Kinship and land tenure in Piedmont County : a diachronic study of heterogenous community in the South

Seaman, Catherine, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Virginia
Watson, William, University of Virginia
Fishoff, Ephraim, University of Virginia

This dissertation is written from field material which was collected from 1966-1969 in Piedmont County. The area of concentrated research was Pine Forks, a small community of 300 or so white and black persons who live on or near an old turnpike in the Piedmont Plateau of the southeastern United States. This area includes parts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. In addition to the small community, Piedmont County itself was studied as was the state and region in a more general way.

While a large amount of material accumulated which concerned a number of institutions, the emphasis in the study is concentrated on the material that deals with economy, kinship and land patterns among both white and black persons of Pine Forks as well as between these two groups. The main hypothesis of the study is that kinship and land have stabilized a community for the past 200 years even though drastic changes occurred in the economy.

The persistence of extensive kinship ties, and the intensity of emotion expressed about the land, served to give the Pine Forks settlement a flexible mode of adaptation to the exigencies of a changing world for over two centuries. There is no reason to believe that the Pine Forks will not be able to adapt itself in the foreseeable future unless a major change occurs in the social system of the United States itself, or unless one of the possibilities mentioned above destroy the land and kinship system. Certainly there will be some changes, indeed the community has withstood major changes in the past. The most significant change now occurring is perhaps the new status of the black kin groups, which may bring about a new level of social solidarity. However, I believe that present and future research will show that kinship bonds in our industrial society will not readily disappear, but will serve to stabilize social relations as changes in other institutions occur.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Land tenure -- Piedmont (United States : Region), Kinship -- Piedmont (United States : Region)

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-03-14 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:37:15.

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