that his relationships with his employer, with his parents or with his friends wil l have a special character, and a certain structure. But when we look at the whole network of his relationships, or beyond to the wider network of al l relationships within an industrial society, there is no predictable pattern. There is no overall structure. Critically, it is only through having a definite structure that a society can be assured of acting as a society — and not as a mass of fragmented and unrelated individuals. It is only through structure that the whole can exercise control over the parts. This is, after all, the definition of order.
Internal Structure of the Contrada
Consider the internal bonds of the contrada. The only form of status difference that counts for anything is that of age. As such there is a hierarchy. But this hierarchy is not socially divisive. Indeed, class — the most divisive of all forms of heirarchy — although an important factor i n the wider life of Siena has no part to play i n the internal structure of the contrada. Divisive class interests are subordinated to the unifying force of the contrada. The distribution of roles and statuses is such that maximum solidarity, and internal egalitarianism, are generated. Dundes gives a good illustration of this: 'rich and poor, left wing and right wing, nobleman and plebeian, al l are bound up i n the commonality of the contrada spirit . . . The democracy of the contrada is stressed by nearly everybody . . . Working men are proud to use the familiar 'tu ' form instead of the more respectful and formal 'lei ' when speaking to a patrician member of their contrada1
The sense of solidarity within
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each contrada is astonishing. Contradaioli are acutely aware of how they are knit together, of their need for each other, and of the necessity for mutual support. Where a contradaioli is i n need of financial assistance, the contrada wil l club together to help him. Remarkably, i t is seldom necessary for him to make any formal request. The officers of the contrada consider i t a matter of personal pride that they should be well abreast of the ordinary and extraordinary events i n their contradiolis lives. They take a personal — not just official — interest i n their members from the moment they are born. They know when a birth has taken place. They make certain that a flag is sent to be flown from the window of the newborn's house so as to officially claim i t for the contrada.
Structure of External Relations
Internally then, roles create unity. They dictate a general pattern of behaviour between contradaioli. Externally, however, social relations are structured to produce the opposite effect: discrimination. Each contrada acts as a discrete and strictly bounded group. The relations between them serve to reinforce their boundaries, and re-emphasise their differences and their identity. Nowhere is this more apparent than i n the Palio — the horse race for which Siena is justly famous. I t is a race that creates intense rivalry. There is no contrada that is not defined by another as either an ally, a neutral, or an enemy. This is the terminology of warfare — and i n many ways, the Palio is a type of war. A ritual war. For i t is by competing, that the contrada rekindles its own sense of identity. World View Supporting These Relationships
The oppositions and rivalries created by these social relations are carried on into the Sienese world view. It functions to maintain, reproduce and reinforce the structure of society. For world views are not epiphenomena. They are not, so to speak, just an ideological topping to the society cake. They are an integral part of society. They provide its structure with a sense of absolute reality. They explain it, justify it, define it — and even sometimes mystify it.
Consider, for instance, Siena's totemic system. I t may not be as sophisticated as anything found i n Australia; i t is certainly more impoverished i n its symbols. Yet, totemism i t is — or something closely approximating to it . We have seen how each contrada is named