Gender and identification in patrilinear societies

Sophia Thubauville (Frobenius Institute )
Echi Christina Gabbert (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Georg August University of Göttingen, Germany)
Start time:
25 August, 2010 at 11:30
Session slots:


I seems that patrilinearity bears many advantages for men, especially when looking at identification processes. Identification is defined through social and local relations that seem much more coherent for men than for women in patrilinear and patrilocal societies. While men can steadily build up strong identities, women have to recreate theirs continuously. Furthermore in patrilinearity societies, with their stress on marriage and reproduction, there is not much space for alternative gender identities. But this is only the apparent side of patrilinear organization. Taking a closer look at patrilinear societies one will also see the disadvantages such an organization has for men, who - while cherished for securing the continuity of the lineage - are habitually not very used to adapt to new places and conventions. Women, on the other hand, have been trained through their experience with patrilinearity - which means to them being exposed to a change of localities and relations - to be unwearied and flexible. Issues of gender and identity should be discussed by looking at various dimensions from different angles, i.e. from different gender perspectives, different times and places and from societies that have been exposed to a different degree to societal change and globalization.