Sunday, August 13, 2017


I was having breakfast with some acquaintances last weekend when Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer came up in the conversation. I have had the book for some time now and have read portions of it but never cover to cover. Based on the conversation, I will revisit that.

Fischer focuses on the folkways of each of four waves of emigration from the British isles in the 17th and 18th century, the Puritans, the Quakers, the Anglican Aristocracy and the Scots-Irish borderers. It is fascinating material.

He explores the folkways which were brought over (and how did they differ from one another) and how they evolved in the United States and to a more minor degree, how they affect us today. The folkways are:
Speech Ways, Conventional patterns of written and spoken language; pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax and grammar.

Building Ways, Prevailing forms of vernacular architecture and high architecture, which tend to be related to one another.

Family Ways The structure and function of the household and family, both in ideal and actuality.

Marriage Ways Ideas of the marriage-bond, and cultural processes of courtship, marriage and divorce.

Gender Ways Customs that regulate social relations between men and women.

Sex Ways Conventional sexual attitudes and acts, and the treatment of sexual deviance.

Child-Rearing Ways Ideas of child nature and customs of child nurture.

Naming Ways Onomastic customs including favoured forenames and the descent of names within the family.

Age Ways Attitudes towards age, experiences of aging and age relationships.

Death Ways Attitudes towards death, mortality rituals, mortuary customs and mourning practices.

Religious Ways Patterns of religious worship, theology, ecclesiology and church architecture.

Magic Ways Normative beliefs and practices concerning the supernatural.

Learning Ways Attitudes toward literacy and learning, and conventional patterns of education.

Food Ways Patterns of diet, nutrition, cooking, eating, feasting and fasting.

Dress Ways Customs of dress, demeanor, and personal adornment.

Sport Ways Attitudes toward recreation and leisure; folk games and forms of organized sport.

Work Ways Work ethics and work experiences; attitudes toward work and the nature of work.

Time Ways Attitudes toward the use of time, customary methods of time keeping, and the conventional rhythms of life.

Wealth Ways Attitudes towards wealth and patterns of its distribution.

Rank Ways The rules by which rank is assigned, the roles which rank entails, and the relations between different ranks.

Social Ways Conventional patterns of migration, settlement, association and affiliation.

Order Ways Ideas of order, ordering institutions, forms of disorder, and treatment of the disorderly.

Power Ways Attitudes toward authority and power; patterns of political participation.

Freedom Ways Prevailing ideas of liberty and restraint, and libertarian customs and institutions.

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