Cover image for Defining females : the nature of women in society
Defining females : the nature of women in society
Ardener, Shirley.
Publication Information:
New York : Wiley, [1978]

Physical Description:
227 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
"A Halsted Press book."
Hastrup, K. The semantics of biology: virginity.--Hirschon, R. Open body/closed space: the transformation of female sexuality.--Humphrey, C. Women, taboo, and the suppression of attention.--Okely, J. Privileged, schooled, and finished: boarding education for girls.--James, W. Matrifocus on African women.--Callaway, H. The most essentially female function of all: giving birth.--Newcombe, F. and Ratcliffe, G. The female brain.--Callan, H. Harems and overlords.
Added Author:
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Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library HQ1154 .D38 1978 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



To what are we referring when we speak of women? What is the nature of women in society; what is the nature of women in society? These are the central questions of this classic text which looks at areas ranging from England and Greece to Mongolia and Africa. The authors - anthropologists, sociologists, ethnologists, neurologists and psychologists - consider the structural position of women; how they are defined by reference to physiological and social markers, and how they are required to behave. They also consider ways in which different cultures identify and deal with such natural' aspects of women as virginity, sexuality and childbearing. The broad variety of geographical perspectives reveals dissimilar as well as similar ideas about women - in their use of language and of space, matrifocality, and life trajectories.

Table of Contents

IntroductionS. Ardener
The Semantics of Biology: VirginityK. Hastrup
Open Body/Closed Space: The transformation of Female SexualityR. Hirschon
Women, Taboo and the Suppression of AttentionC. Humphrey
Schooled and Finished: Boarding Education for GirlsJ. Okely, Privileged
Matrifocus on African WomenW. James
The Most Essentially Female Function of All': Giving BirthH. Callaway
Harems and Overlords: Biosocial Models and the FemaleH. Callan
The Socialisation of NatureS. Macdonald
The Naturalisation of the Social

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