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Bourdieu - 130 GENDERED spaces Birdwell—Pheasant Donna...

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Unformatted text preview: 130 GENDERED spaces Birdwell—Pheasant, Donna and Denise Lawrence-Zuniga (eds) (1999) House Life: Space, Pi and Family in Europe. Oxford: Berg. . del Sallie, Teresa (ed.) (1993) Gendered Anthropology. London. Routledge. ' ' d: Interior and exterior Space in an ' 1993) Essential Obgects and the Sacre ' H13::::,G[:::i:ellocality. In S. Ardener (ed) Women and Space: Ground Rules and Social ' ‘ ' -Ber . . 70—85 . Orr inally published 1981. Oxford. .. g ‘ ,, ,, _ M2335 lifnrietta (l986)gSpace, Text and Gender: An Anthropological Study of the Morale wet of Kenya. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 5 The Berber House Pierre B ourdieu The interior of the Kabyle house is rectangular in shape and is divided into two parts at a point one third of the way along its length by a small lattice-work wall half as high as the house. Of these two parts, the larger is approximately 50 centimeters higher than the other and is covered over by a layer of black clay and cow dung which the women polish with a stone; this part is reserved for human use. The smaller part is paved with flagstones and is occupied by the animals. A door with two wings provides entrance to both rooms. Upon the dividing wall are kept, at one end, the small clay jars or esparto-grass baskets in which provisions awaiting immediate consumption, such as figs, flour and leguminous plants, are conserved; at the other end, near the door, the water-jars. Above the stable there is a loft where, next to all kinds of tools and implements, quantities of straw and hay to be used as animal-fodder are piled up; it is here that the women and children usually sleep, particularly in winter. Against the gable wall, known as the wall (or, more exactly, the ‘side’) of the upper part or of the kannn, there is set a brick-work construction in the recesses and holes of which are kept the kitchen utensils (ladle, cooking-pot, dish used to cook the bannock, and other earthenware objects blackened by the fire) and at each end of which are placed large jars filled with grain. In front of this construc- tion is to be found the fireplace; this consists of a circular hollow, two or three centimeters deep at its centre, around which are arranged in a triangle three large stones upon which the cooking is done.E In front of the wall opposite the door stands the weaving-loom. This wall is usually called by the same name as the outside front wall giving onto the courtyard [tasga), or else wall of the weaving-loom or opposite wall, since one is opposite it when one enters. The wall opposite to this, where the door is, is called wall of darkness, or of sleep, or of the maiden, or of the tomb; a bench wide enough for a mat to be spread out over it is set against this wall; the bench is used to shelter the young calf or the sheep for feast-days and sometimes the wood or the water-pitcher. Clothes, mats and blankets are hung, during the day, on a peg or on a wooden cross- bar against the wall of darkness or else they are put under the dividing bench. Clearly, therefore, the wall of the kamm is opposed to the stable as the top is to the bottom (adaym'n, stable, comes from the root add, meaning the bottom) and the 132 PIERRE BOURDIEU wall of the weaving-loom is opposed to the wall of the door as the light is tohthe darkness. One might be tempted to give a strictly technical explanation toht :Sfe oppositions since the wall of the weaving-loom, placed opposrte the 100F, w I: is itself turned towards the east, receives the most light-arid the. stab e is, in act, situated at a lower level than the rest; the reason for this latter islt‘hat the l'lECIJLISE is most often built perpendicularly with contour lines in order to faCilitate [11E 0v; of liquid manure and dirty water. A number of Signs suggest, howeverilt at t 9,5,: oppositions are the centre of a whole cluster ofiparallel‘ 0pp05itions,_t elnecessity of which is never completely due to technical imperatives or functiona require— mElE‘fiSe- dark and nocturnal, lower part of the house, place of objects that are morit, green or raw — jars of water placed on benches in various parts of the entrlance tlo t ef stable or against the wall of darkness, wood and green fodder — natural p ace a :{o o beings — oxen and cows, donkeys and mules — and place of natural activmes — seep, the sexual act, giving birth — and the place also of death, is opposed, as natpie is to culture, to the light-filled, noble, upper part of the house: this is the place 0 ufiiin beings and, in particular, of the guest; it is the place of fire and 'of objects create .y fire — lamp, kitchen utensils, rifle — the symbol of. the male pomt of honour (elnmf) and the protector of female honour {born/1a) — and it is the place of the Eyealying-looi-ri — the symbol of all protection; and it is also the place of the two speCi ica 'y cu Ttljm activities that are carried out in the space of the house: cooking and weaving. .636 relationships of opposition are expressed through a whole set of convergent :igns which establish the relationships at the same time as receivmg their meaning, rqm them. Whenever there is a guest to be honoured (the'verb, qabel, to honour a so means to face and to face the east), he is made to sit in front of the wpaVing-‘lioom. When a person has been badly received, it is customary for him to say:- He ma ke me sit before his wall of darkness as in a grave,’ or: ‘His wall of darkness is as dar as a grave.’ The wall of darkness is also called wall of the invalid and the expressmn .: keep to the wall’ means to be ill and, by extension, to-be idle: the bed ofghe sic person is, in fact, placed next to this wall, particularly in Winter. The link. etvifriin the dark part of the house and death is also shown in the fact that the washinglol fte dead takes place at the entrance to the stable. It IS customary to say that-t 1: oh, which is entirely made of wood, is carried by the stable as the corpse is by 1: It: bearers, and the word tbn’riclath refers to both the loft and to the stretcher w [(1. is used to transport the dead. It is therefore obvmus that one cannot, thhOUtllcaLESIliE offence, invite a guest to sleep in thT.3 loft which is opposed to the wa o t ' - like the wall of the tom . - ‘ quwfrsgnlpgflhe wall of the weaving-loom, opposite the door, in the light, is allsp seated or rather, shown off, like the decorated plates which are hung there, t 8 young bride on her wedding-day. When one knows that the umbilical cord of the girl _ is buried behind the weaving-loom and that, in order to protect the virginity 3f Eli: maiden, she is made to pass through the warp, gomg from the door towar s t . . . 5 weaving-loom, then the magic protection attributed to the weaving-loom become , __ evident. In fact, from the point of view of the male members of her family, all of the . . . . . 1 . girl’s life is, as it were, summed up in the successive posmons that she symbolical: I, l . I O '. .: occupies in relation to the weaving-loom, which is the symbol of male protectl before marriage she is placed behind the weaving—loom, in its shadow, under its THE BERBER HOUSE 133 protection, as she is placed under the protection of her father and her brothers; on her wedding-day she is seated in front of the weaving-loom with her back to it, with the light upon her, and finally she will sit weaving with her back to the wall of light, behind the loom. ‘Shame,’ it is said, ‘is the maiden,‘ and the sonrin~law is called ‘the veil of shames‘ since man's point of honour is the protective ‘barrier’ of female honour. The low and dark part of the house is also opposed to the high part as the feminine is to the masculine: besides the fact that the division of work between the sexes, which is based upon the same principle of division as the organization of space, entrusts to the woman the responsibility of most objects which belong to the dark part of the house — water-transport, and the carrying of wood and manure, for instance — the opposition between the upper part and the lower part reproduces within the space of the house the opposition set up between the inside and the outside. This is the opposition between female space and male space, between the house and its garden, the place par excellence of the harem, i.e. of all which is sacred and forbidden, and a closed and secret space, well protected and sheltered from intrusions and the gaze of others, and the place of assembly (thajma‘rh), the mosque, the cafe, the fields or the market: on the one hand, the privacy of all that is intimate, on the other, the open space of social relations; on the one hand, the life of the senses and of the feelings, on the other, the life of relations between man and man, the life of dialogue and exchange. The lower part of the house is the place of the most intimate privacy within the very world of intimacy, that is to say, it is the place of all that pertains to sexuality and procreation. More or less empty during the day, when all activity —- which is, of course, exclusively feminine — is based around the fireplace, the dark part is full at night, full of human beings but also full of animals since, unlike the mules and the donkeys, the oxen and the cows never spend the night out of doors; and it is never quite so full as it is during the damp season when the men sleep inside and the oxen and the cows are fed in the stable. It is possible here to establish more directly the relationship which links the fertility of men and of the field to the dark part of the house and which is a particular instance of the relationship of equivalence between fertility and that which is dark, full (or swollen) or damp, vouched for by the whole mythico-ritual system: whilst the grain meant for consumption is, as we have seen, stored in large earthenware jars next to the wall of the upper part, on either side of the fireplace, the grain which is intended for sowing is placed in the dark part of the house, either in sheep-skins or in chests placed at the foot of the wall of darkness; or sometimes under the conjugal bed, or in wooden chests placed under the bench which is set against the dividing wall where the wife, who normally sleeps at a lower level, beside the entrance to the stable, rejoins her husband. Once we are aware that birth is always rebirth of the ancestor, since the life circle (which should be called the cycle of generation) turns upon itself every third generation (a proposition which cannot be demonstrated here), it becomes obvious that the dark part of the house may be at the same time and without any contradic- tion the place of death and of procreation, or of birth as resurrection. In addition to all this, at the centre of the dividing wall, between ‘the house of the human beings’ and ‘the house of the animals’ stands the main pillar, supporting the EOVerning beam ends” the framework of the house. Now this governing beam Which connects the gables and spreads the protection of the male part of the house to 134 PIERRE BOURDIEU the female part (nszzlas tifemmns, a masculine term) is identified explicitly with the master of the house, whilst the main pillar upon which it rests, which is the trunk Of a forked tree (thigeiditb, a feminine term), is identified with the wife (the Beni Khellili call it ‘Mas’uda’, a feminine first name which means ‘the happy woman’), and their interlocking represents the act of physical union (shown in mural paintings in the form of the union of the beam and the pillar by two superimposed forked trees). The main beam, which supports the roof, is identified with the protector of family honour; sacrifices are often made to it, and it is around this beam that, on a level with the fireplace, is coiled the snake who is the ‘guardian’ of the house. As the symbol of the fertilizing power of man and the symbol also of death followed by resurrection, the snake is sometimes shown (in the Collo region for example) upon earthen jars made by the women and which contain the seed for sowing. The snake is also said to descend sometimes into the house, into the lap of the sterile woman, calling her mother, or to coil itself around the central pillar, growing longer by the length of one coil of its body after each time that it takes suck. In Dama, according to Rene Maunier, the sterile woman ties her belt to the central beam which is where the foreskin is hung and the reed which has been used for circumcision; when the beam is heard to crack the Berbers hastily say ‘may it turn out well’, because this presages the death of the chief of the family. At the birth of a boy, the wish is made that ‘he be the governing beam of the house’, and when he carries out his ritual fast for the first time, he takes his first meal on the roof, that is to say, on the central beam (in order, so it is said, that he may be able to transport beams}. A number of riddles and sayings explicitly identify the woman with the central pillar: ‘My father’s father’s wife carries my father’s father who carries his daughters’; ‘The slave strangles his master’; ‘The woman supports the man’; ‘The woman is the central pillar.’ To the young bride one says: ‘May God make of you the pillar firmly planted in the middle of the house.’ Another riddle says: ‘She stands but she has no feet’; a forked tree open at the top and not set upon her feet, she is female nature and, as such, she is fertile or, rather, able to be fertilized. Against the central pillar are piled the leather bottles full of Jeff seeds, and it is here that the marriage is consum- mated. Thus, as a symbolic Summing up of the house, the union of asalas and thigejdith, which spreads its fertilizing protection over all human marriage, is in a certain way primordial marriage, the marriage of the ancestors which is also, like tillage, the marriage of heaven and earth. ‘Woman is the foundations, man is the governing beam,’ says another proverb. Asalas, which a riddle defines as ‘born in the earth and buried in the sky’, fertilizes thigefditb, which is planted in the earth, the place of the ancestors who are the masters of all fecundity, and open towards the sky. Thus, the house is organized according to a set of homologous oppositions: fire: water; cooked: raw; high: low; light: shadow; day: night; male: female; m'f: borma; fertilizing: able to be fertilized; culture: nature. But in fact the same oppositions exist between the house as a whole and the rest of the universe. Considered in its relationship with the external world, which is a specifically masculine world of public life and agricultural work, the house, which is the universe of women and the world of intimacy and privacy, is harem, that is to say, at once sacred and illicit for every man who does not form part of it (hence the expression used when taking an oath: ‘May my wife - or my house — become illicit — harem — to me if. . . ‘J. As the place of the sacred or the left—hand side, appertaining to the borma to which are THE BERBER HOUSE 135 linked all those properties which are associated with the dark part of the house the house is placed under the safeguard of the masculine point of honour (m'f) as1 the dark part of the house is placed under the protection of the main beam Any Violation of the sacred space takes on therefore the social significance of a saciilege' thus, theft in an inhabited house is treated in everyday usage as a very serious fault inasmuch as it is offence to the nifof the head of the family and an outrage upon the borm-ri of the house and consequently of all the community. Moreover, when a guest who is not a member of the family is introduced to the women, he gives the mistress of the house a sum of money which is called ‘the view’. One is not justified in saying that the woman is locked up in the hOuse unless one also observes that the man is kept out of it, at least during the day.2 As soon as the sun has risen he must, during the summer, he in the fields or at the assembly house- in the winter, if he is not in the field, he has to be at the place of assembly or upon lhe benches set in the shelter of the pentrroof over the entrance door to the courtyard Even at night, at least during the dry season, the men and the boys, as soon as they have been circumcised, sleep outside the house, either near the haystacks upon the threshing-floor, beside the donkey and the shackled mule, or upon the fig—dryer or in the open field, or else, more rarely, in the tbaima‘th. The man who stays too long in the house during the day is either suspect or ridiculous: he is ‘the man of the home’ as one says of the importunate man who stays amongst the women and who ‘broods at home like a hen in the henhouse’. A man who has respect for himself should let himself be seen, should continuously place himself under the gaze of others and face them (qabel). He is a man amongst men (nrgaz yer irgnzen). Hence the importance accorded to the games of honour which are a kind of dramatic action performed in front of others who are knowing spectators, familiar with the text add all the stage busmess and capable of appreciating the slightest variations. It is not difficult to understand why all biological activities such as eating, sleeping and procreating are excluded from the specifically cultural universe and relegated to the sanctuary of intimacy and the refuge for the secrets of nature which is the house the woman’s world. In opposition to man’s work which is performed outside, it it: the nature of woman‘s work to remain hidden (‘God conceals it’): ‘lnside the house woman is always on the move, she flounders like a fly in whey; outside the house’nothing of her work is seen.’ Two very similar sayings define woman’s condition as being that of one who cannot know of any other sojourn than that tomb above the earth which is the house and that subterranean house which is the tomb: ‘Your house is your tomb’; "Woman has only two dwellings, the house and the tomb.’ f‘ lehLis,[§hi;,1 oppoiitiog between the house and the assembly of men, between the re s an t e mar et, etween private life and ublic life or if on r the full light of the day and the secrecy of the Eight, oveilaps vet: Exfafdtll? Eiililfffi: opposition between the dark and nocturnal, lower part of the hOuse and the noble and brightly~lit, upper part. The opposition which is set up between the external world and the house only takes on its full meaning therefore if one of the terms of this relation, that is to say, the house, is itself seen as being divided according to the Same principles which oppose it to the other term. it is therefore both true and false to say that the external world is opposed to the house as male is to female or day to fllght, or fire to water, etc., since the second term of these oppositions divides u each time into itself and its opposite.3 P 136 PIERRE BOURDIEU In short, the most apparent opposition: male (or day, fire, etc.)ffemale (lor night, water, etc.) may well mask the opposition: malelfemale—male/female—fema e, :n' in the same way, the homology malei'female; female—male/fernale—female. It IS 0 Vious from this that the first opposition is but a transformation of the second, which presupposes a change in the field of reference at the end of which the Emhale—ffemaie is no longer opposed to the femaleumale and Instead, the group whip t ley orlm is opposed to a third term: femaleamale/femalemfemale —r female (: ema e—ma e + female—femalellmale. - . ' As a microcosm organized according to the same oppositions which govern all the universe, the house maintains a relation with the rest of the universe which IS tin: pf a homology: but from another point of view, the world of the house taken as a w o e is in a relation with the rest of the world which-is one of opposmon, and the principles of which are none other than those which govern the orglanizadtion of the internal space of the house as much as they do the rest of the war ii an , {plan} generally, all the areas of ex...
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