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The inevitability of patriarchy.

by Steven Goldberg

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
The definitive text: comprehensive summary, accurate prediction   (2010-12-08)

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For decades prior to Goldberg's doctoral work, comprehensive empirical studies in both cultural anthropology abroad and domestic sociology established the universality of patriarchy: in marriage, in families and also in public office.

The facts were no longer in doubt: men ruled everywhere and had always done so. But why?

Goldberg provided a comprehensive summary of the work of many others before him.

But he went a step further: he argued a universal phenomenon suggests a universal explanation. Medical research was producing results that demonstrated hormonal effects on human brains. These operated differently in men and women. Could this be part of the answer?

It was the early 70s: the times they were a-changing. The pill liberated women from their biology. But what if men could not be liberated from theirs?

A record number of publishers rejected Goldberg's counter-cultural proposal before it was eventually printed and received for the patient careful treatment of evidence that it was.

Goldberg accurately predicted the results of waves of advances in medical technology: by the 90s functional magnetic resonance imaging technology started showing sex differences in the brain, later studies in genetics showed even more.

Like it or not, men and women have brains that hard-wire statistically significant patterns of differential preferences (and abilities). On average, men and women *want* to be different kinds of people.

Goldberg doesn't tell us what we should do. But he did comprehensively summarise the evidence available to him. His explanation is so simple it also summarises what we have come to learn since. He accurately predicted that biological causes would better and better explain the different preferences of men and women: why many men will waste time and energy on politics, while many women wonder why they play such silly games.

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