"Dull anthropology" - Book review: A Society Without Husbands or Fathers
"Despite the fascinating content, the book is a methodical anthropological study, and thus heavy going at times. One longs to hear more Na voices, to read more stories of their ways", David Loftus writes in his review of the book A Society without Fathers or Husbands: The Na of China by anthropologist Cai Hua. His critism reminds on debates in the 1980s and 90s ("How could such interesting people (anthropologists) doing such interesting things (fieldwork) produce such dull books?"). While the debate contributed to some more personal ethnographies (personal reflections on fieldwork, multiple voices etc), postmodernism led to some totally unreadable accounts.
The reviewed book is about a matrilineal society where "genetic fathers have no recognized kinship with children, and no part in their upbringing". Furthermore, "men and women take multiple sex partners. "An attempt to monopolize one's partner is always considered shameful and stupid," Cai Hua writes, "and the villagers will mock it for a long time."
ON MATRILINEAL SOCIETIES SEE ALSO:
Eggi's Village. Life Among the Minangkabau of Indonesia (another matrilineal society)
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