Conclusion: rethinking patriarchy

Katie Barclay

in Love, Intimacy and Power

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780719084904
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702598 | DOI:
Conclusion: rethinking patriarchy

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The operation of a patriarchal system is not a story of unreserved male power and down-trodden women. Patriarchy is a lived system; it is a framework that people use to justify male superiority over women and it is one which survived through numerous social, cultural and political changes over the last several centuries. Understanding it as a system for organising gender and social relationships explains women's continued subordination over time, despite historical change in many other areas of life. This study demonstrates how it came about that, despite some radical transformations in how people conceptualised the world around them, women's social status remained unchanged over two centuries. This process was not about unchecked male force or an overt strategy by a group of men to keep women oppressed, but rather that the belief in a woman's subordination to her husband was so deeply ingrained within Scottish, and European, culture that people could not conceive of the world differently.

Keywords: rethinking patriarchy; male superiority; women's social status; Scottish culture; male power

Chapter.  3107 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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