Join us for a talk by Dr. Stéphane Gros, Visiting Scholar at the Institute for 2017, is a Researcher at the Centre for Himalayan Studies, CNRS-France, who works in the areas of Himalayan Studies, Social Anthropology, Ethnicity, Kinship and Gender, and Popular Religion.
What we think of family and marriage today is being rapidly redefined in ways far exceeding the terms of the anthropological debate around the marriage customs of the Nayar of Kerala in the 1950s. More recently, the so-called visiting system of the Na (Moso) of Southwest China came as a new challenge to conventional understandings of the universality of marriage and anthropological definitions of the family. This talk aims at discussing this visiting systema kind of non-contractual sexual relationships associated with natolocal residenceby presenting the preliminary results of fieldwork research conducted in the Tibetan region of Drapa (nDrapa) where a form of visiting partnership similar to that of the Na (Moso) is found.
Such a practice has often been described as a form of union based on a matrilineal rule of descent. I propose to shift the angle of analysis to foreground the importance of the household as a key social unit. I argue that the visiting system is not dependent on the respect of a matrilineal descent rule. The prime factor to be taken into consideration here is the importance of maintaining some continuity in the household. I will discuss matrifocality in relation to household-centric orientation and the importance of the houseand the applicability of the notion of house-societyand call for cross-regional comparisons.
Stéphane Gros is a researcher at the Centre for Himalayan Studies, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (C.N.R.S., France). A social anthropologist by training (PhD. Paris-Nanterre University, 2005), he has published a monograph entitled La Part Manquante (Société dethnologie, 2012) about the Drung (Dulong), a long-deprived minority of swidden agriculturalists of Yunnan province (China). This book engages with a broad array of theoretical and political debates and explores many themes that fall within the purview of a classical ethnographic enterprise: kinship, religion, mythology, exchange, domestic organization, and gender relationsparticularly the seldom researched practice of facial tattooing among Drung women.
He is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on issues of interethnic relations and ethnic classification, representations of ethnic minorities, poverty and categorization, as well as rituals and cosmology. He has edited or co-edited four collections of relevance to ethnographic theory, Chinese studies, and area studies. He has served as Managing Editor (2011-2014) for the launch of the open-access anthropology journal Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory.
More recently, Stéphane Gros personal research investigates aspects of kinship and social organization, conversion to Christianity, as well as heritage politics and environmental discourses in this region.