Patriarchy

In-depth evaluation of specific Wikipedia articles.
Renée Bagslint
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Re: Patriarchy

Post by Renée Bagslint » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:11 pm

Anthropology is what white people do to black people. Sociology is what Guardian readers do to Telegraph readers.

Kingsindian
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Re: Patriarchy

Post by Kingsindian » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:54 am

The quote about the Pleistocene comes from this. The quote is mangled; the article talks about "strong patriarchal structures" beginning with the development of agriculture, not that patriarchy didn't exist before agriculture. The proper claim can be defended; the family structure and sexual relations in particular did undergo fairly massive change after humankind moved away from foraging.

A good survey of forager societies is here. It is true that forager society was relatively more egalitarian and sexual and family relations were much more free, at least compared to modern standards. For instance, polygamy, divorce (or its equivalent) and pre-marital and extra-marital sex were routine. However, rape was also not uncommon, so it's debatable to hold that period as some sort of ideal.

Proabivouac
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Re: Patriarchy

Post by Proabivouac » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:50 pm

Kingsindian wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:54 am
The proper claim can be defended; the family structure and sexual relations in particular did undergo fairly massive change after humankind moved away from foraging.
Most likely in the opposite direction from the one alleged as society slowly but surely becomes a collection of strangers. Australians (e.g. Aranda and Tiwi mentioned in the link you'd provided) have the most elaborated kinship systems on record, and the groups themselves are literally patrilines. The modern kinship system is elaborate if we expand the definition of "kinship" to mean "social relationship" – most of these groups don't even have a proper word for "friend," let alone for "boss/employee", "landlord/tenant", etc. The Australian's country is the land which belongs to the patriline, not a race or even a language, and its citizens are so by virtue of birth or marriage into the group.

Here's a funny example from New Guinea (these particular groups are agriculturalists hence their massive populations, though not anywhere near the 700-800k given here for Huli) in which sophisticated locals are using patrilineal arguments to POV push over control of natural resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... ablishment

Besides, when you read the whole paragraph (of "Patriarchy",) it's clear that the WIkipedians and others cited are writing from Engels' theory, which was indeed that the family and hence patriarchy resulted from the development of pastoralism (which he wrongly assumed to have predated agriculture) and of private property.; hence the book's title.
Kingsindian wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:54 am
A good survey of forager societies is here.
Written by economists with a grand total of seven references…but besides that doesn't say everything that you're suggesting it does.
Youngberg and Hanson wrote: Extramarital sex is also usually common, though it is usually not acceptable for women.
But wait, I'd thought that was the whole point…Read more about the Tiwi and tell me if they aren't patriarchal:

https://books.google.com/books/about/Th ... ralia.html
Kingsindian wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:54 am
It is true that forager society was relatively more egalitarian…
Nearly absolutely so, but we seem to be conflating egalitarianism with contemporary liberalism.
Kingsindian wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:54 am
…sexual and family relations were much more free, at least compared to modern standards.
I seriously doubt that there has ever been a human society in which "sexual and family relations" were freer than our own in the way that you mean it, except in the sense that communities were free from the impositions of a hegemonic state, judges and police, etc. which is a different kind of freedom. Many of these freedoms of ours require constant state intervention; others rely upon the easy evasion of accountability in a large-scale society, the existence of which in turn relies upon the state. Without the state, if people disapprove of your behavior, wealth-hoarding, adultery, etc., they can take it out upon you directly, armament being universal and security found in the good graces of your community.
Last edited by Proabivouac on Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

Kingsindian
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Re: Patriarchy

Post by Kingsindian » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:37 am

You seem to be reading a lot of stuff into my post -- stuff which I didn't say. I didn't say that the Wikipedia article is good (indeed, I pointed out one place where the source they cite is mangled). I said nothing about contemporary liberalism or Engels. The survey I pointed out was for Sashi, who asked upthread for a better source than Engels (surely, you agree that the source I gave is better than Engels, which is more than a hundred years old?) I did not hold up forager society as some sort of ideal utopia -- indeed I explicitly warned against it by giving one instance.

Patriarchy is a big topic and I do not know a lot about it. And you probably know more about forager societies than me. I was speaking in general terms. As far as I can see, nothing I said was wrong; but you have a different interpretation than me. Let me try to disentangle some of the points.

Patriarchal structures and patrilineal structures are not the same thing. Forager societies were small and largely "kinship" societies -- completely agree. The "freedom" in such a society is quite different from the "freedom" in a large society of mostly strangers. There are fewer formal structures constraining a person (the state, police, judiciary), but everyone is watching you all the time, so you have more social pressure. However, a person or family has more possibility of "exit" (to use an economics term) -- individuals can and do move between bands.

When I say "egalitarian" I mean the common-sense definition of term. Status hierarchies in forager bands is relatively flat. There are members with more prestige (say, a person who has proven himself a successful hunter -- hunters are almost always men), which might help them attract mates, for instance. But often such prestige doesn't translate into high status within the band. Other people, say the head of a household, will not recognize the former person's authority. Leaders don't have fixed powers, and their power is often limited. Leaders have to carefully cultivate support before acting.

When I said that family and sexual relations were more "free" in forager society, I am using a common-sense meaning of the term. A society where enforced monogamy is the norm (which is true in large parts of the world today) is, in a common-sense way, less free about family and sexual relations than a society which has the characteristics I listed. This does not mean that there's no social pressure for people to behave in the latter society.

Yes, freedom and power are not simple concepts, but I am not writing an academic paper here. You can tell me if anything I said above is wildly off-base. I am interested in forager societies because I see lots of parallels in social media in general, and Wikipedia in particular.

Proabivouac
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Re: Patriarchy

Post by Proabivouac » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:21 am

Kingsindian wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:37 am
The survey I pointed out was for Sashi, who asked upthread for a better source than Engels (surely, you agree that the source I gave is better than Engels, which is more than a hundred years old?)
No doubt.
Kingsindian wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:37 am
Patriarchal structures and patrilineal structures are not the same thing.
True. All attested aboriginal groups track both matrilines and patrilines, and the minority which organize primarily by matriline are mostly patriarchal anyhow. It is a popular misconception that patriarchy and matriarchy are opposites, when by far the bigger difference is rule by elder kinsfolk against rule by strangers.
Kingsindian wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:37 am
However, a person or family has more possibility of "exit" (to use an economics term)
To the contrary, in many to most instances there would be nowhere to go and nothing to find there. In contrast, among America's professional classes "exit" is nearly mandatory beginning with college. Even transferring between (giant) countries is common. Displacement is a key feature of the modern era and psyche.

Re the more strictly economic definition of exit:
Youngberg and Hanson wrote: Men hunt local game and collect honey while women collect tubers, berries, and fruit.
This doesn't sound like a matter of individual choice. No mention of applications, hirings or firings, unemployment or exits from the industries in question (and not even the pretense of interchangability between the sexes.)
Kingsindian wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:37 am
When I say "egalitarian" I mean the common-sense definition of term. Status hierarchies in forager bands is relatively flat.
Yes.
Kingsindian wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:37 am
When I said that family and sexual relations were more "free" in forager society, I am using a common-sense meaning of the term. A society where enforced monogamy is the norm (which is true in large parts of the world today) is, in a common-sense way, less free about family and sexual relations than a society which has the characteristics I listed.
The United States and several like-minded countries stand out among the few attested societies in which adultery is not only legal, but to contest it is strictly prohibited. The most common polysemy for "adultery" is "theft" and it is everywhere viewed as cause for very serious personal grievance – even here where the usual reactions must be suppressed by police, judges, jailors, schools, psychologists etc. Were everyone truly free to act as they pleased, it would be a much riskier business. Weinsteins, Cosbys, Trumps, Clintons etc. are protected creatures of the modern era.

It is my own personal suggestion that marriage answered the development of armament, as the consequences of internecine conflict become more serious and a small number of alphas taking most of the women is no longer viable. Most violent primate disputes are between males and about females. Marriage is in this respect the most radically egalitarian of human inventions.
Kingsindian wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:37 am
I am interested in forager societies because I see lots of parallels in social media in general, and Wikipedia in particular.
I doubt that Wikipedia administrators and arbitrators would last too long where those they block and ban live next door…just look how badly they freak out when people know who they are and where they live…as you say, status hierarchies are relatively flat.
Kingsindian wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:37 am
Forager societies were small and largely "kinship" societies -- completely agree.
So right there we agree that both Engels and the WIkipedia article are hopelessly mistaken, as marriage and kinship greatly predate agriculture, pastoralism and private property while patriarchy is the characteristic feature of a "kinship society."
Last edited by Proabivouac on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

Proabivouac
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Re: Patriarchy

Post by Proabivouac » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:55 am

Just to reiterate, the Wikipedia article goes much further than any of this to state that prior to 6k b.p. people not only didn't know or care who their fathers were but didn't even have the concept of fatherhood:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... =843753015
WIkipedia wrote: Some scholars point to about six thousand years ago (4000 BCE), when the concept of fatherhood took root, as the beginning of the spread of patriarchy.
This is up there with young earth creationism in fringe/wacko territory.

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Auggie
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Re: Patriarchy

Post by Auggie » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:59 pm

yes in that documentary cartoon, Tom and Jerry, we see how many mammals understand the concept of fatherhood.


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