Great and little tradition

Tribal societies are autonomous social systems. Seen as a synchronic system, the peasant culture cannot be deeply understood from what goes on in the minds of villagers alone. Through the regularity of interaction between the two the Indian civilisation marches forward.

Great tradition and little tradition have long affected each other and continued to do so. Singer has made certain statements about cultural change in rural India. The concepts, therefore, explain the cultural change both at regional and national levels. This relationship is based on cultural knowledge and ideology.

On the other hand hetereogenetic contacts indicate those changes which occur due to external contact or interference of outside civilization. It is based on the evolutionary view that civilisation or the structure of tradition which consists of both cultural and social structures grows in two stages: The great tradition consists of the traditions contained in epics, Puranas, Brahmanas and other classical sanskritic works.

The roles and statuses of Sita and Draupadi constitute the parts of great tradition. The versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharat are two important religious texts which formed the basis of cultural performances.

Custom is what people follow and do or practise collectively and transmit the same from one generation to another. All these operate at two levels: This relationship is based on cultural knowledge and ideology. To explain the interaction between little and great traditions he theorized a two-way influence: Milton Singer has given some of the conclusions in relation to little tradition and Great tradition: They elaborated the original model of Redfield in the light of data generated from India villages.

A common ideology of Hinduism could be discerned at all levels and in all localities. As the main hinterland of cultural performance are countless villages and the spectators are the peasants, the epics and other mythologies have been written in local languages with simplers style. As great traditions in India are bound up with certain cultural ties any innovation or change, which takes place at an important centre influences similar changes at other centres gradually and once the centre of great tradition assimilates change, it also influences some sort of changes in the little tradition of its hinterland.

Yogendra Singh explains this interaction as below: As it has been discussed earlier, some tribal societies or sections thereof are under the influence of the process of Hinduisation.

Traditions: Origin of Little and Great Traditions

The peasant culture has an evident history, we are called upon to study the history, and the history is not local; it is the history of the civilisation of which the village culture is one local expression.

He found that there is constant interaction between Little tradition and Great tradition. McKim Marriot found that when little tradition and Great tradition interact with each other two types of movements are observed—upward and downward.

Singer and Marriott who were influenced by studies made by Redfield conducted their intensive study in Indian villages. Great tradition stands for persisting important arrangements of various roles and statuses appearing in such corporate bodies, like caste, sects, teachers, recitors, ritual leaders, priests, cultural performers, religions preachers etc.

Great and little traditions (Anthropology)

In their view local religious practices required consideration as a whole, understandable as the realization of general principles such as the opposition between pollution and purity or the recourse to the sacred through either priests or possession.

If we enter a village within a civilisation we see at once that the culture there has been flowing into it from teachers and examplers who never saw that village, who did their work in intellectual circles for way from the village in space and time.

Milton Singer uses 'hierarchic and low -culture'. For, Indian tradition is too complex to analyze by taking few variables. Custom is what people follow and do or practise collectively and transmit the same from one generation to another.

Marriott observed that fifteen of the nineteen village festivals celebrated in the village were sanctioned by at least one Sanskrit text. Great epics have arisen out of elements of traditional tale-telling by many people, and epics have returned again to the peasantry for modification and incorporation into local culture.

It converts practical local religion into universal theology while also permitting the dissemination of these complicated ideas over broad areas.

Both Singer and Marriott argue on the strength of data generated from the villages of their study that the cultural content of social structure at the level of little tradition in a village witnesses changes.

The little tradition, on the other hand, is local tradition of great tradition tai­lored according to the regional and village conditions. The great tradition is found clearly in twice-born castes, specially, priests, and ritual leaders of one kind or other. Great tradition, little tradition.

Categories introduced by the sociologist, Robert Redfield (Peasant Society and Culture, ) to distinguish between the major, continuing components of a religious tradition and the appropriation of them at local or village level. An example is M. E. Spiro's. Robert Redfield (December 4, – October 16, Traditionally, anthropologists studied folk ways in the "little tradition", taking into account broader civilization, the "great tradition".

He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Great and little traditions (Anthropology) The issue of great and little traditions did not arise for the first generation of anthropologists who, following the example of Malinowski, mainly studied remote, self-contained, small-scale societies.

Great and Little traditions Quick Reference A distinction between the elite or dominant records of cultural or religious tradition (including literature and art) and the local, informal, and often oral manifestations of those traditions by peasant.

Little tradition and Great tradition interacts with each other and also these two are interdependent in India. The concepts of universalization and parochialisation also describe the process of cultural change implied by Sanskritisation, specially universalisation comes very close to the concept.

Great and little tradition
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Indian Culture: Little Tradition and Great Tradition