The Subject of Anthropology: Gender, Symbolism and Psychoanalysis / Edition 1

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In this ambitious new book, Henrietta Moore draws on anthropology, feminism and psychoanalysis to develop an original and provocative theory of gender and of how we become sexed beings. Arguing that the Oedipus complex is no longer the fulcrum of debate between anthropology and psychoanalysis, she demonstrates how recent theorizing on subjectivity, agency and culture has opened up new possibilities for rethinking the relationship between gender, sexuality and symbolism. Using detailed ethnographic material from Africa and Melanesia to explore the strengths and weaknesses of a range of theories in anthropology, feminism and psychoanalysis, Moore advocates an ethics of engagement based on a detailed understanding of the differences and similarities in the ways in which local communities and western scholars have imaginatively deployed the power of sexual difference. She demonstrates the importance of ethnographic listening, of focused attention to people's imaginations, and of how this illuminates different facets of complex theoretical issues and human conundrums. Written not just for professional scholars and for students but for anyone with a serious interest in how gender and sexuality are conceptualized and experienced, this book is the most powerful and persuasive assessment to date of what anthropology has to contribute to these debates now and in the future.

About the Author:
Henrietta L. Moore is Professor of Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An excellent and compelling book that, among the many aspectsworth discussing, invites the forging of new alliances betweenanthropology and psychoanalysis in their common concerns forculture, representation and the nature of symbols."
LSEReview of Books

"A very well written book on an important topic by one of the mostgifted anthropologists of her generation ... that is bound tobecome a classic text in the emergent cross-road betweenpsychoanalysis, anthropology and feminist studies."
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"Provides a stimulating challenge to social theorists ofsubjectivity to apply its arguments to other sets of ethnographicdata, and to take up and extend the debate that Moore initiates inthis innovative book."
British Journal of Sociology

"This book is invaluable – there is nothing else like it.Well-organized and beautifully written, it is also clear as a bell,which is no mean feat when dealing with these complex and abstruseissues."
Emily Martin, New York University

"This is a major intellectual achievement by one of the pioneersof feminist anthropology. Henrietta Moore sets a new agenda fortransnational gender and sexuality research while debating some ofthe cutting-edge theoretical issues in feminist psychoanalysis andpost-structuralism. She urges us to acknowledge the complex anddynamic relationship between bodies and the variant culturalmeanings attached to femininity and masculinity, but also toconsider the enduring hold of the social imaginary upon theconstitution of the subject. A major contribution to the politicaleconomy of sexuality in the global era."
Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University

"Henrietta Moore seeks to build a theory of genderedsubjectivity by articulating the insights of psychoanalysis,anthropology and feminism. The extended readings of psychoanalytictheory through anthropological and feminist eyes are clear andilluminating. This is a rich and thought-provoking book."
Sherry B. Ortner, University of California-LosAngeles

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745608082
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/3/2007
  • Series: Please Select a Ser.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Henrietta L Moore Professor of Social Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     viii
Body, Mind and World     1
A Genealogy of the Anthropological Subject     23
Culture, Power and Desire     43
Objects and Relations with (M)others     63
The Problem of the Phallus     95
Being and Having     115
Kinship and Sexuality     137
Mothers and Men     165
Social Transformations     193
Notes     212
References     235
Index     259
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