The Inner Circle
Captain’s Log, star-date 25th of November, 2012: Have not logged in for quite some time. Too busy assimilating to the culture. Today I’d like to enlarge my observations concerning the social system that prevails in Cuadrilla and in the surrounding region. The Cuadrilleans and indeed many other Kling-Ons as well, typically inhabit an Inner Circle of friends. These Inner Circles constitute the bedrock of the Cuadrillean social system.
Each Cuadrillean is integrated into an Inner Circle from a very early age – sometimes as early as three or four. He is “grafted,” so to speak, into a small circle of friends, usually between five and ten children who attend the same school. Based on my conversations with Cuadrilleans, my sense is that there is no formal ritual of incorporation – the process may be a matter of mutual acceptance combined with happenstance. I will report again if I find out more about how the selection process works.
I visited a small village about an hour’s drive from Cuadrilla and I saw an Inner Circle in the making: five little boys playing football in the small alleys of the village. These little boys will most likely be together for the rest of their lives, unless some of them have the audacity to leave Cuadrilla as an adult, or worse still, defect completely from the Inner Circle.
What does it mean to belong to an Inner Circle? It means that you spend much of your social time throughout your life with your Circle Friends, that you help them out whenever they are in need, and that you consider each other Friends for Life. Inner Circles are rarely broken deliberately and defections are rare. However, even Cuadrilla is not untouched by the process of globalization, and so there are cases of Cuadrilleans emigrating to another part of the Kling-On region, or, in extremis, going to an exotic place like the Land of Freedom. In that case, the Circle has been diminished in practice, but the bond of loyalty, in principle, remains forever, “as thick as blood.”
The Inner Circle system serves to reinforce and protect the intensely ethnic and geographic identity of the Cuadrillean. “Blow-ins” from other parts of the Kling-On Region or beyond will remain “blow-ins” for the rest of their life. I know people who have lived over thirty years in Cuadrilla but would hesitate to describe themselves as Cuadrilleans. The only sure way to guarantee acceptance as a bona fide Cuadrillean is to be born in Cuadrilla of two parents born in Cuadrilla.
Given these facts, it is virtually unthinkable that a Blow-In or Stranger could be incorporated into an Inner Circle. At most, a visitor might win the goodwill and confidence of a Cuadrillean at the level of an outer circle. That, at least, is my working hypothesis based on the available evidence.
Captain Thunder logging out…
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David Thunder is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, a humanities and social science research center at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
visitors since 7 Oct 2012