Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Sat, 16 Mar 1996 14:36:17 -0500

In message <m0txzNW-0004KjC@pdj2-ra.F-REMOTE.CWRU.Edu> "Peter D. Junger"
"So let me contribute the word ``anthroparchy'', which should mean a
society governed or dominated by men (using ``men'' in the non-generic
sense), to this discussion."

What about "androarchy"? This might carry us away from the fact that
"anthropo-" is used for "humankind" in words like "anthropolgy,"
"anthropocentric," etc.

And by the way, from a linguistic viewpoint a dictionary, even the OED (all
hail!) is a record of usage. For our (anthropolological) purposes we need to
assign a word like patriarchy or gerontocracy a meaning that we agree on and
that, most importantly, provides us with a representation that is useful to us.
With that in mind, if we were to decide that gerontocracy means, for us, rule by
elders, whether male or female, then so be it. The folks at OED will have to
include our usage at some point, if they are accurate dictionary-makers.

One more by the way: someone said that if "patriarchy" means "male-dominated"
then it carries no information, since there are no "matriarchal" societies in
the ethnographic record. However, this is another place where Hockett's design
features of language play a role. We can use Language to talk about things that
are not only displaced in space or time, but also nonexistent. So even if there
are (apparently) no female-dominated societies we can still have a word that
represents for us this concept, which contrasts with the apparently universal
male-dominance that we actually find.

(After all, we can talk about Klingons, and noone has ever produced a real one
as far as I know.)

Ronald Kephart
Department of Language & Literature
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL 32224
ph: (w) 904-646-2580 (h) 904-268-4250