"patriarchy"

Lisa Rogers EQDOMAIN.EQWQ.LROGERS at EMAIL.STATE.UT.US
Mon Jul 31 22:46:16 MDT 1995


Well, Carrol, you can define patriarchy any way you want, I suppose,
and so can I.  It was my mistake to assume that my definition was
shared by others, outside my usual frames of reference.  It is a part
of my continuing education to find that the term has been used in
ways apparently rather distant from the straightforward meaning of
the word from the latin roots "father-rule", i.e. male domination,
per se.

Patriarchy is "...always both broader and narrower than "male
supremecy" ??  This does not help me to understand what you are
talking about.  Confusing.

The statement that patriarchy "should be identified with a whole
pre-capitalist or early capitalist structure of the social order, not
merely (or even centrally) with male domination over females..."
appears to be a non sequitor in your 2nd paragraph appended below.  I
do not see what is the reason that this "should" be.  I'm not saying
I disagree with the reason, because I can't identify one in your post
in order to be able to evaluate the argument.

I also have no clue as to why you would call the 19th cent.
"post-patriarchal".  Is this to say that fully developed capitalism
replaced "patriarchy"?  Then how is "patriarchy" different from a
synonym for "early or pre-capitalist"?

Maybe part of the difference between us is that I do not think of
patriarchy only in terms of capital and class.  In anthropology,
patriarchy / male supremacy is observed in many different types of
societies / economies, including capitalist.

Signals unclear...still trying....reach you....static on line...
Lisa

P.S. I don't get the point of your Penelope story either.  Yes, I
read Odyssey, tho it's been a while.  And who is "the enemy" you
refer to?
puzzled, lisa

>>> Carrol Cox <cbcox at rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu>  7/25/95, 02:23pm >>>

[snip] There is good historical reason for being more careful in the
use of the term "patriarchal," and in particular the term is always
both broader and narrower than (say) "male supremacy" or
"subordination of women."

    In the decades before and after 1800 both the material base and
the ideology of oppression--class oppression, "race" oppression,
gender oppriession--changed radically. See, for one example, (name?)
Laquer's _Making Sex__. Also see Stephanie Coontz, _The Social
Origins of Private Life_. She argues (as does Fields) that "racism"
only came into existence at that time, and that the earlier
oppression and exploitation of slaves should be seen as patriarchal,
not racist. (North Carolina executed a white man in 1806 for
kidnapping a black man into slavery; 41 years later the legislature
affirmed that anyone black could in priniciple be considered a
slave.) So "Patriarchy" should be identified with a whole
pre-capitalist or early capitalist structure of the social order, not
merely (or even centrally) with male domination over females; it
included old over young; master over slave; master (and mistress)
over servant, and so on. Coontz is very good on this switch in the
United States between 1780 and 1840.

[snip]... it just makes it easier to know the enemy, while using the
term "patriarchy" can obscure the enemy. Notice that in one famous
patriarchy, that of Homer's Odyssey--Penelope, though perhaps a
traitress to her gender, still has more say in things than did many
19th-c. "post-patriarchal" women.
        Carrol Cox





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