Tuesday, July 5, 2022

What Causes Patriarchy?

Alice Evans, in her blog post "3 Things I Got Wrong About Patriarchy" (June 26, 2022), concludes (convincingly) that:

(1) Patriarchy in a society with plough agriculture arises not mostly due to the importance of men's physical labor relative to women, but instead, as a result of how patrilineal inheritance is used to concentrate wealth and power in a society, to encourage clan-like organization, and to create a need to resolve conflicts between men living in close clan communities over women.

(2) Christian Europe has been surprisingly egalitarian because Christian doctrine was actually followed in the Middle Ages and because rich nobles would use church morals rules against patriarchy as a bludgeon against rivals to prevent them from concentrating power and wealth. Christianity reduced patriarchy relative to many of its immediate predecessor societies in Europe.

(3) Islam promoted patriarchy, when other economic conditions made it feasible, even when the economic and technological conditions didn't compel a patriarchy outcome that wasn't present before a conversion to Islam. But oil wealth didn't change the pre-oil discovery level of patriarchy in an Islamic society very much as many scholars had hypothesized.

She reaches these conclusions, that are not conventional wisdom in anthropology and economics, by looking at more data over longer time periods, with greater detail than other scholars doing the same kind of analysis usually do. 

She was also willing to discount her own cognitive biases, for example, that religion was less important than economics in these matters.

1 comment:

Guy said...

Ok? It's almost like a young and intelligent researcher realizes that Post Modernism leaves a lot of wheat in the chaff.