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Initiations féminines et masculines : parcours sénoufo, parcours d’ethnologues

Abstract : The experience of fieldwork in which anthropologists readily study initiation rites is itself often portrayed as an initiation. This article proposes that we take this initiatory model seriously with regard to the mixed, non-compulsory field experiences of the first generation of professional French anthropologists, comparing them to the gendered, inclusive and elective initiations carried out in Senufo country (Côte d'Ivoire). The comparison reveals a common gendered pattern of initiation : generally speaking, in Senufo initiations, as in those of anthropologists, collectively undergone and publicly proclaimed physical suffering on the one hand, and individually endured, intimately internalized moral suffering on the other, are mobilized to accompany the (trans)formation of men and women respectively. The initiation experiences of the Senufo and of anthropologists produce similarly polarized genders : while confirming and reinforcing the initial gender identity of male initiates, they nuance and complicate that of female initiates. This comparison thus sheds light not only on how the fieldwork experience affects anthropologists’ gender, but also on how their scientific findings and legitimacy are constructed.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 3:58:25 PM
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Marianne Lemaire. Initiations féminines et masculines : parcours sénoufo, parcours d’ethnologues. L'Homme - Revue française d'anthropologie, Éditions de l'EHESS 2021, pp.235-266. ⟨10.4000/lhomme.41230⟩. ⟨halshs-03506320⟩



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