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Fear and the Status of Women

Edward B. Harper
Southwestern Journal of Anthropology
Vol. 25, No. 1 (Spring, 1969), pp. 81-95
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629469
Page Count: 15
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Fear and the Status of Women
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Abstract

Among Havik Brahmins in South India, widows, who occupy the lowest status position within the caste, are believed to poison others, at random, with a substance which is not poisonous in the tradition of Western science. Moreover, women in general are portrayed in the religious belief systems of this culture as being dangerous in other mystical ways. After outlining the main features of Havik social structure, I suggest that guilt may be felt toward those who occupy low status positions in a social system, and that this may lead to their being unrealistically feared.

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