[Marxism] Origin of Marriage

Christopher Carrico ccarrico at temple.edu
Thu Apr 8 16:04:47 MDT 2004

>CB: Since the origin of the monogamous, male supremacist 
>family, private property and the state occurred thousands 
>of years ago, and it is difficult for archaeology to detect 
>kinship and marriage rules in non-literate cultures, I 
>don't know that there is a lot of direct empirical evidence 
>of the origin of the monogamous, male supremacist family.

The origin of such a system occurred several thousands of 
years ago in some areas of the world, did not come into 
existence until recently in many others, and is still not 
that important in some societies.  While many questions 
about gender relations in the past will never be known, the 
rise of gender hierarchies are well documented and 
empircally known as an historical process in relation to 
state formation.     

>The important thing is that he holds that monogamous male 
>supremacy is not universal in human history (nor are 
>private property and the state). So, as Carrol says his 
>implicit analysis for the modern world is cogent.

Yes, this is the bottom line.  In anthropology, one of the 
great divides between liberal and socialist feminists was 
originally the disagreement over whether gender inequality 
was a universal or not.  Marxists maintain that gender 
inequalities did not exist for most of human history, and 
that like the state, it was an evolutionary wrong turn.  
Gender hierarchy and the state were both historically 
constructed, and can be historically deconstructed through 
the building of communist society.  

I always come back to Stanley Diamond saying the primitive 
society provides the model from which we can imagine what 
future communist social relations could look like.


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