Taking a novel approach that adapts Freud’s theory of the Primal Crime, this book examines a wealth of ethnographic data on the Gimi of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, focusing on women’s lives, myths, and rituals. Women’s and men’s separate myths and rites may be ‘read’ as a cycle of blame about which sex caused the ills of human existence and is still at fault. However, the author demonstrates that in public rites of exchange in which both sexes participate, men appropriate and subvert women’s usages as a ritual strategy to ‘undo’ motherhood and confiscate children at puberty. In doing so, she reveals how Gimi women both rebel against the male-dominated social order and express understanding of why they also acquiesce.
The result of decades of fieldwork, writing and reflection, this book offers an analysis of Gimi women’s complex understanding of their situation and presents a nuanced picture of women in a society dominated by men. It represents an important contribution to New Guinea ethnography that will appeal to students and scholars of psychoanalysis, gender studies, and cultural, social and psychoanalytic anthropology.
Chapter 1. Introduction.- Chapter 2. Daily Life in an Eastern Highlands Village.- Chapter 3. Portrait of Karapmene.- Chapter 4. Totem and Taboo in the New Guinea Highlands: The Collusion of Sisters and Brothers.- Chapter 5. “Eating the Head of the Child”: Ritual Exchange as Remedy for Crimes of the Mythic Past.- Chapter 6. The Problem with Women.- Chapter 7. The Mother’s Crime and the Cycle of Blame.- Chapter 8. Conclusion: Totem and Taboo Revisited.
Gillian Gillison is Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Canada.
Collana: Culture, Mind, and Society
Dimensioni: 210 x 148 mm Ø 405 gr
Illustration Notes:XV, 290 p. 17 illus., 16 illus. in color.