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The Gender of the GiftProblems with Women and Problems with Society in Melanesia$
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Marilyn Strathern

Print publication date: 1988

Print ISBN-13: 9780520064232

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520064232.001.0001

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Work: Exploitation at Issue

Work: Exploitation at Issue

Chapter:
(p.133) 6 Work: Exploitation at Issue
Source:
The Gender of the Gift
Author(s):

Marilyn Strathern

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520064232.003.0006

This chapter discusses the exploitation of female labor. “Egalitarianism” rests on everyone owning their own labor. Egalitarianism in hunter-gatherer economies is partly described. The term “gift economy” is a shorthand for describing a relationship between production and consumption in which consumptive production shapes people's motivations and the form in which they recognize productive activities. Men and women must be conceptualized as different for the sexual division of labor to operate, and as unequal since the work of one sex is accorded more social value than the work of the other. Hagen wives are clearly put into the position of “helping” their husbands to gain names while they themselves gain none. The Western concept of exploitation rests ultimately on the idea that violence can be carried out to a supposed intrinsic relation between the self as subject and its realization in the objects of its activities.

Keywords:   female labor, egalitarianism, gift economy, sexual division, Hagen wives, exploitation

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