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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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(p.309) 11 Domination
The Gender of the Gift

Marilyn Strathern

University of California Press

This chapter presents an adjunct of Western ideas about the role society plays in life. Western metaphors of social discourse and domination take for granted an interlocution between thinking, acting beings. The rest is “objectified role-playing” or “abstracted structures”. Western culture takes it as a human fact that since mothers are “seen” to give birth then they own or claim the offspring as theirs, or the children are assigned to them as a matter of course. It is noted that it is not men's collective activity that “creates society” or “makes culture”, the premise upon which social values or ideologies are assumed to work to their interests at the expense of women's. “Women” move in marriage as parts of clans; thus “men” circulate objectified parts of themselves among themselves. Domination is a consequence of taking action. Western culture imagines people as persons existing in a permanently subjective state.

Keywords:   domination, social discourse, Western culture, mothers, society, social values

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