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A Historical Reconsideration of Female Dominance among the Chambri of Papua New Guinea

Deborah Gewertz
American Ethnologist
Vol. 8, No. 1 (Feb., 1981), pp. 94-106
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/644489
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Historical Reconsideration of Female Dominance among the Chambri of Papua New Guinea
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Abstract

My focus is the sociohistorical referents of a transformation that occurred in intersexual relations between the time the late Margaret Mead studied the Chambri (Tchambuli) in 1933 and my own field research there. The Tchambuli people of Papua New Guinea are famous in the literature of women's studies because Mead describes them as having significant and dominant roles within their villages. During my fieldwork with the Chambri, I decided to eschew the ontological concept of role and adopt a more systemic approach. Instead of labeling Chambri women as dominant, or submissive, I seek an underlying pattern of relationships that persists through time in a range of social situations.

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