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The Subject of Anthropology: gender, symbolism and psychoanalysis

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Henrietta Moore
Polity Press (March 2007)

This ambitious new book by one of the leading theorists of gender and social anthropology draws on anthropology, feminism and psychoanalysis to develop an original and provocative theory of gender and of how we become sexed beings. Professor Moore brings a fresh and innovative treatment of the relationship of psychoanalysis to anthropology.

Clear, accessible and beautifully written, this book will appeal to students and scholars alike and is the most powerful and persuasive assessment to date of what anthropology has to contribute to these debates now and in the future.


Professor Moore will be taking part in an debate at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) on Thursday 15 March, 7pm, on Modern Erotics and the quest for intimacy .

Today everyone seems subject to the demand to enjoy, to make love and sex into a project that succeeds. But the demand that sexual relations should be at the basis both of self-understanding and self-realisation often puts our intimate lives under particular pressure. Psychoanalysts Susie Orbach and Darian Leader, anthropologist Henrietta Moore and psychoanalytic theorist Renata Salecl discuss contemporary sexualities and their uneasy relationship to love, fantasy and intimacy.

Nash Room
£10, £9 concs, £8 ICA members
To book phone ICA box office on 02079303647


'This book is invaluable - there is nothing else like it. Well-organised and beautifully written, it is also clear as a bell, which is no mean feat when dealing with these complex and abstruse issues.'
Emily Martin, New York University

'This is a major intellectual achievement by one of the pioneers of feminist anthropology. Henrietta Moore sets a new agenda for transnational gender and sexuality research while debating some of the cutting-edge theoretical issues in feminist psychoanalysis and post-structuralism. She urges us to acknowledge the complex and dynamic relationship between bodies and the variant cultural meanings attached to femininity and masculinity, but also to consider the enduring hold of the social imaginary upon the constitution of the subject. A major contribution to the political economy of sexuality in the global era.'
Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University

'Henrietta Moore seeks to build a theory of gendered subjectivity by articulating the insights of psychoanalysis, anthropology and feminism. The extended readings of psychoanalytic theory through anthropological and feminist eyes are clear and illuminating. This is a rich and thought-provoking book.'
Sherry B Ortner, University of California-Los Angeles