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Gender, Song, and Sensibility: Folktales and Folksongs in the Highlands of New Guinea (review)

Gender, Song, and Sensibility: Folktales and Folksongs in the Highlands of New Guinea (review) the contemporary pacific · 17:1 (2005) infuses this book's rich and textured examination of the complex relationships between men and women in a range of Highland New Guinea societies. The book draws our attention quite effectively to a number of key interpretive issues. Stewart and Strathern provide a compelling, ethnographically grounded challenge to what has become a recurrent theme in the regional literature on gender in the New Guinea Highlands, that is, male domination, male-female antagonism, fear of menstrual pollution, and a downplaying of interest in sexual activity. The authors set their goal as "reexamin[ing] the terms of this stereotype and . . . build[ing] up a rather different overall picture, one that gives room for what we may recognize as a more positive view of gendered relations in these societies and tak[ing] into fuller consideration the nuanced expressiveness and ingenuity of the New Guinea Highlands people" (1). Questions of embodiment, its expression, and its representation are central to their argument. How somatic experience and desire are conveyed, remembered, anticipated, and actively pursued are critical issues. The notion of "sensibility," "mediat[ing] between the worlds of the mental and the sensory" (5), and, further, between individual actors and sociocultural http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

Gender, Song, and Sensibility: Folktales and Folksongs in the Highlands of New Guinea (review)

The Contemporary Pacific , Volume 17 (1) – Jan 27, 2005

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9464
Publisher site
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Abstract

the contemporary pacific · 17:1 (2005) infuses this book's rich and textured examination of the complex relationships between men and women in a range of Highland New Guinea societies. The book draws our attention quite effectively to a number of key interpretive issues. Stewart and Strathern provide a compelling, ethnographically grounded challenge to what has become a recurrent theme in the regional literature on gender in the New Guinea Highlands, that is, male domination, male-female antagonism, fear of menstrual pollution, and a downplaying of interest in sexual activity. The authors set their goal as "reexamin[ing] the terms of this stereotype and . . . build[ing] up a rather different overall picture, one that gives room for what we may recognize as a more positive view of gendered relations in these societies and tak[ing] into fuller consideration the nuanced expressiveness and ingenuity of the New Guinea Highlands people" (1). Questions of embodiment, its expression, and its representation are central to their argument. How somatic experience and desire are conveyed, remembered, anticipated, and actively pursued are critical issues. The notion of "sensibility," "mediat[ing] between the worlds of the mental and the sensory" (5), and, further, between individual actors and sociocultural

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jan 27, 2005

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