Since the publication of Sherry B. Ortner and Harriet Whitehead's groundbreaking volume Sexual Meanings: The Cultural Construction of Gender and Sexuality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), anthropologists have recognized that in important ways, sexuality, like gender, is socially constructed. Nonetheless, few ethnographies have focused on the productive role of culture in the construction and enactment of desire. Megan Jennaway takes up just this theme in her ethnography of women and sexuality in northern Bali. In pursuit of this aim, she employs an innovative narrative device, interspersing the voices of three fictive sisters, composites of individuals she came to know during her research, into her ethnographic account. Her rationale for creating these fictionalized characters is her desire to protect the identities of her informants in dealing with a topic that most Balinese regard as sensitive or even taboo. She also uses these characters—quite effectively, I believe—to evoke the lived experiences of...
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Book Review| May 01 2009
Sisters and Lovers: Women and Desire in Bali
Sisters and Lovers: Women and Desire in Bali. By Megan Jennaway.
Rowman & Littlefield,
309pp. $96.00 (cloth); $29.95 (paper).
Journal of Asian Studies (2009) 68 (2): 669–671.
Nancy J. Smith-Hefner; Sisters and Lovers: Women and Desire in Bali. Journal of Asian Studies 1 May 2009; 68 (2): 669–671. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S002191180900117X
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