Ghana Table of Contents
An example of domestic architecture of the Kasena people
at Nakong, far northern Ghana
Courtesy life in general (Brook, Rose, and Cooper Le Van)
The essential characteristic of the Ghanaian social system is its dual but interrelated nature. Even though the majority of the population still lives almost entirely in rural areas and observes ancestral customs and practices, the process of modernization associated with urban life has, nonetheless, affected all Ghanaians' social behavior and values. Peoples, ideas, goods, and services flow constantly between urban and rural areas, blurring the distinction between so-called traditional and modern life. Relationships within traditional society are based on family membership, inherited status, and ancestral beliefs. In modern society, relationships are determined by achieved status, formalized education, membership in professional associations, and ethnic affiliation. Contemporary society, however, is grafted onto traditional roots, and although traditional social relationships have often been partially transformed to fit the needs of modern life, they continue to endure. The result is that, even those who live primarily in the modern urban setting are still bound to traditional society through the kinship system and are held to the responsibilities that such associations entail.
Data as of November 1994