Historical studies

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As a Norwegian Social Research Council (NAVF) stipendiate in three years in the period 1984-89, I undertook a study of early historical family and gender systems, economy and work organization, titled Pair Relationship Change (Samlivsendring).

The project, originally conceived as a purely sociological study with an early chapter, only, on historical material, developed into a huge historical-sociological project. It was research-driven rather than phd-driven, and did not result in a phd, as planned. However, in the long run, the project was all the more important for my development as researcher, giving me antiquity knowledge and historical anchorage otherwise not achieved. So my “misuse of research means” was well worth it. I developed the project further on a part-time basis.

Miletos, 1986

The project included extended library research e g at The British Library, London, and a three months archaeological study in Greece and Anatolia, 1986.

Four large note books exist, containing summaries of existing research, notes, comments and empirical discussions. These are unpublished draft working papers, together 1100 pages, “for internal use mainly”. They include analysis of “focality” and gift/redistribution systems of early antiquity that are discussed also in my 1997 dissertation.

The four notebooks are:

  • 1984g: “The Gifts of Poseidon” (Poseidons gaver) (245 p., 1984). Contains an analysis of ca. 300 legend / oral history marriages, highlighting mixed (non-patrilocal) and matrilocal patterns; discusses legendary vs. archeological material and men’s role as ‘mobile’ in in early Greek (bronze age) society.
  • 1985a: “Artemis” (In English, 336 p. 1985). This notebook starts with the recognition that religion is a big “traffic sign” to social life and economy in the early antiquity world. It is a survey of the traditions and contexts of the most popular female Greek deity, Artemis, with notes on the historical change of the goddess image and evidence of early connections to Anatolian and Hittite deities, as well as material on the lives and customs of women.
  • 1987d: ”Tribute and Empire” (ca 200 p., 1987). This is a preliminary notebook on Middle East developments 2000-1200 BC focusing on the changing economic categories of dependency. Translations of tablet material from Kanesh (Assyrian traders), and sources from Assyria, Ugarith etc. are used. Includes preliminary discussions of the rise of taxation from tribute and gift forms, its association with big-man leadership, and oppression of women.
  • 1988a: “Sumer” (315 p., 1988). This is an overview of the Sumerian civilization with discussion of the economical system, the political and election system, occupational categories, family patterns etc. Includes detail on the subordination of redistributive institutions, and the declining status of women. The Sumer draft was commented by the Assyrologist Aage Westenholz, Copenhagen, with many question marks and critical comments. (Since I had no time to rework it, it was never published).

The project was presented in two lectures at the Norwegian Institute at Athens: “On focal dependency” (part of the “Gender and Greece” workshop, February 1990), and “Artemis – a sociological perspective on Greek religion”, open lecture, April 1991.

Historical publications

My first specifically historical-sociological paper was the 1982b paper on sexuality where I welcomed Foucault’s historically open view of sexuality while criticising him for not taking gender and its impact on sex seriously enough.

Some findings from the 1980s sociological-historical studies are discussed in these papers:

  • 1984 B: Sex Before Gender (Da sex ikke var kjønn). Kronikk in Dagbladet, Jan. 10th. 1984
  • 1987 E: The Male as Gift. On Gender and Kinship Circulation in Early Antiquity. (Mannen som gave).  In: Kvinneforskning og vitenskapsteori, Skriftserie i vitenskapsteori no. 1, Universitetet i Oslo 1987.
  • 1987 F: The Study of Early Greece: The Saga Material (Studiet av det tidlige Hellas – sagnmaterialet). Klassisk Forum 1987, 2, 17-19
  • 1990k. Og i begynnelsen…(And in the beginning…) In: Beatrice Halsaa & Else Viestad, eds.:  I pose og sekk,   Emilia Press, Oslo, s. 173-208.
  • 1994g: ”When Age Became Gender: On Pederasty and Physical Intimacy in Antiquity” (Når alder blir kjønn – om pederasti og kroppslig intimitet i antikken). In: Øivind Andersen and Thomas Hagg, eds.: I skyggen av Akropolis. Universitet i Bergen, Det Norske Instituttet i Athens serie, 1994 excerpt / utdrag
  • 1999b: “Masculinity and history – on studies of men as a new dimension in historical research” (Mannlighet og historie – om mannsforskning som ny dimensjon i historisk forskning). Kvinder, køn & forskning 8, 3, 7-30

My historical work is discussed and applied also in the dr. philos thesis 1997e, the papers 1982b, 1984d, 1986c, 1991f, and others. I would not have been able to write contemporary historical papers like “A theory of gendercide” 2004e without the historical studies (see publication list).