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Title: Identifying the female collective : a literary study of female groups in Classical Athens
Author: Leeder, Jennifer
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2000
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Although, in the last twenty-five years, scholarship on women in Antiquity has explored gender issues from all conceivable angles, there has been no single study devoted to the phenomenon of the female group in the ancient world. The preoccupation with the female group, however, requires some explanation. This thesis offers an original contribution to the study of gender in ancient Greece in two important ways. First, the focus is on women in groups, rather than on women as individuals in Classical Athens. Second, I use theoretical models drawn from social psychology, social anthropology and sociolinguistics to underpin the study. These disciplines help us both to explain the preoccupation with the female group in the literature of the Classical period, and also to demonstrate the possible existence of a shared women's world constituting interaction between females in groups in the daily life of classical Athens. In the thesis, I propose a way in which the frequency of activity and interaction of women on a daily basis in classical Athens (Part 2) is responsible for the abundance of negative references and stereotypical depictions of the female group in the literature of the period (Part 1). For if we follow social identify theory, and conceptualize the categories of free-born women and citizen men in Classical Athens as two separate social groups, rather than simply aggregates of individuals, the dynamics between them offer us some fascinating inter-group insights. On the other hand, the women's world was visible enough for the men of Athens to have been aware of its existence, but, on the other, they were excluded from it. According to social identity theory, people rely on dominant schemata or stereotypes to describe groups other than their own, especially when they lack detailed information about them. The myriad references to negative female groups throughout the literature of the Classical period are the result of such a lack of knowledge and anxiety on the part of the male-dominated society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available