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Title: Women, kinship and economy in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.
Author: Stivens, Maila Katrin Vanessa.
ISNI:       0000 0000 8118 6994
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1987
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This study investigates the sphere of gender relations in rural Rembau, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, a state long famous for its 'matriliny'. The central aim of the thesis is to explore the significance of this historically reconstituted 'matriliny' for women's situation, arguing for a re-examination of the clasfc debates ri about 'matriliny'. This re-examination is conducted by an analysis of the complex relationships between economic and political developments in the agrarian economy, kinship relations and gender relations. The thesis first briefly looks at the historical material on Rembau 'matriliny', suggesting that this has been reified both in the literature and in local Rembau discourse. It then explores the interplay between local social forms and the political and economic changes in the wider society, giving detailed material on women's and men's activities and land owning in a situation of a declining village economy and massive out-migration. The following chapters examine aspects of domestic production, class and gender differentiation, kinship relations and practices, household relations, marriage, sexuality and childrearing. The concluding chapter explores the ways that Rembau women's autonomy is being undermined by contemporary developments in the Malaysian economy. The central argument of the thesis stresses the intervention of. capitalist class interests and the colonial state in reconstituting a 'matrilineal' peasantry characterised by non-capitalist relations of production within subsistence and petty commodity producing sectors. Stressing the historical specificities of developments in Malay(si)a, it rejects functionalist theorisations implying a symbiotic rektionship between non-capitalist enclaves and the dominant capitalist sector. The thesis also argues that most previous attempts to characterise the linkages between these sectors and the dominant capitalist sectors in many parts of the Third World have been blind to the significance of gender differentiation within so-called peasant sectors. An attempt is made to show how deconstructing the peasant household and exploring the political significance of women's land ownership and of gender relations overall historically can cast light on past and present developments in Rembau and other Malay peasant society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Gender; Female autonomy; Rural society