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RETHINKING NAVAJO SOCIAL THEORY

  • Author(s): Shapiro, Warren
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 3.0 license
Abstract

Hal Scheffler, in arguing that native concepts about procreation provide the basis for kin reckoning universally, presented considerable evidence for his argument, in addition to the extension rules for which he is best known, This essay applies this evidence to the Navajo materials and shows that a Schefflerian analysis is correct. By contrast, the analysis of Nava-jo kinship by Gary Witherspoon, indebted to David Schneider’s ideas, is shown to be wide of the mark. Scheffler also argued, in much the same logical vein, that gender classification around the world is bipartite, that claims of a “third sex” are without merit. The argument is applied to “third sex” claims by Wesley Thomas, which claims are shown to be baseless.

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