Cultural Alternatives and a Feminist Anthropology: An Analysis of Culturally Constructed Gender Interests in Papua New Guineaby Frederick Errington, Deborah Gewertz
Pub. Date: 10/28/1989
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
The Chambri of Papua New Guinea are well known as being the "Tchambuli" of Margaret Mead's influential work, Sex and Temperament, in which she described them as people among whom, in contrast to Western society, women dominated over men. In this book, the authors analyze Mead's data and present original material to reveal that Mead misinterpreted the Chambri situation. In fact, Chambri women neither dominate men, nor vice versa. They use this reformulated interpretation to discuss the relevance of the Chambri case for the understanding of gender relations in Western society today, showing that male dominance is not inevitable. At the same time, they use their knowledge of cultural alternatives to clarify Western feminist objectives.
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Table of ContentsList of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Part I. Cultural Premises: 1. Entropy and the nature of indebtedness; 2. Names and personal identity; 3. The enactment of power; 4. The construction of society; Part II. Social Action: 5. Politics and the relationship between husbands and wives; 6. The mutual dependence of brothers and sisters; 7. Marriage and the confluence of interests; 8. The monetization of social relationships; Conclusion: the significance of cultural alternatives; Notes; References; Index.
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