is the major insti tu ti on for accumulation and transmission of econom i c cu ltur al and sy mboli c pri vileges (Bourdieu 1993: 35) In other wo rds, the physical st ructur e h o u se-as-a -building' pro v ides a setting for the reproduction of the social s tructure and at the same time has a structuring effect on the socia l structure house-a s -permanent-unit ary -famil y ', t hrou gh effective p atrimonia l acc umulation and transmission. Acco rding to Bourdieu (1990) this symbo lism of t he h o use is demonstrated by the fact that people often make the decision to bu y a house when the y decide t o start having c hildren 287

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The house w ill be a better place to raise the children but also represents a capital to be passed over to them later. The house as a stable place and investment. Houses are considered stabilizers of the family ... and a good investment too! In the course ofthe interviews the aspect 'a stable place in which to grow up' and 'sufficien t place for the children' was often mentioned by French and American informants alike. It is consistent with Bourdieu's description of his informants rationale They buy their house "for the children to provide them with a stable place to grow up and a quiet place to study, and finally to offer them a better chance to ascend the social ladder" (Bourdieu, 1990: 5). Some nuances, however, are 'de rigueur', as to what the informants meant exactly. In the United States In America the qualifier 'stable was opposed to frequent moves' due to professional mobility for example rather than to stable as displaying the durability of the family. The sufficient place referred more to 'sufficient to socialize with their fiiends, and to have their own stuff and privacy rather than to study', contrary to the French. The other aspect economjc investment' whic h will incr ease in value is prominent in American interviews. Given the choice, Americans will prefer a new or recently-built 288

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house, equipped with all the latest gadgets and located in a subdivision where standardization will be the rule for the products delivered and homogeneity the rule for their owners Whether new or existing Americans usually know very accurately what is the actual market value of their home. And they monitor their immediate neighborhood to ascertain that everyone will conform to the norms of proper maintenance so as not to negatively affect the desirability of their property. Their concern though is not like that of the French' to transmit and pass over to the next generation as much economic and symbolic capita l as they can. Their interest is more immediate : have they made enough capital gain yet ... to move up? Do these principles apply to French families? In France In their choice of a house, families will prefer a traditional' one. Most of the buyers, if given the choice and the necessary financial means wou ld choose a 'ancient house with character and authenticity'. "Of course, we would have preferred an ancient building something with more soul than this house (pavilion) in a new town where everybody has the same age, and is approximately at the same le vel. It is too uniform (Informant Denise in Bourdieu 1990 : 4). 289

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According to Bourdieu the preference for this traditional appearance of their home is the conse quence of a metonymic contamination of the physical structure, house as-a-building, by the social structure house-as-a-family-household It all works "as if unconsciously the tendency to establish the house as a stable dwelling of a permanent household-family, had the effect of a metonymic contamination, that of the container by the content and that of the mode of production by the product. Economic agents display for the production technology of their house a preference which has no equivalent except for lu x ury products and which privileges traditional processes as a way to warranty technical quality and more importantly symbolic authenticity (Bourdieu 1990: 8) Family is "one of the loci par excellence' of capital accumulation in its varied forms and of its tran smission through generations (Bourdieu 1993: 35) The house is to family and society at once a central figure and emblema "The house sums up the forms of locations and forms of society as well as intimate modes of its perpetuation as the stone that promises the fruit and engenders the tree (Chiva 1987: 5) In conclusion the house-as-a-building i s in France a s y mbolic structure invested with more co llective than individual value Even when it is modest and has been recentl y acquired, it is conceived of as a repository for the family essence' and as a founding stone for its perpetuation. The lasting quality of the house through time is of paramount imp orta nce and an older hou se with a soul is preferred to a new one Thi s c o ntr ast in attitudes is very well synthes i ze d b y Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck s value conception of time revised in my guise and which differenciates between Present and 290

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immediate Future oriented cultures (American-like) and Pa s t and long term Future ones (French-like) Americans prefer to enjoy now a new house as we will see below Furthermore, in the U.S A the house is the embodiment ofthe nuclear family social ac hievement. The economic success is attested by the size of the house and its value is s impl y reflected by its market price ln both countries, houses-a s a -building contribute to define the identity of their owners, with the emphasis being placed on the nuclear couple in the U.S A and on the lineage in France This con trast is reflected in Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck's mod e l in the dimension Indi v iduali sm as opposed to Group Americans rank the highe st of all cultures on the indi vid ual scale, whereas the French are closer to the 'Group end In this case the relevant g roup is the family-lineage 'lhe Diffe r ent Kinds of Rooms The secon d part of the ethnographic interviews explored another domain in both cultures the 'kind of ro o ms The goal was to discover how the different rooms of the house are used a nd by whom It was also t o uncover the va lues and meanings attached to different palls ofth e house 291

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KINDS OF ROOMS: in Suzan's American house Included terms: bedroom kitchen, living room dining room eat-in-kitchen, baby's room, bathroom, master bedroom sitting-room den, small kitchen Justin's room, guest room, one-person-kitchen, small kitchen, lounge, private bath, private room, Justin's bath formal living room, sitting and conversation room, entrance way landing, great room, conversation pit nursery, Brian's room, my husband s and my room porch, our private sitting-room, dressing room, our room, our bedroom our little get away place, our private place, his (Justin's) private place, master bath playroom Excluded term: dining area. KINDS OF AREAS in Suzan's American house Included terms : apartment dining area inside outside outdoors sleeping space, odd space, pri son, my corner of the wall, indoors KINDS OF ROOMS in Madame Lafeuille's French house Included terms: entrance, kitchen dining room, liv ing room WC staircase upstairs co t Tidor (degagement d en haut), bedroom bathroom (salle de bains) attic-walk-in closet (debarras) children's room parents bedroom, sitting room work-room,'the multiple extra spaces (tousles coins en plus) attic (grenier) cold storage room (cellier) a back kitchen (arri e re cuisine) cellar (cave) There are no spaces identified as Areas in Madame Lafeuille s house Each space is denoted as a room. 292

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Des cription of the two houses. Description of Suzan's American house The house is a two-story town house with a private yard and a two-car garage and a cellar. It comprises 3 bedrooms and 2 baths A foyer area opening on to the dining area, an open kitchen a liv ing room and off the foyer behind a door, a bedroom and its bathroom are located on the first floor The staircase leading to the second floor is in the living room On the second floor are one bedroom and a master bedroom, with its bathroom and a laundry area behind closet doors. l ] ,:: ,:1',,,':, -... .:--:-, : l i :r.: .. : ::rllf: : J . .. : : : .;-. .U '. _ j .l : j : : : L __ ___ .:: .. : ...... : .. L __J P An<.: ,.-_.-.-.. .... _. ......... ----1 AMERICAN HOUSE FLOOR PLAN FIGURE2 293

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Description of Madame Lafe uille s French hou s e The h o use i s a twos tory detached singl e -famil y hou s e with a one-car gara g e It is called a 6 room-hou s e ', according to the French classification as it comprises a living room, a dining room and four bedrooms whereas the kitchen and bathroom are not counted as rooms On t he first floor, called street level ( rez de chaussee ) are located a kitchen, a living r oom a dinin g ro o m a b e droom u s ed as a d en o r w o rkroom a t oil et a nd a sm all f oyer w ith t h e s t a ir case. U p s t airs a r e thr ee b e d roo m s a bathroom an d a w alk-in-closet called 'attic' b y the builder. Each child was able to choose his or her own room (and for a change they did not fight o ver it) and the parents kept the smallest one for themselves .. "Because it is onl y to sleep but the children had to be able to fit in a desk and have some room left to pla y" . ............... .... ........ . .......... . ...... ................... . . . ................................. ...... . II . . ...... . : :.: ..... J: . . ==== '1 ] ................ ......... :: . .h.',i.:;: f!:::Df
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Big and bare hou se o r s mall and cramped American or French? One of Suzan s first co mm en t s was ab o u t the size of h e r house She perceived it as being small. It was only a 3 bedroom 2 bat h home and it did not have a den The dinin g room she would not even c all it a room but an area ", and the kitchen was qualified as one-person kit c hen (Suzan) Big or s m a l l On an objecti v e scale Suza n s house is 1 900 square feet w h ich at that time seemed to me to be a good s i z e for a family of 4 but perception of space is highly r elat i ve. It v aries acco rding t o the cu ltur e and also accordin g to the indiv idu a l s a nd th eir pre vious ex p erie nce s Suzan also reported that she felt caged in this hous e, because t he walls were "too close to eac h other ". She fel t it was cramped and that h e r thi n gs looked p i l e d up ". She would pr e f e r a flo wing s pace ; here it w as crowded When th ey ha d mo ve d moved down" from a bigger hou se s he had disposed of"everyt hing which was not indi sp ensable a nd kept only the things that s he lik ed a lot ". But she had too much stuff! This is w h y i t was urgent to s tart buildin g this other hou s e of her dre ams They already owned the l ot! ( S uza n) In m y journal l wrote t h at l did n o t sha r e he r feelings of being caged in a crowded space To the contrary, I liked the openness of the floor plan and n oted that I wou l d ha v e evaluated the h ouse to be bigger than the 1900 -sf ann o unced ; in fact I almost had a feeling of e mptin ess or in any case of minimal furnishing. 295

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The house is sl i g htly over the average square footage of American houses ( 1 900 in stead of 1883-sf.). The floor plan is very open, espec i ally downsta i rs All the wal ls and cei l ings are whi t e with an orange peel texture o n th e walls and p opcorn on the cei l ings Thi ck carpeting of a uniform light beige co l o r runs wall to wall, except in the bathrooms, kitchen, dining room whic h are tiled w ith one square foot lig ht beige Italian ti les. When Madame Lafeuille mentioned the s i ze of her house it was to state that it was comfortable ". Of course it was not as b i g as th e farmhouse s he had grow n up in, but at least s he did not have to share it wi th a dozen other people The t hing she missed most was the multiple extra spaces ('tousles coins en plus ) that only old houses offer such as an attic ('un g r en ier ), a cold-storage room ('un cellier ) a back k i tchen ('une a rri e re cuisine ) ... but "at l east she had a cellar" ('une cave ) When they decided to bui l d selecting a cellar was a hard decision to make because the price difference between a h ouse with and without a cellar was important but it was well worth the extra money, after all! (Madame Lafeuille). Her house is I 09 s quare meters w hich equals 1173 square feet. For a family of fou r it is indeed a good s ize b y Fre n c h sta ndards especially fo r a new suburban home. I t is s l ig htl y over the average square footage of rec ently built French houses (I 09 ins tead of I 03 m2) However 1 do not feel an impr ess i o n of s pac e as I did in Suzan s house. The ro o m s ofthe house are all compl e t ely closed wi th one o r two doors, except for the dining room that 296

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opens onto the living room by an eight feet wide opening in the wall. The kitchen opens directly to the dining room through a door and it opens also to the garage and to the foyer. The floor plan is more chopped-up in France, as each room must have the capacity to be closed This impression is reinforced by the fact that walls are covered with patterned wallpapers different in almost every room except the kitchen and the bathroom and toilet which are painted beige. The floors are covered with different materials of different colors In the kitchen bathroom and toilet a linoleum vaguely beige with a stone pattern and wall to wall carpet in the living, dining and bedroom are installed. All the carpeting on the first floor is dark brown and that ofthe second floor is a lighter shade of brown. "We were only allowed one color per level Madame Lafeuille told me, otherwise she might have selected a lighter color for the living room ... but in the dining room and in the foy er with all the coming and going it would have been dirty all the time (Madame Lafeuille) The furniture is also more abundant, relative to the size ofthe rooms, than in Suzan's house and it is massive. The windows are covered with tv.,ro layers of curtains one of which is see-through and always closed 297

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Cramped or bare The houses are not only smaller in France but they also feature a chopped-up floor plan busy wall-coverings heavy curtains and mixed-colored floor-coverings, all of which contribute to producing the impression of being cramped I was not as sensitive to this impression before I lived in the U.S.A. and although I can now feel it I do not feel threaten by it as Suzan seemed to be An example to the contrary is an experience I had in Russia I was visiting an American built model home with a friend of mine in Moscow' s countryside and s he was telling me she did not feel safe The rooms were too big, the walls too far apart and too white she could not feel them", the floors were too plain, all the same color, and there were not enough walls To her it felt bare empty and cold. Her standards sounded very similar to the French just a little more extreme and further away from the American patterns !nletprelations. Three points are worth investigating ; first there seems to be a re v ersal in the treatment of space when you go out ofthe house For their interior spaces the French like fragmented spaces, precisely the characteristic they criticize with the e x terior spaces in the U.S.A. Second the re l ation to space described for the three cultures is consistent with Hall s analysis o f proxemics The closer the proxemics prevalent in the culture the more cramped the domestic space is. We can further validate this observation by extending it to the 298

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example of Japan. They have very large proxemics and very empty houses as well (at least f o r their traditional houses) The preference for a 'full house is linked to aesthetics. French and Russian conception of decor is busier and more elaborate than the American or Japanese preference Japanese aesthetics is particularly ascetic and bare in its attempt to reach harmony and contemplation Third privacy is defined differently in the two countries In France, it means privacy of the family which is obtained by carefully closing the house to the exterior. This is physically achie ved by the use offences, as we will see later but also by using heavy shutters (real ones which close and are indeed closed every e v ening) and se v eral layers of curtains It is socially achieved by being very selective and restricti v e as to the people who are accepted into the house. Visitors are limited to family members close friends and socially compatible children s friends In a 1987 survey 30% ofthe French declared never ente rtaining strangers in their homes'. Hence, when you are invited to a home in France, it means you have been promoted to the rank of a family member and it is a proof of deep friendship ln the U.S .A., privacy means individual pri v ac y and is achieved b y providing each dweller with his or her personal space Children h av e their own bedrooms and what is more important, they have the privilege to use them to isolate themselves without being rude to the rest ofthe family. In general no rooms are off limit, in an American home, unless an indi v idual wants individual privacy, in which case the door is closed The signal is clear to ever y b o d y lea v e me alone and it is perfectl y acceptable Usually Americans retire to their 299

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bedrooms when they want to be alone ... and they do it very often "We are bedroom people (U.S. informant) These bedrooms are bigger than in France, not only in absolute numbers but also in relative proportions when compared to the collective spaces ofthe house. They are also equipped with items which belong in France to the collective rooms. television stereo, computer, even sometimes a small refrigerator or a microwave! Children are allowed to take their food and their drinks in their bedrooms and to watch television or entertain their friends behind a closed door. This would be unimaginable in France. The only times kids' bedrooms doors are closed in France, is when they are punished, grounded in their rooms of course without food stereo or other niceties. When the children come back from school they eat their 'gouter', seated at the table in the kitchen or the dining room if the kitchen is too small. Bedrooms are for slee ping doing their homework or pla ying qui et ly. Dining r ooms or kitchens are for eating. Because some o f my American informants in France had commented on the "incredible number of doors" in French homes and of locks as well. I counted the doors in both houses In Suzan's hou se there were 4 doors on the first floor and 4 upstairs In Madame Lafeuille's, 7 downstairs and 5 upstairs In percentage of s quare footage there is one door for every 240 squa re feet in Suzan's house and one for every 98 square feet in Madame Lafeuille's or almost two and a halftimes as much as in Suzan s house This is representative ofthe spatial division of homes in France (Carlisle, 1982). 300

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Space specialization based on formality or on activity. Specialization based on formality Beyond a differ ent definition of privacy it is also clear that rooms are specialized in France according to the leve l of formality that they command The important distinction is that which compares formal space normally associated with daytime and common space, to informal space, commonly associated with night space that is individual. The use of common space commands a minimum of formalit y even more so in a stranger's presence "If you are tired, go to your bedroom said Madame Lafeuille to her daughter who was stretching and s itting improperly in the living room with us, during an interview. The m eals are another instance in which a minimum of formality is expected. The meals are taken in common every evening, and twice a day on weekends. Proper attire (no caps for men nor bar e tops and no cut off tank tops for girls) proper sitting at the table hands washed and rested on the table with no other task going on (telephone, reading or playing wit h a toy) are the required behaviors Eating is serious business whic h requires the entire attention and participation of the table guests An interesting point: French have several spec ialized words to designate the participants to a meal: 'convive' (literally living with ) or commensal (s haring the table) English has to make up composite names : table companion and dinner-guest'or simply use guest' (invite). One recent compromise w ith the formality of dinner is tele visio n Middle-class and lower class families watch tele v ision during dinner. It is often criticized and deplored but it is 301

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routinely done. Arguing over tel evision program selection is of course common. But to the French arguing and even disputing within the family is a form of sharing and communicating. It is preferred to silence. Activity specia lization in the U.S.A. Rooms in the U.S.A. tend to be specialized according to the activity which takes place in them. The fami l y room is to relax and enjoy company of the others present, bedrooms are to isolate oneself, and dining rooms are supposedly designed t o eat and then go to sit in the sitting room (Americans do not s pend hours at the dinner table w hen the mea l is over, as the French do) The new trend in American housing is the development of special ized rooms. To complement the classic den laundry room and shop there are now game rooms w ith billiards or electronic consoles hobby rooms sun rooms, Jacuzzi rooms, computer rooms, entettainment room s full y equipped with all the high-tech gadgets body-b uilding rooms, swimming pool bathrooms and rest rooms. The general trend for new houses is for the number of bedrooms to decrease, the number ofbathrooms to increase up to the number of bedrooms plus one, and for diverse specialized rooms to appear. The realit y of the use is somewhat different from the intent ofth e designer though. Some behaviors whi c h used t o be rigidly localized are delocaliz ing; eating for example now takes place anywhere in the house, in the kitchen the bedrooms the yard and quite rarely in fact in the din in g room ... Entertaining is conducted in the family room, the kitchen and even the bedrooms, especially if there is a computer there! Other behaviors have become 302

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multi-localized o r ubiquitous ; television, which was traditionally watched in the living room, is now watched in the kitchen the bedrooms and even the bathrooms .. How these contradictory trends should be interpreted is not clear, but the y are probably related to the cultura l values of t h e people. The room specialization in the U. S.A. may be related to the cultural dimension "Individualism" and to the "Activ ity emphasis on Doing" (Ki uckhohn and Strodtbeck 1976), as people want to be able to isolate themselves to pursue their personal task-oriented intere sts. On the contrary in France, the cultural val ues are more "Group/ family orie nt ed and more Being" and people share their activ it ies and the rooms in which they take p l ace, as they invest time in nurturing rela tionships rather than effecting tasks. A parallel may be drawn too, between the "Monochronic attitude (Hall, 1 966) of Americans when they structure time and their relation to space. Monochronism leads them to divide time in separate discreet units each devoted to a particular activity, which is finish e d befo r e a new task i s undertake n One thing at a time seems to transpose into 'one thing in each space'. The French being "Polychronic" have on the contrary, no problem to do several things at the same time starting several tasks s i multaneously and r emaining undisturbed by interruptions and ove rlapin g of activit i es. 'Several things going on at the same time, in the sa me place' seems to suit them fine. To conclude the French i so l ate their houses from the exterior and f r o m st ranger s, to the point that American scholars describe them as fortresses (Carlisle 1982 : 4), but they use the inside in a mostly communal fashion. 303

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On the contrary Americans make their h omes quite ope n to strangers, bu t they is o late themselves in different room s, livin g as independent individuals l ik e strangers to one another', would say the F rench H ouse a s Embodiment ofGeneral Cultural Themes A cultural theme is a cognitive principle tacit or explicit, rec urre n t i n a number of domai ns a n d serving as a relationship among s u bsyste m s of cult ural meanings ( Spradl ey, 1979). Themes may be identified b ecause they emerge a s dimensions of con trast recurrently ; they also connect different subsyste ms of a c ulture ; they serve as a general semantic r ela ti onship among domain s Lar ge house or s mall and b ea utiful house. The firs t cultural theme identified in the U.S interv iews is that of size. One of Suzan's fir st comments was abou t the size of her house. She perce ived it as being small. lt was on l y a 3 bedroom 2 bath hom e and it did not have a d en. Thi s theme i s interesting to analyze because it is very p erv a s ive in American culture a s a whole Houses a r e big cars are full s ize' roads are wide (but not s i dewalks, whic h rel ates probably to the o ther cultura l theme ofthe invading car) people are ta l l the country is big t h e corporations a re multinational. 304

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To return to household items the plates Americans eat in are as big as French serving dishe s, (the portions of food they hold are huge, too), the gla s ses ("they drink in v ases", remarked a French visitor) and cups (mugs especially) are big (small cups are only found in ethnic restaurants and they are called demitasse!), the equipment pieces such as refrigerators ranges washers and dryers are oversized'. The beds are king or queen sized the closets are walk-ins and bigger than French bedrooms master bedrooms suites are larger than the whole a verage French dwelling (collective as well as individual housing) The characteristic of size is over emphasized in this culture. Siz e and more particularl y large siz e seems to be related to s tatus If y ou are to enjoy a high s t a tu s you ha ve t o h av e a lar g e house Other cha rac t eristic s like the qualit y of the con s truction and the durability of the building materials used are not so important. The techniques used to build very big houses are the same as those used for much smaller and modest houses. Siz e i s als o probabl y linked with mone y although l ess s y stematically. The increm e nt in size is perceived as betterment. American informants often mentioned that in the past houses were smaller and had only one bathroom. Some of the informants even had to share their bedroom with a sibling ofthe same sex When Suzan as a little girl, moved to a bigger house the whole family perceived it as an impro v ement. Bigger is better. 305

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In France and in Russia it is the 'fullness of the house which seems to be associated with status and richness but the association also works on a metaphoric le ve l rich and full of value, full of beautiful things, old and preserved The real richness is in the interior, not in what you display outside to everybody. This is also metaphoric of the individual who needs to be rich, healthy and beautiful inside, morally rather than outside, physically and weal thy. These va lue s may be r elated to religion When you look at th e interior s of the religious buildings you find exactly the same situation, in the prote sta nt temples a very strict bare decor and in the French churches and even more the Spanish or the Russian ones, an abundance of dec orat ions and embellishments. Traditional or new. The most pervasive theme identified in the French interviews was that of 'traditional' It applied to the house itself, the building techniques the home, the floor plan the furniture, the family, the couple, the upbringin g and education of the children even th e cooking The connotation of the word is positive and commands respect. If someone is disapproving of tradition as such, she will use different terms such as old-fashioned ('vieux-jeu'), out of fashion (demode) Traditional means slightly conservative in the sense of protective ofthe goo d v alues ofthe past stable ('pose, stable') which has been proven good (qui a fait ses p r euves). It a l so conn otes middle age reason and continuit y 306

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If they had their choice, a vast majority ofFrench people would prefer an 'ancient' house (' une maison ancienne') to a new one. They would even probably choose an old house rather than a new one. The term old implies probable lack of comfort and equipment and need of extensive remodeling. But since the ancient houses maisons anciennes are more expensive, more difficult to finance and not located in the suburbs close to employment, the French have to buy new houses ('des maisons neuves'). The connotations of new are uninteresting', without character or personality', mediocre quality', 'standardized ', 'not long lasting', but 'still better than a condo' ('un appartement '). The French prefer traditional techniques of construction to more modern, manufactured techniques. Bourdieu notes that the more builders use industrialized components (such as trusses and wall composite panels) the more they have to claim their techniques are traditional. This is what the four major French builders do routinely and successfully All the builders have to adopt camouflage strategies to hide the industrialized components they use" (Bourdieu 1990: 23). Because of the strength of the preference for tradition, builders cannot promote the modernism of their production or the industrial technicality of their processes. A 'modern house' ('une maison moderne') is no more attractive than a new house ('une maison neuve ) A traditional house sounds strong and solid and is rea ss uring (Bourdieu 1990 : 22). As we have seen one of the probable reasons for this preference is that it embodies and seems to warranty the ideal of perpetuation of the family group through time. 307

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The preference for the traditional over the modern is illustrated also in the interior of the house through the choice of furniture. Ifthey have their choice, the French will choose antique pieces ove r more modern more practical ones. The only e x ception is for the living room couch Antique sofas are very uncomfortable So most ofthe time if you are lucky enough to have an old piece you will complement it with a more modern more comfortable co uch which will be the one you use, while the other one is displayed as a proof of the respectability of the family This display of family heirlooms is important to the French One of them is the silver tea and coffee set on a silver tray typically sitting on the top of the china cabinet ('buffet'). It allows them to show their goo d taste and th e ir respect for tradition. "lt is an habitu s at play structured and structuring and w hich ensures the reproduction ofthe social system" (Bourdieu, 1992: 99-102) In the U.S.A., the related theme would be the preference for the new '. Suzan mentioned immediatel y that she was ready to build a new house, and that newness status was as impo 1 1ant as that of bigness' to which it was associated What is new is desirable and attractive to Americans. They do not need another rationale being new is enough, it is a quality per se. The connotations of new in the U.S .A. are first and foremost 'exciting and then attractive, worth trying advanced, technologicall y attractive. It is not surprising that it is one ofthe most used captions in advertising. 'Buy this, it's new ', and if it is not new 'it's improved or 'newly reformulated When Euro-Disney opened in Paris it was accompanied by an inten se advertising campaign promoting EuroDisney the new amusement park at the doors ofParis"(EuroDisney, le nouveau pare d'attractions aux 308

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portes de Pari s). Then Disney's management wondered "Where are the French?" They wer e waiting for the newness to wear offi The connotations of new in France are: 'be careful', 'potentially dangerous or distasteful', 'whimsical', 'risque', 'not serious'. Luckily Disney had translated the American 'amusement' ( 'amusement') to the more acceptable 'attractions but all in all, the offer was neither worth the risk nor the 250 FF price for the ticket. An enticement more attractive to the French would have been: 'Come with your family and introduce your children to American lifest y le (Venez en famille decouvrir le style de v ie americain .. et passez un bon moment) and have a good time too. This would h ave flattered the French intellectual snobbism (you teach something to your kids), w ithout challenging their cultural arrogance (do not bra g about American culture', there is no such thing) and would have built on their family traditional values And by the way, they could have a good time too, ( it is acceptable if it is just a b yproduct of a more serious business) provided they could order wine with their lunch! But American companies are not the only ones to miss the fundamental difference in the meaning of the word 'new'. When Carrefour (a French h ype rmarket) opened in Texas, there were two-hour traffic jams on the road thirty miles around for the two first weekends. The press releases of the company in Paris were triumphant "Le triomphe de Carrefour au Texas I" Two months later they were ready to clo se down They had not maintained the 309

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' excitement' by having something 'new' at all times and had suffered through the same cultural shock as Disney but in reverse It is easy to get Americans in your store the first time-just tell them it's new-but it is much more difficult to make them come back. On the contrary, it is difficult to get the French to go anywhere the first time, when it's new .. but 'turn it into a tradition and they will be repeat customers with a high de g ree of tolerance for bad service (once the tradition is establ i shed) Advertisers play an important role in the development of these attitudes, but it should be remembere d that the most efficacious advertising builds on the target groups' cultural va lues. Co nclusion Through our interviews and their analyses we ha ve gained knowledge of the perception of privacy in i ts rel ation to space ofthe room u ses and their linka ge to appropriate behaviors and even of t h e concep t of stat us in its relation to the location and size of the house. "The hou se is often the most revealing ofthe man y ways in which a family expresses it s collective personality and its system of value" (Brown and Altman 1983) 310

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Outside the House: Fencing Systems He only says Good fences make good neighbors" Why do they make good neighbors ? Isn't it? Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offense Something there is that doesn't love a wall That wants it down". He says again "Good fences make good neighbors Robert Frost Mending wall, 1914 cited in Perin 1988) "The centrality of sc hemat a and images encoded in settle ment s and bearing meanings is constant; what varies is the specific meaning or schema emphasized or t he elements used to communicate this meaning (Rapoport 1982: 29) Fences are common both in France and the U.S .A. The way they are used though reveals some deep cultural differ e nces. Let us try to compare the use offences in two s imilar setti ngs of these two countries. The setting chosen is that of new single -famil y houses built in middle-class suburban subdivisions. Brief Review of Principles of Analysis Rapoport's nonverbal communication a nal ysis, the models of which come from anthropo l ogy, psychology and ethology (Rapoport 1982) was se l ec t ed. In co mplemen t some sy mb olic analysis was added despite its higher complexity (Rapoport 1982). 311

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The methodology described by Rapoport (1982) consists in three steps: observation or searching for cues in the environment, recording, using verbal descriptions and visua l aids and finally, analysis and interpretation, to infer the meaning of the cues and their relations to the deep cultural values of each country. Hall's (1966) classification of environmental elements in three categories fixed, semifixed and nonfixed-feature eleme nt s was retained to facilitate the analysis. The emphasi s was initially put on semifixed-feature elements because fences belong to this realm. According to Rapoport, (1982), these e l ements are particularly important for environmental meaning in our complex societies. Being more flexible than the fixed elements they change more quickly and easily. Being under tig ht er contro l of their users they are th e ones that express personalization contrary to the fixed-feature elements for which u ser p anic ip a tion in the original design is rarel y solicited Semifixed feature element s also play an imponant ro l e in the definition and interpretation of context which can entirely depend on changeab l e reusab l e semifixed-feature elements. Fixed-feature e l ements were also co n s id ered in this research as Rapoport stresses that in traditional culture s th e y are core elements that change s lowly but tell much about the culture They communicate meaning through their spatial organizat i on size l ocation sequence and arrangements. In contemporary cu ltur es though fixed -fe ature elements are often designed by specialized professionals architects and designers and supp li ed in a 3 1 2

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rather standardized fashion by the builders as they are often controlled by codes or other regulations (Rapoport, 1982). The third category, the nonfixed-feature elements were analized as they relate human occupa nt s to their settings through their behav i ors complemented or not by verbal co mmunication s Following Rapoport's recommendation, we put the emphasis on semifixed-feature elements as they tend to covary with the nonfixed while the fixed-feature elements on the contrary r emain unchanged in the sa m e situation It appears also that the repertoire or palette of a vail able cues grows as one moves from the nonfixed realm through the semifixed and finally to the fixed-feature element realm and so does the variabi lit y and specificity related to culture The specific reading of the meanings requires some cultural knowledge because the codes encoding information conta ined in the cues are culture specific Most ofthe cues need a grea t deal of inference to be interpreted In other words due to their ambiguity cues must be redundant "For the guesses to be good cues must add up ", and the codes must be known in order for the meaning of the order underlying buildings cities and whole countries to be understood" (Rapoport 1 982 : 51) The physical environment provides the cues even if it is the social situation that influences people's behavior because people typically act in acco rdance with their reading of environmental cues For the communication process to work three steps must be followed; the cues must be noticed then understood and people must be will in g to abide 313

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lfthe code is not shared or understood or if the message does not get across, the environment does not communicate. From this comes the feeling of disorientation in a foreign setting with a different code This disorienta tio n feeling is part ofthe culture shock often generated by unfamiliar contexts. Assuming that the communication process was working in our settings we seeked to answer several questions while analyzing the fence systems in American and in French subdivisions. What is being communicated? Why, and by what means ? What are the cues and what role do they play, in behavior and in social interaction of the inhabitants? Direct observation sess ions were conduc ted in subdi v isions of detached single-family h ouses, owned by lower middle-class families in suburban locations of middle s ize cities I c h ose a recent subd i v ision (less than one year of existence) and an older one (more than five years) in each country. I recorded the general description of the subdivision and then st ressed the differences These observations lead me to look at fences as part of a domain which compr ises fences but also the front of the houses ; hence the t wo parts in which this s tudy will be organized the fences and enclosure system and the appearance and presentation of the house front lhe Fence Sys t e m in American S ubdivisions ln the U.S.A, the fences are found around the whole subdivision around the common recreation facilities (tennis courts and swimming pools, ifthey exist) and exceptionally 314

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around private houses. The front part of the common fence looks like a formal gate. Emphasis is voluntarily put on the entrance. Two short walls face the street. They are built with concrete blocks covered with bricks and stucco and display a large carved wood sign nicely painted, with the name of the subdivision, which is lighted at night. When the walls stop, wooden fences replace them. The entrance walls of the newer subdivision are slightly more impressive than those of the older one. The land is narrower on the front side so the walls run up to the sides of the subdivision, but there, the principle remains the same the front walls stop and are continued by wire fences on the sides for a few yards only; then there is no fencing. The situation does not seem to be very different between the newer and the older subdivisions as for the number offences, which are up As for the maintenance though it is different several parts ofthe common fence around the older subdivision are collapsed, they are obviously being replaced and repainted As for the single-family houses, if they are fenced it is more frequent on narrow lots and the fences start on the sides of the house to enclose the backyard but the front of the houses are open to the street. A side door is usually opened on the garage side The fences built are of wood or of wire. Poles dug into the ground sustain them. Fences appear to be laid on the ground, a space may appear at the bottom, between it and the fence The number of fixed physical markers is reduced in front of the houses. The front lawns seem to run from the houses to the road only interrupted by the garage driveways and by a parallel pavement made of reinforced concrete and 4 feet wide. The pavement runs along the street on both sides, 7 to 8 feet from its edges, thus organizing a border of grass along the s treet 315

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The pavement is built with the house (the clue ? it stops on vaca nt lots!) and is maintained by its owners The pathway to the house stems from the driveway 3 to 4 feet from the front edge of the house which it follows before making a right angle in front of the house door to then lead to it. There seems to be no direct continuous link between the house door and the road ln the grass border (between the road and the pavem ent) and u sua lly located between the axes of the hou se and the garage do ors, stands the mailbox, often the object of a sophisticated decorative tr eat ment. Planters decorative walls, porches and elaborate landscaping often comp l ete t he picture. The Fence System in French Subdivisions In the Frenc h subdivisions there are neither entrance walls nor common fence In one of the subdivisions the houses are built along the streets, which follow the general pattern of the c ity They are in continuity w ith older houses built pre v iousl y On Your Lot '. ln the other s ubdivi sio n there is a specific pen e trating st re et into the subdivision but n o iden tificat ion of an entrance. The only names displayed are that of the streets, on standard signs (provided by the city). It i s amazing to note that often the builder-developers give specific names to their subdiv i sio ns which are used during the marketin g period but are often forgotten after or unused even if the hom eow ner s association i s s till legally regi ste red under th a t same name 316

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ln the newer residence small edges are planted at the limit of the public and private domains in front of the houses The builder on neither the sides nor the back provided fences or edges. Nevertheless a few owners h ave already erected or are erecting walls or fences. In the older subd i v ision almost all houses now ha ve such boundary markers These take most often the form oflower walls in the front of the hou se (three to four feet high) founded so lidl y into the ground (reinforced concrete foundations ) made of solid stone, bricks or concrete blo cks stuccoed. Sometimes only the lower part of the wall is in stone and a wrought iron grille or wooden structure (there are no front fences made only of wrought iron) then surmou nts it. ln every case a s mall door, more or les s in front of the house door, at the end of a straight path (for ped estria ns) and a double door, in front of the garage door (for the car) are opened in the wall. The mailbox is inserted in the small door or on the part of the wall just next to it ; ofte n these d oors have lock s Between the fence and the building ther e is clear way. A path for ped estrians goes from the small gat e to the house front door and if there is a garage another access the driveway is in place. The pedestrian path ('l' allee') is the object ofloving care. Its borders are decorated wit h conc r ete e lements or decorative wire borders the path may be covered with gravel or cast in concrete and someti m es p a int ed Usually th e re is no obvious link to the dri v eway w hich is l ess d eco rated 317

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On the sides of the houses and at the back, either edge is planted or wire fences are built. Often both of them together (low wire inside a h e dge ) If there is a terrace, at the back ofthe h ouse, usually in front of the dining room, the liv ing room or the kitchen a wall protecting both sides from the neighbors view is often built (5 to 6 feet high and 9 feet long) thus protecting the privacy of outdoor dining. The age of the residence is easily inferred from the sta te of completion of the individual fencing and from the sta te of the land scap ing The developer usually does minimal planting thus it is up to the residents to do their own landscaping. It usually takes several years to ac hieve because of financial reasons, (most 'owners to be are stra ined by the credit and the monthly payments), but also because of cultural reasons (things well-done take time, each year you plant a new bush, and thus mark the passage oftime in the e nvironment) Jnte1pretation of the Physical Differences At first siaht you notice the differences between an American and a French subdivision; if 0 Rapop011's theory of nonverbal communication is true the messages communicated should be different and this should imply different prescribed behaviors for the inhabitants. I w ill attempt to interpret some of the information contained in the cues selected. Jdemijlcat;on. The fence around the s ubdi v ision has a primary role in the U.S.A: practical identification lt identifies the subdivision for the new owners, of course and also 318

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for their visitors since maps are less in use in the U.S.A than in France and are correlatively, less accurate and legible It also distinguishes the subdivision from the other subdivisions in the neighborhood which might be of a lesser status because comprised of older, smaller houses and less amenities. As we know, suburbs are not consistent in their desirability and status, as they are in France, where broad geographical locations situate you immediately on the social scale. It is therefore necessary to make a statement visible from the outside road that will tell the visitors whether they are entering a mobile home park or a high-priced subdivision. Builders are keenly aware of these meanings, as they use them in their marketing strategies. It is always surprising to French developers to discover that in the U.S.A the subdivision entrance walls are built first, even if they open onto nothing but a field with a model home. Conversely, the landscaping is generously planted at the entrance, the signs with the name displayed and lit and the recreational facilities are in good working order long before a single house is even optioned by a prospective buyer' Hornogeneity. lt would seem also that by putting a boundary marker around its property, the American community (here, the subdivision) wants to reinforce the idea of its homogeneity, based on an ideal of income-homogeneous neighborhood. This situation has been described by Perin (1977, 1988) as a way of reducing the fear ofviolence (because "the neighbors are like us they have the same qualities than we have"), and a way of 319

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forgetting about the otherwise disrupting reality of the inequality of American society "The strongest domestic tranquilizer is the persi s ting American belief that there are only two classes middle-cla ss and working class which makes it possible to deny the existence of th e really poor and the really ri c h a nd t he doubt each casts on the American creed : all m en are created equal. .. Fences wail-in the Am er ican Dream and w all out it s nightmares of realit y" (Perin, 1988) So we m ay say as a fir s t approxim a tion that Americans tend to id en tify with their su bdi visio n as long as it i s h o mogen eo u s On the co n trary the French identif y with a gene ral a rea l oca t ed in relation to the city ce nter an d m o r e s pecifically w ith their own hou se, pro tected b y it s fences but the subdivision is less perceived. P rivacy. Fre n ch fences may b e interpreted as the American in term s of identity They d e l i mit the h o use and its ya rd a nd clearly inscrib e i n the landscape the living units of each family In addition howe ver, they must first be interpreted in terms of privacy. "Everywhere that fences and walls matter so does privacy (Perin, 1 988). Privac y may be further defined as the control of unwanted interaction (Rapoport 1 9 7 6, 1 9 77) ln France, fe nc es a r e a d efense f r om unwant e d access. Legally the y set t h e limi ts for trespassing; ph ys icall y they inscribe in th e lands cape the limits bet ween pr ivate and public, psychologically bet wee n inside and outside, or between famil y and strangers The behaviors e licited by fences are clear Strangers stop and ring (or call if there is no bell) and wait to be 320

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introduced or invited in. Friends ring, enter (if the door is unlocked) and proceed to the main door of the house. Fam ily may ring a short peal, as a 'hello' signal, and e nter to the main or the back door of the house Thus, the entry behaviors are highly differentiated according to the category of individuals and their relationship to the household In the U.S., there are usually no physical obstacles between the house door and the street; (this is what a French eye will notice immediately). But given a closer look, it should be also noticed that there is no direct identified and straight path from the pavement into the house : you have to walk on the garage driveway first. Anyway strangers lik e friends and family proceed directly to the house door. Family might use the backdoor if there is one (which seems less common than in France). They also often use the automatic garage door. Not only there is no obstacle to physical access but there is none either to intrusive looks from the outside Often, passers-by and visi tors alike may grab a glance of the inside of an American house from the outside No real shutters nor drapes nor sheer see-through curtains ('voilages ) protect the privacy of the inside ; this should be interpreted together with the culturally highly variable definitions of privacy inside the house. As there is no doubt that "in the Anglo-American house also communication is controlled To that effect there is a whole set of cues like porch, front door living room door that indicates how far one penetrates depending on whom one is (Rapoport, 1 976). Even without fences American s seldom let their propert y line s l ose their edges ... even if they are not marked, they can readily be imagined, and each family has a good idea of just 321

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where it s n eig hbors' lines meet theirs (Perin 1988) And pri v acy also matters especially in the s uburbs because Americans think it is in shortest supply there . The chief symbol of privacy and guarantor of each family's claim to it is an unblemished lawn-free from weeds, dandelions, dog feces or planted tires And from children at play (Perin 1 98 8) The house front too is to be freshly painted, without peeling or blisters but it is the lawn that carries m os t of th e burden, not a blade of g rass out of place' An immaculate' lawn I often heard i s the ultimate objective for "it seems to belong mor e to the neighbor s than to each h ouseho ld ( Perin 1 988). It i s a kind of co mpuls ory public hou se keeping a t ax imposed by neighborhood consci o u s ne ss (Riesman, 1 9 56 i n Perin 1988) The way of entering a house is hence different in the two countries ; but it is interesting to note th at the reasons for entering a neighbor's house are different too In Fr a nce, you would not ring next door to ask for an egg, or a cigarette or this little so methin g that yo u are jus t missing but don't feel like getting in th e car to go and bu y Maybe the s tores are usuall y closer in France, (or they used to be although that is no longer th e case in man y s uburb s) ; maybe yo u wo uld not wan t to appear so improvident to your n e i g hbor s (it is not their bu s ines s to know if yo u are baking a cake) or so dependent on material things or yo u jus t don't want t o owe them anything ... Well anyway, you would n o t go next door" (Mad a me Lafeuille ) Basically in fact yo u don't go to p eo ple' s house unl ess yo u are invited be the y your neighbors or you r friends. And th en yo u s ta y in the rooms assigned for entertaining ( dining and l ivi n g room) ... The only except i o n is with your close fa mil y 322

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The house in France is the realm of the family, and is less open to the outside world than is the American house In the same way, the family group i s apparently also closer, more often together, than the American is. Fences wall out but they also wall in ; children are l ess likel y to go and play at neighbors' houses more likely to stay at home, or in the fenced yard, unless they are e x plicitly invited somewhere else. Parents and children share more time and activities and a l so quarrel and argue more in France as the parents intervene more often in their children's life. The fences keep the c hildren in (physically when they are yo ung symbol ically l ater), and keep them from running away escaping from the parental authority The message sent by the physical environment is clear in the French case : the fence sets the limits between private and public domains the path to the door once the obstacle of the f ence overcome is clearl y marked and straight. If you are accep t ed in, you have no h esi tations. In the Ameri can case now it seems to me that the message is more ambiguous There is no clearly marked limit between the private and public domains (although the families have "a clear idea of them as Perin reported), no ob v iou s obstacle to be crossed but still, no direct lin k between the road (or the pavement) and the house door. The threshold is in sigh t but n o t in reach. lt is almost what the psychologists call double-bind communication ", the art of delivering simultaneous l y two contradictory messages ... one of the identified causes for schizophrenia! 323

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This mixed message may be reflecting the ambiguous attitude of Americans dodging so ambivalently between their understanding oflndependence and Interdependence, Indi vidua lit y and Community, ... no one wants privacy all the time ... Good neighbors leave you alone and t he y watc h out for you (Perin 1988) So in fact, there again the message of the built environment is clear; it conveys the hesitations of Americans as to the nature of their relations with their neighbors ; the message is clear, it is the attitude it encodes which is ambiguous! Sta tus. Fences in France should also be interpreted in terms of status Ancient chateaux and noble houses used to be entirel y walled in, as a mean s of protection a t first, but also as a proof of status as was exhibited by the imposing portals and other splendid wrough t iron grilles u sed in the process of enclosure. Many of these still su bsist and are a matt e r of adm ir ation. The enclosures built b y the owners of sing le fa mil y houses could be int e rpr e ted in a way as mimicking these classical references and their use of doors of emp ha sized and straight pathways of noble materials wrought iron or stone But a reasonabl e opulence is not the only me a ning the fence has to convey It also has to display the good tastes of the owners and th erefo re be sufficient but not ostentatious (which would be characteristic of nou v eau riche the most unbearable critique) So to establish s t atus the fence also ha s to be creative ; often built as a Sunday job by a handyman owner the fence will be a work of art displaying the craftsmanship capacity of t he owner; thi s is why fences are often orig inal and different in the same subdivision 324

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lt sometimes happens though that the fences of a street are similar. It must be interpreted as an unusual pre-concerted effort to promote the style ofthe street above that of each individual house and as the display of an exceptional friendliness among neighbors (unless id e ntical f e nces are imposed by the local building code or the homeowners association). It can a lso be interpreted as a s ign of higher class nei g hborhood displa y in g a concern for s tyl e and discretion '. Such homeowner s want to be as inconspi c uous a s pos sib le and their social class is indic a t e d by other markers su c h as the location oftheir home dans les beaux quartiers'. lt is interesting t o contrast thi s s itu ation with the American o ne When fences are built they u s u ally are extremely plain wit h n o doors n o r gates they are often almost invisible from the fro nt ofthe house, they are all alike (or almost alike) in the same subdivision. Furthermore they a re often the result of unsettled disput es between neighbors who will then face high expenses for the construction of a spite fence "Suburbanite s resort to spite fences because, u nlik e city dwellers they are accustomed t o u s in g walls but not rules (Perin 1977) The ang r y n eighb o rs will, as a last resort take th e fence build ers to Court as there are 14 states th a t forbid in their statutes spite fences thus showing a pervasi v e reliance o n de jure' law as the only means to a 'de facto social order" (Perin 1977). As a result in Ame rica, fences aroun d s ingle famil y homes are ofte n seen to communicate self-sufficiency individualism and non con f ormity (Jackson, 1 951), all rather negat ive meanings h av in g nothin g t o do with s t atus contra r y to t he French situation 325

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Some other elements must communicate status in the American built environment. Several studies have identified elements such as sophisticated landscaping, manicured lawns and perfect maintenance of the houses and their yards. I personally have noted, decorated mailboxes, big planters attached to the house walls, additional decorative (not functional) face walls, faked shutters, faked dormer windows, bow-windows stain-glass windows high-pitch roof lines inflated volume of the house (to make it look bigger without actually making it any bigger) ... all of which can be characterized (and is by the builders) in one word : ginger-bread I The French reaction to it being of course nouveau riche', bad taste and 'kitsh' Conclusion To broaden this analysis ofthe comparison offences in France and the US, it is possible to apply Hall's categorization in fixed-feature, semifixed-feature and nonfixed-feature elements. Normally, fences are supposed to be semifixed-features elements ; this categorization seems to fit the American conception in which house fences appear and disappear easily are lightly built almost resting on the ground and finally not considered as a part ofthe house but as an addition The French conception and use of fences fit better with the definition of a fixed-feature element. In effect, fences are built very solidly dug and founded into the ground ; they are meant once bu i It, to stay forever attached to the house. They become a part and parcel of it with minimal ulterior changes to be performed. It is true however that unlike many other 326

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fixed-feature elements this one is not provided b y the builder. On the contrary it is one of th e s alient w a y s for o w ners to personali z e their h o u s es and to displa y to the w orld around their appropriation of the place. This is especially true when fences are physically built by the owners themselves which is most often the case Symbolically they become the perennial mark of the family inscribed on the ground in the same way that trees used to be planted at their birth to symbolize individuals. Our conclusion then could be that the French rely more willingly on fixed-feature elements to con vey messages of identity privacy and status through their built environment. Americans on the contrary are more likely to use semifixed-feature elements. Is that to sa y that Americans belong to a more devel o ped ci v ilization as mi g ht b e infe rred from Rapoport' s state ment ( 1982) relative to the greater importanc e o f fixed feature s in traditional s ocieties ? Being French, l would probably argue about such a definition of development.. but there is no doubt in my mind that the French approach to housing is much more traditional and anchored in the past than that of Americans. Thi s will be confirmed by looking at ad v ertising themes w hich are embl e matic for French h o u s es : Build your house with u s" states this wellk nown builder and your great grandson will still inhabit it ... Surely not a motivating message to American ears! 327

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Financial Aspects ofHousin g Houses as Capital or Consumer Goods The differences in this realm appear so ample and varied that attempting a comparison may sound vain. Yet, a concept borrowed from economics can help clarify the situation: the difference between capital and consumer goods. The American house wou l d be characterized as a consumer good whereas the French one would be a cap ital good. In fact, mo st authors, be they American or French stress the fact t hat housing products exhibit characteristics from both classes of products Because ofthei r durability and their high cost they resemble capita l goods. However because their value is b a sed on the usage ad v antages they provide rather than on a production they would deliver they belong to consumer goods. "They are a consumer good w hi ch is not consumed and a capital good that produces nothing tangible" (Welfeld 1988 : 1 6). "Housing is considered as a merchandise which is exch a n ged and as a patrimony to be transmitted to one s chi ldren. lt i s a usage and consumer good, and at the same time an investment from w h ich to expect imp ortant revenue (Segaud Bonvalet and Brun, 1998 : 1). "Being a durable good means that the house can be cons id ered as a stock, the house itself, and as a flux, the flux of serv ices that each good is going to supply during successive periods of time The pricing of the serv i ce may be equated to the rent that could be collected or the monthl y reimbursements that have to be made (Granelle in Coloos 1997: 25) 328

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In both countries houses share the characteristics of both categories Our contention is that in the US. A. houses symbolically are more of a consumer good while in France they are treated in a way wruch makes them more of a capital good and in fact e v en make s them more than a capital good: a family patrimony' Being a durable consumer good brings in two consequences for the American house Firs t of all Americans must change houses several times in their lifetime and second they must be able to profit from and completely enjo y their ne w houses a s s oon as th ey mo v e in; in other words a new house must be entirely completed and equipped to be inhabitable and pleas ant. The Ladder o f Life E njoy now Americans must change homes to fit their idea of a ladder oflife". In fa c t each American has the intuition that the life cycle is composed of a sequence of ev ents to be lived out in a correct order each stage matched by appropriate marital status amount of income ages of ch ild ren school years comp l eted leisure tastes tenure form and housing type (Perin 1 977 : 32) This single correct chronology of life events implies that the social progression is expressed thr o ugh appropriate housing changes which concern the form of tenure as well as the kind of dwelling inhabited It is as important to be biographically on time as to move along the sequence in the right order. "From renting an ap a rtment or townhouse or duple x or 329

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attached row house, to owning as still another step, any one of those, along the way to the ultimate rung that of owning a single-family detached house The hierarchy of land uses is at the same time the ladder of life" (Perin 1977: 4 7 ). This natural progression will take Americans from sharing a rented apartment (as roommates) while at the university to renting their own place when they get a proper job (that is a full time job once they have graduated). A young couple may still rent an apartment, but soon they will display their social success and conformit y b y buying a small h o u s e in whi c h t o start a family. They are called first -home bu yers'. Later, a successful career and a growing family will lead to multiple moves to bigger houses and /or to better neighborhoods. They are 'movers-up'. Later, when the children leave the middle-aged couple will mo v e to a smaller house (empty nester). From there they may choose to retire in the m a intenance-fre e condo of a retirement community (when they reach the required age) ; or els e, they may be directed by their children to a nursing home if they need medical care before ending their earthly sojourn in a funeral home. All thes e stages may exist in France individuall y and separately ; but it is their sys tematic character and their inevitable concatenation which set them apart in American culture It is of primary importance to be biographically on time and in the right space otherwise the shift will be interpreted as a failure or even as social deviance (Perin, 1987) It is not normal in the United State s to stay at the p a rents home while s tudying at the uni v ersity or 330

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as soon as one has an independent job. It is not accepted for someone to remain a tenant as soon as one has the financial capacity to own (or more exactly to borrow). Finally it may be forbidden to live with children in an adult only residence or to move into a retirement community if one of the spouses is not over sixty, or else to have more than two non married adults share the same house ... All these restrictions apply to tenants residences as well as to owners' residences and in case of non-compliance, the courts will order the covenant deeds to be strictly enforced. Another factor increases even more the number of moves required of American families: the employer's demands of geographic mobility for a successful career, some young, upwardly mobile executives are moved from one side of the country to the other every two years. This probably contributes to the statistics that 20% of Americans move every year. With every statistics however, one has to be cautious Some people move far more often than every five years, but the majority of Americans have been living in their actual homes for much longer than five years. In fact there seems to be a bimodal distribution with short term dwellers, comprising many renters and long term residents comprising many of the owners, especially the older ones. Nevertheless it seems that mo s t Americans have moved at least half a dozen times in their lives and many of them over a dozen. When they narrate their opportunity for moving to another place Americans speak of' getting a new life', 331

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' starting all over again or 'just like being young again', with a new beginning'all comments that carry a positive connotation especially from middle-aged individuals. In France on the contrary, tenants or owners alike do not care to move as often as Americans do. The mobility rate has been relatively stable since the 1970's It has decreased from 7.1% in 1973 to 6.3% in 1994, for the whole population but the rate is twice as high for tenants than it is for owners. It decreased from 12% to 11.3% for tenants and from 4.8% to 3 7 % for owners during the same period (Segaud Bonvalet and Brun 1998: 116-122) The major cause of moving for owners is improvement oftheir housing conditions A rate of 3. 7% means that owners stay in their house an average of 27 years This is consistent with the number of moves during one s lifetime : between two and four (one or two during childhood and two during their adult life) As for renters one third of the moving ones become owners Research links the French low mobility rate to the age of the population (the older the less mobile) the improvement ofhousing quality (only 6% of the dwellings are substandard nowadays, the rate is 7% in the U.S .A) and the high cost of mutation fees (which will be addressed later) During the interviews it became obvious that the French fear moving They usually have to be really "forced out of a place for a good reason before they envision moving. Even when they move out of a rented apartment to a new house they bought the move is an ordeal to them and it has to be the last time, the once and for good (Madame Lafeuille) 332

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Another index of their sedentarity is the fact that over two thirds of the people who move stay in the same town or village ('commune'), and eight out often in the same region. The few long distance moves are more likely to be due to employment requirements (Segaud, Bonvalet and Brun, 1998 : 112). A counteracting factor must be taken into account. In France, establi s hing relationships takes time; therefore, each long distance move means that the family will be isolated for several months or years, before it can develop even the more superficial relationships with its new neighbors and establish new friendships in the new location. The saying partir c'est mourir un peu ('to leave is to die a little ) was evoked several times by informants when discussing moving This probably also explains why 20% ofthe French owner-occupants (or 10% of all French households) live in a family home they have inherited (Topalov 1987) In any case it is more respected and French people prefer to settle in a place and improve one's property rather than to move to another place, even more prestigious And in order to adapt to a growing family, the French will add rooms, equip the attic, pile up children in one room (2 children sharing one bedroom is not considered crowding by French standards) before considering moving The next characteristic that sets the French apart from the Americans as to their housing practices is that housing developments are less specialized than in the U.S.A It is in fact illegal to restrict access to a dwelling on the basis of family situation (such as 'for adults only ), or age ('for sixty something only') or anything else. These rules apply even to pri vate owners when they rent out their properties and are strictly enforced. 333

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This lack of marketing sophistication (or lack of market segmentation) of housing products partly explains why the French will usually prefer to expand or remodel their homes rather than move. Their social progress will be translated into a better-equipped, better-finished, better -decorated house rather than into a new one Or deprive yourself first to enjoy more later. The French, like the Americans may have a general plan for their future a kind of a ladder of life ; but it will not translate into successive moves. On the contrary, a French family will be more likely to buy from the beginning a house "as big as possible' which will allow later improvements and extensions. "One leaves their parents to get married or to get a job and then get married" The typical French family will start their married life in a rented apartment, often subs idi zed by the government ('logement social') during which time they will save for their down payment on a house. They are likely to open a special 'Housing-saving' ('Epargne logement') account which will entitle them to a low interest rate loan (it is government supported) considered as down payment (it is a way to accelerate the down payment build up and 30% of the French aged 25-34 hold such an account). After the birth of their first child, they will buy their first dwelling, often a suburban single-family house using credit in 80% of the cases (12% pay cash and 8% still inherit their first home as of 1994). Most of them will stay in this home, especially if it is a house for the rest of their lives. Approx im ate l y a fourth of them will move again, eight to twelve years later when the third or fourth child is born more rarely the second 334

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In 1994 French first-home buyers bought 350 000 homes most of them located in a town under 2 000 inhabitants Their average age was then 36, and the average price of their purchase was $100,000 (600.000FF) or a little under three times their yearly income for an average 96 square meters (1,033 square feet), which they financed with a down payment of 30% and a loan over thirteen years. The same year 100,000 second homes were bo ught by people of an average age of 44. They paid an average price of$120, 000 (730 000FF) whic h the y financed with a c redit ove r 13 yea r s and a do wn payment of 45 % (Segaud, Bon va let and Brun 19 98: 183 ) These figures reveal a buying pattern very different from that of the Americans. It looks like the French wait longer to buy their first home but when they finally do so th ey keep it lon ger. It is also a more expensive purchase financed over a much shorter period oftime. The fir s t home o f the French costs the same price a s the median price of a s in g le family house in the U.S .A. ($98,000) By co mparison the a ve rage price of a first hom e i s about $70 000 in the U.S.A. To compensate for the hig her price of the 'beginner's home (as opposed to the first home of the Americans) th e family will save o n its equipment. In the ear l y day s a basic bathroom a kitchen without neith er cabinets nor appliances no wallpaper or pain t chea p (or e v e n n o) floo r coverings closets without shelves nor doors n o l andscap i ng or f e ncing Th e h ouse i s somet im es s tripped to a s hell and the w hole famil y will contribute its sweat to 335

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finish it over the several years to come. Very often the family will cancel their vacatio n to save money and work on the house. Their philosophy of life makes them consider that it is worth depri v ing themselves for a few year s, which are soon gone anyway, in o rder to enjoy more later a nd to be able to transmit so methin g to their children ('pouvoir l a i sser quelq u e chose a ses enfants'). To American eyes it seems that the F rench enjoy the situation of endless remodelin g (et r e en travaux) a lthough they comp l ain about it routinely In fact the remodeling goin g on, or yet to c ome is the preferred topic of conversation with famil y members and close friends All offer their ad v ice and s uggest their id eas so metim e s contributin g practical help lendin g a helpful hand ('venir donner un coup de main'). Marketers ha v e used this typical French disposition in recession times to compensate for a decrease in h o using buying power ( desolvabilisation de Ia demande'). When in the mid1980s', construction prices had risen quicker than wages and i ntere s t s rates were high fewer people could buy a house so builders developed products read y to finish ('pret a finir ), which in fact were little more than just a shell. S ome other differences relate to financing A brief comparison of French and American lending s tand a rd s for m o rt gages will try to explain fw1her t h e t yp i cal at t itudes o f the hom e buyers in each c ulture 336

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Financing Real Estate in France and i n the USA. The differences may n o t seem deep, but it must be noted tha t small varia tions in percentages may be very imp orta n t ifthese diffe rences stand at the margins ofthe ph enome na observed The first observation is that the French save for quite a l o n g time befo r e th ey buy their first and often their only hom e Second they finance it ove r a rath e r s h ort period of time ( 1 3 years average). Third their loan to v alue ratio is low (70% or le ss) On the contrary Americans s uccessi ve l y buy severa l houses bigger and bigger they prefer zero down payment and th ey finance th eir purchase over thirt y yea r s I s the American l e n ding syste m much less st ric t th an the Fren ch in its un d erwriting practi ces? Or are these differences cultural ? Jvfain le nding practices. We w ill re v ie w three areas w hich are of particular int erest the lengt h of the loan the amount o f the requi red down payment and the indebted ne ss ratios M o rtgag e terms The t y pical l e ngth of a mortgage is, in the US thirt y yea r s Since FHA introduced s u ch a long term in 1 95 4 it has rapid l y s pread t o the co n ventio nal sector. It i s now the n orm although studies have s h own that the further away the term of the payment, the less 337

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committed to the mortgage the borrowers are In France, the ma x imum length is eighteen years, with a rare exception for borrowers under thirty who may get terms of twenty five years Nevertheless, most borrowers limit their loans to fifteen years, because they are aware of the huge savings made on interest repayments over the life of the loan Ten and t welve year terms are also quite frequent for the same reasons Down payment and percentage financed Another characteristic of American mortgages is that they often finance 90% and 95% of th e acquisition r educing the down payment to 10 or 5%. This last figure is the minimum amount r equired to be e ligibl e for Mortgage Insurance an obligation w hen the loan to value ratio is higher than 80%. On the co ntr ary FHA loans may finance 97% of the purchase, requiring only 3% down payment. There are extreme cases when borrowers refinancing a prev ious loan may get up to 125% o f the actual appraised v alue of thei r home, in particular in areas clas sified as fast ap pr eciating Yet there is a st rong correlation between the amount of the down payment and the foreclosure rate This down payment is the amount that the homeowners will finally lose in case of foreclosure (together with their good credit rating' which is critical to borrow again in the U.S A.) It is the measure of the real commitment of the borrowers to their loan s 338

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In France, the banks usually require a minimum down payment of 10 to 20% In rare cases weal thy inve s t o rs ma y on a particu l ar purchase obtain from their banks a total financing' that is a loan covering purchase and mutation fees (closing costs) but this is not the case for ordinary primary residence buyers Mortgage insurance is required for loan to value (L.T.V.) ratios of 80% and above (up to 95%). Back-and f ront-end ratio s To French customers American banks would seem very lenient in their lending at maximum credit ratio policies They usually accept 28 to 33 % for the housing ratio, and 33 to 36% for the total debt ratio Sub-prime non-conforming and F H .A. loans may accept up to 4 0 o r 50 % back-end ratio s Credit i s a way of life I And thi s i s preci s el y wh y banks h ad to lower their r e quirements in order to increase their bu s ine ss. Thanks to the strength of the economy and also to inflation they did not in the past and until the mid-1980's, encounter too many problems (Lopes, in Lederman 1993: 27) The values of the financed properties were increasing, so did the incomes of the borrowers in current dollars Thus the monthly installment s were getting lighter and lighter (in con s tant dollars) From the mid-eight i es to the mid-ninetie s though the economic conditions changed but not th e cu l tura l attitudes of the borrowers nor the underwriting guidelines of the mortgage lenders. Banks know these facts They have developed se v eral predictive models which show that a small increa se in the debt-to-income ratio increase s s ubstanti ally th e delinquency risk 339

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When the ratio rises 4 points, (from 30% to 34.63%), for 90 days arrears, the delinquency rate jumps 17 % (from 0 68% to 0.80%) In France, the housing ratio should remain at 30% and the ma xim um total indebtedness author i zed is 33%, with a little flexibility for customers enjoying very high levels of income. But th e main difference is in the low use of credit by French consumers in general and in their high saving rates Buy now, pay later. 'You deserve it .. and owe it to yourself! 'Six months .. zero interest, same as cash 'No payment until. .. year 2000' Such offers are temptingl Americans stil l want to enjoy and enjoy now ', all the facilities eq uipm e nt or gadgets that their economy offers Enjoy now and pa y later is the motto of the prevalent Epicurean philosophy. Being Present' oriented (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, 1961 ) Americans ha ve no cultural incentives to saving They do not have any technical ones either On the contrary since the borrowing potential of individuals is based on their cred it ratings (FICO scores), it is very important to start borrowing as early as possible in fac t as soon as o ne can open a ba nk acco unt and be approved for a credit card The credit scores reflect the timeliness ofthe previous payments made on prior credit. Therefore if you pay everything cash, you will ne ver be able to obtain credit because you will n ot have a credit rating. So l earn you ng how to use credit. The total amount of you r 340

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balances is not as important as the timeliness of your payments. So it is good management in the logic of this system to take additional credit to pay the minimum requested amount of previous balances on time. Since credit cards companies usually do not verify income it is very easy to stretch one's finances too thin, and get oneself in a desperate v icious circle This explains how and why Americans spend their money before they have earned it. Financing is the normal way of buying, even for relatively small items of everyday life; to such an extent that it is the unusual customer who pays cash for a vacuum cleaner, an electric iron, or even a pair of sheets. Home equipment is normall y paid by credit card, and the n automaticall y financed, at high interest rates (17-23%) over a period of several months in a revolving fashion. The outstanding average balance of credit card holders was $6,000 in 1998 and $7,000 in 1999 Sixty millions U.S. households had outstanding credit card balances (Federal Reserve Board 1999). It is not surprising that in such a context any change in the income pattern of a family has potentially dramatic effects on their budget balance and that man y will be left with no other choice than to declare bankruptcy. Most French households on the contrary have a maximum of two monthly payments to make: one for their car, the other one for their home Credit cards exist, but they do not provide extra indebtedness opportunities The only credit they grant i s the grace period of thi11y to sixty days ma ximum, between the purchase date and the payment date at which time the total amount of one's purchase is directly withdrawn from one's bank account. There is no possibility to carry a balance over to the next month. Credit cards are in fact (slightly) 'delayed payment' charge cards. Some families acquire household equipment on 341

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credit. But the rules appli e d to 'con s umption credit (credit a Ia co n so mma tion ) are much s tricter and the maximum term o f suc h loan s is 2 to 3 years ( b y compar i son, wh en mak i n g the minimu m monthly payment on c r edit cards it takes 32 y ear s to repa y a $5, 000 debt with a 1 5% int erest rate). As for their house credit is obv iousl y a means t o an end which is t o ow n t heir propert y free and clear as so on a s poss ible The French want to ow n a h ome ( usuall y a s ingle-famil y h o u se) n ot a m ortgage. They a r e ready to make sac rifice s to achieve this goal and t he y do. This is why a l arge propOition ofthem has finished paying their mortgage around their fiftieth birthday ... j u st in time to start helping thei r adult children wit h their dow n payment (Seg aud B onva let and Brun 1998) These cultural att itud es a r e reflected in the macro economic s ta tist i cs of th e two co untrie s Th e Fren c h a r e expected to be the thriftiest in the world in year 2000 w ith a household sav ing r ate of 1 4.9 % even hig h e r than the Japane s e rate of 1 2 .2 % Americans have one of the three l owes t savi n g rat es in the wor l d They will save only 2 3% of their income in year 2000. E ve n in t i m es of eco n omic hardship as in the early 1 990s their saving rat e was a rath e r l ow 7 % (Source O EC D foreca s t 2000). C o nclu s i on. Americans do not buy a h ouse wit h the intention to remain in it all their lives. Th ey want completely finished hou ses 'in which to move w ith a suitcase', pro v i ding immed i ate l y a s much comfort as possible w ith thick wall to wall ca rpeting 342

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elaborate bathrooms, kitchens with all the cabinets and appliances equipped closets and h anging fixtures. It is their moving out of such a house to a better one or to a better neighborhood which wil l display their personal achievements and their soc ial confor mity. The French, when they buy a h ouse, plan to occupy it throughout the various stages of their life a n d probably envision passing it on to their children one of them becoming the likely next occupant. They w ill accept making se rious sac rifices t o achie v e this goal. As to financing the int erna l logic of the American banking sys tem growth, meets the natu ral demand of the market more c r edit. They both reach thei r goals through a re laxin g of lending rules Thi s i s panicularl y obvious when compared to the rules o b serv ed by French lend ers. French customers still exhibit certain defiance for credit. It is no l onger a social stigma to buy a h o us e or a car with credit. It still is t o use credit for consumer goods. This type of cre dit is interpreted both as bad financial management (because of the hig h interest rates) a n d as bad impul s e control (because you shoul d not desire what you ca nnot afford to paycas h or you s h ould be pati ent enough to save before buying). 1-[/e Cycle of Hous es in J-ia11ce a11d in the USA. The differences in attitudes d escribed above probab l y exp l ain in part the s h orter life cycle of the American h ouse 3 43

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Preference for the New : Financial Consequences Indeed, the American house has an average life span ofthirty years, but the apogee of its parabolic value curb is at 5 years, and after 8 years it starts decreasing. The value of a French house has a hyperbolic form, and its life span extends probably well over half a century to potentially several centuries. Value t Gentrification D Remodeling l y 4y 8 y 30 y l y 15y 30y IOO+y T ime Time U.S .A. FRANCE HOUSE LIFE CYCLE IN FRANCE AND IN THE U.S .A. FIGURE4 Another part of the explanation comes from the study of the materials used in the construction of houses in the two countries In the United States h ouses are built out of rather light and short-lived materials. Many houses are frame houses built of 2x4 or 2x6 studs and 2x8 rafters covered with clapboard siding or stucco Roofs are covered with shingles las tin g 10 to 15 years. Most of the 344

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equ ipm ent life span is planned to be 5 8, 1 0 or 12 years at best: water hea ter, air conditioning central heating ... Inex pensive materials eas y to work w ith are chosen b y American builders in order to lower costs and to r educe con st ru ction time. Most American houses are built within 2 to 5 months and the government c o ntrol s are r elativel y expeditious a nd light. In France on t he contrary, h o u s es are built with reinforce d concrete or concrete b lock walls finished with stucco, or w ith so lid brick walls Slabs are poured with reinforced concrete for all floors. Roofs are covered with heavy terracotta or conc re t e tiles. Windows are double or trip le glazed Walls and ceil ings are hea vi l y in sulated But there is a p r ice t o pay Build e r s do not deli ve r kitchens with cabinet s nor app lian ces, just the sink and mo s t bathrooms have onl y one basin one tub and so m e tim es a commode (the F re nch's prefere nce goes to a separate toilets' room wh ich is u sually tin y w i th no sink). Often houses have cellars or under g round garages. They are usuall y equippe d with fue l oil and sometimes gas heatin g sys t ems built to last 30 ye ars The construction takes at lea st six month s a nd often well over one year French h o u ses are obviousl y built to last lon ger than Ameri can hou ses and ph ys ical diffe re nces in building processes and material s are still reinforced b y the effect of other kinds of obsolescence whic h are s tronger in th e State s 345

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Obsolescence Obsolescence affects housing products as other consumer goods. Marketers usually identify two kinds of obsolescence physical and planned In the case of housing a third kind needs to be added: location obso l escence. Physical obsolescence is a result of wear and tear It can be natural as no product can last forever or it can be built-in the parts or components used to build the product are chosen in such a way t h at the maximum life expectancy ofthe finished product is limited in time. "Many products are designed not to last a long time (Zikmund and d' Amico, 1995: 296) Planned obso l escence is a result of changing fashions. This kind of obsolescence occurs when an exi sting product become s out of date because of the introduction of a new product. "Marketers plan product obsolescence to help maintain an adequate profi t level for the producer, and ensu r e corporate surviva l (Zikmun d and d Amico 1995: 296). As to houses three broad sources of obsolescence can be identified They a r e first the choice of building materials second, the location and third the various fashions that influence housing. Obsolescence due to location and to the choice of construction mat e rial will be rather long term and their effects will be relatively unavoidable On the contrary fashions effects may be felt rather quickly and some of them may be easily remedied whi l e some others wi l l affect houses in a definitive way. 346

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Physical a nd pla nned obsolesce nce will affect bo t h American and French houses but in d i ffe rent ways. Physical, planned and location obsolescence in the US.A. Physica l b uilt-in obsolescence in the U.S.A. As we have see n above the physical obsolescence ofU.S.A. h ouses is r elated t o the t y pe of material s chosen f o r their construction Here a d isti n ctio n needs to be made between frame and block co n s truction. Frame is ob v iously a lighter structure than is blo c k construction In some s t ates, o r regional a r eas, prospective American homebu yers may ha ve the choice b e tween the two In thi s case, they usually phra se the alternative in te r m s of a c h o i c e between better insulation benefit assoc iated w i th frame opposed to increased durabilit y and lower maint e n ance associated with bl ocks. When it was s uggested durin g intervi ews with prospecti v e cus tom e rs of bui ld e rs, th a t the y co uld get good i n s ulation with block s t oo, the rem ark was usuall y wipe d o u t wit h a definitive yes but it would be too expens i ve The two or thr ee th ousa nds d ollars tha t inc reasin g the "R" facto r ofthe walls fro m 8 toll and the ceiling f r o m a sta n dard 16 to 30 would cost will be spent w i t h ou t reservatio n on high g rad e carpet, sta i ned glass in the foyer or lat est fas hion cabinetry in the kitchen To build a h o u se is to m ake choices. Thi s one c h oice i s revealing of the deep e r va lues of American c u lture toward time Durab i lity is n o t a priorit y Enjoyment in the present is. In so m e areas, s u ch as Florida wood mai nten a n ce i s difficult be c ause of high t em pe rat ur es combin ed to high levels of hum i dity 347

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which increase the risk for wood-eating organisms such as termites or wood decay due to rotting. There, block structures will be more frequently chosen but the rationale behind the choice is "not to be bothered with regular termite treatment nor time and money consuming maintenance ". It is the relative maintenance free aspect ", (increasing the present enjoyment) that motivates the choice rather than the long-term durability prospect. Planned obsolescence in the U.S .A. In the United States there are fashions for all facets of housing products, from floor plans to equipment and color schemes. Color schemes unmistakably mark the age of a house. Fifteen years ago most houses were dark brown and beige twelve years ago they were grey ; then came from California the pastel tones fad which did not last v ery long and gave way to a return to neutral tones of beige There is now a return to darker, natural color schemes with dark green, burgundy reds and earth brown palettes (To discover the current color fad one only needs to attend the builders parades of homes of any given year) A more structural source of obsolescence prompted by fashion relates to the house basic floor plan. Since the I 940's houses have gotten bigger and bigger from a standard 2 bedroom 1 bath, 1 carport to actual 3 or 4 bedrooms 2, 3 or 4 baths and 2 or 3 car garages New fashionable specialized rooms have appeared : family rooms breakfast nooks master s uite den computer room shop ... Some equipment has become standard : central air and heat, kitchen cabinets and appliances even whirlpool baths or wet bars which deeply and negatively affects the houses which are not so equipped 348

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The third characteristic ofhouses influenced by fashion is the style. Style obsolescence will affect a house ofwhich style is out of fashion. Style is defined either structurally by reference to some major element of the house such as the roof, flat roof or pitch roof, or such as floors, split level house versus ranch style ... Style can also be defined by reference to history, using historical styles such as Victorian or Prairie, or Colonial. Builders use some typical elements of these architectural styles as a reference, which will give the new house a special flair Examples of these trends are the use of Victorian columns on the entry porch, or revival window design or French provincial rooflines Location obsolescence in the U.S.A A third form of obsolescence is the location obsolescence which depreciates the house because of its depreciating neighborhood (Nut et al., 1976 : 6 22). The house and its neighborhood may undergo a cycle of decreasing values until the time when the price of the land will be worth redeveloping The old structures will then be razed and brand new larger houses will be built. This process is called gentrification. It is more likely to happen in areas which have an intrinsic advantage such as beach front properties relative seclusion or particular views. In conclusion, the built-in obsolescence which results from the choice of building materials, adds up with the planned obsolescence, which results from all the functional changes and with the location obsolescence. These three kinds of obsolescence are seriously taken into account when houses are professionally appraised. They are all good 349

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reasons to induce the owners to sell their aging houses before inflation stops covering the loss of valu e intl icted b y obs olescence Usually when a house is deemed out-fashioned and referred to a s functi o nally obsolete by appraisers, it is sold to a lower income family and the previous owner moves up to a more fashionable area with newer homes ; 'new' is beautiful and desirable old means ugly and unco mfortable Thi s i s w h y house s m ay be anal yzed as a c o n sumer good rather than capital goods and inv es tment. Americans mov e when Frenc h people would rem o del. The same a pplies e ven if it is onl y cosmetic work, which is needed In France, the situation is differen t in several respects Phys i cal, planne d and lo c ation ob solesce nce in Fran ce Physical built-in obsolescence in France First, the houses are built in a more solid way and their basic e quipmen t (like heating) is de s igned to la s t for decades The choice to in v e s t more mone y in th e s tru cture of the hous e through l onge r-lasting m o re ex pensive buildin g materials is a re s ult of bo th government regulati o n s and cu s t o m e r s p e r sonal choi ces. Thi s c u s tomer prefere nce i s a t tested by th e visitors b e ha v ior in French model homes Visitors w ill often knock o n the walls i n an elaborate fashion. First a hard knock, with the palm oftheir hand to v erify if the wall vibrates und e r the shock a nd s e c ond, a lighter knock, deli v ered wit h the knuckles of their fis t t o judge the qualit y o f th e so und emit t ed b y the w all. These tes t s w ill indicat e if t h e 35 0

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wall is hollow it sounds hollow ('ya sonne creux') which is a ne gat i ve evaluation reflecting on the quality of the w hole house or solid ('plein') which tr a nsl ates as 'full' in Frenchand is interpreted in a positi v e manner 'it l ooks st u rdy '('ya a ) air so lide'), again reflecting o n the entire hou se deemed t o be s turd y strong and therefore long-lasting. Such a n awareness of the customers for the quality of the materials used obviously restricts the o pportunit y that marketers have to play with physical obsolescence n a tural or built-in Planned obso l escence, in France As for pla nn ed obsolescence, si n ce houses are not completely finished when they sell, th ere are fewer elements that can be su bjected t o it. The color patt e rns and the equipment are not selected by the marketers They are for the interior ofthe house a result of individual c h o ic e whi c h will be e x erc i sed afte r the purchase and sometimes even afte r moving into the house As for th e exterior the c hangin g fashions cannot take as easily because gove rnment restrictions and impos i ti o n s strictly limit what can and cannot be done They must often stic k t o standards of local tra ditional architecture' that define the qu a lit y and colors of the tiles or the g rain an d s h ade of th e stucco or the t y pe and co lor of the s hutt ers Such r egu lati ons will also app l y to the s tyle of the h ouses being bu i lt and ma y g o as far as t o impose the pitch ofthe roof, th e size and shapes of th e w indows t he numbe r of lev e l s of th e h ouse in a manner, which gives little l eeway to marketer s fas hi o ns 351

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Second, although houses produced since the 1940s' have evolved in their floor plans and increased their average sizes, the changes have not been so drastic The average house is still limited down by cost of construction and scarcity ofland. This could be analyzed in Rapoport' terms as a greater importance being vested in fixed-feature e lements of the French house, whereas Americans would invest more in the semifixed-feature elements There is therefore, less opportunity for marketing induced fashions and planned obsolescence to interfere with the lon g time desirability of the house Location obsolescence in France Finally the location obsolescence is extremely rare in France, at a local level and over a period of several decades At the scale of a city or a town, land values are not as fluctuant as in the Un ited States Once a com munit y has been developed its l ocation will remain desirable, and wil l become even more so over time as other communiti es dev elop in the neighborhood at a larger distance from the cen t er. This is a consequence of the centralized web spatial system prevalent in France, which was described earlier. In the long-term (at least several decades) the location obsolescence i s caused by the c h a n ging c haracteristic s of economic dev elopment. For example when the coal mines closed durin g the fifties several mining areas lost jobs and the people migrated to other places of employment. This was a slow process though, as only young people moved; the older ones preferred to be put on early retirement and stay in their cities and homes 352

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A similar example was the location obsolescence that touched rural France, during the 1920s' and the 1930s' when most ofthe industrial revolution was accomplished It prompted what became to be known as the "rural exodus" which deserted small villages and raised urban concentration. But these were ample movements which touched the whole country in a s imilar way and spread over several decades It is very different from the process of location obsolescence followed by gentrification taking place in the U.S.A. on a permanent basis. To conclude it may be said that the French do not see their hou ses as cons umer goods. Therefore, rather than discarding them, they continuously invest time and money to update and fix them up which counteracts the effects of obsolescence, especially in the short and medium terms (defined according to French values, which means covering three or four decades). Real Estate as Enric hm ent Source From Capital Gain to Foreclosure This review of the foreclosure process will address several points : How does the foreclosure auction sale procedure work? Who are the pa11icipants? Are there losers and win ner s ? Does this market offer good investment opportunities? What are the possible reasons (cultural, economics) for foreclosure increase? Is the trend expected to last? Is the 353

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procedure well adapted to its ends? Are the intervening parties satisfied with it ? Are there o th e r procedur es developed to avoid f ore closure ? To answer these questions a participant-observation study of the foreclosure market was first conducted then a cultura l analysis of the causes was performed and finally the economic and possib l e technical reasons were re searched One of the first tips' is in fact a must', a sine qua non' condition : to get yourself ac quainted with the foreclosure auction scene on the steps of the County Court House The foreclosure sale in Hillsborough Florida. "Hear ye Hear ye! Foreclosure sales As every weekday morning at 11 : am a s mall group convenes at the small cart table which has just been pu s hed outside, 'on the steps of court house' according to the ritual definition (is it the surv ival sign of an infamous connotation attached to foreclosures?) A number of ye llo w fil es, so me very thick and some almost flat are piled next to a notice' s h ee t and a s maller pile of' identification' forms. S t anding beh in d t he tab le facing the small crowd the officer ofthe 'Cl erck ofthe Circuit Court' first reads the notice aloud and promptly starts the sa le: Case N# 88.... Federal Savings' against John Doe and AJ. Mr X is here to represent the plaintiff '. Now the l awyer or his representative steps forward and hands the officer the receipt for the $40 fee s / he just paid before the sale. "Do you wave the r ead ing ofthe 'lega l"' ? The answer i s usuall y positive, as this legal description of the property is generally long esoteric and uninformative when not related to a map Any objection"? At thi s time an eventual prospective 'third party bidder' may request the boring reading, just by saying yes" I This sometimes happens in particular if the le gal descr iption has 354

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appeared in different terms on different legal documents or i f any other uncertainty exists as to the exact property being sold After the reading o r the waving of the reading the court officer continues : -"Mr. X are you ready to start the bidding"? -"Yes, the plaintiff bids: $1 00" "The bid i s $100", repeats the officer while writing thi s figure on the specia l form attached to the inside of the front cover of the file -"$100 going once" ... says the office r now lookin g up to the assistance in a circular fas hi on, -"$1 00 going twice" ... -"Sold to the plaintiff for $100" The lawyer than shows to the officer a certificate of sale' that he has prepared, and goes back ins ide the building to the cashier's w indow of th e 'Clerck ofthe Circuit Court' to pay th e Registry Fees (2% on the first $500 l % on each subsequent $100 of the successful bid) plus the Documentary Stamps and the fee for the recording of the Deed. During this time on the s t eps, the sale goes on ... -"Next sale is case N# 87-" ... Let assume this time, that a third party bidder' is inte re sted: the officer proceeds as before but once the l awyer has given her fir s t b i d : "$1 00 going once ... -"$200! St ates a vo ic e ... Surprise! All the heads turn to the intruder ; if she is known b y the officer, and i s a regu lar attendant, she is greated by a smile as s he hands out the identit y form pre v iously filled out, and the bidding goes on. If it is a new face, the officer asks in a rather dubious voice, (more especially so as the stranger l ooks more dile tt ante o r less welloff) : -"You know yo u must have cash money to bid 5% up to $1000, do you have it?" Yes s he knows, and has it. She a l so fills in the identity form and hands it to the officer who re-copies it on the file together with the amount of the bid. At this point the representative of the ba nk may adopt severa l strategies Eit her she will increa se her bids progressively, or she will jump immedi a tely in one or two increments to the ma x imum l eve l which is always set up in advance by the bank, holder of the mortgage. Let us illustrate o ne of these bidding process : -"$1 000"! Says th e lawyer -"The bid is $1000 for the plaintiff', repeats the Offic er -"$2000 Says th e third party bidder, I have a bid of $2000 do I hear ano ther bid ? -"The p l aintiffbids $ 1 0 000 ... 355

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"$1 0, 000" ... repeats again the Officer -"$ll,OOO" ... continues the third party "$38,56 4.43 State s the lawyer in a stro ng and determined voi c e ( it i s her last bid!) "$3 8 564.43 repeats the officer do I hear another bid "? $38 565 says the third party bidder u s uall y afte r a s h ort h esitatio n and w ith an e motion in the vo ice that directl y reflect s his/ her famili a rit y or l ac k thereof, with the w h o l e procedure. -"$38 ,565? Going once ... 38,565 ... going twice sold to Ms. Investor for $38, 565" The Officer then hand s the file to his/ her assistant w ho will accompany th e su ccessful bidder and the lawyer to the cashier's wi nd ow. There the buyer wi l l have to disburse the 5% deposit capped at $1, 000 The doc s tamps' and 'registry fee will be computed and the buyer will be give n up to 2 h o ur s to co me back w ith a cashier's check or cash, in the total amount still due (inclu din g fees and sta mps) I n Florida the re dem ption period being 10 days, t h e court hou se will keep these monies d eposited i n an escrow account for thi s l e ngth of time and then it will i ss ue the 'certificate oftitle', a nd re co rd it. The bu y er will at thi s p o int become t he titled owner and the monies will be disbursed acc ordin g to th e pr esc ripti o ns of the judgement as the y will be re c apitulated in the di s bur se ment r eport' established b y the l awyer. ( In t e rviews an d participant observation notes recorded at foreclo s ure sa l es). Foreclo:,l t res as investments. F in ally, buy in g a foreclosed property sounds like a rath er simpl e deal. You put a thousa nd dollars in your p ocke t an d yo u can buy a 5 million dollar prop erty! (Pr ovided yo u can co m e b ack w ith th e co m ple m ent money w ith i n two h o urs o r afford to lose yo u r deposit mon ey and yo ur right to bid the n ext tim e!) In s u c h a deal th e difficulti es are many an d the r i sks diffi cu lt to assess The difficulties s t a rt w h en yo u want t o know w ha t property is going to be up for auction o n any given day. The Court se t s up no Jist. The age nda i s the res ult of the de c i sions of eac h indivi du al j u dge du rin g th e foreclo s ure tria l s In Tampa yo u m ay get so me h e l p ; a n independent pu blis her 356

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puts out tw ice a month a Hot S h ee t of the schedule d foreclosure sa les; it costs $50 per i ssue, but provides all kinds of inte resti ng informa ti o n The seco nd problem is to identi fy the propert y being foreclosed; t he description used i s the legal d esc ription' which do es not mention the ad dre ss. If you d on' t want t o lose hours in the rea l estate information office (which provides informa tio n on the location, the assessed value an d t h e sale prices of all real estate properties in the count y) collat i ng documents t here again yo u need the Hot S heet' It w ill help but i t will not exempt you from goi n g to th e s pot makin g s ure yo u identify th e boundaries of the prope rt y properly, as well as the lot number, especiall y if the propert y i s p l a tted ( in a su bdi v ision or for condominiums for exam pl e) The third problem w hich m ay translate into an add i tiona l risk is th at yo u have n o legal access t o th e property bei n g sold, t o inspec t it. You might enco u nter welcom ing tenants but cooper ating owners are r at h e r rare! Co n se qu e ntl y, your appraisa l w ill most of t h e time be no more th a n an educated g ue ss ba se d o n a few g l ances throu g h the win dows of an empty house (Most of the tim e the h o u ses for e closed h ave be en vo lunta r ily vacated be fore t h e tim e of auction) Additiona l ris ks arise from the s urpri ses yo u ma y have with the title. Fir s t th e r e ma y be liens l f the y are inferio r to t he o n e bei n g foreclosed (that is reco rded after) t h ey w ill b e fore cl osed (t h a t means wash ed away) provid e d they ha v e be e n called 357

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(that is, the beneficiaries have been legally informed ofthe foreclosure action and given an opportunity to assert their claims) Ifthey are superior, the property will be sold subject to these repayments; but nothing is specified at the moment of the sale; the bidder should know; 'Let the buyer beware'! S/he may get this information in different ways, e.g., checking the title recorded in the public records library on which the liens should appear. The prospective bidder s hould also consult the file of the trial and check that all the parties have been called, and then dismissed or are of an inferior status. Be especially prudent with properties on which homestead exemption is claimed for the current year (as it proves that it is the first residence of the owner, and might be subject to the homestead protection, which applies in Florida). Beware also of properties listed in the names ofboth spouses if the same two are not cited in the foreclosure trial. Finally avoid the properties that are foreclosed on corpo rati o n s or on partnerships. These cases are usuall y very complicated and monitored by professionals who 'know better' and don't like to be lo sers! If a file looks complex, it is a good idea to have a professional title search' done by a title company. They may charge as low as $25 per search, (with special agreements for' foreclosure investors' dealing in volumes) The second ser ies of risks is typical of real estate and is related to the marketability of the property. As usual, but even more so with foreclosures only invest in areas with which you are very familiar and in products that you know well. Indeed, the owners of the house have probably tried to sell their house during the foreclosure trial and have been unsuccessful for many months. Their asking price was probably higher than th e price paid at the courthouse (as th e amount ofthe final judgement was higher than the price paid, especially if there 358

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were liens) but still, foreclosures are troubled properties. Some causes may be remedied easily (sometimes, simple cosmetic work, landscaping or market exposure), but some others may be more structural: depressed housing market, high interest rates, or more locally, depressed area, maladapted product (too big too small functionally obsolescent) and undesirability of the surroundings. Bidders must remember that the price is not the only element in real estate investments And given the conditions of the sale, it is easy to 'get excited' and to overbid; thi s i s why the foreclosure 'pros' draw up a list of the properties the y are interested in, and set a maximum bid for them prior to the actual sa le As you see there are many tricks to be avoided! Thus, who are the intervening parties on this market? Specialists! This is the most striking fact, when you join the group, on the steps ofthe courthouse. This is a small gro up of people who know each other. Although th ey don't talk much they have very definite ways of acknowledging each other's presence : a smile a blink, a gaze or even the respect of a certain routine (for example a certain lawyer is always the first to pay his $40 fee, therefore his files are always called first. One day he was slightly late the half circle gathered around the front of the table automatically split open, to give him access to the table). The lawyers present are special ized in foreclosures, and many ofthem only handle such cases. About h alf of the lawyers do not attend foreclosure sales in person. Instead, they hire the services of a specialized company employing either young women or retired men, to attend the sale They just pay the fee and do the bidding according to an instruction sheet lea v in g t hem no initiati v e (which i s as well anyway as they have no idea of w hat the case 359

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or the property sold are). Specialized also are the investors Some have a geographic specialization (the north of Tampa, Brandon, Carollwood), some a functional specialization (condominiums, single-family houses commercial property rentals) or a financial specialization (property less than $20,000, or around $1 00 000) Some others choose to buy run-down houses to fix them up before reselling them ; these investors are generally small contractors, with limited financial means, increasing their job workload. Some of these people are there (almost) everyday: lawyers and Circuit Court Officers plus the editor of the 'Hot Sheet'. Some are there less often: investors with a large vo lume of business (few of them are in this case) Most ofthe invest ors though come episodically, when they have some cash availability. They may have just sold some of their previous investment properties and will come every day for one or two weeks until they find another good buy. Or they may have identified through the Hot Sheet' a possible goo d deal then they attend this spec ific sale The notorious absents at these sales are the owners of the properties being sold Some probably' feel bad' about the issue and even ashamed. But most of them are in fact already gone away to another state (many snow birds' having tried unsuccessfully to settle in Florida), to another job (and the resale of their house was unsuccessful so they chose to let it be foreclosed, as the less taxing financial solution) or even to another familial arrangement (splitting couples who have little equity in the house and low financial means will often have no choice but let the property be foreclosed). 360

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Whatever thei r role or sp ecialization, peo ple in this g roup of in vestors behave very indi v iduali s tically, a lmo s t secretly No general conversation ever ari ses The common patte rn of communication consists of a fe w words exchanged in a lo w voi c e b e tween two persons at a time. A lot i s expressed b y fa cia l mimi c r y, especiall y t o set up the limits of the g roup: who belongs, and who does not. Newcomers, of course are rejected or more exactly ignore d until they eve ntually beco me active. If they seem to know the rul e s act in a timel y manner and in an effic ient way, then it i s fine. Otherwise, especiall y ifthey del ay the process b y untimel y ques tion s o r minimal bidding for exampl e, then th e tensi o n rises and th e Officer may well intervene a nd s a y t o the lawyer :"Ms. Y I would ap preci a t e your biddin g to t he final amount", which i s an inte rve ntion in the free bidding procedure. When the properties are bought back b y the plaintiff the indiffe r e nce i s gen e r a l ; a nd there i s littl e int e r est a nd in fo rmation in those bids often mad e at the minim a l level of $100, to minimize the 'Doc Stamps' and the Regi s try fee' On the contrary when there are third part y bidders, especi ally if t h ey comp ete t her e i s more excite m e nt. But a nyway, never s how you r emotional reacti o n s, whether you hav e just made the deal of your life or lost the h o use of your dreams to a noth e r higher bidder! This placidity might be difficult t o achieve (I noticed o n e mornin g two partners who had just m a d e an in s t a nt million million and h alf dollars on a warehouse, fo r whic h they h ad no competition despite th e unusuall y hig h number of peo ple in atte nd a nce After the str essi n g moments they h ad the hardest t ime refra ining from s milin g a t each other and t his brought o n the m som e disapproving g lan ces!). So, never di s play your co nt en tm ent never s how yo u have got a good deal. 36 1

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This required placid attitude would not be surprising in France, where financial situation nor financial moves s hould never be displayed nor discussed in public but I find it un expected in the United States Is it specific to foreclosures ? A 'good deal' in this context means after all a big loss for someone else, a loss often more distressfu l than that of money the lo ss of a home possibly dragging along th at of an entire family! At thi s point I hope that Florida procedures of foreclosure sound more fam ili ar. The legal pro cedures t h at precede the sale and w hi ch span over a period of one year approximate l y (one year after the first legal pursuits and one year and a half after the la s t payment on the mortgage) will not be reviewed Different legal documents are is sued a t each stage which r e tr ace qu it e explicitly the ordeal. As for the app l ication of the judgement, in case the house is still occupied at the time of the sa l e, the Sheriff expedites the evic tion of the tenants or fo r me r owners very diligently, as soon as he receives th e court order (with in two weeks at the most) Causes and cultural s i gnification of foreclosures in Ampican society. On the sellers' side foreclosures are the hateful outcome but also the last remed y to mortgage ) delinquenci es. A p l ight to affected homeo wners forced to give up their piece of the American dream, the y are today, common place in depressed markets throughout the country ; and yet, there are no winners in foreclosure All parties lo se: the homeowner, the lender and the mortgage insurer (Massa, 1987) 362

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Since after the war, but more especially during the last three decades, the trend has been that of a consistent increase in the number of mortgage delinquencies, as well as in the number of these delinquencies that resulted in mortgage foreclosures. The reasons invoked are usually of three kinds: first, structural reasons, related to the lar ger housing market, as well as to the household circumstances. For example the maneuvering room left in the budget, after payment ofthe monthly installments. The second kind of reasons could be s tigmatiz ed as s hock s to the budgeting system of th e borrower" (Doling, 1 988) They result from changes in th e expe nditure/incom e pa ttern ; such is the case of di vo rce unemployment, disease and de ath .. The last category i s that of personal reasons from lack of financial skills to manage a budget to l ack of commitment to the debt or to the house and finally the increasing de moralizing attitude towards financial responsibility and indebtedne ss, resulting in dec ulpabilizati o n of default. These rea so n s are not surp rising but w hat is pe r haps newer, are the se results of a finer st ud y on mort gage arrears The defaults are s tudied at three s tages: 30 60 and 90 days of d e la y ; they all s ho w a tr e nd to wa rd increa se but relate t o different causes at different stages (Ferguson 1986) as show n below. 363

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Year 1 964 1985 30 days 1.33% 2.67% 60 days 0.29% 0 70% 90 day s 0 1 6% 0 62% Mai n causes : Di vorce, Unemployme nt Rate of ind e bte dness (poverty) O ver two decades the rates of mortgage d elinquencies have doubled at 30 days trip led at 60 day s and q u a drupled at 90 d ays. The r ates of foreclosure had doub led in sixtee n y e a r s of th e po st war period (1950-1966), rising from 0 21% to 0 .52%; the y decr eased to 0 .09% in 1979 and doubled again in the 1980s to r each 0.51% in 1987 Many l enders fear this rate is l i ke l y to reach 1 % ofth eir p ortfo l io in th e near future These figures also show that unexpected events lik e divorce or unemployment bring a temporary default which is taken care of before foreclos ure, in three o u t of four cases for divorce but only one out of seven cases for unemployment. On the contrary, w hen the rate of ind ebted ness is too hig h it turns into a s tru ctura l cause for foreclosure, which is exhibited by the very sim ilar level of 90 da ys arrears and of foreclosures No wonder that in those circumstances, a n a dditi o nal stress pr oves fatal and this explains that i n the con t ext of an already "stretched-budget divo rce is u sually made accountable for some 30% oft he foreclosur es and unemployment for some 20 % (B.S.A., 1985) The banking sys t e m has ana l yzed th ese d ata in o rder to impro v e its situati on. Some structura l causes are well identified they h ave n ot necessaril y been addre ssed, probably because of cultural r esis t ance. They a re th emselves subjected to cultural and economic 364

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pressures, one of them being growth. It seems more important to be the 'biggest' bank, to make 'more loans' than to be the safest, and make the best loans quantity over quality, at least for the positioning criteria of the banks. It is true that quality i s also invoked by banks in their advertising, but it has a different focus: for example, their customer service; a quick and personalized service, offering customized loans fitting the most diverse needs, is then synonymous wit h quality. These two charac teri st ic sfit the cu ltural dimensions previously identified for American cu lture Doing on the Activity scale and Individualism (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, 1976) or Masculinity (Hofstede 19 9 1 ). There is another explanation that I would like to suggest to explain the rising foreclosure rate a n d it i s l inked to cultural attitudes too. Owning your own house is the traditional American dream; a century ago, this dream was not accessible to everybody and a lar ge part of the people knew the y would have to be tenants their whole life. Now most people feel they are entitled' to own, without necessarily rea lizing nor accepting the amount of eff011 and of sacr ifi ce that it encompasses Many ad v e11isements use this attitude buy X, you owe it to yourself' or 'you deserve it' or else yo u are ent itl ed to it' (with all the va riati ons you owe it to your family your children' ... ). Banks ha ve obv iou s l y accepted these values, as they have consistently loaned money to people with lower and lower levels of in come, and with higher ratios of indebtedness, due in turn to the pervasive development of consumer c r edit. The adage Money is only l oaned to rich people' might still be true in France, but as we have seen above, it is definitely not the case in the U.S A at least for consumer goods. They are the easiest to finance and w ith credit cards there is h ardly any verification ofthe borrowers financial situation. As for housing money in the U.S.A. is 365

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loaned to the people already indebted, who can display regularity in the ir repayments Finally, other capital goods may be more difficult to finance and venture cap ital is definitely th e hardest but s uch is also the case in France The positive side of these otherwise dangerous and relaxed credit policies is that more families w ith a lower income have had access to a mortgage More mortgagees have accepted close to the maximum debt-to-income ratio s Some fami l ies ha v e h a d an opportunity to become homeowners that they would not have had w ith stricte r rules But le t us not forget that the back end ratio is also the strongest predictor of 90 days delinquency and of foreclosure rate Higher foreclosure rate would in this case be the socia l price to pay for democratizing homeowner ship, especially i f t he employment market is disturbed th e inflation rate low and the familial context unstable Lastly, the mobilit y rate wh i ch is very high in the U.S.A. as we have seen before, must be consequential to the foreclosure rate On the a v erage home owners sell their propert y every 5 years and move to other neighborhoods, other cities, or other states, for status reasons, employment necessities or financial reasons Facing a foreclosure is easier in a p l ace to which you are not attached where you are not well known where you have no family and no long-term friends What is more, reinstating you r credit will be easier in ano ther state und er different law s Here rests one of the 366

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characteris t ics ofthe U.S.A., so often overseen by the Frenc h ce n tral izers: s tate frontiers may be in the United Stat es re a l barr ier s and a protection for defaulting mortgagors! Despite forec losures and excessive credit h o meownership i s s t ro n g in the U.S.A. and in France too, but at a slightl y lesser level. Homeown e r s hip in F ran ce and in the USA.: t h e Real Situati on Indeed, the propo rtion of Americans owning their own home (65% of which a re singlefam ily h o u ses) has rise n from 15% before the first World Warto 44% in the 1930's and 64% in 1 974 (Gott dien e r 1 983 ). These rate s ha ve been quit e sta ble sinc e as the y stand at 68% for s in g l e -famil y house ownership and 65% for homeo wnership in 1993 and 65.6% for 1996 (Segaud Bonvalet and Brun, 1998 ) The comparabl e figures for h o meown e r ship in France are 35. 5% in 1954 to 46 .7% in 1 975 to 54 3 % in 1 996 Since the 1980 s t h e pe rc en tage of ownership has not changed it is stable at a r o und 54% ( Pl a n Logement, 1 999). This posi tive evolution i s due to deve lopment of cred it. ln both co untrie s the deci s i ve factor for encoura ging h o meo wne r ship a nd making it possible was the c r eation of adequate financing syste ms First i n the U S.A., the F H.A. was creat ed in 1 934 (Fe d e ral H o using A dmini stra ti o n). It e s t abl i s h ed the principles oflong 367

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term amortized mortgages low down payments and mortgage insurance in 1935 (Ching Shih 1990 : 37) In France, it was not until the 1950 s that the Special Loans of the Credit Fancier de France' were created (between 1950 and 1953) (Topalov, 1987 : 251) followed by the opening of the Marche Hypothecaire in France in 1966, which authorized banks to i ssue long term loans and reduce the down deposit (Bourdieu 1990 : 27) In France in 1 96 1 only one out offive owners was repa y ing a mortgage in 1984 it was one out of two The figures are higher in the U.S.A. In 1979 owners tenure represent 63% and tenants 37 %. Ofthe 63% owners, 43% make a mortgage payment and 20% do not. These figure s are relatively stab l e (the comparison with 1 972 was respective l y 61%, 39%, 42% and 1 9%). It would compare approximately as two owners out ofthree are repaying a mort gage in th e U S.A. The real quest ion is what do homeowners really own? I s it more than a mortgage ? Comparative and comparab l e data are difficult to come by cross-nationally However, it can be said th at in 1 989 American households debt structure is co mpos e d of mortgages for 66% and con s um e r loans for 25% Furthermore their total liabi lit ies represent one fourth of their financial assets. In 1970 the same fig ures were respectively 61%, 29% and 20%. 36 8

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In France, hou s in g represents 35% of total households assets ('patrimoine des menages ) in 1969,48% in 1982-85 and is back down to 42% in 1996. It is also self-financed for over 50%, so mortgages represent roughly 21% of households assets which is higher but still close to the American figure of 17% (66x25) for the mortgage (25% if consumer credit is added). Mortgages also represent 80% of th e households total debts in 1997 (Plan Logement, 1999). Finally, in the U.S.A. the percentage of house s paid in cash (single famil y houses new and privately owned) varies up and down between 14% and 20% during the yea rs 1966 to I 982 with high es t levels in 1 980 ( 18%) and 1981 (21%) because of the financial crisis and sky rocketing interest rates. Since 1982 the rate has stabilized b e tween 8 and 10% (Ching Shih 1990 : 94) In France the related figures are 20% of the purchases (primary residence new and privately owned) are paid in cash, 7 to 8% thanks to a heritage or a family donation, and 12 to 13% with per sona l resour ces, (Segaud Bonvallet and Brun 1998 : 182 Topalov, 1989) The percentage paid in cash from personal resources went up to 14% in 1 997 (Plan Logement 1 999) All these figure s add so me p rec ision to the information drawn from the ethnographic int e r v iews but they do not alter the general pict u re 369

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They confirm the tendency of the French to be more conservative in their housing investments To sum up their attitudes they seem to invest more, financially and symbolically in their housing. The reasons are multiple, from higher priced dwellings, to stricter lending rules matching a historical reserve toward credit, to the willingness to save before the purchase. They invest more ofthemselves, more oftheir cash and more oftheir family goals in these hard, heavy, solid and stony' structures that they design as their houses Or would it be best summarized as 'the French fall in love with stones' "The behavior known as stone endearment reveals that the status of owner is directly linked and a part of the bundle of advantages for the consumer-saver" (le comportement d'attachement a Ia pierre revele que le statut de proprietaire entre directement dans Ia fonction d'utilite du consommateur epargnant. (Segaud, Bonvallet and Brun 1998 : 181 ). These characteristics will be confirmed and explained by the following analysis ofthe house as family-estate. Houses as Family-estate or Cash Source Americans high mobility also means that they cannot afford to be attached to a particular house. The concept of' home' is very dear to them but it is not linked to a specific place nor structure It is the house which happens to be theirs at the moment. Standardized floor plans and elevations make the switc he s eas y from one house to another and as the concept of the maison de famille (family-estate house) almost does not exist in 370

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the U.S., no particular house is over in v ested with affecti v e symbolic or historical sig nification As w e ha ve se en the house i s u sed as a consumer good a s any other. When it is no longer adapted to your need s, you change it. Typically, an owner progresses through the several stages w e reviewed earlier, fir s t home buyer', move-up buyer' 'empty-nester', r etireme nt-community buyer' all corresponding to different composition ofthe family or to different financial means and all implying a change of house. At each stage, when they sell their h o us es, homeo w ners can hope to make some capital gain. This i s especially the case in time s of inflati o n There i s in all the Euro pe an cou ntries and th e U.S.A a correla ti o n o ver the long term, b e tween inflation and rate of owner-occupied dwellings (Segaud, Bonvalet and Brun, 1 998: 155) In fact Americans usually know very acc urately what is the actual market value of their h o me. And the y m o nitor their immedi ate neighborhood to ascertain that no o n e will threaten this v alue b y not maintaining th eir yards for example. Their con cern thouah is not like that of the French to transmit and pass o v er to the ne xt 0' generation as much economic an d sy mbolic capital as the y can. House as source of cash. Americ ans' interests are more immediate Have they made enough capital gain yet, to be ab l e to sell their home at a profit, and use the capital gain which incidentall y i s tax free (up to $600,000 per hou sehold in a lifetime) to mo v e up ? 37 1

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Or if they do not care to move they can refinance their loan and get some cash out' to buy a new car ... enjoy now! ... or to pay off some of their credit card debts with an interest paym e nt dedu c tible fr o m income-tax Depending on the particular state but quite frequently there is no penalty for early repayment of a loan even if it is not contemporaneous with the sale of the house financed Some loans are thus refinanced every three or four years accompanying the increase in value of the house or the improvement in the credit ratio of the borrower who becomes eligible to lower rates of interest. lf, h o w ever, th e int e re s t rate s pre v ailin g on the market at time of r e financin g are higher than those of the initial loan it is not in the best interest ofthe o w ner to refinance the loan She can instead get a second mortgage, called Home Equity Mortgage loan. It will provide her with cas h up to the approximate lev el of her capital gain. Home Equity Mortgage int e re s ts are also deductibl e from income-tax. Finall y if the Home E quity Joan is not possible and the owners really need cash with no concern for the future and their heirs they may get a reverse mortgage The advantage is that they will be allowed to sta y in their house while receiving each month a payment from the bank. At thei r death t he bank will o w n the titl e to the h o use Of c o urse the pa y ments are computed a c cordin g t o table s of life e x pe c tan cy and the y ounger the b o rro w er the lesser the monthly payment for the same house value. Things are made easy for American homeo w ners to cash in on their capital gains. The tax structure is equall y favorable when compared to France Capital gains become long term 372

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as quickly as two years after the purchase and receive favorable treatment. If it is a primary residence that is sold, there is the tax franchise of up to $600 000 over a lifetime, which is a very high and generous limit. Last but not least American mutation taxes are among the lowest in the world At about 2% of the house value they are not an obstacle to a sale and they are relatively easily re covered through the capital gains. All these regulations make it fairly easy inexpensive and tempting to sell your house to get a better one or to refinance it and get 'cash out'. And in France? Of course the situation is opposite. Except for the ta x exemption on the sale of a primary residence, which also exists and is granted after two years of continuous occupation, all the other rules are very discouraging to the sale of real estate. The long-term capital gain status is obtained after ten years, the mutation taxes were about I 0% to 12% of the va lue of the real estate sold until a year ago. Since September of 1998 they have been slightly reduced to 7%. The personal income tax rate which applies to capital gains is much higher than in the U.S.A. (up to 57%). The consequences are that the real estate market is much less fluid in France than it is in the U.S.A. At the level of an indi v idual family it also means that home ownership strategy must be evaluated differently 373

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If you know for example, that you will be transferred for your job every two years, you better remain a tenant in your primary residence, and buy a country-house or a familyestate! Authors have noted recently an increase in demand for rented dwellings and attribute it, in five large urban areas, to an increased professional mobility (Segaud Bonvallet and Brun 1998 : 112 123) It is sometimes said that people get the laws they deserve. The Past, long-term Future oriented, traditional and centralized French surely have real estate laws that fit their general values The contrary is true of the Present short-term Future oriented Americans (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, 1961). Family-estate production and reproduction strategies. We have evoked above the importance of the role of country-houses and family-estate houses in the French everyday or rather every weekend lifestyle. Let us consider them on a more symbolic level and analyze them as a piece of permanent estate with an unlimited life expectancy, which retains or even increases its economic and symbolic value over time. The family-estate house also provides a setting for the reproductive plans of the family both at the biological and at the social level by the accumulation and transmission ofthe capital its represents "To consider a house purchase as only an economic strategy is to miss its deep significance and total function. What is affirmed through the purchase is the desire to create a permanent group united by stable social relations a lineage ability to perpetuate itself-durable immutable and stable like the house itself It is a project or 374

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a guess on the domestic unit future its cohesion and integration or i ts ca pacity to resist disi nte g rati on, des egregation and dispersion The house embodies the efforts, sacrifi ces and work done in commo n It attests the success of a common project it i s the source of a shared sat i sfaction and the product of affective cohe s ion which redoubles affective cohesion (Bourdieu 1990: 8). The 'house-as -building is inseparable from the durable social gro up 'House -a s-family' an d from the project to perpetuate it. It receives all kinds of inv e s tments in tim e, wo rk money a ffect s which can only be underst ood if the y are related to the house-as -bu ilding as well as the h o use as a durable socia l group inc ludin g all its in habitants The role of the famil y house is then to be a link between the past and it s fir st owne rs, a nd the l o n g term future when the Maison-family will ha ve developed and multiplied. By being a durable structure, it warranties the perpetuation of th e family, as well as it co ntributes to it s future financial s ucce ss, or at l e ast s tabilit y This lon g -term co ncern and t h e desire to p e rpetuate the past in the future sets ap a rt French and American cultures Thi s contr as t in attitudes i s very well sy nth etized b y Klu c khohn a nd Strodtbeck s va lue "conc eption of time", r ev i se d in m y guise, and which opposes Prese nt and immediate Future oriented c ultur es to Past and l ong -t erm F uture ones Americans prefer to enjoy now, as we have already seen. The French are used to defering the satisfact i o n o f their present desires to achieve greater goa l s in the future Str e ngth e nin g the idea l of the h o u se-as family t h ro u g h capital transm i ss i o n to future ge n eratio n s of a house-as bui l ding i s a worthwh ile goal to the F r ench. 375

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It is not a major commitment for Americans who would rather see their children make their own mone y themselves, than wait for a family-estate. Levi-Strauss' concept of House as-family -h ousehold, reinforced by the structur ing power of the house-as-building does not make as much sense, if any in American culture as it does in France and in more traditional societ ies including some primitive ones There are of course exceptions to this rule in American culture particularly if one considers the Great Ameri can Families", such as the Kennedys ', or the Duponts and other Rothschilds '. They undoubtedly form "Houses" in Levi-Strauss s ense (or Houses-as fami l y) and are sometimes called American Aristocracy '. The y are often associated with a family compound such as Hyannisport for the Kennedys.The y are exceptions though and average Americans do not imitate and integrate those values. What is pa11ic ularly interesting in France is that the behavior typical of French aristocratic lineages ha s been interiorized and adopted by all social classes especiall y the blue-collar classes who are among the more committed to the perpetuation of their l in eage t hrough the transmission of their houses This attitude may probabl y be interpreted as another instance oftraditionalism within French culture 376

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CHAPTER 2: HOW DO THESE RESULTS TRANSLATE INTO MARKETING ? WHAT CAN ANTHROPOLOGISTS DO FOR MARKETERS? Each of th e traditional four 'P's' of the marketing mix offer anthropologists o pportunities to practice their art and apply their scientific methods in the best interest ofbusinesses. However, their help is particularly necessary in the Product and Promotion domains, as these are areas that need the most adaptation when dealing with customers from different cultures. The adaptation i s also governed by the local culture A product might have to be altered in order to serve the same function that it serves on the domestic market. The same product might also serve needs completely different abroad than it does at home and finally both function and product might have to be redefined. The problem s with cross cultural promotion are also very co mplex, as meanings are very difficult to tra n spos e into another culture. Anthropologists deciphering both denotative and connotative le v els of the messages may help efficiently. In the case of real estate marketing we have also identified m o re than a few instances where anthropologists insights can help adapt the price and distribution (place) strategies although these are les s deepl y determined by culture, as the technical component ofthe problem is more important. 377

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Product As to th e Product strategy business anthropo l ogists are well armed to interve ne at three levels : first the identification of specific secondary functions ; second, the prediction of, a n d adaptation to, social c han ge; and finally the identifica tion of new demands for new segment s of the market. Identify Seco nda1y Functions Housing as a n element of material culture has for prime purpose the provi sion of shelter, which is protection from potentially damaging or unpleasant trauma or other stimuli" (Rainwater 1966 : 23) Th i s primary function ofhousing is fairly standard among cultural groups. However, as we have discussed before in this paper and excepting the most disadvantaged groups who are per force mainly concerned b y s helter per se for most other g roups it is the secondary functions of housi n g which for most other socia l grou p s are centra l to their definition of home (Rainwater 1 966: 25) Housi n g must fit with culture in order not to impede its good funct i oning. This i s a m inimum requirement but to be attractive to homebu yers in a market economy houses should go fur1her to r e la y and s upp o rt the local culture. As we h ave see n house s become the media through which to express and satisfy their owners needs for identity territoriality s tatus privacy and belonging. The interplay of 378

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these factors are often subtle and complex but in these domains anthropology ha s a lot to offer because it has been st ud ying for a while now, how these different needs are expressed cross-culturally through specific beha v iors and artifacts For example, we have seen that status is associated in the U.S .A. to single-family house ownership versus apartment renting (Perin, 1977; Wright 1981 ; Welfeld 1988) But status in France i s more a function of the area you live in. Identity has been linked to personalization and perfect maintenance in the U.S .A. (Hummon 1989) but to the permanence of the hou se as embodiment of the family in France Relation s hips deve lop in the U.S. A. on the basis of propinquity and they have been shown to depend on the place of th e house in the block (Bechtel 1 989; Young and Willmott 1957 ; Greenbaum and Gree nb aum, I 985), but th ey are a function of family and sc hool tie s in France. Patterns of settlem e nt have been see n to refl ec t specific worl d-view s such as grid pattern in the U.S.A. a nd web pattern in France (Hall 1 966). Indeed much information is readil y available in extant e thnographies and awai t s only the application of cross-cultural comparisons to make it appl icable t o marketing problems (Burkhalter 1 9 8 6: 114) The main problem i s one of co mmunication b e tween discipl ines and bu s ines s anthropologists m ay have to e ndor s e the a dditi o nal role of cultural broker to tran s late the re s ults of existing bas ic anthropologica l research into u sefu l information, readily exploitable by marketers. 379

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Beyond discovering and documenting secondary functions of housing products anthropologists can al so help real estate and construction businesses predict and adapt to social change Help Predic t and Adapt to Change In the housing industry each indi v idual unit produced is expensive and the cycle of production is rather long Therefore any change in demand needs to be adequately foreseen in a timely manner There again with their holistic approach and participant-observer methodology anthropologists are well equipped to evaluate the consequences of cultural change in diverse areas These are, for example family structure and size which affect the size and the configuration of the dwellings to be built. Work and leisure relations which affect the locati o n of private housing in relation to work places are another area of anthropological inve s tigation Or else the lengthening of human life which demands s pecific lodging adapted to old age or the change in the work ethics which increases leisure time and the need for recreation a l spaces Numerous studies exist that only need to be translated and exploited. Ide ntify New Niches and New Market Segments. The third capacity in which anthropologist-marketers may work is the search for new types of demand and new marketing niches Some directions s hould be particularly researched such as the demand for quality lifestyle or the attention paid to quality of life standards a 380

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theme frequently evoked as illustrated by the yearly ranking of American cities in magazines but yet not well-defined It seems that the refusal of long commuting (the previous acceptance ofwruch promoted America's suburbanization) the demand for good local education, health care and cultural life the refusal of pollution or even harsh climate and neighborhood violence are part of it. A more systematic research would certainly be welcome. Another direction which may open particular niches is the demand for ecologic preservation and the correlated demand for energy efficient houses The theme of research would be solar energy with better insulation and construction ; water consumption control with smalle r tubs commode tanks and swimming pool bans ; and finally control of trash and sewage. A worthwhile area of research in design is the abandonment of modernism in favor of post-modernism which pays tribute to the signifying functions of a building and recontextualizes it by reinvesting consideration in it s environment as well as in the past. Following these ne w trends in demand anthropologists might help define energy-efficient homes, well insulated and equipped with so lar cells or w ind mills; or research more efficient housing s hape s or groupings. They might help promote a new form of land use, mixing commercial and residential zonings They might help design more conversant neiohborhoods where the sense of comm unity would be renewed and where integration 0 would replace segregation. 381

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A third possibility for new products is wide open to anthropologists as identifiers of new market segments. It deals with specialization and diversification of housing products. Cross-cultural studies may be particularly productive Marketers could look at the French model for vacation houses, at Sweden for its provision of medical housing for the aged and the chronically sick, to the Swiss for their luxury-convenience 'flatlets' or to the British for their retirement communities. The possibilities are nearly endless! Practical Examples Derived from this Research Ready to be Finished' or 'Ready to Live in' Two directions of product adaptation were identified building on the French propensity to engage in do it yourself activities to finish their houses and on the reverse American attitude to demand 'ready to move in with a suitcase only'. The ready to mo ve in product could be tested in the higher ends of the French market, provided enough flexibility is allowed and different choices are made available to the customers Some items like fixtures should probabl y be optional, as French families have antiques and family heirlooms to display. On the other hand 'ready to be finished houses might be developed for the low end of the market in the U.S.A. and presented as a way to build-up some sweat equity quickly These products might be developed for local subsidized housing projects or city 382

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revitalization programs. The possibility of personalizing your own home might be underlined as usually thi s feat ur e is very limi te d on the low end of th e market The offer could read : 'read y to b e fini s hed house s offer a low -priced affordable prod u ct and the opportunity to invest some sweat equity. They provide their owners with an opportunit y for capital acc umulati on a nd also o ffer them great po ss ib il it ies to adapt and transform their home to their liking The Evolvi n g House T hi s is a product consistent with the French n e eds of a hou se w hich can adapt t o the c h a n g in g s ize of a family. A benefit is not having to m ove, whi c h French people avoid. Modul es could be added progressive l y to the core ofthe original house Ano th er 'P' particularly in need of anthropological insight is promotion The well pu bli c ized mistakes made b y multin ationa l co mp a nie s in their advert i s in g campaig n s worldwide evidence the n eed for some ant hr opo l og ical input at that l evel. 383

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Promotion Besides the cru de mis t akes in la n guage use a t the d eno tati ve and conno tative levels, parti c ular attention n eeds to be paid to the symboli c meanings attac hed t o h o u sing because th ey vary tr emen dously across cu ltur es and ac r oss c u l tural sub grou p s S o m e cul tures, like the Fr ench may stil l co nsider h o u s ing a s an i n ves tment a nd tr eat thei r h o u se as a capi tal good. Other cultu r e s l ike mai nstream Amer i ca, see i t a s a consumer good a commodity to b e d i sposed ofwhen obsolescence has struck. For some, the house may be more important as symbol i c embodiment ofthe root s ofthe famil y gro up whe r eas for ot hers it might jus t be a temporary rung up the ladder oflife (Perin 1 977 ) D iv e rse Adv ert isin g Themes Successful adve rtisin g th emes take a d van t age o f the s e c hara cte ristics. Fo r e x ample French bui l ders emphas ize the t raditiona l mode o f co n s t ruction of their hou ses as if t hes e tradit i onal c hara c teri stics wer e goin g t o b e passed ov e r to the inhabitan t s of the h o u s e B ourdie u analyses thi s p r ocess as a meton y m i c contamination of the co ntent by the co n tainer (Bourdieu 1 990: ) Such a mec hanism was in Fr a n ce the basis fo r one of the most s u ccessful advertising campa i gns of all times cen t ered on A mason's home (' un e m aison d e mayan'). 384

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One of the other themes consistent with the French value toward time (Past, long-term F uture) and their valuation of family perpetuation is the promise that the 'house will still be lived in by their grandch ildren an d g reat-gr andchi ldren ('Vos petits-enfant s y habiteront e ncore') It was used quite successfully in France In the U.S A., some of the recurrent themes are 'you owe it to yo urs elf', or to 'your family', 'you deserve the best' w hich rely on the Ind iv idualist dimension of American culture These arguments howev er are used for all sorts of products from hair colorin g to funeral ser v i ces so th ey might have l ost some of th eir appeal. Another theme refers to status by emphasizing the price of the house and lot and stressing it s exclusive character, which is usuall y reinforced b y the subdivision's classy name written using a classic graphism : 'Le reserve luxury h omes from th e high 300s or 'Quint esse nce or 'Exce llen ce'. Thanks to the complexity of the product housing there is room for a grea t deal of creative and more focused advertising in the real estate business I think for example, that the prevalent and pervasive theme of status is overused in this business in the U.S A Especially as it does not take into account the preferences of e thni c minorities Hispanics for exa m ple s h o uld probably be quite sensiti v e to the French themes of fami l y perpetuation a nd t rad ition. 385

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Network Analysis a s a Promotion Method Principles of network ana l ysis may break new ground when used as a promotion strategy Builders have known for a long time that when a family buys a house in a subdivision there is a good chance that some acquaintanc es of that fami l y will also become a buyer. But u ntil no w, only chance explo it atio n of this k nowledge was pursued as no syste matic recording of each family 's network has been attempted Innovati v e builders in France used a promotion technique close to network analysis and could probably be considered a forebear. Wh e n happ y buyers sig n e d their pur c hasin g co ntract they were offe r ed to o r ganize a house-warming party, paid fo r by th e builder, a n d were asked to in v it e their acquaintances'. The idea behind the offer was that the acquaintances were sociologicall y similar to the homebuyer and potent i al customers, too. A syste matic s tudy of"the indu ctio n of belonging to an information network on the deci s i o n t o pu r c hase" a d well in g (Le Goascoz, 1 991) was pur s ued in France which s howed a positive influence of s u c h belonging on the purcha se decis i on. S ys t ematic exploitation of network analysis is probabl y a promising technique pro v ided it does not appear as invading someone's pri vacy. In the same re a lm of ideas n e t working through employers co uld o p en new dist ributi o n c hann e l s for build ers. It h as been noted that in areas where hou s in g is ex pen s i ve a nd / o r scarce emp l oyers h elp their emp l oyees locate and then finance their homes. It is regularly c ited alona w ith in-house childcare as a benefit sought by e mployees and increasingly 0 386

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offered by employers Networking with these employers might p rov e rewarding for builders. In any case, more research shou ld open the way to innovative and systematic utilization of such information. Price For the last P ', Price, anthropologists may appear as ha vi ng little to say, when compared w i th economists and technicians of const ru ct ion The Best Price Nevertheless it should be remembered that price is often related to status especially for durable consumers and capital goods Thus, the economic price might not be the best socially acceptab le and profit maximizing pricing to u se. The snob effect and the ha l o effect mu s t be tak en int o account which study ant hrop o l ogists are wel l s uited to pe r form Practical Exa mples Derived from this Research When comparing the F r enc h and American attitudes towards the repayment ofthe mortgage we discovered two opposing strateg ies. The French want t o repa y t heir mortgage as soon as po ss ible even at the price of sacrifices in the present and Americans adapt wel l to lifetime repayments 387

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These characteristics could be used in marketing by promoting short repayment plans in France, 'own your house free and clear before you retire or 'when your kids are grown up and you want to travel'. On the contrary, in the U.S.A., it is the low monthly payment that should be stressed 'own your home and continue to enjoy life'. Of course since the payments seem always too high these are not main themes of promotion but a less negative way of presenting a drawback or a positive way of addressing an objection Place Place or dis tribution refers in real estate to the different kinds of circuits which ensure the production and sale of the dwellings. It does not concern the location of the dwelling itself which is an attribute ofthe 'Product' C ircuits of Production and Sale In both countries the producers of housing are extremely dispersed with thousands of enterprises mo s t of them very small and producing less than 10 units per year. Next to these many micro producers in both countries a few big builders exist who have branches in several sta tes in the U S .A. or mo s t ofthe counties ('departments') in France. 388

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Beyond the s imilarity at the level ofthe whole branch there are important differences between the systems of the two countries French real estate agents, for one thing, do not ha ve a multiple listing system. The sale of houses 'on your lot' (diffus maison sur catalogue) is also much more important in France where it represents 60% of all single family house sales In the U.S A., houses in subdivisions are the majority The French also prefer to choose their house from a catalogue, ha ve it built on their lot even if it means waiting for it one or two years Americans prefer to buy a spec house in a subdivision the house being almost finished excep t maybe for the carpets tiles and cabinets that they get to choose but they do not want to wait for their hou se more than a couple of months These preferences are not surprising We find again the preference for the present in America and the capacity of the French to d e lay their gratification as well as the American p reference for a homogeneous s ubdivision ln the U.S .A., mo s t ofthe houses built on your lot are custom homes', that is designed by an architect and built by contractors one at a time ; the y are of course at the high end of the market. Although potentially disturbing if you have to do business in the other country all these differences do not specially require the intervention of an anthropologist. 389

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Marketing Real Estate on the World-wide-web The development ofthe sales and distribution of houses through the internet might change the situation. Although "commercial real estate has been tepid and slow to act on technological issues, their need to become more efficient and competitive is luring real estate professionals to usin g the net (Paire and Bell 19 99: 46). Real estate sites are already in use but w hile the internet is a hot topic it is not yet a staple in real estate marketing plan" (Paire and Bell, 1999 : 50). However, when it is, anthropologists could help provide the informat ion necessary to de ve lop effective sites domestic and international. The fact i s that each time intermediation increases between a customer and a seller, so does the need for qualitative information. The more remote your customers the more sophisticated info rmation you need about them The le ss dire ct contact you have with them, the more you need to learn about them. And again, because of the richness and the rigor of their qualitative methods, anthropologists are well equipped to take up these challenges. Marketing Real Estate Internationally and Not For Profit Marketing Real Estate Internationally If building co mpanies were to become international there might be another very important opportunity for anthropologists in the housin g sector. But in fact, for the moment, very few privat e residential builders have ever risked an international ve nture Those who ha ve, ha ve 390

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failed within a very short time An exception may be mentioned that ofKaufman and Broad, the Californian company which has been successful in France for over a decade Their French operation has no other relation than corporate finances 'vvith its American mother company. Products marketing technology personnel all are 100% French There is no opportunity for anthropo l ogists at Kaufman's to cross-culturally adapt any product or promotion campaign The company is now expanding in Mexico and it will be interesting to see if they show there the same wisdom as the y have in France M y opinion is that builders working abroad do not ha v e much choice other than to go nati ve. At a time of e normou s gro\\oth in international trade and investme nts this absence of residential builders on the international scene is notorious It may be puzzling too, if we think of the situation in commercial building and development which is almost the reverse Large international companies build in different country office high rises commercial centers and malls hotel s and v acation residence s Perhaps it is a further proof of the special status of hou s ing in the array of material goods produced by de, e lop ed s o ciet ies. If dwellings are a uni versa l necessit y homes are not close to b ecoming a glo b a l commodi t y nor to fit in the g l obal standardization theory proposed b y Le v in ( 1 9 83 ) 391

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Working with Not For Profit and Government Organizations The role of anthropologists a s marketers in the private sector of housing does not exhaust the need for anthropologists in the housing industry. In fact they are badly needed in the public sector, in a capacity of cultural broker advocate and facilitator, in every case where housing is produced by local governments or social agencies This public configuration adds an additional screen between the product and its user To the builder is added the provider which explains that there is often an acute need for adapting the product provided to the need s o f its recipient s The experience ofEsber (1988) is a good example of a successful adaptation of a standard American home to the specific needs of the Apache Indians When adaptation is not planned in the original project anthropologists' help may be sought for rehabilitation programs of public housing projects. There are many of those in the big citie s of the U.S A and o fEurope. Finally, a nthrop olog ists ma y also intervene on the housing scene by researching and addressing certain problems that plague our urban environment: homelessness ghettoes, urban crime although this is 'urban' it is not necessarily business anthropology It just illustrates the flexibilit y of anthropological tools and the holistic character of the anthropological approach which "cons iders together the social relationships beliefs values and other cultural patterns that influen c e behavior (Burkhalter 1986: 115) 392

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CHAPTER!: RESULTS Summary of the In terpretations In conclu s i o n we will identify the broad underlying v alues wh i ch are expressed b y both cultures through their bu ilt envi ronments at l east in the ir spec ifi c aspects which have j ust been re v iewed. Structural Organizing of Space and World v ie w in Fra nce The French environment seems to reflect a preference for continuity and t r adition, centralizati o n and closeness where meaning is deduced f rom the relation of each part to the whole system an d particularl y the center. Enjoyment and advan tages can be post poned to the future such delay brin ging usually an increased although deferred fulfi llm ent. The link between the past and the future i s importa nt even if it i s assu r ed at the expense of t he present whi ch is el u sive anyway. Fin ally, the French seem to deal eas i ly w it h hierar chy that is pervas ive in their l and use, as wel l as in their soc ial systems. Acknowledging and accepting soci al classes and ine q ualities 394

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enable them to tolerate varied and different people around them, especially so long as contiguity does not imply promiscuity These broad traits seem to fit the idealistic or ientation generally ascribed to the French culture (Stewart 1972) It is based on abstract thinlcing and uses a deductive logi c which proceeds from the top and the general to the bottom and particular (Stewart and Bennett 1991:29). It also illustrates the preeminence of underlying unconscious men tal structures as defined by Levi-Strauss, which organize relations of the parts to the who l e, on the basi s of a centr aliz ed system. The s tar system of organization applies to French urban space just as it struct ures French social space. It shapes French highways and railways networks just as it formats French thinking patterns The 'center is the paramount loc us of main French reference systems which orient all kinds of actions in all kind s of arra y s of life (See maps i n appendix B). The co nsequences are that when you think you need to know first what is t h e principle when you arrive in a ne w city you need to know first where is the center when yo u deal with a new company you need to know w h o i s the CEO When you me e t someone new you need t o kno w how she relates to you, how your networks intersect. To be able t o function you need at each time to know where you fit in the structure. In the process of making sen se of your environment you constantly imprint these abstract structures which impose a real m of order that you can understand Wh e n yo u get to a new environment you first 395

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search for these underlying structures which are indispensable to your proper orientation and understanding Carrol l's ( 1 989) recommendation for v alidatin g a cu ltural analysis i s to generalize it b y tran spos in g to other realms of life the cu ltural texts you ha ve identified and translated. The tra n s positions possible for thi s cultural text of s p a tial centraliz a tion are so pervasive in French c ultur e that this centraliz ation itself could be promoted to the rank of organi z ing principle Beyo nd s pa ce, gove rnment publi c administrat ion education sys tems economic life, social syst em organizat i o nal ch arts of French companie s all a r e very centralized and stratifie d syste ms. F unctional Structur in g of Space and Worldview in t h e U.S.A. American l and system accent u ates o penn ess and co n veys an i mpr ess ion of boundle ss n ess and in ex h austibility The g rid pattern it favo r s makes it appear fragmented (see map s in appendi x A) a nd r e pe titive Functional specializat i o n confers to American space a mechanistic fla ir whic h does not le ave much room for aesthetics Americans r efusal to ack nowledge soc ial class hierarc h y conducts them t o practice spa ti a l segregation especially as contigu i ty is a basi s for re l ations hips The 'Prese nt orienta ti o n of Amer ic a n c ultur e (Kluckh o hn a nd S tr odtbeck 1 976) pr e di sposes Americans t o p r i vilege th e here and now' associated with an absolute preference for the new'. Older buildin gs are systematically destroyed befo r e they may b ecome landmark s and preservation of architectura l testimonies of the past i s re l atively rare. 396

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On a more abstract level, space, in the U.S A., seems to convey meanings in an inductive manner depending on its actual use; that is in a functional rather than a structural way. This fits with the materialistic orientation generally ascribed to the American culture (Stewart, 1 972) and with the focus on functional pragmatic application of thinking" American style of thinking is tied to function and central processing of perceptual data Americans rely on digital verbal messages and show more interest in how to get things done While drawing inductively on a perceptual world of objective things and events, they construct a moderately abstract functional reality (Stewart and Bennett, 1991: 28-29) In the same o rder of idea let us accept the possibility of general cultural orientations predetermining up to a certain point the ways and worldviews of the individuals within a gi ven culture We should not be surprised that Levi-Strauss was French and Malinowski s ideas so popular in the U.S .A. for so long The theories they build reflected their very own cultural premises. In a different but related realm I w ant to report the difficult y I had all along this dissertation with punctuation. I will not engage in a discussion ofthe Sapir-Whorfhypothesis but I have thought about it every day of the last five months. My problem with writing in English has been the following : French language constructs sentences which are much longer than is a cce ptabl e in Engli s h lt d oes thi s is b y utili z ing appo s itions opp o sitions, e numerations and o ther figures of s t y le lt organize s through punctuation the different le v els of stratification in the sentence and in a way holds the reader's hand to guide her through the Daedalus of the words. On the contrary, English language unfolds the message in a flat, linear way. Just 39 7

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spell the data the effic ient central processing unit called American mind will do the sorting job. Providing too much underlying structure would only complicate the task. In fact, writing in English is very much like following American directions to a place: just enact the directions "get o n I 25 going Nort h drive three miles, exit at exit 332 go west on Fowler .... ". You do n ot need to know where i s the c e nter or to identif y the old church or the big whatever Ju s t follow the links of the network as they unfold just follow the words as they come out, all at the same level in the flat s tructure I wou l d like to risk another attempt a t generali zing, in Carroll's fashion It is another in s tance of u s ing th e road as it co mes in a linear fashio n In American cities at some crosswalks, there is a message written on the road. It reads : CROSS I N G 1-I E R G E S PEDS LANE SLOW RIGHT D D Car Car READING ROAD SIGNS FIGURE 5 398

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lt took me seve ral years to read the m ess age the right (American functional ) way from bottom up, because you are s uppo s ed to read as yo u go, whi l e doing The French way looks for the usual underl ying structure of space orientation (especially for a task as automatic as reading) and reads the message in its normal (French, st ructur al) way: 'crossing peds s low and 'merge lane right' I ver ified w ith other French drivers in the U.S A. in a s imilar situation the y read the same way . it just did not take them several years to think about it. Another remark is to the point from American visitors in France this time French road s igns on Natio nale and Departementale roads mention in big lette rs the next big city, in t h e direction of w hich you are leading. Next comes eventuall y a smaller important city on the way both with their distances in kilometers. On the top of t h e s i g n a small rectang le red f o r a 'Nationale' and yellow for a Depart e mentale holds a number written in b lack small l e tters It is the identification number of the road 'RN 12 or D 7' and the most important information to American dri vers but it is almost illegible This draws again our attention to the fact that t h e French h ave in mind the whole map with the emphasis put on t he nodes the c itie s w h e r e as as usual the fun ctio nali st mind l ooks a t the link s, the roads and ties them to t h e action of driving a l o n g them. The French 'jump' from node to node since they have in mind the whol e structured and stratified map (S. Baumgarten, persona l communication) In deed t h e buil t en v ironment i s pregnant wi th meaning and can tell us a lo t about the people w h o live in it, provided we ta ke the tim e t o o bser-ve it, in its minute d e tail s The b u ilt e n v ironment may ce rtainly be co nsidered as a major source of cul t ura l info rmation 399

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Verified Hypotheses The Built-environment is a Nonverbal Communication System. The cues are everywhere, but they are usually not noticed in a familiar environment where they are taken for granted In strange environments some of them become noticeable but they need to be deciphered to be understood. The built environment g ive s access to the deeper layers of a c ulture for those who know how to deciph er its messages Studying Cul tural Differences Improved our Understanding of Each C ulture Through the comparative study ofthe built environment in France and in the U.S.A., we have also discovered cultural differences, whic h improved our understanding ofthe broader culture of the two countries. The Study of Cul tur e Opens t o the Understanding of Otherness lt helps us to understand foreign behaviors wherever they are in the world, but it also h e lp s u s to understand strange behaviors even i f they are in our b ac kyard 400

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CHAPTER 2 : SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: PRACTICE OFFERS A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR ANTHROPOLOGY. Anthropology and Complex Fields Because of its holisti c ap pro ach, a nthrop o logy i s wel l adapted to the s tud y of complex fields, traditionally regarded as e mpirical and little pred ictable such as real estate, but a ls o economics, health management, e ducation, pol itics law This study is an example of that capacity Anthropology and Globalization In the g lobal v illage the bu s iness world needs anthropologists Beyond academia and governme ntal agencies there is a third road of op portunities for anthropologists thank s to the development of globalization Anthropolog y and its qualitative re sea rch methods contributes to the better understanding of consumers on foreign markets and therefore its re levance should be more and more appreciated as business becomes more global "As practitioners cater to emerging and evolvi n g segments everywhere around the globe, an anthropological l ens will become indispensable to thei r strategic and tactical visio n Anthropology is a practical dis c ipline anchoring the blue sky 401

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thinking it encourages firmly to the localground that it inhabits (Sherry, 1995: 435) Although built environment studies are many an applied approach is still original. The forte of this study is to demonstrate that applied anthropology can be rele vant to the professional world of housing and that anthropological research can concretely help international business perform be tter and be more profitable abroad. 402

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APPENDIXB THE CENTRALIZED STAR SYSTEM All Maj or Unes Meet In the H istorical C ente r of Paris All Roads Lead to Paris ConverQe in Paris Sub urb t o Suburb is b y Personal Transportation Only ALLROADSLEADTOPARIS 455 .., Suburba n Transportation (continued next page)

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ll;l '!}U ; : ,.., __ i ;., 9 fv 5' k APPENDICE C COUNTRY -HOUSE DENSITY IN FRANCE __. .... ... "-I. COUNTRY HOUSE SHARE IN TOTAL HOUSING = II:' ._ ._: 1 .. \ -C'OUNTRY HOUS!i SHARE IN RURAL H O U SING -t t

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Joelle Nisolle graduated from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris in 1970 She received a Lic e nce in Psychology from Paris Nanterre University in 1978 and a Diplome d 'Etudes Superieures Specialisees in Management ofTelecommunications from Paris Dauphine University in 1983. She has twenty years of corporate work experience, with builder-developers in France, Belgium, Spain and the U.S.A., managing international construction projects and real estate investments A Fulbright recipient in 1988, she taught at the University of South Florida, while in the Ph D program. Since 1988 she developed facult y and stude nt exchange pro g rams which benefited over 300 st udent s through a n etwo rk of twelve institutions worldwide She also taught at the Russian Academy ofExterior Trade, in Moscow, while participating in publicly funded professional training programs. She is currently a visiting faculty at the Anderson Sch ools ofManagement, University of New Mexico and serves as the Exchange Coordinator for the Magistere Program at Paris Dauphine University. Her main research interest and focus lie s in cross-cultural business tssues.


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