1st Edition

Gender Rituals Female Initiation in Melanesia

Edited By Nancy Lutkehaus, Paul Roscoe Copyright 1995

    This volume draws together ethnographies of female initiation rites in Melanesia which require anthropologists to rethink their analysis of initiations and their perceptions of gender. The contributors argue that female initiation rites express more than cultural notions of femininity, narrow definitions of reproduction, or coming of age rituals - instead they play an important role in other life cycle rituals and in the political and economic organization of society.

    Part 1 Introduction; Chapter 1 Feminist Anthropology and Female Initiation in Melanesia, Nancy C. Lutkehaus; Part 2 Defining Women: Gender Images in Female Initiation Rites; Chapter 2 Puberty Rites, Women's Naven, and Initiation, Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin; Chapter 3 In the Shadow of the Tambaran, Paul B. Roscoe; Part 3 Achieving Womanhood: The Life Cycle as Cultural Performance; Chapter 4 Achieving Womanhood and the Achievements of Women in Murik Society, Kathleen Barlow; Chapter 5 Transforming Women, Deane Fergie; Chapter 6 Mythic Images and Objects of Myth in Rauto Female Puberty Ritual, Thomas Maschio; Part 4 The Female Body and Life-Cycle Rites as Metaphor; Chapter 7 The Washed and the Unwashed, Patricia K. Townsend; Chapter 8 Gender Metaphors, Nancy C. Lutkehaus; Chapter 9 Marriage as the Model for a New Initiation Ritual, Lorraine Sexton; Part 5 Conclusion; Chapter 10 “Initiation” in Cross-Cultural Perspective, Paul B. Roscoe;


    Edited by Lutkehaus, Nancy; Roscoe, Paul

    "This volume, originally organized as a symposium under the auspices of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania, adds significantly to knowledge about female initiation throughout Melanesia and the rest of the world. It contains substantive chapters on eight different cultural groups in disparate locations in the area...and every chapter not only contributes interesting data but advances theoretical and analytical understandings of ritual process in general. The volume is a "must" for anyone interested n ritual or Melanesia, but I recommend a much wider reading. All who have an interest in ritual, feminist analysis, gender, or contemprory anthropological theory will be well served by this collection Center For Pacific Islands Studies."