Re: What Matriarchy? (was Drugs etc.)

sgf (
20 Jul 1996 19:29:33 GMT

In article <4srbc4$>,
sgf <> wrote:
>Dictionaries can be wrong. My dictionary is really wrong in this: it
>mixes up "matriarchal" and "matrilineal." (and has not a moention of
>mothers at all.) (matrilineal: descent and inheritance traced through the
>female line.)

Following up to my own post: I must be quite sad. :)

I think I was a bit unclear in the above quote: the definition of
"matrilineal" above is the correct definition as used in the
anthropological community. *Mothers* specifically, as opposed to
*females*, do not come into it.

If "matriarchy" referred to mothers, then "patriarchy" would refer to
fathers, and the current use of the term does not support that
defintion. The ruling line of Japan, the royal house of England, the
princes of Monaco, are all considered to be organized patrilineally, and
before the acceptance of parliamentary-type rule, were considered
patriarchal. And none of them had a requirement that the ruler must have
fathered offspring before taking power, which would be essential if a
society was truly father-ruled. (There do exist societies in which a
person must have produced offspring before being allowed to hold power.)

As for arguing that "matriarchal" was originally intended to mean
"mother", and so should be used in that manner, go ahead and do so. Just
don't expect other disciplines (anthropology, aracheology, history,
literature) which already have a commonly accepted definition to change
at your whim. You wouldn't try to argue particle physics and insist that
physicists conform to your definition of "quark."


-- <*>
"Assiduous and frequent questioning is indeed the first key to wisdom ...for
by doubting we come to inquiry; through inquiring we perceive the truth..."
--Peter Abelard (..........I claim this .sig for Queen Elizabeth)