Patriarchy

Discipline: Political Science

Rule or domination by kings, fathers, or men in general.

Either the argument that authority is derived by kings and aristocrats from God, whose fatherhood of all they represent on earth; or the view that power is divided along lines of gender and in favor of men.

The original theory of patriarchy was employed in the 17th century to justify the rule of monarchs. Twentieth-century feminism has used the term to describe a division of power and advantage along lines of gender. The term thus means rule by men and - in the general absence of kings but the continuing presence of men - this is now its more common usage.

Source:
G J Schochet, Patriarchalism in Political Thought (Oxford, 1975);
Maggie Humm, The Dictionary of Feminist Theory (London, 1989)

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