What people do by tradition is mainly determined by the organization of the society and its culture. 7 Society is the term used to describe a group of people who have lived and worked together long enough to get themselves organized and to think collectively as a social unit. Society has structure, that is to say, a patterned arrangement of relationships between the people of that society.
Structure or organization is the way in which the society organized into families, clans, tribes, communities, clubs, etc. Culture is the way of life of the society, the way people behave. Culture is the product of people in a society or group; the ideas, attitudes, rules, and habits which people develop to help them in their conduct of life.
Progressive fishfarming extension involves the fishfarmer in making the decision for himself on what species to grow, how to grow them and how best to use the land, labor, and capital. By persuading the fishfarmers to adopt progressive fishfarming methods, extension workers should encourage fishfarmers to make decisions on fishfarming activities which have in the past been strongly influenced by the traditions and habits of the society.
7 Bradfield, D.J., op. cit., p. 98
Social structure means the established patterns of internal organization of any social group. It involves the character of the sum total of the relationships which exist between members of the group with each other and with the group itself. Thus, extension workers should understand the structure of the society with which one is working, to know who does what in the community and, in particular to know who makes the decisions.
The factors causing the division of people into groups and societies are as follows:
Religious and ceremonial groups
Division based on age
Grouping on the basis of common residence
Each society has its own more or less unique systems of relationship between opposite sexes, between females and females, between males and males.8 Traditionally, in the Philippines, beliefs, values and sentiments abound in the matter of sex. Sometimes one sex is superior to the other, oftentimes excluding one or other sex from certain spheres of activity such as religious ceremonial or political leadership. If an extension worker is planning to introduce a new technique in a fishpond, then he must fully understand the customs and traditions in the locality before he can inject change.
Every known culture includes an elaborate set of beliefs in religion. Members of some religious groups have common loyalties and attitudes. In the Philippines, especially in the Mindanao area, different religious groups exist which affect the performance of an individual.
Age gives one bodily and mental characteristics generally common to others of the same age, but different from the individuals who are appreciably older or younger. Similarity of experience, like having lived during World War II, gives an age group identity. In this case, a pattern of mutual interrelationships has always to be worked out among persons of the different age levels.9
8 Keesing, F.M., Cultural Anthropology (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winstons 1966), p. 25.
9 Ibid, p. 248.
Kinship has been called the “core” of social organization. In many smaller communities and societies, kinship is the paramount factor in organizing group activities. The ideas, sentiments and loyalties associated with such kin linkages are frequently carried over beyond the sphere of actual ties, as with the fraternity brother to a co-member, or a whole nation calling its ruler “Father”.
Kinship groups are groups of closely related people. The basic family unit is father, mother and children, but this unit is made a part of a larger group by bonds of blood and marriage, while a larger unit is known as the kinship group, the bonds which tend to make members conform to group behavior of the kinship group; attributes and responsibilities are called kinship ties.
Kinship ties fall into three categories:
Ties of biological ancestry or that which is caused or effected by consanguinity
Ties of marriage or that which is effected by affinity
Factional ties that is, the socially defined equivalents of ties caused by adoption being godparents or due to beliefs, etc.10
This group usually consists of one small unit, the family. The Philippine social structure, on the basis of common residence, comprises the rural and urban communities. Rural communities are usually small and the occupation of the people is usually farming, fishing and food gathering, supplemented by the cottage industries, while the urban communities are usually large, with the people engaged in varied occupations.
The urban areas comprise all municipal jurisdictions whether or not designated as chartered cities or provincial capitals while the rural areas comprise the barangays of the municipalities.
10 Ibid, p. 271
A “society” refers correspondingly to specific and usually localized population with distinctive customary ways of aggregation. It consists of a definable number of individuals - large or small, with given aids and sex patterns, birth and death rates, community distribution or settlement patterns, degree of mobility and other characteristics. “Culture” puts the focus on the customs of people, society puts it upon the people who are practicing the customs. Culture could not exist without people conditioned to it and could not transmit it to the descendants, without society.11
We have seen that the culture of a society is the way in which people live, their customs, traditions, methods of cultivation, etc. The culture of the society is learned by each individual member of the society. Children are not born with knowledge of the culture of the society; they learn by seeing how older children and adults behave. Later, kinship teaches them the customs and traditions of the group and the society. Later still, they are initiated more fully into the society by their elders. As the individual grows older, experiences help him to understand more fully the behavior pattern of his society and may also teach him how he can improve from their traditional norms.
Culture is basically concerned with actions, ideas and artifacts which individuals have learned, shared and valued. It is not an accidental collection of customs and habits. It has been evolved by the people to help them in their conduct of life. Each aspect of the culture of a society has a definite purpose and function, and is therefore related to all other aspects of its culture. For instance, changing food habits of consumers require a corresponding change by the producers.
Culture changes as different patterns of behavior are adopted. New types of clothing, transportation, housing, and personal relationships are accepted by members of the culture. Cultural changes may be started by society or may be a result of changes in the general economic status of a country. Shortages in raw materials, such as petroleum products, will change cultures throughout the world as each country adapts to the shortage. It is the extension worker's responsibility to assist fish-farmers to adapt to new conditions and adopt better production methods.
A culture may change by copying the ideas of another culture. “Women's lib” is an example of a borrowed cultural change. Women's liberation began in Europe after World War II when the ratio of men to women was drastically changed. Women had to come out of the home and become active politically and economically. A woman who is able to earn as much or more than a man is not likely to recognize the cultural idea of male superiority. Once a woman has economic and political freedom, sexual equality follows. Urban areas are usually the first to adopt cultural change. A comparison between a woman's role in Manila and the provinces shows that rural areas are more fixed in their cultural behavior.
The dynamic force of change affects the whole system. All elements of the system become involved: its people, its organization, the environment, the attitudes, patterns of communications, etc. There are many factors promoting change and this should be well understood before planning extension work.
11 Keesing, F.M., Op. cit., pp. 30–31
- In every society there are some individuals who are more ready than others to accept new ways of life. They have certain influence in society but it is minor.
- Two groups with different culture coming into contact are in a situation where one may take over cultural elements “Diffused” from the other. Where contact has some continuity, the transition process is called acculturation. Extension workers are introducing new, scientific ways of fishfarming evolved technologically from advanced societies. Anyone who has travelled or who has worked with people in a foreign country brings back ideas which may have changed his own way of life. The more people in a society are exposed to new ideas, the more it is likely that change may be accepted by the society as a whole.
- Roads bring changes to a rural society. With good roads people can travel to other places and learn more progressive ways in the cities. Newspapers and radios also bring people in remote parts into contact with the outside world.
- There are many other factors which promote change. Learning institutions may also be means of exposing the youth of one society to the ideas, values and way of life of another. Political and economic factors may promote change. Money again, is another factor which promotes change. There will be more improvement in a community if funds could be appropriated by the government for the purpose. In addition to this, the environment influences the physical and cultural changes in a society. Better education can improve educational facilities, and good working conditions can cause considerable differences in the achievement of change.
- Extension workers and personnel of other rural development organizations are agents of change, bringing new ideas to the community. Fishery extension, as one of the many factors promoting change, seeks to accelerate the pace of change and to guide it in ways that are agriculturally, socially and economically sound and culturally acceptable to the people.
Tradition - Igorot society can be identified by its cultural practices. Igorot people can also be identified as part of the Filipino culture by similarities to other societies in the Philippines. Igorots resist change from their traditional ways so as to preserve their identity.
Belief in their own culture - Members of all societies believe that their way of life are the best. Individuals in the system tend to resist any types of change because new ideologies and sacrifices are required.
Pride and dignity - People may be too proud to resist new ways in fishing unless they be looked down upon.
Relative values - Rural people may value taste, appearance or some other factor more than the yield of cash return for a different variety of fish; this prevents them from culturing a new and lucrative variety of fish.
Unforeseen difficulties - In the Philippines, improved techniques in pond management are being introduced by the extension workers. Some of these are stock manipulation, fertilization and pond layout.
Responsibilities of the individual - Individuals within a society have their own responsibilities which they are expected to carry out.14 Responsibility as a parent, godparent, or child of dependent parents are examples of individual responsibility.
Traditional ceremonies - Ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, etc. can take up so much of the farmer's time that he cannot work on his fishfarm to the maximum efficiency. He is, therefore, unlikely to adopt new methods which might increase his income because he devotes more time to other obligations than working in his farm.15
Social structure - Extension workers should understand the structure of the society in which they work to be able to recognize and seek the intercession of influential people to persuade the society to accept changes. This is an underlying assumption that religion, culture, and other states of the human soul cannot be radically changed without a redistribution of area of power, property and structure.
There is no community without structure and there can be no human community without culture. Man's social structure is a good deal more variable than those of other species.
To see social structure in perspective, the whole context of the cultural growth and how the groups achieve their vitality should be understood. It is also necessary to recognize official leaders who have influence over the groups' activities.
Attitude toward government personnel - People sometimes regard government personnel as tax collectors or law enforcers. Extension workers should not be involved in the collection of money, taxes or repayment of loans, or in prosecuting people who break the law. The extension worker's job is to teach the people better fishfarming technologies to improve their quality of life.
Attitude toward gifts - People often think of gifts as things of little or no value, especially gifts from the government otherwise why should anyone give them away? They think that a gift is given with the purpose of gaining something in return.
14 Ibid, p. 111
15 Ibid, p. 1