Comparing Gender in Amazonia and Melanesia: A Theoretical Orientation

Thomas A. Gregor and Donald Tuzin

in Gender in Amazonia and Melanesia

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780520228511
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935815 | DOI:
Comparing Gender in Amazonia and Melanesia: A Theoretical Orientation

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This chapter explores the sources and theoretical implications of remarkable similarities between societies in Amazonia and Melanesia, a comparison which combines the universalist and localist traditions and is the base of anthropological studies. It establishes a common discourse among scholars working with different cultures, stimulates new perspectives on findings from particular cultures, and allows searching for general principles. The chapter suggests that gender is of great importance in the context of many of the small-scale cultures of Melanesia and Amazonia, i.e. the societies of Amazonia and Melanesia are gender inflected. Further, in both Amazonia and Melanesia, the self-concept, social identity, and the anatomy and physiology of the human body are intertwined with theories of conception, maturation, depletion, and death. The comparison also indicates the basis of procreative symbolism in both the cultures. This comparison affords an exceptional opportunity to explore fundamental questions about the conceptualization and examination of the human condition.

Keywords: Amazonia; Melanesia; gender; procreative symbolism; cultures; anthropological studies

Chapter.  7043 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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