Where does Gender come in?

By forgoing the overly global problematic of “masculine domination”, this project chooses to emphasize the link between discursive practice and the recording of names: the tribunals’ ban on women implies the invisibility of woman plaintiffs or witnesses, and the (relative) necessity to guarantee a deed of sale implies the visibility of the women involved, either as owners or as tenants. In other words, instead of drawing on the prevailing category of documents—texts resulting from the transmission of manuscripts that concern the activities of political assemblies and of tribunals—the only method for producing a convincing analysis consists in comparing the various discursive practices so as to analyze the way in which these practices impact the recording of names and the perception of individuals, the way in which gender intervenes in the social practices to which these discursive practices bear witness, and how it interacts with all social parameters (age, wealth, political or social status, geographical and cultural origin, and so on).

The issue of gender-as-questioning thus pervades our entire study. Used as a category for analysis, gender is the tool that enables us to ask the ostensibly simple question: what did the Ancients make of what we call the difference between the sexes? To what extent did they consider it important? To what extent did they ignore it? In what contexts was it relevant to them?

Through a close study of the particular cases documented by the sources of a given practice (for even so-called “literary” texts are sources that came from a particular practice), we mean to examine the articulation between the diverse forms of social differentiations: difference in gender, in status, in wealth, in culture, etc.; what sociologists encompass under the notion of intersectionality (Bereni 2010).

This catalogue will offer the scientific community an overview of the issue of women in the Greek cities and the necessary statistical tool for a study of women and gender that is free of historical bias, and, most of all, for one that integrates the criterion of social practices in which the individual’s name appears. By providing a tool for comparison between what we know of men and what we know of other women, it will allow us to evaluate the relevance of the difference between the sexes in Greek Antiquity without resorting to the argument of exceptionality, as is done too often. Finally, it will allow us to better understand the complexity of social relations.


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