Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Patriarchy has many different interpretations, depending on the theoretical and disciplinary orientation of the writer or speaker. Within anthropology, for example, patriarchy defines a condition in which male members of a society predominate in positions of authority. In female-dominated societies, the term matriarchy is used. For feminists, however, patriarchy has a different, and more political, connotation. Here, patriarchy refers to the systematic oppression and exploitation of women vis-a-vis their male counterparts. Patriarchy therefore refers more specifically to a relational and gendered process of dominance (by men) and subservience (of women). This dominance involves three basic forms of power: control over women's labor, control over women's reproductive abilities, and control over women's affections. Given the ...