Reproduction, ritual, and power

American Ethnologist Vol/Iss. 4 Published In Pages: 714-733
By Zelman, Elizabeth Crouch


This paper investigates ritual related to the female reproductive cycle. The author examines two types of ritual female pollution-avoidance ritual. meant to differentiate sex roles in a society, and male ritual (including couvade) associated with the female reproductive cycle, meant to minimize sex differentiation. Empirical analysis reveals several societal characteristics associated with each of these two types of ritual, suggesting that ritual can be used to encourage sex role rigidity or flexibility.

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:Kate Cummings Amelia Piazza