A Society without Fathers or Husbands
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A Society without Fathers or Husbands

The Na of China

By Cai Hua

Translated by Asti Hustvedt

A fascinating account of the Na society, which functions without the institution of marriage.

Distributed for Zone Books

Overview

Author(s)

Praise

Summary

A fascinating account of the Na society, which functions without the institution of marriage.

The Na of China, farmers in the Himalayan region, live without the institution of marriage. Na brothers and sisters live together their entire lives, sharing household responsibilities and raising the women's children. Because the Na, like all cultures, prohibit incest, they practice a system of sometimes furtive, sometimes conspicuous nighttime encounters at the woman's home. The woman's partners—she frequently has more than one—bear no economic responsibility for her or her children, and "fathers," unless they resemble their children, remain unidentifiable. This lucid ethnographic study shows how a society can function without husbands or fathers. It sheds light on marriage and kinship, as well as on the position of women, the necessary conditions for the acquisition of identity, and the impact of a communist state on a society that it considers backward.

Hardcover

$42.95 S | £34.00 ISBN: 9781890951122 512 pp. | 9 in x 6 in

Paperback

$26.95 T | £21.00 ISBN: 9781890951139 512 pp. | 9 in x 6 in

Contributors

Asti Hustvedt.

Endorsements

  • Dr. Cai Hua has done Western anthropology a great service by making it acquainted with one of those few societies in Asia (and in Africa as well) who deny or belittle the roles of father and husband in their social system. Thanks to him the Na now have their place in the anthropological literature.

    Claude Lévi-Strauss

  • Dr. Cai Hua's revelatory work is replete with invaluable ethnographic findings and human value.

    Rodney Needham

    Oxford University