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Archaeology and Preservation of Gendered Landscapes

pp 189-230

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Gendered Power Dynamics Among Religious Sects, Ethnic Groups, and Classes, in Jewish Communities on Greater Boston’s Landscape at the Turn of the Century

  • Suzanne M. Spencer-WoodAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Oakland UniversityPeabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University Email author 

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Abstract

This chapter analyzes changing gendered power dynamics during the diaspora of Jewish communities as they moved across Greater Boston’s landscape. Gender power dynamics are analyzed from a feminist perspective focusing on the social agency of Jewish women and men in developing Jewish-American identities by selectively adopting, adapting, and integrating aspects of the dominant American gender ideology and material culture into a Jewish culture that has retained its distinctiveness. This analysis uses my feminist inclusive model of a diversity of fluid powers, moving between relational categories of hierarchical dominating “powers over” others that control and limit actions; “powers under” others, ranging from compliance to resistance; heterarchical “powers with” others, ranging from inspiring and empowering to collaborating with others; and social agency “powers to” retain or change cultural ideologies, identities, practices, and gendered power dynamics.