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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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1: Permission from Sanjib Bhattacharjee 2: Permission from Suresh Maharjan 3: Permission from Vicki Noble 4: Permission from Karin Kastner 5: Permission from Karin Kastner 6: Permission from Susan G. Carter 7: Permission from: Institut für Kulturanthropologie und Europäische Ethnologie, Frankfurt 8: Permission from Dr. William E. Mitchell 9: Permission from Lei’ohu Ryder 10: Permission from Sandra Schett 11: Permission from Gudrun Frank-Wissmann 12: Permission from Cornelia Suhan 13: Photo by the author 14: Photo out of copyright 15: Permission from the Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde, Dresden 16: Permission from Oxford University Press 17: Permission from Oxford University Press 18 a,b,c: Permission from Musée d’ethnographie, Neuchâtel List of Permissions for Illustrations 6_Goettner_Abendroth ch 16 thu end_t5 2/28/2012 10:06 AM Page 475 6_Goettner_Abendroth ch 16 thu end_t5 2/28/2012 10:06 AM Page 476

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