From thatched roof to concrete house: an ethnoarchaeological study of continuity and change in a yami community, orchid island, taiwan

Chen, Yu-mei.   University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  1992. U041092.

Abstract (summary)

The purpose of the present study is to examine the problem of continuity and change through a specific example: the public housing project in Orchid Island, Taiwan. The spatial layout of the traditional Yami house is embedded with symbolic meaning. The spatial layout of the imposed modern concrete house, on the other hand, is alien. This example thus provides an opportunity to examine the relationship between society and individual, meaning and material. This study reveals most vividly the processes of appropriation of the intrinsic meaning of the house. The meaning of the house as a representation of the conjugal unit and as a symbol of social prestige persists and influences the trajectory of continuity and change. The imposed modern concrete house, though alien in its spatial layout, cannot be devoid of the meaning of the house in the local socio-cultural context. At the same time, the very contrast between the traditional and the modern house gives the modern concrete house an additional meaning linked to the changing conditions of the Yami. The traditional house also gains a new meaning in terms of Yami tradition and Yami identity. The ethos of competition and equality, on the other hand, enhances the adoption of things new, namely building materials. The latter indicate a relationship between the speed of change of material culture and the ethos of competition and equality in an egalitarian society. To look at change simply in terms of cost efficiency (economic, leasst effort) leaves out the socio-culturaldimension of change. The relationship between house size and population and wealth proposed by demographic archaeologists also needs reconsideration. In the Yami case, house size has to do with the house as a representation of social prestige and with the ethos of competition.

Indexing (details)

Cultural anthropology
0326: Cultural anthropology
Identifier / keyword
(UMI)AAIU041092; Social sciences
From thatched roof to concrete house: an ethnoarchaeological study of continuity and change in a yami community, orchid island, taiwan
Chen, Yu-mei
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-C 70/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
University location
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Bibliographic data provided by EThOS, the British Library’s UK thesis service: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.259562
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL