The Necessity of Female Perspective in EthnologyReport as inadecuate

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Etnološka tribina : Journal of Croatian Ethnological Society, Vol.11-12 No.4-5 December 1983. -

The author poses the problem of female perspective in science in the framework of the critique of ethnology as a form of intellectual colonization of »primitive peoples« and marginal social groups youth, minorities, women. Major points of the critique are: 1. There is a distinction between sex as a biological category, and gender as social-cultural category which constitutes women as secondary human beings. 2. Western theoreticians transferred the male bias of their own societies and science to the cultures they studied, leaving women out of their descriptions, or seeing them as subordinated to men the way they are in the West. 3. Male bias in ethnology is also based on the fact that male anthropo¬logists have better access to men-s cognitive models of the culture studied than to women-s. In most societies men dominate the public sphere, and so do their models of reality. Thus, when women enter »the male sphere« and compete with men, many do that on men-s terms by internalizing their models and attitudes. 4. The struggle for female perspective in science occurs as an aspect of struggle for social emancipation of women. An increasing number of ethno¬logical studies form the foundation for anthropology of women, particularly those in the area of ritual and symbolism. Such works do not »complete« the picture of various cultures: they offer a radically different view. »Demasculinization« is decolonization of science.

Author: Lydia Sklevicky -



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