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Hardcover

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Why Does Patriarchy Persist?

Carol Gilligan, Naomi Snider

ISBN: 978-1-509-52912-4 October 2018 Polity 120 Pages

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Description

The election of an unabashedly patriarchal man as US President was a shock for many—despite decades of activism on gender inequalities and equal rights, how could it come to this? What is it about patriarchy that seems to make it so resilient and resistant to change? Undoubtedly it endures in part because some people benefit from the unequal advantages it confers. But is that enough to explain its stubborn persistence?

In this highly original and persuasively argued book, Carol Gilligan and Naomi Snider put forward a different view: they argue that patriarchy persists because it serves a psychological function. By requiring us to sacrifice love for the sake of hierarchy, patriarchy protects us from the vulnerability of loving and becomes a defense against loss. Uncovering the powerful psychological mechanisms that underpin patriarchy, the authors show how forces beyond our awareness may be driving a politics that otherwise seems inexplicable.

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

Part 1 17

The Puzzle 17

The First Clue: An Association to Loss 25

Resistance 32

Loss 45

The Three Discoveries 72

A Summary 89

Part 2 91

Knowing This, Then What? 91

Finding Resonance, Repairing Ruptures 119

Leaving Patriarchy 121

Where Then Do We Stand? 134

Notes 146

Index 160

“Taking on the long brewing battle between true democracy and the pervasive ‘ghost’ of patriarchy, this compact book exists in a category of its own. The voices of its authors are accessible, incisive and engaging—the perfect book to launch almost any conversation about our current messy psycho-political times.”
Jill Gentile, author, Feminine Law: Freud, Free Speech, and the Voice of Desire

“An original and powerful analysis of patriarchy; there is a freshness and vitality to the authors’ approach. Why Does  Patriarchy Persist? should be compulsory reading in every discipline from law to literature, for it offers a framework in which numerous dilemmas, both practical and psychological, might be resolved.”
Terri Apter, Newnham College, Cambridge

"There are books that do what they set out to do: they make their points clearly, they argue something new, they uncover something for us. Carol Gilligan and Naomi Snider’s new book, Why Does Patriarchy Persist?,  does more than that. It is a spark. It is something like a book-length speech act, both illocutionary and perlocutionary: in speaking, the authors bring their thesis into being, and with it a host of possibilities come alive within us. As we read, we believe intimately that what they say is so. We feel it and see it in our own lives; it cannot but leap up within us."
The Public Seminar

"Dr. Gilligan’s writing may frustrate because of its swirl of literary, personal and clinical anecdotes. There can be tangles and snarls of language. You might get lost in its allusions and references, particularly if you’re not up-to-date on your Sophocles, Old Testament tales or Woolf. But her voice on the page is as it is in real life: warm and inviting. Democracy, she said, is like love. It only works if everyone has a voice. Dr. Gilligan’s new book continues to try and universalize the intimate." 
New York Times