Religion Past and Present

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Male Society
(406 words)

[German Version]

With his study Altersklassen und Männerbünde [Initiation groups and men's associations], the folklorist Heinrich Schurtz initiated ethnological research on male-male bonds in indigenous societies in 1902. He systematized “voluntary” social forms of organization by men, standing alongside “natural” relationship groups such as the family or the clan: initiation groups, men's houses, clubs, and secret societies. This evolutionist hierarchy was refuted in recent research, while a close relationship to the initiation of boys (Rites …

Cite this page
Brunotte, Ulrike, “Male Society”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 09 August 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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