Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Mary Beth Williams (
26 Jul 1996 18:46:50 GMT

In <4tabl7$> (Bryant) writes:
>Stephen Barnard <> wrote:
>>>Historically, men probably have had more of "certain kinds of power"

>>>because they're bigger and stronger. It doesn't take a
>>>analysis to see that.
>Barbara Smuts points out that most human societies are/were
>meaning that there was little opportunity for a female to build
>with other women who were not dependent upon or kin of her husband.

I would disagree with Smuts regarding patrilocality being nearly
universal, as this is certainly _not_ the case in many hunter-gatherer
and agricultural societies, particularly in the Western Hemisphere.
Mississippian society was matrilocal (see Buikstra's work on the
subject), and most Eastern Woodland groups continue to be matrilocal,
as well as matrilineal (my own included). It is difficult
archaeologically in *prehistoric* cultures to determine matrilocality
without a great deal of either skeletal or cultural material, and,
throughout the field, this type of research is still in it infancy.
Hence, I would refrain from making generalizations about *past*
non-literate societies until more data is in.

MB Williams
Dept. of Anthro., UMass-Amherst