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Making gender : the politics and erotics of culture /

Main Author: Ortner, Sherry B., 1941-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Boston : Beacon Press, 1996
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Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Ortner, a feminist anthropologist and winner of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, mixes her pathbreaking papers and specialized academic pieces in this collection of eight essays spanning the last 25 years. In one influential 1972 article she argues that in every society women are viewed as closer to nature, whereas men are identified with culture, a prejudice that she blames for the universal second-class status of women. Another major essay looks at men's obsession with female chastity, and their systematic control of women's social and sexual behavior in traditional societies. This ideology, she contends, was bound up with the emergence of patriarchal extended families, social hierarchies and the state. Drawing on her fieldwork in Nepal, Ortner, a professor at UC-Berkeley, offers some unusual perspectives on the roles of women, such as the entry of European, American and Tibetan women since the 1970s into Himalayan mountaineering and their interactions with Sherpa guides. Another provocative essay contrasts the popular image of Polynesia as a haven of sexual liberation with less familiar realities: low status of women, a high incidence of rape and sexual violence, an elaborate prestige system regulating personal status. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Ortner (Univ. of California, Berkeley), a MacArthur Award-winning anthropologist and a founder of the school of feminist anthropology, writes on gender theory in a series of eight essays. She attempts to explain the anthropological universal of the subordination of women, with the answer found in a nature/culture dichotomy. Using cooking as an example, in the same manner as did Claude Lévi Strauss, Ortner suggests in her first essay that because cooking symbolizes "lower-level conversions from nature to culture," it thus serves as a metaphor for the male perception of women as being closer to nature and therefore on a lower level. Other articles examine this subordination in terms of examples gleaned from Ortner's research with the Sherpas of Nepal and other cultures. Written in an academic but readable style, Ortner's thought-provoking book would be an excellent addition to women's studies collections in academic libraries.‘Cynthia D. Bertelsen, Indexing Svces., Blacksburg, Va. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.