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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - Love, Sex, Family - October 2.docx

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Saul Cohen

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October 2, 2013. Lecture 4 – Love, Sex, Family Two Propositions Today:  1. The exchange of women in our society is alive and well o Not a thing of the past, or a thing that “other” people do  2. Love is a story we tell ourselves o As in, we recognize things as socially constructed but love is still true and how our “hearts feel” is still true Tina and Carter  Tina needs Carter for support, safety, drugs, food, stability, etc.  Carter needs Tina too, but more for love and affection, having someone who is “his girl” o Makes him feel more complete and human  They redeem each other  Part of what we see as being “human” is the capacity to love and be loved in return o Has a politics to it; people who are in love and in relationships seem more full and human to us  Tension of all heteronormative relationships present in their relationship o Tina: A woman who has sex with a man wants to be in a relationship, to be loved, to be given things  Love is what separates selling herself from something more, and more meaningful, more redeeming  In reality, even a loving relationship is still something of an exchange  Sex work is not that different from any kind of marriage; in which there is some kind of exchange and a form of dependence Something every anthro student should know  Gayle Rubin’s “The Traffic in Women” (1975) o Note on the term, “traffic”  Used the term because of inspiration from a 40s written paper  Anti-sex work feminists (who are not like Rubin) refer to all sex work as being “trafficked”  Does not take into account agency of women who CHOOSE to sell their sex  Wants to therefore distance herself from the word because she doesn’t use it, feel the same way about it, as those feminists o How does a female body become an oppressed woman? How do women become objects of exchange? o Surplus value  What the laboring class produces, and then what has to be invested INTO the laboring class so that they will come back to work and continue working: surplus value  Don’t have to invest in the wives of the working class, who do the cleaning and cooking and other household chores while the laboring class works; they do it because they’re women and they do it because they have to or love their husbands o But what Marx doesn’t explain  Why shouldn’t they also be invested in? Why should they do this just because they are women/wives? Why should they do it for free? o Turn to Levi-Strauss o The essence of kinship is in?  Culture is transmitted through kinship  The exchange of women between men:  The gift o Marcel Mauss  Argued that gift-giving isn’t some kind of nice thing we do to be friendly, but is actually at the heart of social cohesion; what keeps people together  “Primitive” societies, in the absence of government institutions to make sure you stay together gift- giving is a replacement; giving someone a gift makes them feel obligated to you o Social cohesion (examples from the text)  Cotton, helping administer drugs, food, sharing drugs, allowing people to share their space: these are all examples of gift-giving in the name of social cohesion amongst the righteous dopefiends  The incest taboo o “Don’t eat your own yams!”  You share them with others  Yams are women  If you kept your own women to yourself, how would you form alliances and unions between groups? Gain protection from other groups? Trade between groups?; connection of kinship  Marriage is the most basic form of gift-exchange, and women are the most valuable gift  Incest taboo exists so that the most valuable gift continues to be given instead of hoarded o It’s gross, leads to genetic problems, icky, etc.  These are stories we tell ourselves  If we didn’t do it because it was gross we just wouldn’t do it, it’s more than that “Women are the gift. Men are
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