Men's Houses

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Men’s Houses


in primitive societies, buildings in which unmarried men and sometimes all the men of a village lived together. Men’s meetings, ceremonies, and receptions for guests were held in these houses. Men’s houses or their vestiges may be found throughout the world. As with the less common girls’ houses, they are connected with divisions according to sex and age in primitive society. Possibly they originated in the segregation of men and women in early clan communes. Men’s houses became especially important during the transition from the matriarchal to the patriarchal clan, when they became the centers of activity of men’s societies.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
"I don't mean to give her any but Teresona," said Sancho, "which will go well with her stoutness and with her own right name, as she is called Teresa; and then when I sing her praises in my verses I'll show how chaste my passion is, for I'm not going to look 'for better bread than ever came from wheat' in other men's houses. It won't do for the curate to have a shepherdess, for the sake of good example; and if the bachelor chooses to have one, that is his look-out."
A conspicuous church spire, the first seen distinctly coming from the sea, has a thoughtful grace, the serenity of a fine form above the chaotic disorder of men's houses. But on the other side, on the flat Essex side, a shapeless and desolate red edifice, a vast pile of bricks with many windows and a slate roof more inaccessible than an Alpine slope, towers over the bend in monstrous ugliness, the tallest, heaviest building for miles around, a thing like an hotel, like a mansion of flats (all to let), exiled into these fields out of a street in West Kensington.
Else, afterwards, you may chance to be in want, and go begging to other men's houses, but without avail; as you have already come to me.
I say it kept hope alive; and indeed it seemed impossible that I should be left to die on the shores of my own country, and within view of a church-tower and the smoke of men's houses. But the second day passed; and though as long as the light lasted I kept a bright look-out for boats on the Sound or men passing on the Ross, no help came near me.
I ought to have said, too, that we live in dead men's houses; as, for instance, in this of the Seven Gables!"
During the examination of the men's houses, 62 kilograms of mercury more were found.
It started by condemning all traditional rituals, and finally, in 2001, removed all the previously most secret and sacred carved spirit-beings from the enclosure of their men's houses. The men's houses themselves were left to decay or were transformed into recreational 'wind houses' accessible to all: men, women and children.
To make the past even more complex, the men's houses, spiritcrocodiles, names and other important items of people's cosmology, including whole rituals, were often stolen, purchased, given as special gifts to other groups, and exchanged for partnership or for the ownership of land.
Condemning the devout Christian producers of the film, another blogger provocatively dismissed the idea of "firebomb[ing] these men's houses." Throughout the backlash Allen himself remained at peace with his participation in the film, which hit theaters January 20.
Sir Donald Irvine, the committee chairman, slammed the doctor for abusing his position to enter the two elderly men's houses and indecently assault them.
Although by no means a well-fleshed typology, the book does offer comparative remarks on ritual versus contractual secrecy--the former the sort of secrecy founded in Melanesian men's houses, the latter those familiar modern forms of privileged personal or business information, shading into the parallel notion of personal privacy.
He stresses the pairing of totems - since he regards the so-called moieties of 'clans' and men's houses as 'sibs' (Sippen) -- and speaks of 'linked totems' (1916, 1917-18, 1921), sometimes hierarchized and sometimes ranked by opposite-gender pairs.