Webs of Power: Women, Kin, and Community in a Sumatran Village (Paperback)
  • Webs of Power: Women, Kin, and Community in a Sumatran Village (Paperback)

Webs of Power: Women, Kin, and Community in a Sumatran Village (Paperback)

Paperback 249 Pages / Published: 12/01/2000
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Webs of Power offers a fresh perspective on women in Southeast Asia. Focusing on one rural Minangkabau village, the book provides vital insights into the gendered processes of post-coloniality. The Minangkabau living in West Sumatra are the largest matrilineal group in the world. They have intrigued generations of scholars because they are matrilineal and Islamic. By exploring the contestations and accommodations women and men make with state and Islamic ideologies, Webs of Power discloses the processes at the heart of globalization as well as the complexities of kinship and power in a rural agricultural community. The book challenges conventional thinking about matriliny, showing the prominence of senior women in all aspects of village life.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780847699117
Number of pages: 249
Weight: 367 g
Dimensions: 233 x 154 x 14 mm

The book makes a significant contribution to both gender studies and anthropology, for it is one of the few books that provides an empirical basis for the reality of women's social power. Webs of Power provides a very informative overview of the literature in both gender studies and anthropology while giving us an excellent summary of work not only in Minangkabau but in Southeast Asia more generally. -- Peggy Reeves Sanday, University of Pennsylvania
The book is detailed yet has a readable style. Recommended. * CHOICE *
In this well-written and informative ethnography of a Minangkabau village in West Sumatra, Indonesia, Evelyn Blackwood offers a detailed picture of how social relationships centered on kinship and rank are negotiated, contested, and cemented through everyday practices. It is a valuable contribution to the growing literature on women in Indonesia and in Southeast Asia more broadly, as well as to the anthropological literature on kinship and matrilineal societies. * Journal of Asian Studies *
...Insights into the internal dynamics of power and the intertwining nature of 'domestic' and 'public' spheres of influence provides a fascinating story and analysis. -- Ratna Saptari, International Institute of Social History * Development and Change *
Students and scholars of Southeast Asia will find this to be an important contribution to the ongoing process of rethinking gender and power in the region. * Ethnos *
Evelyn Blackwood's analysis of power among the Minangkabau goes far beyond previous works on gender and power by revealing the complex negotiations that occur among women-as well as between women and men-when people of different generations, ranks, and classes attribute meaning to their interactions. Webs of Power explores how people draw on multiple and conflicting discourses of inequality, such as Indonesian state visions of 'meritocracy,' 'traditional' Minangkabau privileges of rank, and moral claims of mutual support, to obtain others' help in furthering economic, political, and personal goals. Vivid examples illuminate what is at stake for individuals involved in household, kin, client, neighborly, and political relationships. Although focused on one Minangkabau village, the book imparts a rich sense of how ordinary people are coping with the dramatic political and economic changes occurring in Indonesia today. -- Jane F. Collier, Stanford University
Webs of Power is certainly a convincing study of matriliny in practice. * Royal Anthropological Institute Of Great Britain and Ireland *

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