The Creation of Inequality

Discussions unearthing human history including cultural anthropology, linguistics, etc.

Re: The Creation of Inequality

Postby Forest_Dump on February 5th, 2014, 2:03 pm 

mtbturtle wrote:How can the presence of sexism in hunter gather/achievement based farmer societies be considered egalitarian? If woman were not consider as virtuous as men isn't this a hereditary (you are born that way) aspect?


I will note that all discussions on this topic that I can think of make clear that all societies, including those that can be described as egalitarian, do recognize that there are status differences in every society and these do include status differences based on gender. You can certainly call that sexism but then you would have to take into account that many societies value women highly and that would be no less sexist. In fact, a relevant kind of (relativistic) question would be the role of the questions of who asks who. Historically it was male anthropologists who asked other males about status and were, of course, told males held higher status than women (and of course the metrics of verifying status differences were always to be found in the roles males occupied). And these male anthropologists were more interested in male roles and often were totally excluded from women's roles. Once women got into the field, needless to say they tended to be excluded from male roles but often found women placed higher status on women's roles. Of course, once you start getting into the question of how and why there is a sexual division of labour, roles, etc., then you need to also start bringing biology into the discussion.
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Re: The Creation of Inequality

Postby mtbturtle on February 5th, 2014, 2:10 pm 

Forest,

The authors refer to it as sexism in the final chapter. So it's their word not mine in this case. My question though is why is this kind of status differences excluded from the "hereditary" (born that way) category and thus not consider to be non-egalitarian?
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Re: The Creation of Inequality

Postby Forest_Dump on February 5th, 2014, 3:13 pm 

I suppose my guess would have to be because status differences are as close to a universal within our species as you can get. Certainly a topic worth thought in its own right but I admit that my interests lean more towards exploring where there are more pronounced differences in inherited political and economic power although my own (field) research definitely does include exploring changes in gender roles through time. But that is often a very tricky topic because on the kinds of sites (and assemblages) I look at, identifying gender roles pretty much means I have to accept stereotypical assumptions without being able to test them (i.e., these kinds of tools are invariably identified as having been used by women although acknowledging that gender is socially defined, it is possible some of those women had testicles, etc.)
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Re: The Creation of Inequality

Postby Forest_Dump on February 27th, 2014, 2:51 pm 

In thumbing through what little is currently available from my library I came across another book that I think is comparable in many ways even though it is now a bit over 10 years old. Those who liked the Flannery and Marcus book would probably like Steven Mithen's "After the Ice" even more. It is also jam packed with data and credible interpretations but very well written and digestible for the average reader.
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