Marilyn Strathern, An Awkward Relationship: the Case of Feminism and Anthropology - PhilPapers
Information about the open-access article 'An awkward relationship: the case of feminism and anthropology' in DOAJ. DOAJ is an online directory that indexes. In her paper 'An Awkward Relationship: the Case of Feminism and. Anthropology' , Marilyn Strathern argues that feminist research cannot produce a paradigm. An Awkward Relationship: The Case of Feminism and Anthropology. Author(s): Marilyn Strathern Source: Signs, Vol. 12, No. 2, Reconstructing the Academy.
Historically, such 'peripheral' perspectives have sometimes been marginalized and regarded as less valid or important than knowledge from the western world.
Feminist anthropologists have claimed that their research helps to correct this systematic bias in mainstream feminist theory.
An awkward relationship : the case of feminism and anthropology
Rosaldo criticizes the tendency of feminists to treat other contemporary cultures as anachronistic, to see other parts of the world as representing other periods in western history - to say, for example, that gender relations in one country are somehow stuck at a past historical stage of those in another. The 'double difference'[ edit ] Feminist anthropology, Rayna Rapp argues, is subject to a 'double difference' from mainstream academia.
It is a feminist tradition — part of a branch of scholarship, sometimes marginalized as an offshoot of postmodernism and deconstructionism and concerned with the experiences of women — who are marginalized by an androcentric orthodoxy. At the same time it addresses non-Western experience and concepts, areas of knowledge deemed peripheral to the knowledge created in the west.
It is thus doubly marginalized. Moore argues that some of this marginalization is self-perpetuating. By insisting on adhering exclusively to the 'female point of view', feminist anthropology constantly defines itself as 'not male' and therefore as inevitably distinct from, and marginal to, mainstream anthropology.
Feminist anthropology, Moore says, effectively ghettoizes itself.
Strathern argues that feminist anthropology, as a tradition posing a challenge to the mainstream, can never fully integrate with that mainstream: Hurston worked with Ruth Benedict when the two were students at Columbia.
Benedict argues that the values, traditions, and beliefs of a given community are contingent upon the social context and culture in which patterns are produced, reproduced, and circulated. Yet the kinds of difference that constituted valuable subjects for ethnographic research often elevated the voices and experiences of men. Despite the numerous contributions of female anthropologists, the discipline has largely been dominated by male practitioners and an androcentric orientation to the study of culture.
Although anthropology was premised on complicating Western assumptions about the world, and highlighted that the basic categories of social life and culture are subject to a number of creative, multifarious constructions and iterations, ethnographic accounts throughout the early 20th century largely took for granted the fact that interlocutors were male. Perhaps because so many anthropologists were men themselves, access to ethnographic field sites largely occurred through male community members who would then serve as the experts of their social milieu.
It was naively assumed that the male cultural perspective was equally representative of the female one.
This oversight also stemmed from a surprising unwillingness to ask about matters of sexuality or investigate the gendered dimensions of power and prestige in traditional communities. To address this gap, Margaret Mead took on the groundbreaking task of pushing anthropologists to critically consider gender and sexuality through her fieldwork in the South Pacific.
Coming of Age in Samoa and Growing Up in New Guinea were the first of many ethnographic interventions Mead made that precipitated a paradigm shift in Western understandings of sexuality, sexual fluidity, and male and female sexual roles. Grammar, spelling, and proper anthropological in-text citations: To get full credit, you must hand in your paper at the end of the class period unless otherwise indicated on the syllabus.
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- An awkward relationship: the case of feminism and anthropology
- Feminist Anthropology
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Feminist Anthropology – The New Inquiry
Be aware of and follow the attendance policy. Follow the guidelines and due dates for writing the research paper and doing your presentation.
Hand in all of your assignments on time. Building Feminist Theory in Anthropology: Reflections on Feminism and Cross-Cultural Understanding. Can There Be a Feminist Anthropology? University of Indiana Press. Is Feminism Really Over?
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