Gender and Subsistence
Women’s roles affected by reproductive role (childbirth, nursing, infant care)
o Not something we had control of in the past
Roles can change as economic, political and social factors change)
o Roles are not static
Peoples whose subsistence pattern is hunting and gathering. Population is small, usually kin.
Mobile-follow the food,
Reciprocity: people give and give back
Food sources include:
o Game hunting
o Collecting wild plants, fruits, nuts and insects.
Gender In Foraging Societies
Most display gender equality, but relate to source of food
o i.e. Inuit
Diet based mainly on meat and fish
Emphasis on male labour (hunting/fishing) (dangerous)
Increased male dominance
Gender In Foraging Societies
Nambia and Botswana
Women gathered items make up 70% of yearly caloric intake
Both men and women are recognized for their contribution to subsistence
Subsistence strategy focusing on raising and caring for large herds of domesticated animals.
Gender In Pastoral Societies
Men often control access to land and herds
Husbands and wives cooperate in deciding whether to slaughter trade, or give away animals.
Men held major public political roles but women often contributed to decision making, directly
Within African pastoralist societies both matriatral and patrilateral paters persist.
Subsistence strategy that focuses on small-scale farming using relatively simple technology.
Gender In Horticultural Societies
Related to control of the distribution of produce and goods
Egalitarian societies (i.e. Iroquois)
o Women and men have comparable economic roles
Non-egalitarian societies (i.e. Yanomamo)
o Men control property
Papua New Guinea has changed in the last 30 years.
Modern Implication Acculturation
Many have converted to Christianity, and abandoned many traditional practices.
Knowledge of cultural history being rapidly lost.
Subsistence strategy focusing on intensive farming, investing a great deal of time, energy, and
o Centralized governments
o Surplus production
o Social stratification
o Sedentism (stay in one place)
Gender In Agricultural Societies
Increasingly complex society
Variable degrees of male dominance
Depends on local circumstances
Ideology And Practice
Ideology forms in response to structural conditions.
Structural conditions become more fluid then ideology thereby altering the impact of the
Over time ideologies become embedded in larger political, social, economic, and religious
Great variation from society to society.
Impacted by the consequences of pregnancy
Impacted by the accepted use of contraceptives?
Sex In Marriage
Attitudes vary widely from culture-to culture.
Usually taboos around menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth
o 12 days after cessation of menstruation
o Coincides with ovulation
Common in 69% in males, globally and 57% in females.
Often times restrictions/punishments are more severe for females.
Identifications of a third gender alter perceptions of homosexuality.
Linked to desires to maximize population growth.
Prescribed homosexual relationships between people of different ages are a commonly
practised form of homosexuality.
Cross-culturally the presences of exclusive homosexual relationships are not the norm.
Epistemology & Critical Approaches In Anthropology
Problems understanding and interpreting the past.
Decoding the objective nature of science
Unpacking what is meant by “biological” and “natural”
Expanding Linguistic Approaches
Male: Conversational rituals common among men often involve using opposition… and
extending effort to avoid the one-down position
Female: maintaining an appearance of equity, taking into account the effect of the exchange on
the other person, and extending effort to downplay the speaker’ authority,,,
Identifying ethnocentrism and political coercion
Break down reductive interpretations of veiling as the quintessential sign of women’s
Avoid the reduction of drive situation and attitudes of millions of Muslim women to a single
item of clothing
Exploring An Archaeology of Gender
Deals with the ideology of gender, with roles and gender relation-the ways in which gender
intersects with all aspects of human social life.
Explore household compounds
Interpret figurines, burials and tapestries
Employ a comparative historical approach.