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Money, Sex and Power in Global Context Module overview: patriarchy and its critics Week 21 2011-12.

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Presentation on theme: "Money, Sex and Power in Global Context Module overview: patriarchy and its critics Week 21 2011-12."— Presentation transcript:

1 Money, Sex and Power in Global Context Module overview: patriarchy and its critics Week 21 2011-12

2 Patriarchy Patriarchy: the classical meanings Second wave feminism: the work of Millett Private and public patriarchy: the work of Walby

3 Defining patriarchy The rule of the father over the members of his household Paternal power is the core meaning of patriarchy, historically and etymologically…. Powerful fathers are also husbands, so it seems both logical and practical to extend the notion of patriarchy to the power of husbands. (Therborn, 2004:8)

4 Kate Millett Patriarchy’s Two Component Parts the power of men over women the power of older men over younger men – what she referred to as the generational aspect of patriarchy. There is, of course, a class aspect to this as well as a generational one. a hierarchy based upon sexual difference

5 Walby and patriarchy Gender inequality Systematicity in gender relations, i.e. different aspects of gender relations are connected in some way. She defines patriarchy as ‘a system of social structures and practices in which men dominate, oppress, and exploit women’ (Walby, 1996:21).

6 Walby’s Six Structures of Patriarchy a patriarchal mode of production in the family/household system in which certain kinds of production took place outside the capitalist workplace and in which women’s labour was expropriated and controlled by their husbands patriarchal relations within wage labour, with expropriation and exploitation by the employer the patriarchal state male violence patriarchal relations within sexuality patriarchal culture

7 Private and public patriarchy Walby distinguishes between the degree and the form of patriarchy And between a private and a public form of patriarchy Different patriarchal strategies associated with different forms of patriarchy

8 Module themes The power of money, politics of distribution, equality Power between women The quest for power, political power, the state, citizenship, male violence The politics of sex Discursive power

9 Why use ‘patriarchy’? To indicate that this power is gendered rather than simply characterising particular relationships between individuals To distinguish one kind of power (gender power) from other kinds of power (class, racialised) To indicate that one category (a sex-class), men, dominates (holds power over) another category, women.

10 Patriarchy as gender power- simply names it, doesn’t explain it unless … One has a theory of patriarchy (why men have/want power over women, what they want out of it (e.g. control of women’s labour, fertility, sexuality), why it persists (men support each others’ interests against women’s, etc.)

11 Foucault’s influence C Ramazanoglu, Up against Foucault (1993), R. Alsop et al Theorizing Gender (2002) Foucault invites us to think differently about power, and indirectly the way in which feminists had understood it. These models came from outside feminism, and may or may not really fit the forms which gender power takes at different times and places.

12 Criticisms of patriarchy as a system of power Too totalising- implies power is all or nothing, doesn’t readily lend itself to thinking about more or less power, or shifts in power. How can women wield power if the power system is patriarchal shifts in power? Too categorical- power is of one category over another, which assumes common interests of these categories rather than differences within them. Assumes these categories are stable, corresponding to biological sexes, rather than malleable Usually talks of men’s power OVER women –domination- but there are forms of power that do not take this form (e.g. productive power rather than repressive) Power may take a ‘kaleidoscope of forms’. (Alsop et al 1993). Doesn’t make visible the power women do exercise Assumes that all expressions of power come from the same source (is monolithic), or are at least linked, rather than diverse, plural, local and even divergent. Draws more attention to what is the same about power relations (how they are always the same at bottom) than different (constantly changing, or being re- established in new ways)

13 Term 2 Foucault in week 2- definition of power, especially in relation to discourse. One of his definitions of discourses: ‘practices that systematically form the objects of which we speak’ in M Foucault (1972: 49) Archaeology of Knowledge London: Routledge Power may be repressive (restrict or prevent what I can do) or productive (acts acts to shape who I am, it produces the person and the opportunities). Power is polymorphous, and takes different forms. Discourses may be contradictory with each other or have contradictory implications, so are plural rather than monolithic.

14 Victorian sexual attitudes Fathers’ rights over family property and children and in double standard patriarchal, but middle- class women also gain from the ideology of women’s ‘passionlessness’ (if conform), and even embrace ‘passionlessness’ for the the status and opportunities it gives (middle class women gain from increasingly status of middle class, or the legitimate public voice on morality for instance, because seen as less corruptible than men)

15 Sexology There are writers who see sexology as patriarchal (Coveney, also M. Jackson (The Real Facts of Life) Science of sex more contradictory: Productive power, constructs ‘sex’ rather than restricting it. Allows women sexual pleasure/ enjoins participating in heterosex as healthy/ refusal as unhealthy (opposite to patriarchal control of sexuality of previous era, but still not ‘liberating’) Medicine/ pharmaceuticals has come to be involved in shaping expectations of masculine sexuality, as well as women’s

16 Normative heterosexuality Hollway-discourses of heterosexuality allocate possibilities for gaining sought- after possibilities (to both men and women, not men OVER women) Has what is normative changed? Is Sex and the City really about patriarchal power? Yet, even if not, may not be about women’s power either, except for individuals. …Danger therefore in equating power with repression/ domination, because then would imagine that power overthrown.

17 Unsettling gender categories Theories which see themselves as unpicking gender categories rather than seeing how existing, given categories relate to each other.

18 Commodifying sex There are important voices which see prostitution and other forms of sex work as the epitome of male power over women, in so far as they enshrine men’s shared rights of access to women’s bodies (any/every man man requires sex, and therefore has a right to obtain it). That men pay to see women dance or to have sex simply makes it look like a normal labour contract, it’s not the source of their power. In any case women don’t keep the money, the argument is it goes into the hands ultimately of gangsters or pimps or semi-respectable men who run clubs. So its all ‘sewn up’ in men’s interests.

19 Other arguments Prostitution/ sex work- men’s power is not total, women (sometimes) get what they want out of it. Not all or nothing Prostitution users do not necessarily want power over women; may be a vehicle for power over own neediness, escaping responsibilities as men. Pointing to patriarchy doesn’t really guide us through the full range of issues nor necessarily provide a good solution- attempts to punish men for using sex workers rebound on the women. Contexts in which women are the consumers suggest that to some extent the power to be gained through engaging in sexual-economic transactions can be accessed by women, through relative wealth. Not same power as men have/had, and expressed in different ways. But still lurking suspicion--Do men support each others’ rights to access and evaluate sex workers?

20 So overall idea here Leaving patriarchy ‘to one side’ allows exploration of different aspects of social relationships, especially at the micro-level Doesn’t ‘drop’ power as an issue but provides scope for exploring new forms Provides more opportunity to focus on agency of women and subordinated groups More focus on power differences between men and between women.

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