In the decades since it was first published, this study of Brazil's Mundurucu Indians has been widely read and has become regarded as a classic. Now, for the second edition, the authors have written a new chapter that describes their fieldwork during the year they spent living among the Mundurucu.
"Women of the Forest" details an acute and intriguing battle of the sexes in which reality squarely contradicts ideology. The Murphy's full-scale analysis considers the historical, ecological, and cultural setting in which the Mundurucu live, the mythology concerning women, the woman's work and household life, marriage and child rearing, and the impact of social change on the female role. The authors give particular attention to sexual antagonism and the means by which women compensate, in actual practice, for their low public position.
The new chapter gives the reader an idea of the nature of ethnographic fieldwork as both personal experience and scientific practice. It recounts how they coped with the language barrier, the practice of bartering rather than buying, and other day-to-day problems of living in a totally different culture. Thus, it provides an illuminating background to Mundurucu culture before the reader delves into the rich details of the study itself. At the same time the chapter helps the reader to learn about anthropological methods of data gathering. [via]