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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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Anthropological Strategies

Anthropological Strategies

(p.3) 1 Anthropological Strategies
The Gender of the Gift

Marilyn Strathern

University of California Press

Social control, the integration of groups, and the promotion of sociability itself have all been read into people's engagement in ceremonial exchange. The significance of feminism is the relative autonomy of its premises as far as anthropology is concerned. It then approaches the artifacts and images—the cultures—of Melanesian societies through a particular displacement. The creativity of the written language is both resource and limitation. The metaphor of the “gift” holds a particular place within Western formulations, and that placement is one that is exploited in delineating its relation to its implied counterpart “commodity”. The Western view of Western culture, like its view of social science, is that it is perpetually unfinished. The autonomy of the individual and the recalcitrance of nature seem to prove the point.

Keywords:   anthropology, feminism, Western culture, social science, Melanesian societies, gift

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