Groups: Sexual Antagonism in the New Guinea Highlands

Marilyn Strathern

in The Gender of the Gift

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 1988 | ISBN: 9780520064232
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520910713 | DOI:
Groups: Sexual Antagonism in the New Guinea Highlands

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This chapter addresses the way in which issues concerning sexual identity in the Papua New Guinea Highlands were encapsulated within anthropological preoccupations with group structure in the 1950s and 1960s. The account makes explicit one common implicit practice: extending out from some core study certain problems that become—in the form derived from that core study—a general axis of comparative classification. It then takes a Highlands-centric problematic in concentrating on the manner in which public, collective life is constituted as the affair of men. It also argues that forms of collective life are intimately bound up with the constructs of domestic kinship. The sexual antagonism model emerges in Gilbert Herdt's work with refinement. Subjective experience was always central to the sexual antagonism model in the prominence given to the attachment of sex roles to the individual.

Keywords: sexual identity; Papua New Guinea Highlands; domestic kinship; sexual antagonism; Gilbert Herdt

Chapter.  9476 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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