EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010


Gender and identification in patrilinear societies

Location JHT9
Date and Start Time 25 Aug, 2010 at 11:30


Sophia Thubauville (Frobenius-Institut an der Goethe Universität) email
Echi Christina Gabbert (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Georg August University of Göttingen, Germany) email
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Long Abstract

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.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.


Innovative mothers - radical daughters: agency among Arbore women (Southern Ethiopia)

Author: Echi Christina Gabbert (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Georg August University of Göttingen, Germany)  email
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Long Abstract

The paper deals with discussions of identification in times of rapid change among the Arbore of Southern Ethiopia. I describe advocating practices of women and girls concerning issues of tradition and change in this pastoral, patrilineal society.

One focus lies on innovative practices that are meant to secure the recent peace efforts of the Arbore concerning interethnic warfare and the modifications this means both for men and women regarding former ideals of war and killer ethos.

A second focus deals with the agency of unmarried girls. In an environment of commonly pursued change, Arbore girls apply a rather radical adherence to traditional practices, especially circumcision, against their parents' opinion and intensive efforts of the Ethiopian government and NGO's.

Actors, positions and backgrounds of these developments will be introduced and evaluated.

The one who walks is a cow, the one who sits is a bull: identities of women in a patrilinear society in southern Ethiopia

Author: Sophia Thubauville (Frobenius-Institut an der Goethe Universität)  email
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Long Abstract

Being a patrilinear society, it is obvious what the proverb of the Maale The one who walks is a cow, the one who sits is an ox wants to say. Women move from one homestead to another one, while men usually stay with their patrilineage from childhood until death. Asking people about the connotations of the proverb, they explain that moving is seen as a constructive act that ends in reproduction. But this very act that is appreciated in women, seems to weaken their identity. By leaving their patrilineage and moving in with their husband, women have to redefine their identity, what makes it weak compared to the one of men, who continuously live at the same place. With examples from the Maale of southern Ethiopia, I would like to show, that women in patrilinear societies while struggling with redefining their identities, gain multiple identities, which they rationally utilize.

The white veil: a study of the dowry of women in Bengali migration in a country of northern Italy

Author: Elisabetta Didonè (University of Verona)  email
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Long Abstract

The case study looks at the dowry involved in Bengali women's weddings in Italy and in migration. It focusses particularly on:

* The gift: the direction matrilineal;

* The gift: honor and rivalry;

* Family structure and role of women: the conjugal family;

* The role of women: relationship fictitious and patriarchal logic

* Marginality marginalization of historical or capitalist?: amoral familism;

* Exclusion capitalist.

The case of northern Italy is the Bengali women and its identification in the current practice of dowry, which coupled with the Laws of 1974 mahr on - the bride price - as pre-nuptial contract, sees substantial balance, even at the psychological level, as well as material, value of man and woman in the family Bengali. Immigration becomes an extra resource for the young couples who acquire a consciousness more complex than their parents and the tradition of respecting the interests of social ascent faster, by marriage, from Italy to Bagladesh. So at the same time a change in the hierarchical structure of family and social life of the Bengalis in Bangladesh against the backdrop of a country that has just met capitalism and its port, which is particularly disadvantageous to women.

Gender and family in contemporary Hanoi - the dusk of patrilinearity?

Author: Grazyna Szymanska-Matusiewicz (University of Warsaw)  email
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Long Abstract

The paper is based on field research regarding the issue of changes in traditional family model led in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Traditional Vietnamese society was generally described as patrilinear, patrilocal and patriarchal (Tran Dinh Huou 1991, Pham Van Bich 1997), mainly due to the strong influence of Confucianism. Due to such historical events as introduction of socialism and building new communist state, traditional gender roles were questioned. Furthermore, since the introduction of the doi moi (liberalization) politics Vietnamese society has experienced profound changes, which include also gender issues. On the one hand, due to new chances offered by capitalist economy, women are nowadays encouraged more than ever to participate in the education process and job market. On the other hand, doi moi era is also connected with revival of traditional practices, including ancestor worship practiced in lineage halls, which are described as the key aspect of patriarchal system (Jellema 2007). Also the one-or-two children policy introduced by the government since 1988 seems to be an important factor influencing the cultural perception of manhood and womanhood (Goodkind 1995).

Contemporary Vietnamese society experiences some tensions in regard to gender issues, as both women and men are trying to conceal the expectations directed towards them in the dimensions of job career and family life. Taking a look into the interpretations of gender roles in the family life formulated by contemporary Vietnamese, as well as considering various practices connected with ancestor worship can help us to consider the condition of patrilinearity in contemporary Vietnamese society and possible changes in this system.

Identification through men:a moment of empowerment?

Author: Anata Ambaye Ogato (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)  email
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Long Abstract

This article tries to give a brief ethnographic description of the social life of sidama women of Ethiopia in a society where patriarchy is the major suppressing arsenal against women. It tries to see how the Sidama women negotiate their social identity in demanding social respect and recognition. Ironically the very patriarchal system that suppressed women gives room for their promotion through their husband. After promotion of women through their husband, women use this position to organize themselves to pray for fertility and rain. Moreover, the new position would be an important arsenal to protest and punish a husband who abuses them. Here, we will see how women consider certain types of abuses by man as a collective abuse against all women and punish the culprit in mass by going out and declaring all round assault. Finally, the article tries to show how the social class seniority for a woman is kept through a status of her husband regardless of her wealth and age.

The musical expression of identity in the Maale patrilinear society (Southern Ethiopia)

Author: Hugo Ferran (University of Montreal, MCAM)  email
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Long Abstract

The Maale society of Southern Ethiopia is organized in patrilineages by the worship ancestor. Within each lineage, the well-being of the ancestors depends on the offerings of their descendants (food, libations…), while the well-being of the latter depends on the blessings of their ancestors. Lineages can thus be seen as the channels along which offerings and blessings are carried out. In the framework of this reciprocal exchange, the music performed by the lineage youngers (kelto) is culturally considered as offerings to the ancestors (ts'oso) and to the lineage elders (toidio). Conversely the toidio must bless their lineage youngers. To achieve successful offerings the lineage youngers must 'make known' (ershane) their identity and the one of the receivers of the music. In this paper, I try to show how the Maale music is used as a system of nonverbal communication to express the social position of the givers and the receivers of such offerings.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.