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.
"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."