feminist castigation of engels

MindAphid at aol.com MindAphid at aol.com
Fri Aug 2 10:02:22 MDT 2002

In a message dated 8/1/02 9:23:34 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
owner-marxism-digest at lists.panix.com writes:

> 3) I have heard many feminists castigating Engels & Marx, & when asked
>  for a specific refutation, have not been able to provide a decent text.

the penguin edition of origins has an excellent introduction by michele
barrett with a number of references and an overview of various arguments
against engels (even takes on leacocks introduction to the international
publishers edition).


peter aaby, 'engels and women', critique of anthropology, vol 3, nos 9/10

argues that engels was wrong for holding that 1) men were responsible for
procuring the necessities of life in hunter/gather societies and 2) the
development of herds preceded the growth of horticulture

kate young and olivia harris, 'the subordination of women in cross-cultural
perspective' in mary evans (ed.), the woman question (fontana, london, 1982)

argue that engels was wrong in positing a connection between the
hunter/gather form of production and a favorable status of women based on a
survey of hunter/gather societies.  also argue that matrilineal systems
cannot be seen as residual forms of matriarchial social organization, because
in matrilineal systems inheritance goes from a man to his sisters son rather
than from a mother to her daughter

rosalind delmar, 'looking again at engels's origin of the family, private
property and the state' in juliet mitchell and ann oakley (eds.), the rights
and wrongs of women (penguin, harmondsworth, 1976)

argues that 'none of the distinguishing categories engels [gave] the
proletarian family in capitalist conditions are discernible today'

felicity edholm et al., 'conceptualising women', critique of anthropology,
vol. 3, nos. 9/10 (1977)

michele barrett, women's oppression today: problems in marxist feminist
analysis (verso, london, 1980)

rosalind coward, patriarchial precendents: sexuality and social relations
(routledge & kegan paul, london, 1983)

argues that "engels used the family as an articulating concept between
classes and the state, but by accepting it as a pre-given category he was
prevented from looking at precisely what the notion of 'the family' always
conceals: 'the analytic priority of the family subsumed any separate
consideration of the division between the sexes as an antagonistic division.'"

barrett also mentions sebastian timpanaro and his critique of the 19th
century idea of inexorable progress in marxist thought which can be found to
some extent in the origins scheme of barbarism-savagery-----civilization
taken from morgan

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