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Matriarchal Societies

Studies on Indigenous Cultures Across the Globe

Heide Göttner-Abendroth

This book presents the results of Heide Goettner-Abendroth’s pioneering research in the field of modern matriarchal studies, based on a new definition of «matriarchy» as true gender-egalitarian societies. Accordingly, matriarchal societies should not be regarded as mirror images of patriarchal ones, as they have never needed patriarchy’s hierarchical structures of domination. On the contrary, matriarchal patterns are socially egalitarian, economically balanced, and politically based on consensus decisions. They have been created by women and are founded on maternal values. This new perspective on matriarchal societies is developed step by step by the analysis of extant indigenous cultures in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.


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Acknowledgments xiii


This book would not have been possible without the solidarity and practical sup- port of many people: Special thanks to Genevieve Vaughan (USA and Italy) whose generous sup- port financed the translation from German to English. Her gift gave me the impetus to make this work available to an international readership. And I thank my sister, Monika Abendroth (Iceland), whose sisterly under- standing about my project moved her to contribute to funding the translation. Heartfelt thanks to my translator and friend, Karen Smith (USA and Switzerland), who not only translated but also served as my best advisor. In the process of our working together she continually broadened my viewpoint, and encouraged me in a friendly way. And to all the indigenous scholars who read individual chapters of this book and sent me valuable information, my sincere thanks—their personal communi- cation and critical comments have been especially helpful: Wilhelmina Donkoh (Akan, West Africa), Gad A. Osafo (Akan, West Africa), Barbara Alice Mann (Iroquois Seneca, USA), Savithri Shanker de Tourreil (Nayar, Southwest India), Valentina Pakyntein (Khasi, Northeast India), Malika Grasshoff (Kabyle, North Africa), Bernedette Muthien (KhoeSan, South Africa). Likewise I am grateful to the non-indigenous scholars Susan Gail Carter Acknowledgments 1_Goettner_Abendroth fm 2 Acknowledgments_t5 1/6/2012 4:46 PM Page xiii (USA) and Antje Olowaili (Germany), as well as to Kalli Rose Halvorsen (USA) for their careful reading of an early version of the English text and their contribu- tion to the clarity of this work. The publication of...

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