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see matriarchymatriarchy,
familial and political rule by women. Many contemporary anthropologists reject the claims of J. J. Bachofen and Lewis Morgan that early societies were matriarchal, although some contemporary feminist theory has suggested that a primitive matriarchy did indeed exist
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  1. a form of social organization in which a male (the patriarch) acts as head of the family/household, holding power over females and children (e.g. in Roman society).
  2. any system whereby men achieve and maintain social, cultural and economic dominance over females and younger males. The term may refer to a pattern of organization within the family and households, etc., or within a whole society.
Although historically sociologists have mainly used the term descriptively, more recent usage by feminist sociologists has emphasized mainly its negative features. Analysis in sociology has been concerned with the origins and the implications of patriarchy. Although biological differences between men and women (e.g. physical strength in warfare) have sometimes been seen as the basis of patriarchy, the cultural and social sources of patriarchy, and its variations in form and importance, are equally striking.

Within FEMINIST THEORY, use of the term patriarchy has lead to the politicization of discussion of GENDER relations, enabling gender relations to be understood as predicated on inequalities of power.



the most widespread form of primitive communal relations during the period of their breakdown. The patriarchy is characterized by the dominant role of men in the economy, society, and family.

The transition to patriarchy took place during a period of significant development in the productive forces and an increase in labor productivity in all aspects of the primitive communal economy: agriculture, cattle raising, hunting, and fishing. The development of production caused the growth of exchange and the rise of private property. Almost everywhere men replaced women in the sphere of basic production and confined them primarily to domestic labor. The patriarchy is also characterized by patrilinear inheritance. The kinship group loses its economic unity but retains other elements of kinship. In addition, the patriarchy is marked by the transition from pairing marriage to monogamy, the settling of the wife in the husband’s communal group (patrilocal marriage), and the formation of large patriarchal families. Patriarchal relations were further strengthened with the growth of property differentiation, the emergence of patriarchal slavery, and the rise of class divisions.

The question of the place of the patriarchy in the history of society has been discussed for many centuries. One widely held theory claimed that human society had always been patriarchal. The ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle supported this theory, which dominated medieval thought on the history of society. In the 19th century it was advocated by H. Maine. In the 1860’s and 1870’s J. Bachofen and later L. H. Morgan refuted the idea of the primordial character of the patriarchy. Key features of Morgan’s views were supported and developed by F. Engels, and they have been accepted by most Soviet scholars. But even in the 20th century a significant number of bourgeois ethnologists adhere to the theory of the primordial character of the patriarchy.


Engels, F. Proiskhozhdenie sem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti i gosudarstva. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 21.
Morgan, L. H. Drevnee obshchestvo. Leningrad, 1934. [Translated from English.]
Kosven, M. O. “Perekhod ot matriarkhata k patriarkhatu.” Tr. ln-ta etnografii, vol. 14. Moscow, 1951.
Problemy etnografii i antropologii v svete nauchnogo naslediia F. Engel’sa. Moscow, 1972.


References in periodicals archive ?
She shows that over time Black women have used their bodily presence to complicate and challenge a migratory process often forced upon them by men or patriarchal society.
The ambassador said although Afghanistan had a patriarchal society, it was a high time for the Afghan women to help make the elections a success.
Add armies, war, industry, competition, as well as the superiority complex of the ruling class and we become a the macho machine a a patriarchal society were the strong kick around the weak and the powerless.
In Cyprus we have the added handicap that until a couple of decades ago this was a very traditional and conservative patriarchal society.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Saudi Arabia, a patriarchal society which has repeatedly been slammed for its record on women's rights and minorities, along with Chad and Nigeria were elected by the UN General Assembly to serve a two-year term on the UN Security Council (UNSC) as human rights groups called for all three countries to improve their records.
Her argument reveals how Islam serves as a platform for feminist activism, and how Koranic verses serve as catalysts for Muslim women to claim rights in a patriarchal society.
The patriarchal society norms and dominant male culture in rural areas creates hindrances for women", she said adding, "there is need to design special program for them which would help facilitate them at the grassroot level".
This shameful neglect no doubt reflects a patriarchal society in which the achievements of women are accorded less importance than those of me.
The head of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, Nehad Aboul Komsan has strongly criticized the women-only transport service concept, stating that the 'moving cages for women' would marginalize women in the patriarchal society and would prove to be detrimental to Egyptian women's progress so far in the position they have been striving to achieve, the report added.
We are hoping this will stimulate discussion about men's place in relation to women's rights and in a patriarchal society.
Another is that this patriarchal society continues to make excuses for the predators, claiming that they are victims of economic and sexual frustrations.
The somewhat threatening mood of the work is also reminiscent of Michael Haneke's portrayal of the subliminal power of strictly regimented communal life in a patriarchal society in Das weisse Band [The White Ribbon, 20091.