Re: civilization/stratification etc.

Barbara Tsatsoulis-Bonnekessen (BARBARA@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU)
Fri, 16 Dec 1994 09:39:28 -0600

To the point that gender stratification must have developed before
cities and male/male stratification:

Gerda Lerner (The Creation of Patriarchy) offers two interesting
- p.41/42: "...the first sexual division of labor, by which men did
the big-game hunting and children and women the small-game hunting
and food gathering, seems to derive from biological sex differences.
These ... are not differences in the strength and endurance of men and
women, but solely reproductive differences ... [this] holds only
for the earliest stages of human development ... [while] male
dominance is a *historic* phenomenon." Which I interpret as: while
a certain division was necessary in migratory gatherers (but
women are not pregnant/lactating at all times during their lives),
latter societies recreated/continued the division artifically (the
current western pattern can certainly not necessitate any division
of labor by reproductive ability/physical strength or what ever).

She then argues that a shift from matrilineal/matrilocal patterns
to patrilineal/patrilocal patterns caused women to be reified as
reproducers of laborers at a time when incipient plough agriculture
demanded a larger male labor force.

A similar shift from women's equal status because of their productive
ability in gathering and horticulture to an article of male
possession/power display/networking in agricultural subsistence
where men take on greater food producing responsibility and women
are reproducers only, is also argued (with less impressive conviction
than Lerner's) by Margaret Ehrenberg (Women in Prehistory).

According to Lerner, this shift to women as an object of exchange,
possession, and control is demonstrated in the origin of slavery
which (accord. to Lerner) was at first limited to women slaves only.

She furthermore discusses the origin of veiling (controlled women,
possessions of upper class men preserve their privacy, while unveiled
women are available, uncontrolled, or slave).

Lerner argues for the Middle East only, Ehrenberg for Middle Europe.
Is there a discussion/hypothesis about early gender startification in
other areas of the world (e.g., Japan, China, Aztecs, Quiche, and
other who were organized in states)?

Sorry for the long posting, this is a topic dear to my heart!

Barbara Tsatsoulis-Bonnekessen
Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology
Washburn University