Acontecimientos Sociales / Diferenciación Social En Culturas Canela Y Sambia (inglés)

Diferenciación Social En Culturas Canela Y Sambia (inglés)

Informe de Libros: Diferenciación Social En Culturas Canela Y Sambia (inglés)
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Enviado por:  ritsukot74  30 julio 2011
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Canela & Sambia

Alexandra Casuso

Gender and Culture

Assignment #2

Spring, 2011


The Sambia are a male dominated society in which there is a considerable male bias in every domain of culture life. Women play some important roles, especially in the spiritual domain, but they aren’t awarded any power for fulfilling these roles.

Social Domain

According to Sanday, in order for a society to be considered male dominant, it has to have the following traits: “Expectations that males should be tough, brave and aggressive; the presence of men houses (…); frequent quarreling, fighting, or wife beating; the institutionalization of regular occurrence of rape; and raiding other groups for wives.” The Sambia present all of these traits in their society. The first and second traits, male toughness and men houses, are portrayed in the rites of initiation young boys are subjected to at a very young age, these boys are taken from their mothers to go live in the male houses and learn how to be tough, among other things. The third trait, women beating, is exemplified by this quote “The sound of a women’s body actually being repeatedly struck with a wood plank in he village was not rare and was dreadful to hear amid the moans and pleads for help.” The fourth trait, rape, was not very common, but when it happened, “women were blamed for sexual innuendos that lead to compromising situations.” Finally, raiding other groups for wives was common among the Sambia because women were in short supply due to polygamy and female infanticide.

In addition, women’s menstrual blood is considered to be a pollutant; for this reason, a married couple occupies different sides of the house, and women were sent to special menstrual huts when they were menstruating. A society in which menstrual blood is seen as a pollutant, according to Sanday, “separates men from women and, as such, may be understood a an assertion of separate male and female social


Spiritual Domain

The Sambia myth of parthenogenesis, according to Herdt, states that “male and female were created out of an amorphous male being, womanhood was established, and homoerotic fellatio became institutionalized in society.” This creation story shows how men take the inherent procreative power of women and make it theirs by mythicizing a false sense of reproductive control. “Men attempt to neutralize the power they think is inherent in women by stealing it, nullifying it, or banishing it to invisibility, ” says Sanday.

Spiritual power in the Sambia society is represented through Shamans; they have great power and provide heroic hope to the village. Women oftentimes assume the position of shamans. “(It is) very curious that a male-dominated society with a phallic cult should have in the midst women shamans.” The explanation is quite simple, males originally dominated the shaman role, but the harsh environment they live in and the wars of the past left th ...

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