gender, space, house, body techniques, Barasana, Hugh-Jones


Stephen and Christine Hugh-Jones were the first anthropologists not only to demonstrate that the gender value of places and directions depends on the frame of reference and the point of view but to turn this insight into a fruitful principle on which to base transformational analysis. By analyzing the metamorphoses of gender brought about by changes of perspective or scale, they have brought to light the spatial character of the gender concept. As their examinations of Barasana architecture, ritual performance, and domestic work have shown, the relativity of gender is at its core an aspect of the relativity of space. In this contribution, I show why and how their analyses of the “androgynous” Barasana house opened the way toward a topological conception of gender.