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Lecture 4

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Maggie Cummings

Lecture Four Key terms/names  Cultural/social construction  Emily Martin  Biological determinism  Egg and sperm as gendered  Sex versus gender  Biology as cultural knowledge  Sambia of Papua New Guinea; jurungdu  Abu-Lughod—the intersection of gender and ethnocentrism  Third Gender/Berdache/Two Spirit From last week: Rites of Passage  Rituals that mark the transition from one life stage to another  Three stages:  separation  Transition/liminali ty  Integration  Transition from one stage to another a social change in your self  Separation: person is separated from their former state, take out of regular life and put into ritual stage  Transition: most dangerous part of the rite of passage, symbolic dangerous, ur neither one thing or other  Liminality means threshold  Idea of communities, development of a strong sense of feeling, u develop strong sense of relationship with the ppl that want thought he ritual with you What is social/cultural construction?  Cultural constructionism—human behavior and ideas are best explained as the result of culturally-shaped learning  The A. Arabs don’t use biology to explain things they believe that what god gave them is natural  Why ppl behave the way they do that’s the question of anthropologists  Biological determinism—biological features such as genes or hormones are used to explain behavior and ideas  Cultural constructionists will say that these spatial skills will be passed on by culture not genes  Biological determinists will say that spatial skills are in the genes Social/cultural constructs  A social construct is a concept or practice that is seen as natural, common-sense, essential, timeless, or God-given but which is really an invention, an artifact of a particular culture.  We create social constructs through our choices; in doing so, we reinforce our own worldview  Cultural artifacts are produced through social construct  Gender is a social construct  Gender is an artifact of social construct  As anthropologists look at certain things and how they become reality  All knowledge is learned and maintained by interacting with one another Gender as cultural construct  Sex refers to biological categories (male and female) determined by genital, chromosomal, and hormonal differences  Gender refers to patterns of culturally constructed and learned behavior and ideas attributed to men and women  gender and age is one of the most basic social construct  gender is a social construct because it’s one of the most basic  sex as biological categories of male and female based on genital, hormonal and chromosomal  when you are sociable and take on certain behavior it becomes gender Anthropology and gender  Early anthropologists ignored “gender”; assumed men’s lives were the cultural norm  But, a cross-cultural perspective challenges the idea that gender is natural—because gender is variable cross-culturally  Gender and sex do not correlate “naturally”, but culturally The Sambia of Papua New Guinea  boys do not “naturally” become men; they need help  Jurungdu—an essential masculine substance  Sambia initiation rituals suggest that sexual identity is not naturally linked to sex or gender; nor is it static over time  Becoming a male is seen as hard work and painful  When you become a man, ur masculinity is still in threat  Until the 80s they were valiant men, scary, ferocious, men  To be a proper smbain man u have to be ready to kill  Until 5 or 6 boys live with their mothers and then they go to live with the men  Men and women live separately and the men come only to see the children and to have sex  Men are afraid of women because their bodily fluids harm men’s masculinity that’s why boys are take away from their mothe
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