JOURNAL of
ANTHROPOLOGICAL
RESEARCH
Volume 51, Number 3, Abstracts

WOMEN, WORK, & KINSHIP


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POLYGYNY, WOMEN'S LAND TENURE, AND THE "MOTHER-SON PARTNERSHIP" IN SOUTHERN SOMALIA

Cathenine Besteman
Department of Anthropology, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901

Women in riverine agricultural villages in Somalia hold extremely limited independent access to land. After examining why this is the case, this article explores how older women with grown sons, especially senior wives in polygynous households, often strive to form collaborative working relationships with landowning sons over which the husband-father has no authority or control. Such business relationships are critical to the women involved: they provide some autonomy from the husband, an envied independent source of income, and greater food security than women in polygynous relationships normally are afforded by their husbands. The article examines the opportunities women have to form these relationships, the conditions under which they are formed, and the implications of these partnerships for family and village.


TRANSFORMATIONS OF GENDER AND CASTE DIVISIONS OF LABOR IN RURAL NEPAL: LAND, HIERARCHY, AND THE CASE OF UNTOUCHABLE WOMEN

Mary M. Cameron
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Auburn University,
Auburn, AL 36831

The article demonstrates how gender and caste divisions of labor in rural western Nepal have been historically linked with practices of social hierarchy and land distribution. Because of their low status in two hierarchies-caste and gender-untouchable women serve as handmaidens to the community's changing economic needs. Over the past century, their primarily artisan-related production has been replaced with a variety of paid agricultural and nonagricultural work in the increasingly capitalized agricultural economy. The consequent breakdown of secure intercaste patron-client relationships and increasing poverty are countered by women's increasing economic power.


KHMER KINSHIP: THE MATRILINY/MATRIARCHY MYTH

Judy L. Ledgerwood
Program for Cultural Studies, East-West Center, 1777 East-West Road,
Honolulu, HI 96848

Many scholarly works have claimed that Khmer society was organized along matrilineal principles, sometimes conflated with the notion that Cambodia was matriarchal in some distant past time. This article reviews the history of conceptualizations of Khmer kinship and argues that such notions were the products of a particular academic paradigm and specific anthropological models of human evolution. It situates these notions within two key debates in the study of Khmer history: arguments over the genealogical records of priestly families and discussions focusing on the lineages of Khmer kings. The available information on Khmer kinship is used to demonstrate that the patterns evident in Khmer kinship terminology and social relations do not support the matrilineal designation. Further, anthropologists now question making such categorizations and prefer, rather, to talk about kinship systems as flexible and changing over time. The article also addresses the issue of women and power and lays aside the notion Khmer matriarchy.


THE NEW AMAZONS IN AMAZON TOWN? A CASE STUDY OF WOMEN'S PUBLIC ROLES IN GURUPÁ, PARA, BRAZIL

Richard Pace
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Western Kentucky University,
Bowling Green, KY 42101

The Amazonian community of Gurupá is unusual among Brazilian communities in that during the decade of the 1980s most of the political, judicial, education, and health care positions have been occupied by women. Based on fieldwork between 1983 and 1991, this article explores the reasons behind Gurupá women's "monopoly" on public roles. It examines national patterns of gender roles and public occupations, cultural views on gender stereotypes, the historical precedent of women in public roles in Gurupá, and the influence of feminism and Liberation Theology. Three reasons are then offered to explain the domination of women in the public sphere of Gurupá.


BOOK REVIEWS

The Jumanos: Hunters and Traders of the South Plains. Nancy Parrott Hickerson. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994, xxvii + 227 pp., maps, notes, bibliography. $40.00 (cloth), $17.95 (paper). Reviewed by Joseph P. Sanchez, Director, Spanish Colonial Research Center, National Park Service.

Psychological Anthropology. Philip K. Bock (editor). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing, 1994, vii + 404 pp., $99.50 (cloth), $29.95 (paper). Reviewed by Peter Stromberg, University of Tulsa.

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