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Hairdos and Don'ts: Hair Symbolism and Sexual History in Samoa

Jeannette Marie Mageo
Man
New Series, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Jun., 1994), pp. 407-432
DOI: 10.2307/2804480
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2804480
Page Count: 26
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Hairdos and Don'ts: Hair Symbolism and Sexual History in Samoa
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Abstract

This article uses chinging hairdos in Samoa to construct a hsitory of female sex roles and gender politics from contact to the present. The diachronic view that body symbols provide casts light on the nature of Samoan sexual relations- a subject that has long perplexed anthropologists. In turn, this sexual history reflects upon the controversy about hair symbolism in the anthropological literature, a controversy that concerns both the particularity or comparability of body symbols between cultures, and their communicative or personal nature within cultures.

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