chapter  7
29 Pages

Gender and Sociality

WithCecilia McCallum

In Amazonian studies it has been commonplace to approach the topic of gender as concerned primarily with social, economic and political structures. The phrase ‘gender relations’ signified social relations between men and women treated as distinct social groups or as discrete individuals organized by a sexual division of labour. A favourite site for discussing ‘relations between the sexes’ or ‘the genders’ is the analysis of ritual. In such contexts, games often pit men against women in encounters replete with sexual language and imagery. Feminist criticism of Western assumptions in anthropological analyses encouraged researchers in the 1970s to pay greater attention to women. The theme of sex wars in Amazonia received considerable encouragement in the 1980s with the publication of Thomas Gregor’s book about male sexuality in the Xingu, Anxious Pleasures.