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The Hmong Cultural Repertoire: Explaining Cultural Variation Within an Ethnic Group

Author(s): Jeremy Hein

Journal: Hmong Studies Journal
ISSN 1091-1774

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 1997;
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Keywords: Hmong Studies | Hmong Culture

Data on 382 Hmong in Laos and the United States reveal threetypes of cultural expertise: performing spiritual-medicalhealing; conducting life cycle rituals; and creating arts andcrafts. Only 31 percent of this sample engage in one or moreof the practices in this cultural repertoire. A mere 10percent of the sample account for 54 percent of the 247cultural practices. This pattern reveals the paradoxicalrelationship between ethnicity and culture. While all ethnicgroups have a culture, there is considerable variation amongmembers in their use of the group's cultural repertoire. Thispaper uses regression analysis to explain why some Hmong havemore cultural practices than others. The results suggest thatmales have greater access to the Hmong cultural repertoiredue their positions of authority in Laos, but that maternalcultural practices promote use of the repertoire by theirchildren regardless of leadership status.
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