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Columbia University Press
Intimacies: Love and Sex Across Cultures / Edition 1

Intimacies: Love and Sex Across Cultures / Edition 1

by William Jankowiak


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Intimacies: Love and Sex Across Cultures / Edition 1

No culture is ever completely successful or satisfied with its synthesis of romantic love, companionship, and sexual desire. Whether the setting is a busy metropolis or a quiet farming village, a tension always exists between a community's sexual habits and customs and what it believes to be the proper context for love. Even in Western societies, we prefer sexual passion to romance and companionship, and no study of any culture has shown that individuals regard passion and affection equally.

The pursuit of love and sex has generated an infinite number of ambiguities and contradictions, yet every community hopes to find a resolution to this conflict either by joining, dividing, or stressing one act over the other. In this follow-up to Romantic Passion: A Universal Experience?, William R. Jankowiak examines how different cultures rationalize the expression of passionate and comfort love and physical sex. He begins by mapping out the intricacies of the love/sex conundrum and the psychological dilemma of reconciling these competing forces. He then follows with essays on sex, love, and intimacy among Central African foragers and farmers; the love dyad in Lithuania; intimacy among the Lahu of Southwestern China; the interplay of love, sex, and marriage in the High Himalayas; verbalized experiences of love and sexuality in Indonesia; love work as it relates to sex work among prostitutes; intimacies and estrangements in the marital and extramarital relationships of Huli men; infidelity and masculinity in Southwestern Nigeria; and the ritual of sex and the rejuvenation of the love bond among married couples in the United States.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231134378
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 02/11/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William R. Jankowiak is professor of anthropology and ethnic studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is the author (with Dan Bradburd) of Drugs, Labor, and Colonial Expansion, Urban Mongols: Ethnicity in Communist China, and Sex, Death, and Hierarchy in a Chinese City.
William Jankowiak is Professor of Anthropology & Ethnic Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1986 from the University of California Santa Barbara. His research and teaching interests include ethnographic studies of contemporary Chinese society, especially Mongolian culture, as well as human universals such as love and family bonds. His publications include Urban Mongols: Ethnicity in Communist China (Prentice Hall, 1994); Sex, Death and Hierarchy in a Chinese City (CUP, 1993); and is editor of Romantic Passion: The Universal Experience (CUP 1995)

What People are Saying About This

Thomas Gregor

For years the study of love languished in anthropology and the social sciences. William R. Jankoviak's previous work (Romantic Passion: A Universal Experience?) brought the topic of love and sexuality to the forefront of anthropological study and established that love is a cultural universal. His current edited book, Intimacies: Love and Sex Across Cultures brings together eleven scholars whose work illuminates the integrating theme of the book: the tensions between passion, companionate or 'comfort' love, and sex, a dilemma that is handled differently in varying cultural settings. The contributions are of a high level, the book is a pleasure to read and the topic is absolutely fascinating. Intimacies: Love and Sex across Cultures is just what 'the love doctor' ordered—the right tonic for a discipline that is now recognizing the universal cultural importance of love.

David Lipset

William R. Jankowiak's splendid new anthology focuses on the relationship of sexual passion to companionate love in a great variety of settings throughout the world. Not only do the essays offer fine-grained ethnography but they also feature a refreshing theoretical eclecticism that will make this collection very useful in the classroom. What is more, the overall quality of exposition is uniformly straightforward and clear. Intimacies is an exciting addition to the growing cross-cultural literature on love. This volume represents cultural anthropology as it should be.

Helen Fisher

Another superb anthology by anthropologist William R. Jankowiak. It brings together an impressive array of experienced and talented field researchers who give us a treasury of data on topics of deep interest to us all: sex and love. You will see a bit of yourself, your friends, and your relatives on just about every page.

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