This paper attempts to establish a causal relationship between infrastructural factors and the ambivalent attitudes displayed by men toward women in Highlands New Guinea societies. Factors are delineated which contribute to the value of women on one hand, and to the danger of, the low status of, and the need to control, women, on the other. Divale and Harris' (1976) model of a population, warfare, male supremacist complex is used as an explanatory device, and its usefulness is evaluated in light of Highlands ethnographic data. Divale and Harris' use of sex ratio data as a key indicator for their model is criticised. An alternative formulation of their model has been proposed which provides a better fit to Highlands ethnographic data, by proposing a causal link between male preoccupation with warfare, female labour contribution to subsistence, and the need for birth spacing. This network of variables provides an option for the causal network suggested by Divale and Harris involving female infanticide and unbalanced sex ratios.
"Tractors and Transactors: Some Possible Infrastructural Reasons for the Ambivalent Attitudes of Males Toward Females in the New Guinea Highlands,"
1, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/nexus/vol2/iss1/6