Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-01-01
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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This reader introduces learners to the most significant topics in the field of anthropology of gender--drawing not only from classic sources, but also from the most recent, diverse literature on gender roles and ideology around the world. It features high quality introductions to each section of articles, broad geographical coverage, and the most current research available. An extensive range of topics includes the relationship between biology and culture as it pertains to gender issues; gender and prehistory; the cultural construction of gender and sexuality; women and the state; and the impact of development and the global economy on women. For an awareness and understanding of the sociology of women and gender roles.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii
About the Author xv
I. Biology, Gender, and Human Evolution
Animal Models and Gender
Marlene Zuk
The Role of Women in Human Evolution
Margaret Ehrenberg
Gender and War: Are Women Tough Enough for Military Combat?
Lucinda J. Peach
Lifeboat Ethics: Mother Love and Child Death in Northeast Brazil
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
The Cultural Nexus of Aka Father--Infant Bonding
Barry S. Hewlett
II. Gender and Prehistory
The Archaeology of Gender Today: New Vistas, New Challenges
Margaret W. Conkey
Where Have All the Menstrual Huts Gone? The Invisibility of Menstrual Seclusion in the Late Prehistoric Southeast
Patricia Galloway
Warriors and Rulers: Royal Women of the Classic Maya
Stanley Guenter
David Freidel
III. Domestic Worlds and Public Worlds
The Domestic Sphere of Women and the Public World of Men: The Strengths and Limitations of an Anthropological Dichotomy
Louise Lamphere
``It's a Pleasure to Cook for Him'': Food, Mealtimes, and Gender in Some South Wales Households
Anne Murcott
Fatherhood and the Mediating Role of Women
Nicholas W. Townsend
Cities of Women
Mary Weismantel
IV. Equality and Inequality: The Sexual Division of Labor and Gender Stratification
Woman the Hunter: The Agta
Agnes Estioko-Griffin
P. Bion Griffin
The Sexual Division of Labor on Vanatinai
Maria Lepowsky
Pastoral Nomadism and Gender: Status and Prestige, Economic Contribution, and Division of Labor Among the Tuareg of Niger
Susan Rasmussen
Women and Work in a Postrevolutionary Society: Urban Cooperatives and the Informal Economy in Nicaragua
Florence E. Babb
V. The Cultural Construction of Gender and Personhood
The Manhood Puzzle
David D. Gilmore
Rituals of Manhood: Male Initiation in Papua New Guinea
Gilbert H. Herdt
The Named and the Nameless: Gender and Person in Chinese Society
Rubie S. Watson
Gender and the Stories Pittsburgh Police Officers Tell About Using Physical Force
Bonnie McElhinny
The Making and Unmaking of Persons: Gender and Body in Northeast India
Sarah Lamb
VI. Culture, Sexuality, and the Body
Is There a Muslim Sexuality? Changing Constructions of Sexuality in Egyptian Bedouin Weddings
Lila Abu-Lughod
From Pollution to Love Magic: The New Anthropology of Menstruation
Alma Gottlieb
Women's Intimate Friendships and Other Affairs: An Ethnographic Overview
Evelyn Blackwood
Hijras: An ``Alternative'' Sex/Gender in India
Gayatri Reddy
Serena Nanda
Measuring Up to Barbie: Ideals of the Feminine Body in Popular Culture
Jacqueline Urla
Alan C. Swedlund
VII. Gender, Property, and the State
Thinking About Women and the Origin of the State
Rayna Rapp
Dowry, Bride-Burning, and Female Power in India
Linda Stone
Caroline James
Encountering the State: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Women's Political Experience
Josephine Caldwell Ryan
Japanese Mothers and Obentos: The Lunch-Box as Ideological State Apparatus
Anne Allison
VIII. Gender, Household, and Kinship
Male Authority and Female Authority: A Study of the Matrilineal Nayars of Kerala, South India
Shanti Menon
Domestic Networks: ``Those You Count On''
Carol Stack
Matrifocality, Power, and Gender Relations in Jamaica
Marsha Prior
The Female World of Cards and Holidays: Women, Families, and the Work of Kinship
Micaela Di Leonardo
IX. Gender, Ritual, and Religion
Spirit Possession and Gender Complementarity: Zar in Rural Northern Sudan
Janice Boddy
``Tradition'' and Threat: Women's Obscenity in Giriama Funerary Rituals
Janet Mcintosh
Mama Lola and the Ezilis: Themes of Mothering and Loving in Haitian Vodou
Karen McCarthy Brown
Shamans, Bodies, and Sex: Misreading a Korean Ritual
Laurel Kendall
X. Gender, Politics, and Reproduction
Gender and Ritual: Giving Birth the American Way
Robbie E. Davis-Floyd
The Politics of Reproduction in a Mexican Village
Carole H. Browner
Surrogate Motherhood: Rethinking Biological Models, Kinship, and Family
Helena Ragone
Female Genital Cutting: Culture and Controversy
Ellen Gruenbaum
XI. Culture Contact, Development, and the Global Economy
The Impact of Development on Women: The Interplay of Material Conditions and Gender Ideology
Victoria S. Lockwood
Doing Their Homework: The Dilemma of Planning Women's Garden Programs in Bangladesh
Margot Wilson-Moore
Factory as Home, and Family: Female Workers in the Moroccan Garment Industry
M. Laetitia Cairoli
Consuming Desires, Contested Selves: Rural Women and Labor Migration in Thailand
Mary Beth Mills
``Wild Pigs and Dog Men'': Rape and Domestic Violence as ``Women's Issues'' in Papua New Guinea
Laura Zimmer-Tamakoshi
Film Bibliography 565


The initial idea for this reader came from the experience of teaching undergraduate courses in gender and anthropology. In reviewing the textbooks available for an introductory course, we came to the conclusion that there was a need for a readable text that built on the classic contributions of the 1970s while incorporating the more recent and diverse literature on gender roles and ideology around the world. Although a number of sophisticated theoretical works devoted to this subject existed, we felt there was a dearth of classroom material available in one volume and appropriate for less advanced students, whether undergraduates or beginning graduate students. We have had five goals in mind as we selected materials for the fourth edition. First, as in previous editions, we want to introduce students to the most significant topics in the field of the anthropology of gender. These include the study of men and women in prehistory; the relationship between biology and culture; the cultural construction of masculinity, femininity, sexuality, personhood, and the body; variations in the sexual division of labor and economic organization; women's involvement in ritual and religion; and the impact on gender issues of various forces of change such as colonialism, the rise of the state, the global economy, and migration. Second, we think it is important to maintain the broad cross-cultural coverage evident in earlier editions. This breadth encourages comparative analysis of the themes under discussion and allows us to address issues of gender in industrial society as well as in developing societies. Third, we have expanded our efforts to complement research on women's lives with articles that deal with masculinity and male gender roles. Feminist theory is increasingly being applied to the study of men and we have tried to represent some of this research in our volume. Fourth, we have always been committed to combining theoretically and ethnographically based articles in each section of the book. We hope that we have compiled a volume that can stand alone or, if the instructor so desires, can be complemented by the use of full ethnographies. Fifth, in every edition we have included introductions to each section that review as clearly as possible some of the significant issues debated in particular subject areas in the anthropology of gender. These introductions, updated for the current edition, are intended to orient students to the articles in the section and to provide a context in which readers can more fully understand each article. Each introduction concludes with a list of references that can be used by teachers and students to examine further the questions raised in that section. We do not expect all instructors to assign the sections in the order that they appear in the text although for this edition we have rearranged the sections slightly. The order makes sense to us, but our ultimate goal is to provide for maximum flexibility in teaching. Indeed, there are articles in some sections that can be related to articles in other sections. We also have no intention of imposing a particular theoretical perspective, although our own predilections may be apparent to some readers. We include readings that reflect a variety of theoretical orientations to enable instructors to emphasize their own approach to the subject. The text concludes with a list of recommended films organized by sections of this book. We have reviewed many of these films, and we hope that all of them will successfully complement the readings in the text.

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