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Marx, Katina 1994 Blood, Semen, and Fears: Body Substance Ideologies and Gender in New Guinea (Melanesia), MA Thesis, University of Hawaii.
    © Katina Marx, 1994. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.


This thesis is a comparative study of ideologies of body substance and the concept of life force, and the relationship of these ideologies to gender in seven cultures of Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya. Issues covered include: ideologies of procreation, growth, and life force or vital essence; concepts of depletion and pollution; manipulation of bodily substances and interpersonal transfers of life force; and the regeneration of body fluids from extra-human sources. Special attention is paid to the role of women in the context of each of these issues, and to the discrepancy between female and male ideologies. The comparative perspective yields striking similarities throughout New Guinea, traditionally considered to be a land of extreme cultural diversity. Theoretical positions that have been used by other authors to frame the above concerns are explored. Finally, conclusions are drawn regarding the significance of the ideologies discussed in relation to gender theory.


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