1. Historical context
3. Consciousness of kind
4. Shared value
5. Housing pattern
6. Ritual and Ceremonies of Pale Palaung
7. Value system
on social organization
8. Limited interaction among groups
9. Economic types
10. Institutionalization and socialization of Palaung
11. Acculturation and culture change in Palaung
12. Internal and external culture controls
Conclusion and recommendation
Although there are many differences in our society, the duty of
anthropologist is to bring out traditions of our nationals to understand and
respect between each other.
(1) I want to fulfill one of the aim of subject of anthropology which is
collecting data in field research
and registration task.
(2)I have to get one of the
evidence for new generation of anthropologist when they study in ethnography.
(3)I intend to extract distinguished
patterns of culture among our ethnic groups.
(4) I want to know the
appearance of new patterns of culture by studying the traditions and their
(5)I intend to know that it
is continuing only the culture and traditions are beneficial to human
a form of research focusing on the sociology of meaning through close field
observation of sociocultural phenomena. Macro-ethnography is the study of
broadly-defined cultural groupings, such as “the English” or “New Yorkers”.
Micro-ethnography is the study of narrowly-defined cultural groupings such as
local government or members of a society. Cultural patterning is the observation
of cultural patterns forming relationships involving two or more symbols.
Ethnographic research is holistic, believing that symbols cannot be understood
in isolation but instead are elements of a whole.
concept of the ethnic group thus combines both social and cultural criteria,
and the study of ethnicity focuses precisely on the interrelation of cultural
and social process in the identification of and interaction between such
groups. Ethnic groups have several basic characteristics that define their
nature and distinguish them from other societal group. These include: ascribed
status, consciousness of kind, shared values and traits, and limited
interaction among groups.
1. Historical context
people have an ethnic identity, which they retain so long as they identify with
their group. Membership is not based on achievement, although, as we shell see,
it is possible to pass from one ethnic group to another. People from one group
can be assimilated into other ethnic groups. These groups are not always
culturally homogeneous group but the individuals within a group generally share
certain distinctive cultural values and traits that symbolize their identity.
Several ethnic groups in a single society may share a great many traits.
Palaung ethnic group are a member of Mon Khamar stock There are three kinds in
Palaung; Shwe Palaung, Ngwe Palaung and Pale Palaung. Most of them live in Shan
State, Myanmar. I would like to focus on Pindaya Township, southern Shan State.
Majority of the people are found in Nothern Shan State at Namsan, Thipaw,
Kyaukmei, Momeik, and in the
Southern Shan State at Taungyi, Pindaya, Kalaw, Yaksauk township.
following chart is one of the identifying for palaung tribe based on language.
According to the chart, Pale Palaung is one of the Mon-Khamar stock and in
Palaung ethnic groups: Sanlon, Rumai, and Rukyin. These are also called Shwe
Palaung, Ngwe Palaung and Pale Palaung.
groups have several basic characteristics that define their nature and
distinguish them from other societal groups. These include ascribed status,
consciousness of kind, shared values and traits and limited interaction among
2. Ascribed status
are members of ethnic groups primarily by birth: thus, members of ethnic groups
share myths of a common ancestry or place of origin and an historical heritage.
Such myths may have a factual basis, but often this is difficult to determine.
Because of this biological dimension of membership by birth, ethnic groups are
often associated with the idea of race, as it is socially defined by the people
themselves rather than the anthropologist’.
to the legend of Pale Palaung ethnic group, they derived from Prince Sun and
Princess Dragon. They have three sons. The tribe is the youngest son of them.
He is called Ra-an. It means the people who live at the top of the mountain. A
feeling of kinship is common among members of a particular group.
3. Consciousness of kind
groups are categories by which people both identify themselves and
differentiate themselves from members of other ethnic groups. Together, various
ethnic groups comprise a map of the society, which helps everyone to organize
their interpersonal relationships. All people have an ethnic identity, which
they retain so long as they identify with their group. Membership is not based
on achievement, although, as we shall see, it is possible to pass from one
ethnic group to another. However, people from one group can be assimilated into
other ethnic groups. As individuals they may be adopted or may marry into a group
and there by gain admission on the basis of fictional kinship. In groups,
people may adopt the values and customs of another group and in time be
assimilated into it, a process that may take several generations.
4. Shared value and traits
groups are not always culturally homogenous groups, but the individuals within
a group generally share certain distinctive cultural values and traits that
symbolize their identity. Several ethnic groups in a single society may share a
great many traits. On the other hand, the cultural patterns of members of one
ethnic group may differ greatly. If we look at the continuity of ethnic groups
overtime, the culture of a certain culture is closer to that of another
contemporary culture than to the other culture.
distinguished ethnic groups from one another are of two kinds; certain value
and cultural signs and symbols. The first one may include specific religious
belief, standards of morality or assumption about the nature of reality. The
next one includes language, dress house form, general life style, ritual
expression and so forth. The most obvious elements of culture are its material
products. Most anthropological ethnographies began with extensive descriptions
of dress, housing, tools, and other human products.
Palaung nationals have their own dress distinguished from others. The Pale
males were black long trousers and white or milky white jacket for young man
and black jacket for old man. They wear turban all the time except paying
homage to elder or Buddha. Most of their turbans are face towel. But for
ladies’ turban, there are two kinds. One is for single and another is for
marriage woman. For single, the turban is colorful hat and for marriage woman,
turban is special embroidered with beads made by their own. Jackets are with
long sleeves and not overlap in front. The longyi design is vertical
line and colors are red, green, blue, and violet. Their fringe is decorated
with sequences and colorful thread. They wear rattan ring on the waist as an ornament.
identify is thus not based as much a common culture as on a common sense of
identity, which is expressed in certain cultural values and symbols. The
culture of any given ethnic group or society consists of its unique collection
and integration of these traits by people who consider themselves to comprise a
single group. Cultural traits that distinguish ethnic groups from one another
are of two kinds. First, there are certain basic values of which the members
are committed and certain standards by which their behavior is judged. Second,
there are cultural signs and symbols- features such as language, dress, house
form, general life-style, and specific rites expressing their distinctive
belief-which people show to establish their identity. In Pale society, they
live other distinguished nationals such as; Shan, Lahu, PaO, Danu, and Taungyo.
show ethnic boundaries are based on select cultural differences that become
symbols of the identity of an ethnic group.
they eat the same
5. Housing pattern
requires the construction of an object, an itinerary, a commentary. Although a
guide friend observed to me that tourism is fact finding, the facts have been
created framed, labeled, named, reproduced- by complex interplay among tourist
and the industry.
One of the
most striking features of life in the tribe is communal house, for an extended
family. Longhouses are community dwellings consisting of a series of individual
family linked together to form a longhouse. Such dwelling typically combine
household and group spaces for both household and community functions. They
facilitate the balancing of the economic social and political interests of the
household with those of the group. A
more professional description is given by Lewis Henry Morgan. Regarding long-
houses society of Iroquois, Pale Palaung nationals’ housing pattern is not only
a single house but also long house the same as Iroquois tribe. The long- house consisted of a strong frame
of upright poles set in ground, which strengthened with horizontal poles
attached with withes, and surmounted with a triangular. The houses accommodated
from five or six families up to thirteen families. Each household is made up on
the principle of patrilineal kin. However the married man sometimes brought
their wives house to live with them. In spite of this fact, there was a
numerical ascendancy of the particular clan to which the house belonged.
traditional house was a marvelous not complex structure- architecturally,
socially, symbolically. The construction followed precise rules of number, size
and directionality, and it required the ability to mobilize enormous resources
of materials and labor. Socially and symbolically, the house represented not
only the ability of command such resources but also the high status of the
owner. Once completed, it was a visible statement of the owner’s genealogical
ties to important ancestors, and it became the locus of ritual activities that
demonstrated the family’s extensive social networks in the present.
the Palaung itself is modernized. It may be transformed into a single designed
to evoke or it may be remodeled to make a private home that is a prestigious
combination of traditional architecture.
Long house of Pale Palaung in Southern
6. Ritual and Ceremonies of Pale
ritual is almost always a collection of symbols, which a good analysis
separates out and considers one by one. You may find an event that is entirely
ritual, for instance, initiations, weddings, funerals, and other rites of
passage, and rites of intensification like Christmas, Thanksgiving and the
pledge of allegiance to the flag. Cultural systems are not just rules for
behavior, ways of surviving, or strait jackets to constrict fre expression, as we remarked in the section on
private language. All cultures are also rhythms, music, architecture, the
dances of living. To look at culture as style is to look at ritual. Almost
every act in life is ritualistic and ritual can be an instrumental act charged
with a special energy.
are many definitions of ritual. Some limit ritual to bublic ceremony several
limit ritual to religion. The definition used here sets no limits on context,
but insists instead on the funcitons performed by the event. If we classify the
types of ritual, we will see rites of deference, rites of passage, rites of
intensification, rites of reversal and instrumental rites. Rites of deference
show difference in status. Rites of passage associated with the change of
status of an individual or group of individuals. Rites of intensification is to
reassert social relations to intensify social bonds. Rites of reversal
prohibitions normally enforced are lifted according to rules of their own.
Instrumental rites include magical incantations. Such rites are tricky because
actions that to an outsider appear as ritual are likely to be seen by te actors
as simply instrumental steps without symbolism.
most famous ritual is TarTetpwe (Last day of Thingyan festival). Others are
noviation ceremonies, Thadingyut and Dazaungdine(lighting candle festival) .
TarTetpwe is one of the pagoda festival in new year. Most of the Palaung and
other people who are neighbours of the Palaung are looking forward the
festival. A novitiation ceremony is a religious ceremony of Buddhist male It is
called in local language Shinbyu. It has
to undergo making a novice. This ceremony is held to celebrate the Buddhist
rite of initiating a boy into the Buddha’s order. The usual state purpose of
this ceremony is to enable the boys concerned to inherit the Buddha’s legacy.
Lighting festival is held at the full moon night of the 7th and 8th
month of Myanmar calendar. In the olden days, oil lamps were the chief means of
lighting. They have been replaced by candles and electric lights in now a day.
One interesting feature of the festival is various amateur shows. Another night –time activity of the festival
is sending up fire-balloons to pay respects to Cula Muni pagoda which is
believed to be in the abode of gods. The result is a merry explosion of one
fire-creacker after another as the children clap their hands and cheer the
ascent of the fire-balloon
7. Value system on social
One of the few
cultural universals is that of groups based on the principle of kinship. Humans
have developed a surprising variety of simple kinship groups. But in some form
or other kinship groups are found in all societies. Kinship rests on its
biological relationships. Kinship system may include socially recognized
relationships based on actual geneologicalities. Kinship is the case of social
organization. Rad-cliff Brown suggested that there is a high correlation
between patterns of interpersonal relations and kinship system. There are two
major types of kinship system; matrilineal and patrilineal. Kinship ties fall
into three categories; consanguinity, affinity and functional ties.
practice some form of exogamy, the rule that a person must marry outside of the
culturally defined kinship group of which he is a member. Mating between parent
and child and between brother and sister are considered incestuous in almost
(1931) argued that the family would disintegrate as a viable social unit if
there were no sanctions against sexual unions of members within the family.
These sanctions serve to reduce conflicts in both emotions and roles between
only forbid certain types of marriages, they may also encourage or require
other. A common social preference is marriage to one’s cross-cousin. Kinship
systems, such as our own, do not distinguish between descent through the male
line and descent through the female line and therefore, make no distinction
between different types of cousins. Many societies, however, trace kinship ties
through either the male or the female line.
Palaung societies, some village has basic families but in some villages are
extended families. Their adoptive children are the same as their own children.
I also found patrilineal kinship system, but not too strong. In the societies,
there are (6) clan. Namely, Rawpra, Karnwe, Sinrine, Guntarit, Guanta, Paraw.
They are not allowed to marry the same clan.
their own distinguished kinship
terminology. For example,
younger brother--/Gnun tait/
younger brother--/Pai ah/
younger sister--/Gun tait/
younger sister--/Mar tait/
brother-----/ Ah Chet/
According to the chart, they call the same father’s brother
as their father and like this their mother’s sister are the same as mother.
They also call their first cousin are the same as their brother who born the
same parents. Furthermore, they call their Father in law is the same as their
mother’s brother. It is because, they allow to marry cross cousin marriage.
Chart for First cousin
A world view
provides people with their basic assumptions about reality. Religion provides
them with the specific content of this reality, with the things in the people’s
model of the universe and with relationships between these things. Religion is
also based on the person’s ability to transcend the self, to step outside of
and contemplate oneself, one’s fellows, and the universe. It is based on the
human need to make sense out of human experience and find some order and
significance in the whole human situation.
model builder. They can invent new ways to live and plan for the future. People
are also plagued with anxieties and forebodings not only about their won lives
but also about human destiny and humanity’s place in the universe. Most of Pale
are Buddhism. They also believe in
animist. In their village, there is no animistic shrine, but it is particular
place. For example, guardian spirit of a village is placed in western part of
the village, guardian spirit of Buddha teaching is placed at south of the
village. It also has shaman for traditional treatment and health care.
8. Limited interaction among
members of the group may interact freely with other group’s members, these role
relationships are colored by ethnicity. The others in one sense, are always
outsiders. Interaction with outsiders generally occurs with the highest
frequency in those areas of life not considered crucial to the identity of the
group and not reserved only for its member. People of diverse ethnic background
commonly meet in market places or at political or religious centers. On the
other interaction with outsiders that threatens to diminish the cultural
distinctions of a group must be resisted.
Pale Palaung society, they always meet at their monestry and traditional
festival such as Thingyan, Frist crop eating and Pagoda festivals.
role in an ethnic group may be reserved only for members of the in-group. Thus,
outsiders may be permitted to attend ethnic ceremonies, but priestly offices
and leadership are generally reserved for members of the group. Ethnic
boundaries persist despite a great deal of interaction between groups,
including persons from one group to another. It is becoming clear that this
flow is more common than formerly believed and that is results from conquests,
migrations, social interactions, trade and the assimilation of ethnic groups by
9. Economic types
One broad area
of culture in which social organization plays an important role is that of
economics- the creation, distribution, and use of property and labor. Economics
deals with materials goods and human property and with the labor associated
with producing, distributing and maintaining them. It is also concerned with
how people exchange and utilize goods and services and with what strategies
people develop to use goods and services for their own purposes.
of Pale Palaung nationals are plantation of plane tea. The plant is substituted
for opium plantation 20 years ago. Nowadays, the plant is commercial
plantation. In the horticulture, they pluck four times a year. They common pluck
in April, July, August and November, December are the most. Before Thingyan, the tea is called ShwePe
Moe Lok. It means free from rain. It is best quality for drinking tea.
In all areas
of Shan State, they have circular market days. 5 days 1 time. They happy during
the time and they don’t want to do their work as usual. It is one of the
distinguished matters. If I describe the
same time of market day, (1) Taungyi, Aunban, Nankhut, Bekin, (2) Pinlaung,
Sakar, Tanyin, (3) Kalaw, Phekhon, Shwe Nyaung, (4) Nyaung Shwe, Sisai, Hopone,
Minpon, Pindaya, Ywangan, Ywetsut, Nanpan, Thikyit, and (5) Heho. In the
market days, the nationals who live near the areas go and sell their own
products and buy whatever they needs.
10. Institutionalization and
Socialization of Palaung
nature of institutions can be made clear by contrasting them with groups and by
looking at institutionalization as a process. But there is no continuity of
teams from one day to the next. School and college football are more institutionalized.
In othe words, they have a set of formally organized procedures.
the societies certain types of instruction are formally organized, creating
groups whose members have clearly defined roles. The institution of education
thus includes teachers, a body of information to be taught, suitable rituals of
instruction, places for meeting, and material equipment and supplies.
are also linked to the material culture produced and used by groups. Education
is associated with buildings, blackboards, movie projectors, and books.In Pale Palaung societies who live
in the area, they go to government school in 5 year old child.
In the villages, they go not only
to their institution, but also to monastery to learn their Palaung language as
a summer school. As for socialization, they learn their tradition before they
go to school up to adult age.
do institutions relate to the broader concept of culture? Both are accepted
ways of doing things. The answer is that institutions are cultural procedures
that have become formally organized and enforced by the groups serving the
institutional function. Obviously, there is no sharp line between
institutionalized and uninstitutionalized cultural traits. Some may be formally
organized and enforced by groups within the society. Thus the process of
institutionalization is a continuous one. Informal instruction is carried on in
homes and communities among Palaung societies.
religious behavior is highly organized in some societies, as are political
processes and warfare in others. Moreover, people in one society may give
higher priority to one institution than another. It appears that as societies
become more complex, the number of institutions within them increases.
Complexity apparently demands a more formal organization of groups and their
activities in order to maintain the integration of the society.
11. Acculturation and culture
change in Palaung
occurs when groups having different cultures come into intensive firsthand contact,
with subsequent massive changes in the original cultural patterns of one or
both groups. It always involves an element of force, either directly, as in
conquests, or indirectly, as in the implicit or explicit threat that force will
be used if people refuse to make the changes those in the other group expect
them to make. Other variables include the degree of cultural difference,
circumstances, intensity, frequency, and hostility of contact, relative status
of the agents of contact who is dominant and who is submissive and whether the
nature of the flow is reciprocal or nonreciprocal.
should be emphasized that acculturation and diffusion are not equivalent terms.
One culture can borrow from another without being in the least acculturated. In
the course of acculturation, any one of a number of things may happen.
Sometimes, one of the cultures loses its autonomy but retains its identity as a
subculture in the form of a caste, class or ethnic group. This is typical of
conquest or slavery situations, and melting-pot ideology.
is the phenomenon whereby so many carriers of a culture die that those who
survive become refugees living among people other culture. For example, long
house is rare village among the Palaung ethnic group. In Southern Shan State, a
few village can be seen the long houses. It may be only 5 villages.
sought the origins of cultural phenomena and assumed the existence of stages or
logical progressions of culture. Contemporary people with varying cultures were
looked upon as exhibiting phases through which culture as a whole passes.
Although major sequences of growth were perceived their reconstruction depended
upon the existence of what were deemed survivals of older elements in otherwise
more evolved settings and the existence of whole groups exhibiting total
life-ways exemplifying early evolutionary stage.
change is crescive, building upon itself. Whatever shortcomings existed in the
bald evolutionary scheme of barbarism to savagery to civilization, and criteria
of progress such as the agriculture and writing they established a habit of
thought to expect change to follow from preceding conditions.
can be initiated from within a given culture or borrowed from another culture.
Characterizations of the properties of the two or more autonomous cultural
systems come into contact. The study of the nature of the contact situation and
analysis of conjunctive relations established between the cultural systems
under contact and the study of the cultural processes which flow from the
conjunction of the systems.
occurs by analogy of potential innovations to the existing cultural inventory
and social system. Cultural inventory is used here to mean the aggregate of
definable things, material and nonmaterial, characteristic of a given culture,
while social systems.
change is selective. All evidence to date seems to indicate that cultural
changes on an operational level of analysis occur as they are perceived or
interpreted to improve, enhance, enrich or preserve social identity. In Palaung
ethnic gorup, they have their original
tradition. But some Palaung who live in urban areas, they wear blouse and
longyi for ladies and shirt and longyi for man. They also practice like city
people. They don’t want to follow conservative idea. Among educated Palaung
people, they act, speak, and wear the same as other city people. But for
special occasion, they wear their traditional dress and practice their
12. Internal and external culture
control may be thought of us control by the mind, as opposed to social control
which involves overt coercion. Example of cultural control also can be found in
Pale Palaung society. For instance, people refrain from committing to marry the
same clan so much from fear of legal punishment as from a sense of deep disgust
at the thought of the act and from the shame they would feel in performing it.
Cultural controls are built in or internalized and rely on such deterrents as
fear of supernatural punishment and magical retaliation.
internalized controls are not wholly sufficient even in the tribes, every
society develops customs designed to encourage conformity to social norms.
These institutions are referred to as sanctions. They are externalized controls
and involve varying mixes of cultural and social control. According to
Radcliffe-Brown, a sanction is a reaction on the part of a society or of a
considerable number of its members to a mode of behavior which is thereby
approved (positive sanctions) or disapproved (negative sanctions). Sanctions
also may be either formal or informal and may vary significantly within a given
operate within social groups of all sizes. They include not only the organized
sanctions of the law but also the gossip of neighbors or the customs regulating
norms of production that are spontaneously generated among workers on the
factory floor. Sanctions must be consistently applied, and the society’s
members must know generally of their existence.
sanctions may be categorized as either positive or negative. Positive sanctions
consist of incentives to conformity, such as awards, titles, and recognition by
one’s neighbors. Negative sanctions consist of threats, such as imprisonment,
corporal punishment, or ostracism from the community for violation of social
norms. As an example, the village leader and monk have punishment authority in
cheating others and thief. They also have not only small case crime but also
disputing among villagers.
also may be categorized as either formal or informal, depending on whether or
not a legal statute is involved. Formal sanctions, such as laws, are always
organized, because they attempt to precisely and explicitly regulate people’s
behavior. Informal sanctions emphasize cultural control are diffuse in nature,
involving spontaneous expressions of approval or disapproval by member of the
group or community. To show how informal sanctions work, we will examine them
in the context of power relationship among the governmental official personnel
and local authoritative person. In village level, most of the authoritative
person is village leader and the most powerful one is monk among Pale Palaung
Conclusion and recommendation
If I conclude
as far as I know, the society is very kind and hospitality. They have at least
6 clans and they practice exogamous family. Their main plantation is plane tea.
Palaung tea is the most famous product in the whole country. But they have
other economy. Their life style is simple and their role is very rarely
changed. They don’t want to change their life. Because they are strong believed
in Buddhism and they want to go pilgrim other places in the whole country. They adore their traditional dress and most
of them wear their dress. But for urban societies, they wear their dress in
special day such as, wedding ceremony, pay homage to elders and seasonal
activities. In remote villages still practice common house for their family
members. Therefore, I would like to recommend that areas where the Pale Palaung
live villages are very attracted for tourists and very pleasant and interest
tradition and colorful areas.
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