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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
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629469
Page Count: 15
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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.
Southwestern Journal of Anthropology © 1969 The University of Chicago Press