Concept of Matriarchy

The concept of matriarchy is well known in everyday language, because ever since Bachofen (1861) introduced the term there have been lively discussions about it. However, it is necessary to reduce the term to its original meaning and to include the results of recent matriarchal research. In this way it can continue to convey its powerful meaning. Matriarchy is not the opposite of patriarchy. There are no societies where women rule over men, because matriarchal societies do not have governance structures such as moral authority, social hierarchy and private properties.

The term “matriarchy” is an acronym composed of the latin word mater (mother) and the greek term arché. Arché primarily means beginning, origin. As everything begins with mothers; this interpretation of the term “matriarchy” is essential. The social structures of matriarchies derive from women. The motherliness in the sense of care and sustaining life determines the ethical principals of the society. The origins of the female ancestors shape the social order as well as the religious area.

Substitution terms, such as matrifocal and gynocratic, distort the object of research or even eradicate it totally. By using these terms, the fact that these societies are created, formed and supported by women is ignored.


To the Definiton of Matriarchy


Heide Göttner-Abendroth: Das Matriarchat. Stuttgart, Kohlhammer 1988 ff.


Caliban und die Hexe

Silvia Federici: Caliban und die Hexe. Frauen, der Körper und die ursprüngliche Akkumulation. Wien: Mandelbaum, 2012. 315 S.

Caliban und die Hexe ist eine Geschichte des weiblichen wie auch des kolonialisierten Körpers während des Übergangs zum Kapitalismus. Ausgehend von den Bauernaufständen des späten Mittelalters und dem Aufstieg der mechanischen Philosophie untersucht Federici die kapitalistische Rationalisierung der gesellschaftlichen Reproduktion.

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Berggöttinnen der Alpen

Heide Göttner-Abendroth: Le società matriarcali. Studi sulle culture indigene del mondo.

Roma, Venexia 2013. 709 Seiten.

“All’inizio le madri” e non “il dominio delle madri”, in forma speculare al patriarcato: questo sono le società matriarcali, che stanno all’inizio delle civiltà umane e ancora oggi sono diffuse in tutti i continenti. Il libro, frutto di una lunga ricerca sul campo e degli studi di ricercatori indigeni, dopo un excursus teorico sulla letteratura sui matriarcati, documenta in profondità il funzionamento, le finalità e l’estetica delle società improntate ai valori materni.

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Ave Dea - 13 Göttinnen

Jill Cook (Hrsg.): Ice Age Art. Arrival of the Modern Mind.

London: British Museum, 2012. 288 S. Erscheint anlässlich der gleichnamigen Ausstellung im British Museum vom 7.2-26.5.2013

This unique book explores the extraordinary sculpture and drawings created during the last European Ice Age, between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago the oldest known figurative art in the world. Over 100 objects are featured alongside stunning illustrations, including small but exquisite sculptures made from mammoth ivory, engraved drawings, and jewellery from the age of the great painted caves, in addition to celebrated masterpieces. Featured are the “Swimming Reindeer” (13,000 years old), the so called “Willendorf Venus” (25,000 years old) and the “Vogelherd horse” (32,000 years old), examining them in a new light.

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Critical Review of the Exhibition by Annine van der Meer:

Review of the Exhibition


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