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.
“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
Carol Gilligan is Professor of Humanities and Applied Psychology at New York University and the author of In a Different Voice, one of the most influential feminist books of all time. Naomi Snider is a Research Fellow at New York University.
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