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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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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: 22 September 2021

Women's Blood, Warriors' Blood, and the Conquest of Vitality in Amazonia

Women's Blood, Warriors' Blood, and the Conquest of Vitality in Amazonia

(p.141) Seven Women's Blood, Warriors' Blood, and the Conquest of Vitality in Amazonia
Gender in Amazonia and Melanesia

Beth A. Conklin

University of California Press

This chapter draws a parallel between Amazonian rituals of death and life to the killing of people, and how people can transcend or regulate biological forces of morbidity and mortality. A number of ethnographers have noted that the South American warriors' seclusion involves cultural ideas and practices similar to those surrounding menstruation, pregnancy, or childbirth. A key link between the experiences of women and of warriors is the idea that all these processes involve blood flowing across body boundaries, and that the individual must control or deal with this blood properly. The chapter focuses on the notions of body, power, and gender invoked by the enemy killing rites. “Pseudo-procreative” imagery is a recurrent theme in initiation rituals worldwide and in men's maturation rituals in particular. Finally, thw chapter emphasizes that men's rituals cannot be analyzed in isolation. Female and male rites are interrelated, so that analysis should focus on this complex whole.

Keywords:   Amazonian rituals, cultural ideas, warriors, blood, pseudo-procreative imagery, rites

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