Our central assumption in the foregoing analysis is that cultures are integrated; therefore, the view that peasant cultures are compounded of empirically and conceptually separable great and little traditions is unfounded. We recognize the utility of the terms “great tradition” and “great community”; these abstractions are useful for describing the intellectual thought and interests of civilizations, and groups of individuals who promote and further these interests. The little tradition by contrast, we agree with Dumont and Pocock, is the whole culture of the little community or peasant society. Peasant cultures are “wholes”; but we agree with Redfield that they are not isolates. Peasant cultures or little traditions are linked with the great tradition through a common cultural idiom, which establishes channels of communication between the two traditions and sets up standards of mutual reference and influence. There are common sets of concepts and a common terminology. Though the substantive content of the terminology and the emphases given may be different in each tradition, there is a core of shared meanings associated with the terminology which facilitates movement between the two traditions. This is because the common idiom is derived historically from a great tradition, though refashioned to fit the peasant world view. The common idiom not only links the little tradition with the great, but also links the little traditions with one another. This represents an important aspect of the cultural unity of a civilization: a shared commonality of meanings which define the central values of the people and constitute their governing ethos.

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