Androcentrism in the discourse and structure of Polish ethnology. Prolegomena

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The objective of the present article is to make a preliminary study and to create a “map” of the phenom enon of androcentrism in Polish ethnology and cultural anthropology. Androcentrism – understood as the domination of masculine norms in culture – has become, since the 1970s, one of the subjects of interest of anthropology in Western Europe and the United States. Anthropology, inspired by feminism, thus has coined the concept of “androcentric bias” in this discipline which is both strictly scientific and institutional. The author shall endeavour to analyse the discourse and structure of Polish ethnology using this concept and this very instrument. He also discusses whether it is possible to overcome the androcentric bias at the discourse level (or would this lead to ginecentrism, which is equally limiting?). The actual control and power exercised by men over academic institutions in ethnology and the early interest in folk culture fully confirm the thesis of a strong androcentric element existing in Polish ethno­ logy. Although the author does not aspire to exhaust the topic, or to reach final conclusions, the exam ples mentioned in the present article show rather unequivocally that Polish female ethnologists – doing fieldwork, organisational work, conducting lecture and writing – were indeed, following de Beauvoir’s terminology, “the second sex".




androcentrism, androcenrtic bias, Polish ethnology and cultural anthropology, mythisation


Ethnologia Polona vol. 29-30, 2008-2009, pp. 77-88



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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego