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The universality of patriarchy is a standard finding of cultural anthropology.

Cultural anthropology is an empirical (observational) science, based on field work, that produces "pictures" of individual human societies called ethnographies. It is also a theoretical science, called ethnology, comparing and contrasting societies in order to classify and explain the empirical data. Societies have marked differences in the way they exploit resources for survival, the artifacts they produce and in various rituals and other traditions. They also have similarities like marriage, family and the incest taboo. Aspects of human behaviour and social organisation that are common to all known societies are called cultural universals.[1] Patriarchy is one of these universals.[2][1][3]

In ordinary language, patriarchy is simply fathers acting as heads of families. However, patriarchy also has two technical uses. In anthropology, it refers—by extension—to men predominating in roles associated with governing societies. In feminism—by a further extension—it refers to the inequality of social roles between men and women. In fact, Gloria Watkins proposed that "the essence of feminism is opposition to patriarchy".[4] Watkins and many other feminists also consider patriarchy, in their sense of the word, to be universal.[5]

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Brown (1991).
  2. ^ Goldberg (1973).
  3. ^ Pinker (2002).
  4. ^ bell hooks and others (1993): 34.
  5. ^ "A lot of women who go for the notion of equal rights cannot go for the notion of opposing patriarchy, because that means a fundamental opposition to the culture as a whole. That's more scary to people." bell hooks and others (1993): 34.

Bibliography


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