Lecture 8 July 11, 2013
Recurrent Gender Patterns
How are male/females roles similar different cross culturally?
Female labor predominated in domestic activities and child care
Women tend to be main caregivers of child care compared to men
Time and Effort Expended on Subsistence Activities by Men and Women
More by Men 16, Roughly Equal 61, More by women 23.
Who does most domestic work?
Males do virtually none 51
Males do some but roughly done by females 49
Beyond the Male/Female Dichotomy
Gender socially constructed, and societies may recognize more than two genders or allow
for a shifting of gender status
Examples include labels such as "transgender", " intersex", "third gender" and
Certain social requirements require individuals to switch or change genders
E.g., Eunuch, Hijras (india), "sworn virgins" (Balkans), Berdache/Two Spirit (north
America), Fakaleitis (Tongo), mahu (Hawaii)
Transgender and same-sex marriage among the Nuer of Sudan
- Woman may marry a woman if father has no sons
- Daughter will stand as a son and take a wife
- Daughter becomes socially recognized husbands of another woman
- Marriage is symbolic and social rather than sexual.
- Serves social function of extending the patrilineage (the father's line).
Gender a Achieved status
Individuals may or may not contrast biologically with ordinary males and females
Also includes people who's gender identity has no apparent biological roots-social-
cultural determination not biology.
Sense of self contradicts assigned biology at birth and or its associated gender norms Is it increasingly acceptable for sex and gender to be recognized as an achieved rather
than ascribed status?
- Intersex: conditions involving a discrepancy between external genitals and internal genitals.
XX: chromosome of woman and normal ovaries, uterus, and Fallopian tubes, but the
external genitals appear male.
XY: chromosomes of a man but external genitals incompletely formed, ambiguous, or
True Gonadal: has both ovarian and testicular tissue.
X0, XXY, XYY, XXX --> unusual chromosome combinations (either missing or having
extra) do not effect genitalia but can produce problems with sex hormone levels and
overall sexual development.
Race and Ethnicity
- Race: the culturally constructed categorization of people into groups based on physical
characteristics. (Biological concept)
Races, as discrete biological categories, do not exist.
However, race is a meaningful social category with very real social consequences - e.g.,
Ethnicity - social classification used to create groups based on cultural features, such as
religions, language, dress, food, family, and art. (more of cultural concept)
The two words of often used interchangeably.
www.understandingrace.com --> Global Census
The Indian Caste System
- 5) Pariahs 4) Sudras 3) Vaisyas 2) Kshatriyas 1) Brahmins
Problems with the Race Concept
- Classifications based on phenotype not genotype: evident traits - raise problem of deciding
which trait(s) should be primary - arbitrary and vary between societies.
- Races are not biologically distinct. Nothing can separate people from white to black
Most (85-94%) of genetic variations is found within populations rather than between
"Races" vary from each other in only about 6% of their genes - why? * Because we all
have evolved from same hereditary ancestor.
The greatest physical and genetic diversity among humans is among the people live in
Africa today. Many populations do not fit neatly within the 5 "great races"
Terms do not accurately describe skin color- some African people like the San have
relatively light skin. Some aboriginal Australians have dark skin, blond, straight hair
Phenotypical character on which races are based are not always caused by biology
- changes in height and weight can produce dietary differences rather than genetics.
We are all African: National Genographic Project
Since all humans originated in Africa, we all share that genetic history
Contemporary Non-Africans are not genetically distinct from Africans, but descent from
The Sane are recognized as one of the oldest human groups (biologically and culturally)
The Same are one of 14 known "ancestral populations (from which all know modern
One broad study of African genetic diversity completed in 2009 found that the San
people were among the five populations with the highest measured levels of genetic
diversity among the 121 distinct African populations sampled.
From Classification to Explanation
- Biological differences are real, important and apparent to us all
- Modern scientists find it most production to seek explanations for diversity rather than to create
systems of classification
- Explanation of differences in Skin color?
Racism: discriminations against such a group based on observed physical characteristics.