Matrilineal Communities, Patriarchal Realities

A Feminist Nirvana Uncovered

Subjects: Economics, Anthropology
Paperback : 9780472069774, 256 pages, 1 map, numerous charts and tables, 5.5 x 8.5, December 2006
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A study of Muslim, Sinhala, and Tamil households in Sri Lanka that examines the commonality of the patriarchal structures and economic problems in such households

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Acknowledgements     vi

Introduction: Unpacking A Feminist Nirvana     1

Diverse Households: Literature on Female-headship     14

The "Grand" and "Meta" Narratives: Situating Sri Lankan Female-heads     29

Matrilineal Muslims: Female-heads in the Muslim Community     51

Variation on a Theme: Sinhala Female-heads in Hybrid Lineage Systems     71

Matriclan Ideologies and Patriarchal Structures: Female-headship among Tamils     95

Dutiful Daughters, Sacrificing Sons     117

Juggling Acts: Political, Economic and Social Realities     144

Nearing Limits or Pushing Boundaries?     174

Conclusion: Interested Engagement---Feminist Issues in Development Economics     204

Appendix A
Map of Sri Lanka     213

Appendix B
Sample Questionnaire for Female-headed Households     215

Appendix C
Data Analysis: Methods, Motivations and Outcomes     226

References     232 


Matrilineal Communities, Patriarchal Realities provides a path-breaking explanation of the causes, and traces both the negative and positive consequences, of female-headed households in Eastern Sri Lanka. Negative consequences revolve around female poverty, male domination, and subordination; positive consequences revolve around ways in which patriarchal relations can often be challenged and circumvented. Through a finely nuanced study of Muslim, Sinhala and Tamil households in Eastern Sri Lanka, we learn of both the commonality of patriarchal structures and economic problems in such households, as well as the differences created by ethnicities that divide them.