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Gender in Amazonia and MelanesiaAn Exploration of the Comparative Method$
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Thomas Gregor and Donald Tuzin

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520228511

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520228511.001.0001

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Reflections on the Land of Melazonia

Reflections on the Land of Melazonia

(p.337) Fourteen Reflections on the Land of Melazonia
Gender in Amazonia and Melanesia

Thomas A. Gregor

Donald Tuzin

University of California Press

This chapter elucidates the similarities between sociocultural features of Melanesia and Amazonia, collectively referred to as Melazonia, examining the interregional comparison chiefly through the lens of gender. Studies indicate that, in both regions, differences between males and females are commonly used as a model for the organization of other differences occurring in the areas of social action, cultural ideology, perceived nature, and the cosmos. Though the particular contours and contents of the inflection vary according to local circumstances, through it all can be seen the dangerous, procreative, erotic, sometimes disguised and always ambivalent play of gender distinctions. Furthermore, the chapter explores the question of whether the similarities stated are real or hypothetical and, finally, proposes a model to construct a comparative method that could encompass cultures separated by space and time.

Keywords:   Melazonia, gender, social action, cultural ideology, cosmos, gender distinctions

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