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Fruit of the Motherland: Gender in an Egalitarian Society

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Overview

Challenging the portrayal of sexual inequality as a universal condition, Lepowsky presents a vivid account of Vanatinai, a matrilineal society in New Guinea.

Contradticting scholars who consider sexual inequality a universal condition, Fruit of the Motherland reveals an exceptional society in which women have equivalent access to power and prestige and significant control over the means of production.

Lepowsky presents an ethnography of Vanatinai, a matrilineal, decentralized society in New Guinea where there is no ideology of male dominance and women and men are considered fundamentally equal. tracing the life cycle of islanders of both sexes, she examines the role of gender in thye Vanatinai's: social life and history, religious philosophy and worldview, practice of ceremonial exchange and ritual.

In addition, Fruit of the Motherland includes useful cross-cultural analysis of gender roles, ideologies, and power.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Lepowsky deals evenhandedly with topics of primary concern to islanders -subsistence, life passages, sorcery, relations with the dead and with spirits, exchange, and power -presenting general analyses through specific incidents. This ethnography is important as a touchstone for accounts of Melanesian societies and for theories of gender relations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231081214
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 2/17/1994
  • Pages: 383
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Maria Lepowsky is professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

PrefaceMaps

1. Island Encounters2. Fruit of the Motherland3. Island Lives4. Ancestors and Other Spirits5. Sorcerers and Witches6. The Living, the Dead, and Relations of Value7. Fruit of the Dead8. Gender and Power

NotesGlossaryBibliographyIndex

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