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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 July 2021

Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect

(p.268) 10 Cause and Effect
The Gender of the Gift

Marilyn Strathern

University of California Press

This chapter describes how enchainment works to create individuals as agents and relations as the cause of events. A cause exists as a single reference point for the agent, in the same way as the effect of a relationship exists as a single outcome. The distinction between “person” and “agent” is introduced. The mother's social identity causes things in her care to grow. Then, the chapter explains the reasons why gender constitutes an oscillation or alternation between same-sex and cross-sex states. Gender provides the aesthetic convention through which forms are seen to appear. The gender of the activity depends on the way social relations are construed and their cause and effect sequencing. It is the aesthetic of gender which reveals to the observer the Melanesian gift in its cultural form: the anticipated outcome.

Keywords:   cause, agents, social relations, effect, social identity, gender, same-sex, cross-sex, Melanesian gift

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