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A Passion for Difference: Essays in Anthropology and Gender



A Passion for Difference: Essays in Anthropology and Gender

Henrietta L. Moore

ISBN: 978-0-745-66805-5 May 2013 Polity 188 Pages


In this new book Henrietta Moore examines the nature and limitations of the theoretical languages used by anthropologists and others to write about sex, gender and sexuality.

Moore begins by discussing recent feminist debates on the body and the notion of the non-universal human subject. She then considers why anthropologists have contributed relatively little to these debates, and suggests that this has much to do with the history of anthropological thought with regard to the conceptualization of "persons" and "selves" cross-culturally. Moore develops a specific anthropological approach to feminist post-structuralist and psychoanalytic theory.

In subsequent chapters Moore pursues a series of related themes including the links between gender, identity and violence; questions of gender and identity in the context of intra-household resource allocation; the construction of domestic space and its relationship to bodily practices and the internationalization of relations of difference; and the links between the gender of the anthropologist and the writing of anthropology.

This volume demonstrates anthropology's contribution to current debates in feminist theory.


Introduction: A Passion for Difference.

1. The Divisions Within:.

Sex, Gender and Sexual Difference.

2. Embodied Selves:.

Dialogues Between Anthropology and Psychoanalysis.

3. Fantasies of Power and Fantasies of Identity:.

Gender, Race and Violence.

4. Bodies on the Move:.

Gender, Power and Material Culture.

5. Social Identities and the Politics of Reproduction.

6. Master Narratives: .

Anthropology and Writing.

7. The Feminist Anthropologist and the Passion(s) of New Eve.




'With an unusual commitment to getting ideas across, Moore succeeds in making her writing accessible even to a non-specialist audience. She is successful in this tour de force, engaging with key theorists and providing rich illustrations from her own and others' anthropological data. ... Each of the seven essays is of interest in its own right ...'. Times Higher Educational Supplement

'Once again her writing is intensely personal and her enthusiasm for her subject radiates from the page. ... Her exposition of argument is lucid ... The two final chapters ... are the most impressive in the volume, combining passion with scholarship in a concluding tour de force.' Sociology