A paramount chief is the English-language designation for the highest-level political leader in a regional or local polity or country administered politically with a chief-based system. This term is used in anthropological and archaeological theory to refer to the rulers of multiple chiefdoms or the rulers of exceptionally powerful chiefdoms that have subordinated others. Paramount chiefs were identified by English-speakers as existing in Native American confederacies and regional chiefdoms, such as the Powhatan Confederacy and Piscataway Native Americans encountered by English colonists in the Chesapeake Bay area of North America. More Paramount Chief is a formal title created by British administrators during the 19th and 20th-century Colonial era and used in India and Asian colonies, they used it as a substitute for the word king to maintain that only the British monarch held that title. Since the title "chief" was used in terms of district and town administrators, the addition of "paramount" was made so as to distinguish between the ruling monarch and the local aristocracy.
Kenya: Title since 1904 of the former laibon of all the Maasai in Kenya Sudan: In South Sudan, the title of the chief responsible for a payam elected by the chiefs of each buma. The Paramount Chief works with the government-appointed Payam Director, both of whom report to a county Commissioner. Cameroon: Charles Atangana Nigeria: Ladapo Ademola Sierra Leone: Bai Bureh Kgôsi of each of the eight major tribes of the Tswana, all in Botswana In present Lesotho since it emerged as a polity in 1822, a British Protectorate as Basutoland since 12 March 1868; the title changed to king at 4 October 1966 independence date from Britain. In Namibia over the Awa-Khoi or "Red Nation" of the Nama people, a Chiefdom established before 1700. Title Okahandja Herero among that people Chief Ministers of Hereoroland, the'homeland' of the Ovaherero In Swaziland the term paramount chief was imposed by the British over Swazi royal objections in 1903, was never recognized by the Swazi royalty, was changed to "king" in English upon independence in 1968.
The SiSwati name for the office is Ngwenyama, a ceremonial term for "lion". In South Africa Khosikulu of the vhaVenda. Title Inkosi Enkhulu of the amaMpondomise title Inkosi Enkhulu of the abaThembu ruled by Buyelekhaya Zwelinbanzi Dalindyebo. Title Inkosi Enkhulu of the Nhlangwini ruled by Melizwe Dlamini KhanKhan, alternately spelled lowercase as khan and sometimes spelled as Han, Xan, Ke-Han, Turkic: khān, Mongolian: qāān, Chinese: 可汗 or 汗, kehan or han) is an Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, first used by medieval Turko-Mongol nomadic tribes living to the north of China.'Khan' is first seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283–289 and was used as a state title by the Rouran confederation. It was subsequently adopted by the Göktürks before Turkic peoples and the Mongols brought it to the rest of Asia. In the middle of the sixth century it was known as "Kagan – King of the Turks" to the Persians, it now has many equivalent meanings such as leader, or ruler.
The most famous khan was the Great Khan of Mongols: Genghis Khan. Another famous Manchu khan was Nurhachi. Aotearoa, Ariki Nui of Ngati Tuwharetoa, a Māori tribe in the central North Island – a hereditary chieftainship which still has great influence. In the 1850s the Māori King Movement resulted in the election of a Waikato chief as Māori King. American Samoa Cook Islands, the paramount chief of the Cook Islands was an ariki of the Makea Nui dynasty, a chiefdom of the Te Au O Tonga tribe in Rarotonga, the Kingdom of Rarotonga was established in 1858 and ended in 1888. Fiji: during the October–December 1987 secession agitation on one island, known as the Republic of Rotuma, led by Henry Gibson, his style was Gagaj Sau Lagfatmaro, rendered as Paramount chief or King of the Molmahao Clan. NB: This title was not recognised by the Rotuma Island Council as the titles Gagaja and Sau have never been used together; the closest thing to a paramount chief is the position of Fakpure belonging to the district chief of Noa'tau. the British Sovereign was recognized as "Paramount Chief" after the country became a republic on 7 October 1987.
Chef supérieur Great King Hegemony High king Monarchy Monarchy of Fiji – the Great Council of Chiefs until de-established in March 2012, recognised Elizabeth II as Tui Viti or Paramount Chief Paramount ruler Sachem WorldStatesmen see each present country
Georges Balandier was a French sociologist and ethnologist noted for his research in Sub-Saharan Africa. Balandier was born in Aillevillers-et-Lyaumont, he was a professor at the Sorbonne, is a member of the Center for African Studies, a research center of the École pratique des hautes études. He held for many years the Editorship of Cahiers Internationaux de Sociologie and edited the series Sociologie d'Aujourd'hui at Presses Universitaires de France, he died on 5 October 2016 at the age of 95. Colonialism and culture in the work of Georges Balandier: an introduction in English. 2009, Le dépaysement contemporain: L’Immédiat et l'essentiel, Paris, PUF, 216 p. 2008, Fenêtres sur un nouvel âge 2006-2007, Fayard, 287 p. 2006 Le pouvoir sur scène, Fayard, 172 p. Trad. brésilienne, roumaine, japonaise avec édition de poche. 2005 Civilisation et Puissance, Paris, L'Aube 2005 Le Grand dérangement, Paris, PUF, 119 p. Trad. arabe. 2005 Civilisations et puissance. Changement d’époque, L’Aube / Poche essai, 2004, 46 p. 2004 Sens et puissance.
Les dynamiques sociales, PUF, 1971, 334 p. Trad. anglaise, italienne, japonaise. 2003 Civilisés, dit-on, Paris, PUF, 399 p. 2001 Le Grand système, Fayard, 274 p. 2000 avec Leonardo Cremonini, En connivence, Electa 1999, Anthropologie politique, Paris, PUF « Quadrige », 237 p. Trad. anglaise, américaine, portugaise, allemande, suédoise, japonaise, persane, croate, coréenne, tchèque, ukrainienne, Argentine. 1997 Conjugaisons, Fayard, 411 p. 1996 Une anthropologie des moments critiques, Paris, EHESS. 1994 Le Dédale. Pour en finir avec le XXème siècle, Paris, Éd. Fayard, 1994, 236 p. Trad. italienne, brésilienne, portugaise. 1992 Sociologie actuelle de l’Afrique Noire. Dynamique des changements sociaux en Afrique centrale, Paris, PUF, 1955, XII-511 p.. Trad. anglaise, américaine, allemande. 1992 Afrique ambiguë, Plon, 293 p. Trad. anglaise, américaine, japonaise, espagnole, portugaise. 1992 La vie quotidienne au royaume du Kongo du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle, Hachette, 286 p. Trad. anglaise, américaine, polonaise.
1988 Le désordre: Éloge du mouvement, Fayard, 252 p. Trad. espagnole, portugaise, brésilienne. 1985 Le détour: pouvoir et modernité, Fayard 1985 Sociologie des Brazzavilles noires, Armand Colin. 1977 Histoire d'Autres, Stock, 319 p. 1974 Anthropo-logiques, Paris, PUF, repris ensuite et augmenté en Livre de poche « Biblio-essais ». Trad. italienne, brésilienne, portugaise. Cet ouvrage montre bien les constructions sociales des inégalités à partir des différences de sexe, d'âge et d'activité sociale ou de groupe familial. 1972 Georges Gurvitch, sa vie, son œuvre, Pairs, PUF, 120 p. Trad. anglaise. 1961 Les pays en voie de développement: analyse sociologique et politique, Les Cours de Droit, 312 p.. 1959 Les pays «sous-développés»: aspects et perspectives, Les Cours de Droit, 286 p. multigr.. 1955 L’anthropologie appliquée aux problèmes des pays sous-développés, Les Cours de Droit, 1955, 375 p.. 1954 Conséquences sociales de l’industrialisation et problèmes urbains en Afrique: étude bibliographique, Bureau international de recherche sur les implications sociales du progrès technique, 1954, 77 p. 1952 Particularisme et évolution: Les pêcheurs lébou du Sénégal, avec Paul Mercier, Saint-Louis, Institut français d’Afrique Noire, 1952, 216 p..
1952 Les villages gabonais: aspects démographiques, économiques, sociologiques Projets de modernisation, avec J. C. Pauvert, Institut d’études centrafricaines, 1952, 90 p.. 1951 Aspects psychologiques et problèmes actuels de l’Afrique Noire, Centre d’études asiatiques et africaines, 1951, 117 p. 1947 Tous comptes faits, Éd. du Pavois, 236 p. Centre d'études africaines Biography Template:Eng icon
Technology, Tradition, and the State in Africa
Technology and the State in Africa is a book studying the indigenous political systems of sub-Saharan Africa written by the British social anthropologist Jack Goody a professor at St. John's College, Cambridge University, it was first published in 1971 by Oxford University Press for the International African Institute. Divided into five chapters, the short book is devoted to Goody's argument that former scholars studying sub-Saharan Africa had made mistakes by comparing its historical development to that in Europe, believing the two to be fundamentally different due to technological differences between the two continents. In particular he criticises the idea that African political systems were feudal, believing that such a concept – while applicable to Medieval Europe – was not applicable to pre-colonial Africa. In the first chapter, entitled "Feudalism in Africa?", Goody explores the various definitions of the word "feudalism", the manner in which it has been used to describe historical societies across both Europe and Asia, the manner in which social anthropologists have used it to refer to contemporary societies in Africa.
He proceeds to discuss the various definitions of feudalism, the way in which it has been used by both noted sociologists such as Max Weber and Karl Marx and by historians like Marc Bloch. Goody goes into greater detail regarding how the term has been used to refer to various African states, such as S. F. Nadel's use of the term to refer to Nupe society in his book A Black Byzantium, Maquet's use of the term to refer to the states of the Ruanda in his work The Premise of Inequality in Ruanda, believing that the use of the term "feudal" – which has its basis in historical investigation into Medieval Europe – is unnecessary in both of these cases. Moving on to look at the "economic approach to feudalism", Goody challenges the view championed by "orthodox Marxists" such as I. I. Potemkin that in Africa, feudal states emerged because land was controlled by powerful land owners to whom the peasants were indebted, having to pay rent or proving services in return for being allowed to farm the land.
Instead, Goody argues, in much of Africa, land was plentiful and "of little economic importance", that such a feudal system of land ownership was not applicable. Goody proceeds to argue that while Africanists should not adopt the term "feudalism" from historians of Medieval Europe, there should be greater interdisciplinary work on Africa from historians and sociologists alike. Goody devotes the second chapter to an examination of the economic and technological aspects of pre-colonial African society, which he argues distinguish it from Medieval Europe and Eurasia more generally, he begins with a brief discussion of the complex trade networks across Sub-Saharan Africa that existed prior to contact with Europeans, noting that it certain respects Africa had a monetary economy, similar to that of Western Europe. However, according to Goody it was in its "means of production" rather than its "productive relations" that Africa's economy differed from that of Eurasia. Goody goes on to look at the nature of land in Africa, arguing that it was both more plentiful and less productive than that in Europe, leading Africans to move their farms around more often.
He argues that the nature of land in Africa meant that the concept of serfdom, a prominent part of Medieval European society, never developed there. He rounds up the chapter with a discussion of the role that horses and cavalry played in the African military. In Technology and the State in Africa, Goody presents his argument that the label "feudal" is not applicable when referring to African states, considering it to be a word, used to describe the societies of Medieval Europe. Although Goody accepted the possible existence of "broad resemblances between the states of medieval Europe and those of pre-colonial Africa", in particular similarities between their "monarchical systems of government", he dismisses the use of such a "vague and all-embracing concept" as feudalism, believing that it ignores the multiple differences – regarding "economics and technology" – which differentiate the two continents. Goody criticised those Africanists, such as S. F. Nadel and J. J. Maquet, who have used such a term to describe societies which they are studying, but praised M.
G. Smith, L. A. Fallers and L. P. Mair, who "make at least as adequate an analysis without introducing the concept at all." According to Goody, "This second approach seems preferable as a procedure. It is simpler. Although he notes that the theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – the founders of Marxist thought – gave much to the study of how society's progress, Goody believed that this orthodox Marxist approach when dealing with African history "blocks advance" because it held to a "rigid attachment to particular European-based
A cargo cult is a belief system among members of a undeveloped society in which adherents practice superstitious rituals hoping to bring modern goods supplied by a more technologically advanced society. These cults, millenarian in nature, were first described in Melanesia in the wake of contact with advanced Western cultures; the name derives from the belief which began among Melanesians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that various ritualistic acts such as the building of an airplane runway will result in the appearance of material wealth highly desirable Western goods, via Western airplanes. Cargo cults develop during a combination of crises. Under conditions of social stress, such a movement may form under the leadership of a charismatic figure; this leader may have a "vision" of the future linked to an ancestral efficacy thought to be recoverable by a return to traditional morality. This leader may characterize the present state as a dismantling of the old social order, meaning that social hierarchy and ego boundaries have been broken down.
Contact with colonizing groups brought about a considerable transformation in the way indigenous peoples of Melanesia have thought about other societies. Early theories of cargo cults began from the assumption that practitioners failed to understand technology, colonization, or capitalist reform. However, many of these practitioners focus on the importance of sustaining and creating new social relationships, with material relations being secondary. Since the late twentieth century, alternative theories have arisen. For example, some scholars, such as Kaplan and Lindstrom, focus on Europeans' characterization of these movements as a fascination with manufactured goods and what such a focus says about Western commodity fetishism. Others point to the need to see each movement as reflecting a particularized historical context eschewing the term "cargo cult" for them unless there is an attempt to elicit an exchange relationship from Europeans. Cargo cults are marked by a number of common characteristics, including a "myth-dream", a synthesis of indigenous and foreign elements.
The indigenous societies of Melanesia were characterized by a "big man" political system in which individuals gained prestige through gift exchanges. The more wealth a man could distribute, the more people in his debt, the greater his renown; those who were unable to reciprocate were identified as "rubbish men". Faced, through colonialism, with foreigners with a unending supply of goods for exchange, indigenous Melanesians experienced "value dominance"; that is, they were dominated by others in terms of their own value system. Since the modern manufacturing process is unknown to them, members and prophets of the cults maintain that the manufactured goods of the non-native culture have been created by spiritual means, such as through their deities and ancestors; these goods are intended for the local indigenous people, but the foreigners have unfairly gained control of these objects through malice or mistake. Thus, a characteristic feature of cargo cults is the belief that spiritual agents will, at some future time, give much valuable cargo and desirable manufactured products to the cult members.
Symbols associated with Christianity and modern Western society tend to be incorporated into their rituals. Notable examples of cargo cult activity include the setting up of mock airstrips, airplanes and dining rooms, as well as the fetishization and attempted construction of Western goods, such as radios made of coconuts and straw. Believers may stage "drills" and "marches" with sticks for rifles and use military-style insignia and national insignia painted on their bodies to make them look like soldiers, thereby treating the activities of Western military personnel as rituals to be performed for the purpose of attracting the cargo; the term cargo cult was first used in print in 1945 by Norris Mervyn Bird, repeating a derogatory description used by planters and businessmen in the Australian Territory of Papua. The term was adopted by anthropologists, applied retroactively to movements in a much earlier era.1964 Peter Lawrence: "cargo ritual was any religious activity designed to produce goods in this way and assume to have been taught... by the deity" Discussions of cargo cults begin with a series of movements that occurred in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
The earliest recorded cargo cult was the Tuka Movement that began in Fiji in 1885 at the height of British colonial plantation era. The movement began with a promised return to a golden age of ancestral potency. Minor alterations to priestly practices were undertaken to update them and attempt to recover some kind of ancestral efficacy. Colonial authorities saw Tuka as a rebel, he was exiled, although he kept returning. Cargo cults occurred periodically in many parts of the island of New Guinea, including the Taro Cult in northern Papua New Guinea and the Vailala Madness that arose from 1919 to 1922; the last was documented by Francis Edgar Williams, one of the first anthropologists to conduct fieldwork in Papua New Guinea. Less dramatic cargo cults have appeared in western New Guinea as well, including the Asmat and Dani areas; the most known period of cargo cult activity occurred among the M
In anthropology, a house society is a society where kinship and political relations are organized around membership in corporately-organized dwellings rather than around descent groups or lineages, as in the "House of Windsor". The concept was proposed by Claude Lévi-Strauss who called them "sociétés à maison"; the concept has been applied to understand the organization of societies from Mesoamerica and the Moluccas to North Africa and medieval Europe. The House society is a hybrid, transitional form between kin-based and class-based social orders, is not one of Lévi-Strauss"elementary structures' of kinship. Lévi-Strauss introduced the concept as an alternative to'corporate kinship group' among the cognatic kinship groups of the Pacific region; the significant groupings within these societies have variable membership because kinship is reckoned bilaterally and come together for only short periods. Property and residence are not the basis for the group's existence. Lévi-Strauss' most succinct definition of a House was that it is "a corporate body holding an estate made up of both material and immaterial wealth, which perpetuates itself through the transmission of its name, its goods and its titles down a real or imaginary line considered legitimate as long as this continuity can express itself in the language of kinship or of affinity and, most of both."There are three elements to this definition: The House is a corporate body holding an estate made up of both material and immaterial goods.
As a "moral person", it is an alternate metaphor replacing "blood" in defining the social identity of the group. As a symbol of the group, the House persists over generations and links the group to its sacred origins; the House persists over time by transmitting its titles through conditional kinship principles: "patrilineal descent and matrilineal descent and residence, hypergamy and hypogamy, close marriage and distant marriage and election: all these notions which allow anthropologists to distinguish the various known types of society, are united in the house, as if, in the last analysis the spirit of this institution expressed an effort to transcend, in all spheres of collective life, theoretically incompatible principles."Only the core group will inhabit the House as a residence. The other House members will only come together on special ritual occasions, making this an "occasional kinship group." Other House members have multiple overlapping ties to other Houses as well, through both mother's and father's kin.
Their ability to assert a claim to membership in a House will depend on a number of criteria, such as their parents' participation, their ability to contribute to the House's upkeep, their participation in its rituals. Successful claims of membership may bring special benefits, such as the right to utilize House resources with the consent of the core members. Most of the examples of ‘sociétés à maison’ cited by Lévi-Strauss, with the exception of the Kwakiutl Indians of the North-west coast of Canada, were feudal; this has led some to ask if feudalism was an essential feature of House societies, answering in the negative. Schrauwers, in contrast, has argued that House societies are characteristically organized around a system of social ranks, not feudalism; that is, the House is not an economic class but a ranked group in a society organized around a system of social ranks. Schrauwers gives, as an alternate example, societies organized around slavery where a noble group's property are its slaves.
Houses are political in three ways. These two forms of political engagement may be connected through agonistic exchange institutions such as the Potlatch. There is, lastly a politics of struggle and incorporation between ranked noble Houses and those groups like slaves and commoners who lack the resources to maintain their organization as a House. Houses are tied together through oftentimes contradictory forms of kinship, whether descent or alliance. Given that Houses are not lineages, leadership is ascribed by genealogical seniority alone. Leadership of a House is gained through status competition. A number of traditional Southeast Asian kingdoms, such as those in Bali, or the kingdom of Luwu in Sulawesi, were dominated by noble Houses that competed with each other for control of the state; these states have alternately been described as mandala states. Although they may be referred to as House Societies, not all societies with Houses have those Houses uniformly distributed among all ranks and classes.
The House in Bali, as well as in the kingdom of Luwu in Sulawesi, is an "optional" kinship group. Schrauwers has argued, he points out, for example, that the inherited estate of some Sulawesi House societies in the kingdom of Luwu is composed of slaves. In this case and rank are synonymous; because they are property, slaves are prevented from forming their own Houses. Commoners in those societies are of a different rank, but lack property, therefore cannot form their own houses either; the way in which these lower classes were prevented from forming Houses was two-fold. On the one hand, they might be engaged in the agonistic exchange systems with Noble Houses that results in
E. E. Evans-Pritchard
Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard, FBA, known as E. E. Evans-Pritchard, was an English anthropologist, instrumental in the development of social anthropology, he was Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford from 1946 to 1970. Evans-Pritchard was educated at Winchester College and studied history at Exeter College, where he was influenced by R. R. Marett, as a postgraduate at the London School of Economics. At Oxford he was part of the Hypocrites' Club. There he came under the influence of Bronisław Malinowski and Charles Gabriel Seligman, the founding ethnographer of the Sudan, his first fieldwork began in 1926 with the Azande, a people of the upper Nile, resulted in both a doctorate and his classic Witchcraft and Magic Among the Azande. Evans-Pritchard continued to lecture at the LSE and conduct research in Azande and Bongo land until 1930, when he began a new research project among the Nuer; this work coincided with his appointment to the University of Cairo in 1932, where he gave a series of lectures on religion that bore Seligman's influence.
After his return to Oxford, he continued his research on Nuer. It was during this period that he first met A. R. Radcliffe-Brown. Evans-Pritchard began developing Radcliffe-Brown's program of structural-functionalism; as a result, his trilogy of works on the Nuer and the volume he coedited entitled African Political Systems came to be seen as classics of British social anthropology. Evans-Pritchard's Witchcraft and Magic Among the Azande is the first major anthropological contribution to the sociology of knowledge through its neutral — some would say "relativist" — stance on the "correctness" of Zande beliefs about causation, his work focused in on a known psychological effect known as psychological attribution. Evans-Pritchard recorded the tendencies of Azandes to blame or attribute witchcraft as the cause of various mis-happenings; the most notable of these issues involved the deaths of eight Azande people due to the collapse of a termite infested door frame. Evans-Pritchard's empirical work in this vein became well-known through philosophy of science and "rationality" debates of the 1960s and 1970s involving Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend.
During the Second World War Evans-Pritchard served in Ethiopia, Libya and Syria. In Sudan he raised irregular troops among the Anuak to harass the Italians and engaged in guerrilla warfare. In 1942 he was posted to the British Military Administration of Cyrenaica in North Africa, it was on the basis of his experience there that he produced The Sanusi of Cyrenaica. In documenting local resistance to Italian conquest, he became one of a few English-language authors to write about the tariqa. After a brief stint in Cambridge, Evans-Pritchard became professor of social anthropology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College, he remained at All Souls College for the rest of his career. Among the doctoral students he advised was the late M. N. Srinivas, the doyen among India's sociologists who coined some of the key concepts in Indian sociological discourse, including "Sanskritization", "dominant caste" and "vote bank." One of his students was Talal Asad. Mary Douglas's classic Purity and Danger on pollutions and uncertainty — what we denote as'risk' — was fundamentally influenced by Evans-Pritchard's views on how accusations and responsibility are deployed though culturally specific conceptions of misfortune and harm.
Evans-Pritchard's work was more theoretical, drawing upon his experiences as anthropologist to philosophize on the nature of anthropology and how it should best be practiced. In 1950 he famously disavowed the held view that anthropology was a natural science, arguing instead that it should be grouped amongst the humanities history, he argued that the main issue facing anthropologists was one of translation—finding a way to translate one's own thoughts into the world of another culture and thus manage to come to understand it, to translate this understanding back so as to explain it to people of one's own culture. In 1965, he published the influential work Theories of Primitive Religion, arguing against the existing theories of what at the time were called "primitive" religious practices. Arguing along the lines of his theoretical work of the 1950s, he claimed that anthropologists succeeded in entering the minds of the people they studied, so ascribed to them motivations which more matched themselves and their own culture, not the one they are studying.
He argued that believers and non-believers approached the study of religion in vastly different ways, with non-believers being quicker to come up with biological, sociological, or psychological theories to explain religion as an illusion, believers being more to come up with theories explaining religion as a method of conceptualizing and relating to reality. Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard was born in Crowborough, East Sussex, the son of an Anglican clergyman, he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1944. Known to his friends and family as "EP", Evans-Pritchard had five children with his wife Ioma, his daughter Deirdre Evans-Pritchard is Executive Director of the DC Independent Film Festival and consults in the fields of cultural heritage, tourism and the arts. His youngest son, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, is a former foreign correspondent in Latin America, the US, Europe, became International Business Editor for the London Daily Telegraph. Evans-Pritchard died in Oxford on 11 September 1973. Evans-Pritchard was knighted in 1971
Matriarchy is a social system in which females hold the primary power positions in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of males — at least to a large degree. While those definitions apply in general English, definitions specific to the disciplines of anthropology and feminism differ in some respects. Most anthropologists hold that there are no known anthropological societies that are unambiguously matriarchal, but some authors believe exceptions may exist or may have. Matriarchies may be confused with matrilineal and matrifocal societies. A few people consider any non-patriarchal system to be matriarchal, thus including genderally equalitarian systems, but most academics exclude them from matriarchies defined. In 19th-century Western scholarship, the hypothesis of matriarchy representing an early prehistoric, stage of human development gained popularity. Possibilities of so-called primitive societies were cited and the hypothesis survived into the 20th century, including in the context of second-wave feminism.
This hypothesis was criticized by some authors such as Cynthia Eller in The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory and remains as a unsolved question to this day. Some older myths describe matriarchies. Several modern feminists have advocated for matriarchy now or in the future and it has appeared in feminist literature. In several theologies, matriarchy has been portrayed as negative. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, matriarchy is a "form of social organization in which the mother or oldest female is the head of the family, descent and relationship are reckoned through the female line. A popular definition, according to James Peoples and Garrick Bailey, is "female dominance". Within the academic discipline of cultural anthropology, according to the OED, matriarchy is a "culture or community in which such a system prevails" or a "family, organization, etc. dominated by a woman or women." In general anthropology, according to William A. Haviland, matriarchy is "rule by women". A matriarchy is a society in which females mothers, have the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, control of property, but does not include a society, led by a female for nonmatriarchal reasons or an occupation in which females predominate without reference to matriarchy, such as prostitution or women's auxiliaries of organizations run by men.
According to Lawrence A. Kuzner in 1997, A. R. Radcliffe-Brown argued in 1924 that the definitions of matriarchy and patriarchy had "logical and empirical failings.... were too vague to be scientifically useful". Most academics exclude egalitarian nonpatriarchal systems from matriarchies more defined. According to Heide Göttner-Abendroth, a reluctance to accept the existence of matriarchies might be based on a specific culturally biased notion of how to define matriarchy: because in a patriarchy men rule over women, a matriarchy has been conceptualized as women ruling over men, while she believed that matriarchies are egalitarian; the word matriarchy, for a society politically led by females mothers, who control property, is interpreted to mean the genderal opposite of patriarchy, but it is not an opposite. According to Peoples and Bailey, the view of anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday is that matriarchies are not a mirror form of patriarchies but rather that a matriarchy "emphasizes maternal meanings where'maternal symbols are linked to social practices influencing the lives of both sexes and where women play a central role in these practices'".
Journalist Margot Adler wrote, "literally... means government by mothers, or more broadly and power in the hands of women." Barbara Love and Elizabeth Shanklin wrote, "by'matriarchy,' we mean a non-alienated society: a society in which women, those who produce the next generation, define motherhood, determine the conditions of motherhood, determine the environment in which the next generation is reared." According to Cynthia Eller, "'matriarchy' can be thought of... as a shorthand description for any society in which women's power is equal or superior to men's and in which the culture centers around values and life events described as'feminine.'" Eller wrote that the idea of matriarchy rests on two pillars and modern social criticism. The notion of matriarchy was meant to describe something like a utopia placed in the past in order to legitimate contemporary social criticism. With respect to a prehistoric matriarchal Golden Age, according to Barbara Epstein, "matriarchy... means a social system organized around matriliny and goddess worship in which women have positions of power."
According to Adler, in the Marxist tradition, it refers to a pre-class society "where women and men share in production and power."According to Adler, "a number of feminists note that few definitions of the word, despite its literal meaning, include any concept of power, they suggest that centuries of oppression have made it impossible for women to conceive of themselves with such power."Matriarchy has been presented as negative, in contrast to patriarchy as natural and inevitable for society, thus that matriarchy is hopeless. Love and Shanklin wrote: When we hear the word "matriarchy", we are conditioned to a number of responses: that matriarchy refers to the past and that matriarchies have never existed.