Reason and Passion: Representations of Gender in a Malay Society

Reason and Passion: Representations of Gender in a Malay Society

by Michael G Peletz


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This book provides a historical and ethnographic examination of ger relations in Malay society, in particular in the well-known state of Negeri Sembilan, famous for its unusual mixture of Islam and matrilineal descent. Peletz analyzes the diverse ways in which the evocative, heavily gered symbols of "reason" and "passion" are deployed by Malay Muslims. Unlike many studies of ger, this book elucidates the cultural and political processes implicated in the constitution of both feminine and masculine identity. It also scrutinizes the relationship between ger and kinship and weighs the role of ideology in everyday life. Peletz insists on the importance of examining ger systems not as social isolates, but in relation to other patterns of hierarchy and social difference. His study is historical and comparative; it also explores the political economy of contested symbols and meanings. More than a treatise on ger and social change in a Malay society, this book presents a valuable and deeply interesting model for the analysis of ger and culture by addressing issues of hegemony and cultural domination at the heart of contemporary cultural studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520200708
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 07/30/1996
Pages: 371
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.94(h) x 1.01(d)

About the Author

Michael G. Peletz is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Asian Studies Program at Colgate University. He is the author of A Share of the Harvest: Kinship, Property, and Social History Among the Malays of Rembau (California, 1988) and coeditor of Bewitching Women, Pious Men: Gender and Body Politics in Southeast Asia (California, 1995).

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