ABSTRACT

The “making of men” ceremonies documented in this volume provide some of the most dramatic and richly textured accounts of ritual passages known from the anthropology of the later twentieth century. When in an earlier time anthropologists and sociologists described collective initiation rituals, particularly through the lens of ahistorical and particular ethnographies, the political and gender aspects of these practices were seldom underscored, let alone theorized. Today, the power relationships of the body and domination and the social arenas of gender politics are widely regarding as critical to their cultural meaning and interpretation. Such is the degree of change and progress that has occurred in their symbolic understanding. In this volume a group of anthropologists who studied these matters provide first-hand descriptions of the ritual production of manhood.