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Guardians of the Flutes, Volume 1: Idioms of Masculinity: Idioms of Masculinity v. 1 [Paperback]

4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £21.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 1994
In the first systematic documentation of New Guinea rituals of manhood, Gilbert Herdt places the homosexual customs of the Sambia in their ecological and ideological contexts while exploring what they mean to the individuals who practice them. Raising a host of issues concerning gender identity, hostility between the sexes, and the relationships between myth, culture, and personal experience, Herdt provides a vivid and convincing portrait of how Sambia men experience their sexual development.

Product details

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; Reprinted edition edition (1 Oct 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226327493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226327495
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.6 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,467,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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First Sentence
Sambia are a mountain people and they are fond of saying that their home is the nest of the high-ranging eagle. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Academic study of the Sambia in PNG 16 Feb 1999
By A Customer
An investigation into the lives of the Sambia people of Papua New Guinea, an isolated and "primative" tribe who believe that boys must ingest semen in order to reach full adulthood.
The flutes are magic phallic objects which the men of the tribe use in initiation cermonies to introduce the boys to the ritualized sexual contacts.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Response to "How Do We Know?" 5 Jan 2009
By LearnerGirl - Published on Amazon.com
I have not yet read this book, but I will be reading it in the coming semester for a college course.

I want to respond to the person below who believes that using a fake name for the tribe somehow implies that the author is lying. This is absolutely not the case. Readers must keep in mind that this book is an ethnography, and Herdt, the author, is an anthropologist. It is standard anthropological practice to disguise the names of groups and people involved in anthropological studies. Anonymity is extremely important in a study such as this one because it allows people to disclose potentially dangerous information without fear. The use of pseudonyms does not take away from the credibility of the work.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books ever written.... 10 Feb 2007
By Geoff Puterbaugh - Published on Amazon.com
...about this subject.

One reviewer whines "How Do We Know?" and thereby implies directly that the author is a liar, and made up everything reported in this book.

While that person may choose to remain in darkness, this book was very well received among professionals, who realized at once that it added more detail (a lot more detail) to the generally known facts about sexuality in New Guinea. In fact, there are many other tribes, reported in the literature, who practice the same system of sexuality -- with the perhaps interesting exception that the sexuality is not oral but via the posterior route.

As for disguising the name of the tribe, it seems to me that Herdt has really done something quite remarkable: he has protected his sources. There is no tribe called the "Sambia" in New Guinea, but there is the tribe which Herdt studied, and one of the key elements in their system of male sexuality is that it must be kept SECRET.

In this, I must confess that by the age of 60 I have seen this sort of behavior all over the world: men can have all the sex they want together, but it is imperative not to scare the horses. DON'T let the women know.

If Herdt had published his book with the tribe's real name, he would have blown their cover. I congratulate him for not doing so.

As for what the Sambia are up to, I would suggest reading the book, and not counting on a book review to fill you in on all the details. But as a very high-level view, the Sambia have a superstitious belief that a young boy's development into a full-fledged male is a highly doubtful procedure -- not guaranteed by the spirits or the gods. So they practice "boy invigoration," which entails the young boy receiving regular doses of masculinity. When the boy reaches puberty, the magic has obviously worked, so it is time for him to reverse roles and begin helping the younger ones.

All in all, this is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. It's true to say, "We're not in Kansas any more, Dorothy." No, we're in the steamy jungle islands of New Guinea and Papua New Guinea, and learning about some of the very flexible limits of human sexuality.

Highest possible recommendation!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars no easy titbits 7 Aug 2011
By Bazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book promises a fascinating insight to a rare Papuan tribe...........ts not an easy read..........a lot of illuminating footnotes.........amazing dedication to very serous research by the author.No regrets about buying it but be prepared for a heavy read.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An academic text on male sexual initiation in PNG. 16 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book describes in detail the initiation of boys in the Sambia of Papua New Guinea, an isolated and "primitive" tribe who believe that masculine characteristics can only by aquired by boys through ingesting the semen of older men. The flutes symbolize the magic of the oral copulation stage through which the boys must go to be considered adult males.
2.0 out of 5 stars another book for anthropology class. 3 Feb 2014
By maxim ryklis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not a bad book. but if I was not working on a paper for a college level anthropology class, I probably would not have bought this book for leisurely reading.
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