Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?
Thu, 25 Jul 1996 12:26:33 -0700 wrote:

>> This isn't matriarchy. This is matrilineal descent. Two different things.

> Perhaps you should look these terms up in a dictionary before you
> claim such things.

> Very interesting, you make a distinction which I cannot find in any
> other place, including dictionaries and other books.

> matriarchate: a society, tribe, or state in which women hold the
> dominant authority.
> matriarchy: a social system in which descent is traced through the
> mother's side of the family.
> matrilineal: pertaining to, based on, or tracing ancestral descent
> through the maternal line.

Your dictionary should also include a definition for matriarchy
(matriarchate). This is the appropriate use of the word when identifying
social organization in some animals. The general argument has been that
this is also the appropriate use in anthropology. And, while I have seen
both in use in anthropological works, it's really not worth debating.
The important thing is to recognize the difference between matriarchy
(matrilineal) and matriarchy (matriarchate).

> TECHNICALLY, ENGLAND has been a matriarchate from time to time as
> women have been holding dominant authority. So, your arguement is
> moot.

This is one of those confusing issues. While the queen was a matriarch,
the country did not become a matriarchate by virtue of her taking the
throne. There is a difference between sovereign (or supreme) authority
and dominant authority. Dominant authority is that authority which
exercises the most influence or control. This authority was vested in
the land-holders, ie the nobility. Granted, the royal families also held
land (I do not know how much authority the queen had over these
holdings), but the queens sovereignty was only over the nobility. The
queen could only tax the landholders, she could not determine how those
resources were used.