RE: International Women's Day; thoughts on Esther Goody's 1987 article

From: Peter Smagorinsky (
Date: Thu Mar 11 2004 - 04:52:54 PST

I wonder if this finding would hold up in cultures that practice martial
arts. My son has been in martial arts (first kung fu, now tae kwon do) for
10 years and size is not necessarily relevant to achievement, power, or
authority. So, would people in such cultures necessarily be impressed with
size? just wondering, Peter
At 05:09 PM 3/11/2004 +1300, you wrote:
>Yes interesting, size rather than gender determining aggression (physical
>power) Mike. The biological, sociological, cultural, idealogical balance
>of "might as right" seems just too complicated. I too would like to thank
>you Steve for providing an indepth discussion of the very excellent Goody
>article, that I'm busily distributing to other interested folk, and that I
>too have learned much from.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Mike Cole []
>Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2004 1:36 PM
>Subject: RE: International Women's Day; thoughts on Esther Goody's 1987
>Thank you for your careful analysis and discussion of Esther's paper, Steve,
>which I have forwarded to her. She has limited email access.
>Coincidentally, I am reading on hominid evolution which gives a number of the
>points you raise special significance to me. But I want to mention an
>article and its findings that I believe worth considering. I do not think
>the findings go to the issues of patriarchy and selection for size/strength,
>but do speak to the issue of herrschaft in contemporary American (at least
>society). The article is from American Anthropologist, 1981. I will track
>the exact ref down, but have been tied up down and sideways for work time,
>and my old AA's are not at my house.
>The basic method was to set up artificial groups of people, half male,
>half female, but where the size the of the people varied so that half the
>time males were larger than females, half the time the reverse. It was
>a joint problem solving/argumentation sort of situation as I recall. The
>interactions were scored using Bales scales or another device like one
>that scored for who initiated interaction and the degree of aggressino
>The key finding: The degree of aggression display depended upon SIZE
>not GENDER.
>This isolates size/power at least for these circumstances as the controlling
>variable, not gender, with evolved average differences in size covarying
>with gender being the immediate causal precursor of herrschaft.
>I especially appreciated your care in providing sufficient explication so that
>those who wish to pursue issues of gender within a CHAT framework have a lot
>to work with.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Nov 09 2004 - 11:42:23 PST