Re: What Matriarchy?
Sat, 20 Jul 1996 06:48:54 -0700

Mary Beth Williams wrote:

> Once again, what is in the dictionary and how it is used in
> anthropology are two different kettles of fish. Matriarchy and
> patriarchy are descriptions of *power*, i.e., is power *engendered* in
> a society? (and in many non-industrial societies it is/was not so the
> point is moot.) *Lineality*, as in matrilineal, is more about social
> structure than *power*. My own people are *matrilineal*, and I gain my
> social *identity* from my mother's people. Much of the *outward*
> political power, though, resides within the male sphere. This is not
> at all unusual in Native American society, and in many groups the
> maternal uncles have more *say* in the social upbringing of a child
> than the father.

If you read my original post you will note that I say that it 'has been
used', not that it is anthropologically correct. Actually, matriarchy is
not a term I've found in any modern anthropological works. I later point
out the second use of the word, matriarchates, and explain that this is
the prefered use in studies of social organization, ie in reference to
such animals as hyenas. However, I was responding to this argument that
'in my book it says this', and 'no, it can't because it means this.' The
whole argument is one of matriarchy (matrilineal) and matriarchy
(matriarchate). This seems pointless to argue, and some common
definition should be established. I am only suggesting that matrilineal
and matriarchate be used.