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It's like one of those puzzles: conceptualising gender among bugis

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In this paper I examine notions of gender in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. I argue that gender should be understood as a multi-faceted concept rather than one that is opposed, for example, to biological sex. In South Sulawesi, notions of gender are constituted through a variety of intersecting factors, including biological sex, spirituality, sense of self, roles, behaviours, occupation, dress, sexuality, government and religious ideology, and subjectivity. Using ethnographic data, I examine how these factors contribute to an individual's gender identity. Because myriad combinations of the above factors are possible, conceptualisations of gender are able to move beyond a dichotomous construction. As a result, gender is considered to be a multifarious concept and a range of identities is possible.
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Keywords: Bugis; Indonesia; gender; sexuality; transgender

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2004

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