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Download Much of the creativity of anthropology derives from the tension
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Much of the creativity of anthropology derives from the tension between two sets of demands: that we explain human universals, and that we explain cultural particulars…The secondary status of woman in society is one of the true universals a pan-cultural fact, yet within that universal fact, the specific cultural conceptions and symbolizations of woman are extraordinarily diverse and even mutually contradictory (Ortner, 1974: 67). What is the relationship between feminism and anthropology? On australian Aboriginal Women • Male ethnograp… • Profane • Economically unimportant • Excluded • Marginal • • • • • Female ethnograp… Central role Important in ritual Respected Non-marginal Three layers of the male bias • The bias imported by the ethnographer into his research • The bias inherent in the society being studied • The bias inherent in Western culture Gender Symbols and Gender Stereotypes • Woman’s physiology and her reproductive functions= appear closer to nature • Women’s social roles are seen as closer to nature • The Kaulong of new Britain (Goodale, 1980) Deconstructing the structure of male bias by • Focusing on women • Building data: about women by women • Reworking and redefining anthropological theory Ardener (1975) and the theory of “Muted Groups” • • • • • • control over modes of expression Male dominated structures --ways of communicating (linguistic concepts) --ways of writing (mankind for humankind) --dominant ideology --different world views Problems with the assumption of a privileged status (women studying women)) • Ghettoization of feminist anthropology • --too specialized --image problem • The assumption of a universal category of “women” • --not the same in all cultures • Perception of ethnocentrism • --a bias in favor of one culture9 that of the woman anthrop What are the advantages and disadvantages of a feminist anthropology?