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Female Power and Male Dominance : On the Origins of Sexual Inequality - Peggy Reeves Sanday

Female Power and Male Dominance

On the Origins of Sexual Inequality

Paperback Published: 19th April 1981
ISBN: 9780521280754
Number Of Pages: 316

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In this book, Professor Peggy Sanday provides a ground-breaking examination of power and dominance in male-female relationships. How does the culturally approved interaction between the sexes originate? Why are women viewed as a necessary part of political, economic, and religious affairs in some societies but not in others? Why do some societies clothe sacred symbols of creative power in the guise of one sex and not of the other? Professor Sanday offers solutions to these cultural puzzles by using cross-cultural research on over 150 tribal societies. She systematically establishes the full range of variation in male and female power roles and then suggests a theoretical framework for explaining this variation. Rejecting the argument of universal female subordination, Professor Sanday argues that male dominance is not inherent in human relations but is a solution to various kinds of cultural strain. Those who are thought to embody, be in touch with, or control the creative forces of nature are perceived as powerful. In isolating the behavioural and symbolic mechanisms which institute male dominance, professor Sanday shows that a people's secular power roles are partly derived from ancient concepts of power, as exemplified by their origin myths. Power and dominance are further determined by a people's adaptation to their environment, social conflict, and emotional stress. This is illustrated through case studies of the effects of European colonialism, migration, and food stress, and supported by numerous statistical associations between sexual inequity and various cultural stresses.

List of tables and figuresp. xi
Prefacep. xv
Introductionp. 1
Plans for sex-role behavior
Scripts for female powerp. 15
From "the complete perfect unity": the Balinesep. 16
The creative grandmother of the primeval sea: the Semangp. 19
Father, mother, lover, friend: the Mbutip. 21
The mother of the earth beings who fell from the sky: the Iroquoisp. 24
One couple from the sky and one couple from the earth: the Ashantip. 28
The female creative principlep. 33
Scripts for male dominancep. 35
Eve's transgression, God's punishment, and female power: the Hausap. 35
The merging and splitting of animals, mothers, and males: the Mundurucup. 37
Nullifying female power: the Papagoesp. 41
The fierce people: the Yanomamop. 45
The psychological bedrockp. 50
Constructing sex-role plans
The environmental context of metaphors for sexual identitiesp. 55
Gender symbolism in creation stories: inward females and outward malesp. 57
Male parenting and creation symbolismp. 60
The role of environmentp. 64
Environment, origin beliefs, and historyp. 68
Reflections of social life and thought in origin storiesp. 73
Plans for the sexual division of laborp. 76
The kinds of activities that are universally allocated to malesp. 77
The cultural patterning of workp. 79
A third cultural configuration: the dual-sex orientationp. 86
Sex-role plans and configurations of culturep. 89
Blood, sex, and dangerp. 91
The body as symbolp. 92
The body in society and nature: the Andaman Islandersp. 97
Fluctuating food, warfare, and fear of fluxing women: the Bellacoolap. 100
Pollution of menstrual blood and sexual intercoursep. 104
Male and female worldsp. 108
The women's world
The bases for female political and economic power and authorityp. 113
The ascribed bases for female economic and political authorityp. 115
The case of the Abipon: female power and the hunter/warrior configurationp. 120
The achieved bases for female economic and political powerp. 124
The ascribed and achieved bases for female public power and authority and increasing technological complexityp. 128
The decline of the women's world: the effect of colonialismp. 135
The Igbo women's warp. 136
Handsome Lake and the decline of the Iroquois matriarchatep. 141
Female power and movement onto the Great Plains: the Lords of the Plains and the Sacred Buffalo Hatp. 143
The movement of foragers into marginal territoriesp. 152
The relationship between colonialism, a marginal food base, and female powerp. 156
The dynamics of male dominance and sexual inequality
The bases for male dominancep. 163
Male dominance: mythical and realp. 163
The correlates of male dominance and sexual inequalityp. 171
Anthropological explanations for male diminancep. 172
From the native's point of viewp. 179
Male dominance: part of a cultural configuration or a solution to stressp. 181
Why women?p. 184
Defining the oppressorp. 185
Men, animals, and women: the Mbuti and the Desanap. 187
External and internal threats to social survival: mythical versus real male dominance in the New Guinea highlandsp. 194
The experience of migration: the Azande versus the Bembap. 199
Conclusionp. 210
Conquerors of the land flowing with milk and honey
Epiloguep. 215
The goddess and Yahweh cults in Canaanp. 216
Adam and Eve: migrating men and foreign goddessesp. 220
In God's imagep. 225
The early Christiansp. 227
Samplep. 232
Variablesp. 236
Analysis of the relationship between environment, fathers' proximity to infants, and origin symbolismp. 239
Configurations for the division of laborp. 248
Construction of the measure for female economic and political power or authorityp. 250
Male aggression scale and male dominance measurep. 253
Notesp. 257
Bibliographyp. 275
Indexp. 285
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521280754
ISBN-10: 0521280753
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 316
Published: 19th April 1981
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.4