Ionians - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. Sex roles are clearly differentiated among Ionians. Women are associated with the private sphere of the home; men circulate in the public arena. Male presentation of self involves a stance of dominance over women and a love of honor or philotimo, which includes a willingness to defend familial reputation. Sexual prowess and ability to provide economically for the family are also emphasized. Women wield significant power within the nuclear Family; ties between mothers and children are very close. Traditional strict separation of unmarried men and women is giving way in the face of increasing tourism and the spread of urban values to rural areas through returning migrants. Decision making is undertaken by the family as a whole.


Political Organization. Ionians are actively interested in local and national politics; debate on political issues is Common among men in particular. Townspeople elect public Officials, including a mayor and town committee, to direct affairs. The positions carry prestige but can be difficult in a politically fractious community. Greece is divided administratively into nomes, which are further separated into eparchies. Lefkas and Zante are nomes; the nome of Cephalonia includes Ithaca as an eparchy. Kithira is now attached to a non-Ionian nome, and the eparchy of Paxos is part of the nome of Corfu. Migrant associations have formed in urban areas in Greece; they have become important and influential political groups in Ionian life.

Social Control. Gossip is the common means of social control; any activity in small communities is easily observed and closely monitored. An individual's and family's reputations are constantly scrutinized and subject to public discourse. The behavior of the women in the family is a common topic of local gossip, as are the economic abilities of the males.

Conflict. A man must be willing and ready to defend the honor of his family; arguments and overt fights occur frequently, and political brinkmanship reigns. A circular court system brings judges to central towns regularly; the most Common disputes involve landed property.


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