Gendered substances and objects in ritual

An Australian aboriginal study

Deborah Bird Rose

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    The creative action of the foundational beings known as Dreamings lies at the heart of Aboriginal Australian ceremony. In ritual, gender is drawn into a nexus of generative action and interaction. I will make the case that gender characterizes country, ceremonies, many sacred sites and many objects and substances. People, country, sites and ceremonies are integral to the bringing forth of the life of the world, and draw on a root paradigm of birth. I will examine that paradigm from the perspective of gender in domains of blood, ritual, country, men and women, and objects. The analysis will show that while gender is most assuredly a difference that makes a difference, in Gregory Bateson's famous words, it is the play of difference itself that is most productively worked with in ritual.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)34-47
    Number of pages14
    JournalMaterial Religion
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • Aboriginal Australians
    • Ceremony
    • Fertility
    • Land claims
    • Secrecy

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Gendered substances and objects in ritual: An Australian aboriginal study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this