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Iron, Gender, and Power: Rituals of Transformation in African Societies (African Systems of Thought)
by:Eugenia W. Herbert
"Herbert examines with great care and thoroughness the relationships between gender and power and the rationales that give them social form...Her analytical ability is outstanding." - Patrick McNaughton. Eugenia W. Herbert presents African ironworking as an encapsulation of fundamental beliefs about transformation. With metallurgy as a model, the author...
"Herbert examines with great care and thoroughness the relationships between gender and power and the rationales that give them social form...Her analytical ability is outstanding." - Patrick McNaughton. Eugenia W. Herbert presents African ironworking as an encapsulation of fundamental beliefs about transformation. With metallurgy as a model, the author extends these beliefs to other transformative activities such as the investiture of chiefs, hunting, and pottery making to propose a theory of power constructed along the twin axes of gender and age. Part 1 examines ironworking in a range of African societies in order to identify the core elements of belief as they are demonstrated in actual practice. Part 2 extends this model to chiefly investiture and hunting, both male-dominated. Herbert argues that these activities reveal the same underlying notions of power based on control of male and female reproductivity. In contrast, pottery making, usually a women's activity, is shown to be much less ritualized and to confer much less power on its practitioners. Generously illustrated and accessibly written, this book will have wide appeal to readers interested in questions of technology, gender, and culture.
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