Status competition, rural Indian style

In rural Hindu villages in India…widows are expected
to be perpetual mourners, austere in their habits, appetites and dress;
even so, they often jockey for position, said Richard A. Shweder, an
anthropologist in the department of comparative human development at
the University of Chicago.

compete for who is most pure,” Dr. Shweder said.  “They say, ‘I don’t
eat fish, I don’t eat eggs, I don’t even walk into someone’s house who
has eaten meat.’  It’s a natural kind of social comparison.”

The article focuses on the psychology of fame-seeking.


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