System society and dominance in a relationship

Dominance hierarchy - Wikipedia

system society and dominance in a relationship

A dominant group in any society is a sociological entity that is often a focus for study. system and rewards in a particular society" is called a dominant group, . as well as the refusal of relationships with the dominant group.". Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) society often evinces stratification and/or dominance patterns in subgroups. This investigation uses dyadic power theory (Dunbar, , ; Rollins & Bahr, ) to examine the relationship between dominance and power and the.

Thus, injections of the female hormone oestrogen also increase fighting behaviour in rats while injections of testosterone into the pre-optic area of a male rat's brain stimulate maternal nest-building behaviour. Studies of humans do not show consistent correlations between hormone levels and aggression.

When low dominance monkeys are placed with monkeys toward whom they can safely act aggressively, their testosterone levels go up; when they are returned to an established group to whom they must defer, their testosterone levels fall dramatically. When this was stimulated electrically in laboratory animals, increased fighting resulted. However, when this was done in monkeys who were released into the wild the result was increased grooming behaviour.

But the dominance in humans of the cerebral cortex means that what we do with our biological capacities is almost entirely a matter of learning. The difference in aggression between boys and girls should be considered in light of the different socialization given them.

The vital impact of expectations can be seen in studies of persons born as hermaphrodites: This was true "even for those individuals whose sex of rearing contradicted their biological sex as determined by chromasomes, hormones, gonads, and the formation of the internal and external genitals. Even where such differences may be established, it is by no means justified to assume, as most of these theories do, that a sex difference explains a sex inequality.

This is a conceptual leap made by a number of other authors, who start from the fact that most societies do recognize and define different social and symbolic functions for the sexes.

These authors argue that the origins of inequality lie not in naturally different abilities or temperaments, but in cultural attempts to explain or control women's central role in reproduction. Woman's biology does not make her weaker, less intelligent, or more submissive than man, but it does make her society's source of new members. According to this school of thought, cultures tend to interpret or organize motherhood in ways that accentuate differences between the sexes and lead to sexual assymetry.

There are quite a number of variations on this theme, offering a cultural or symbolic explanation for gender inequality, One such variation is the psychoanalytical interpretation that postulates a universal male fear of female reproductive powers. Starting from the fact that large numbers of primitive societies believe menstruating women to be dangerous to men and animals, proponents of this view argue that men fear and hence attempt to control female sexuality and reproduction.

This suggests that fears about female sexuality and reproduction are less cause than symptom of social tensions in male-female relations. Girls learn their gender identity by imitation of a particular, individual female, which leads them, she argues, to relate to others in a particularized and personalized way. They become more present-oriented and subjective than boys, who must learn to identify with a sex that is frequently absent and less accessible and who can only do so by learning an abstract male role.

Although Chodorow perceptively analyzes the reproduction of sex roles in male dominant societies, her work does not really address the origins of male dominance, as she assumes much of what needs to be explained: Even where women are primarily responsible for child care, however, and males do work away from the domestic arena, it does not follow, except in an already sexist society, that a boy should move from defining himself as not-woman to denigrating women in general; and it is even less logical that such childhood denigration which females also frequently direct against males could in and of itself produce the institutionalized subordination of adult women.

Another theory based on reproductive roles emphasizes symbolism rather than psychodynamics. Nature, she argues, is in turn seen as lower than culture, so that women are perceived as lower in the social scale and subject to the restrictions that culture puts on both nature and the domestic unit.

Ortner and Whitehead assert that "the sphere of social activity predominantly associated with males encompasses the sphere predominantly associated with females and is, for that reason, culturally accorded higher value.

In the first place, the association of women with nature and men with culture is far from universal. Many ancient societies had androgynous deities that reflected an integration of both male and female principles with natural and cultural forces. Among the Sherbro, children are considered close to nature, but both adult men and women are associated with culture. Sperm, incidentally, are thought to belong to a kin section designated as passive and associated with the moon, calm water, and temperate weather.

For the Haganers, the wild and domestic "are in an antithetical rather than a hierarchical, processual relationship. It is true that men tend to be associated with the political sphere in most societies where this sphere exists.

The political arena, however, is not the only public arena in non-state societies, for many vital collective decisions are made within the domestic grouping. But a remarkably consistent aspect of simple societies is the fact that political leadership confers neither power nor prestige, and is frequently ignored by domestic groups.

Denise Paulme points out that in many African societies.

  • Dominant group/Sociology
  • Social dominance theory
  • Dominance hierarchy

An appeal addressed by a woman to other women will reach far beyond the boundaries of a single village, and a movement of revolt among women will always be a serious matter, even if its immediate cause should be of minor importance.

Men may also be associated with the destructive acts of war and personal rivalry. Among the Iroquois, men were more likely to engage in individualistic behaviour that required social control, while "feminine activities. They help us understand the dynamics of sexual inequality in a way that the articles in this volume do not even attempt. Ultimately, however, they cannot explain the origins of gender inequality, as they assume universal psychological associations that do not withstand detailed examination.

Divale and Harris assert "the existence of a pervasive institutional and ideological complex of male supremacy in band and village sociocultural systems. What, they ask, are the origins of such a phenomenon? They suggest that the origins of the male supremacist complex lie in warfare, which places high value on male qualities and allows women to be used as rewards for male valour.

Warfare, in turn, stemmed from population pressure, especially after the Neolithic Revolution resulted in a more sedentary life style and starchy diets, causing an increase in fertility. The most efficient way to limit population, in the absence of birth control, was to reduce the numbers of potential mothers through female infanticide.

To justify killing female babies, however, the male supremacist complex outlined above was necessary. This necessitated rearing females to be passive. In important ways, the argument advanced here seems to us to be circular. In this analysis, warfare arises to enforce female subordination; yet warfare also presupposes female subordination, in order for women to be used as rewards for male warriors.

Warfare is a consequence of female infanticide, helping to create balanced sex ratios through the death of adult males; but it is also a cause for such infanticide, providing its main justification. One reads Divale and Harris in vain for an actual explanation of the origins of male domination and warfare. We only learn their supposed functions.

Dominant group/Sociology - Wikiversity

But to say that a phenomenon sustains male dominance is not to say that it caused it. And the consequences of a male supremacist complex or of warfare should not be used to explain their origins.

Equating the two, as functionalist theories like this do, allows the specific historical developments to be interpreted as inevitable, when in fact the question is why alternatives were not chosen. Indeed, a major flaw in the argument of Divale and Harris is the assumption that the route of warfare and patrilineal organization was the most common or most successful path for Palaeolithic and Neolithic societies.

Their sample of band societies is drawn mostly from twentieth century ethnographies of collecting economies severely influenced by Western culture and imperatives; it undoubtedly distorts our concept of the nature of Palaeolithic band and Neolithic village society. Thus the prevalence of warfare asserted in their Table IX p. For example, Napoleon Chagnon, the original ethnographer of that prototypical macho' and warlike society, the South American Yanomamo, suggests that warfare was a recent introduction, and this view has been corroborated by other researchers.

The Bushman band, for example, has at its core a group of related brothers and sisters, but its membership is highly variable and fluctuates according to seasonal conditions.

Indeed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, one might assume that improved farming techniques might have eased population pressures in some areas. Even if we accept the assumption that population increase was the problem faced by Palaeolithic and Neolithic societies, we would question first whether female infanticide was the only solution.

It is well known that pre-industrial cultures have many artificial means of controlling births, apart from infanticide. Many primitive societies abandon the aged and infirm without faltering in their extreme respect for old age. Indeed, one could as easily read the evidence presented by Divale and Harris to show that female infanticide arose to balance out deaths from warfare, though we decline to use the same mechanical approach even in reverse.

We must look elsewhere for an explanation of the historical evidence for increasing male dominance in advanced horticultural and early state societies. A more complex theory purporting to explain that evidence is offered by Parker and Parker. The Parkers believe that human biology and sexual dimorphism predisposed men and women to play certain roles in the division of labour. The requirements of male tasks, combined with a biopsychologically-based male vulnerability greater susceptibility to disease, death, and so on resulted in a situation where the male labour supply was relatively costly and inelastic not easily substitutable.

In order to induce males to come forward in adequate numbers and with the requisite skills to perform the social tasks needed by an increasingly complex socioeconomic system, it was necessary to devise some sort of reward. In addition, the Parkers assert that male dominance had adaptive advantages which were reinforced through time associeties became more complex, requiring ever greater levels of technological skill.

system society and dominance in a relationship

A growing body of research lends credence to the counter-assertion that women in collecting and in simple horticultural societies undertook tasks that demanded as much brawn, as well as brain, as did male tasks. In non-sedentary Bushmen bands, for example, a combination of birth-spacing average of four years and sharing of child care tasks enables many women to range far from home in search of food.

In any case, the cross-cultural record demonstrates more variability in the assignment of tasks, and much greater socio-political variation, than is suggested here. We would not deny that there is a general pattern in the division of labour. Indeed, our own article suggests that there were some consistent patterns in early societies in which males took on more geographically far-ranging assignments that frequently involved more risk though not more brain or brawn than women's tasks.

But the social exchange theory fails to explain why male tasks "universally" receive recognition and valuation.

If male supremacy was a reward, what precisely was being rewarded? The Parkers seem to think that in early societies it was the male capacity for heavy work, whereas they suggest that later it was male "skill.

Furthermore, skill is a matter of training, so we have to ask why males were given that training and assigned tasks requiring a high level of skill. It is commonly accepted that women were the first potters: How and why did pottery become a male-dominated craft, and why weren't the inventors of this important manufacture given social rewards?

system society and dominance in a relationship

It was not skill, but the social relations accompanying the development of craft specialization that must have determined that men should be trained in these tasks.

Why did women have low status in slave societies, such as fifth-century Athens, where free men took few risks and did little work? Why, conversely, have women had high status in many societies, from ancient Crete to the seventeenth century Iroquois, where males undoubtedly did take great physical risks?

The answers to these questions must lie not in the nature of the work itself, which the Parkers themselves admit is not intrinsically hierarchical, but in the origins of the hierarchy itself. These, we would suggest, lie in the relations of work, the issue of who controls whose labour.

To explain the origins of female subordination we need a theory that accounts for the control of women's work by men. Such a theory cannot be derived from the nature of men's and women's tasks on their own, nor from any inevitable technological tendency, because human cultures have exhibited too much variation to postulate any necessary relation between a task or a tool, on the one hand, and a particular social relationship of superiority or subordination on the other.

In the first place, many observers have simply been unable to divest themselves of their own cultural preconceptions. Male ethnographers have dealt with male informants, accepting any uncomplimentary remarks these may make about women as the social reality, and ignoring equally disparaging comments about men made by women.

Considerable selection is also used in choosing examples. Often there is no linguistic mechanism whatever for comparison. What we find is an absolute respect for. Two major geographical areas where extreme male domination of women is well-documented in non-state societies are Melanesia and South America.

But Melanesia is an area where rapid socioeconomic and status differentiation had taken place prior to Western observations, and the status of women seems to have been declining from a previously higher position.

Among the Mbuti "both men and women see themselves as equal in all respects except the supremely vital one that, whereas the woman can and on occasion does do almost everything the male does, she can do one thing no male can do: Male dominance is a material fact, with concrete repercussions for women, in most of the world, and our egalitarian examples come from relatively isolated simple societies.

Long before Western trade and colonialism had even arisen, ancient societies in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and British Isles had gone through earlier processes in which the position of women had deteriorated.

system society and dominance in a relationship

What is required, then, is a theory that explains why male dominance, though not inevitable, was a likely outcome of processes connected with socioeconomic expansion and increasing social complexity. One theory that has been advanced to explain the evidence suggesting a decline in a formerly high position for women is that of the matriarchy. According to this view, women were once pre-eminent in economics and politics, but matriarchal rule was overthrown by men at some early point in human history.

The theories cited above all contain one or both of the following fallacies: The search for origins will never be definitively settled. But if we are to counter the assertions of inevitable and universal male dominance we must suggest some concrete reasons for the historical appearance and spread of male domination in ancient cultures.

Probably no single historical account will suffice to explain every case: Peggy Sanday focuses on the ways in which gender is used by many societies as an organizing principle on both the structural and symbolic levels. She has presented a complex account of the conditions under which balanced and symmetrical power relations between the sexes are replaced by asymmetry and male dominance. For example, hunting societies and societies in which large animals play an important part tend to produce distant fathers, masculine creator symbols, and an "outer," animal orientation toward the powers of the universe.

Gathering societies, and societies in which animals are less important, tend to produce involved male parents, feminine or couple creator symbols, and an "inner," plant orientation. However, she is also concerned to emphasize the independent role that symbols play in determining subsequent sex role behaviour and authority relations.

She suggests that there is an underlying bio-psychological basis for gender concepts that, in turn, provide "scripts" for behaviour. For example, she suggests that in all societies women are associated with the power to give life, while men are associated with the power to take life. Depending upon natural and historical conditions, one or both powers may be culturally valued and receive ritual emphasis. Where food is abundant and fertility is desired, women tend to have ascribed power and female principles are stressed.

On the other hand, where the taking of life is important, as in hunting or warlike societies, men tend to exercise power and male principles are elevated in ritual and social life.

However, a high value on male aggression does not automatically or necessarily translate into male dominance, as women may achieve power under some circumstances. Some societies may segregate the sexes but relations between them may still be balanced and cooperative. Such conditions have arisen in a variety of historical contexts.

Neural mechanisms of social dominance

Under such circumstances, women may voluntarily cede mythical power to men because it is more reproductively efficient to do so and allows both sexes manoeuvering room. Thus for Sanday the determinants of male dominance are the conjunction of stressful historical circumstances with a prior cultural configuration. She offers interesting insights into the richness and complexity of sex role plans and the mechanics of sexual inequality.

We do not, however, feel that she has been totally successful in her claim to explain the origins of inequality, even while she has done much to elucidate its dynamics.

But since externally generated stress does not, she argues, automatically or necessarily lead to male dominance, in the final analysis it seems to be the prior cultural configuration that determines the outcome. We have some difficulty with her emphasis on the independent role of such configurations, which she tends to treat as separate from changing social relations within the culture.

Rather than examining the dialectical interaction between a culture's internal evolution and its sex role configuration, Sanday treats the sex role configuration as though it arises independently from internal social processes, determines internal social relations, and changes those internal relations only when it interacts with externally generated sources of stress, such as famine, invasion, or colonialism.

We remain unconvinced by her tendency to give primary emphasis to environmental factors in her analysis of the origins of those configurations. We also question her contention that societies react to stress in fundamentally different ways depending upon their prior cultural configuration.

To explain the origins of the prior cultural configuration, Sanday relies on a somewhat awkward combination of environmental and bio-psychological factors, neither of which, taken separately or in combination, can account for the ambiguities of the data. Why do twenty-eight percent of societies with a feminine orientation hunt large animals?

She gives no examples of inner-oriented or dual societies that reacted to stress without undermining the status of women. Even the Cheyenne and the Iroquois failed ultimately to resist the social tensions of colonialism and the pressures toward male dominance. Although Sanday does show that certain kinds of stress, such as war, migration, or environmental conditions, elevate the male role and lead to new sexual fears and tensions, she tends to ignore internal sources of stress that may help to account for increased social competition and a fearful attitude towards the environment.

These are most likely to be associated with the breakdown of community reciprocity, and with the development of differences in rank or property ownership. This, in turn, accounted for the Bellacoola's cultural perception of women as dangerous. But it is unclear why this should have been a cultural response among the Bellacoola, while it was absent among the Bemba, a society which suffered more extreme seasonal food shortages, but where female principles were ritually elevated.

In fact, it is by no means the case that environmentally-caused scarcity always results in increased conflict and competition within groups. In some, it may lead to heightened cooperation and sharing. This certainly might indicate that they were suffering from heightened competition for resources and tensions over social status.

"Explanations" of Male Dominance

Such internal socially-based sources of stress might help us explain the evolution of the group's sex role plan and the changes in women's position better than Sanday's environmental analysis, especially since the aggression was directed against only some women, while others participated as men's equals.

In other instances too such an approach might better explain the anomalies in her data and would allow her to make better use of her valuable insights. The primary achievement of Sanday's book is to show us that a mechanical explanation of sex roles and status is not possible. Because gender is such a powerfully charged way of organizing social interactions, and involves so many basic bio-psychological processes, disruption in social organization and male-female roles may have far-reaching and complex repercussions.

No review of theories of the origins of sexual inequality would be complete without reference to Eleanor Leacock, who has done pathbreaking work in applying a historical materialist framework to the ethnohistorical record, and in formulating an alternative vision of the social relations of foraging societies. On the basis of her research among the Montagnais-Naskapi Indians a society based on fur trappingshe challenged the widely accepted model of the patrilineal band, with its accompanying assumption of sexual inequality, and proposed in its stead that relations between the sexes were both flexible and egalitarian.

Leacock has, in addition, taken a leading role in efforts to revise and build on Engels's original theories about the origins of the patriarchal state.

Her most recent and evolved statement is presented in her article "Women, Power and Authority. The direct producers lost decision-making powers over their lives when the specialization of labor and production of commodities for exchange led to the formation of slave, aristocratic, and merchant classes. Women in particular lost out because the new economic relations based on exchange were in the hands of men the first important commodity exchanged, in Engels view, was men's responsibility, cattle ; because these relations undercut the communal households women had controlled and transformed women's domestic work into private service; and because the privatization of property through individual inheritance in the budding upper class required control of women's sexuality.

In the process, some people were better placed than others to take advantage of the new relations of production. She believes that women lost public authority as exchange and economic inequality developed, in particular because they tended to provide the labour that produced the goods exchanged by men for example cattle, or pigs in New Guinea.

She also notes that warfare may have increased as ranked societies expanded, and this may have given males additional control.

Furthermore, she suggests that women unwittingly participated in the process of their own "commoditization" because it was in their interest to ensure that their own husband was a "big man," successful in trade exchange, and because they, too, could benefit from the labour of low ranking men.

In sum, women lost autonomy as labourers when processes of economic differentiation were already transforming labour into a commodity. Commodity production, in turn, aided in the process of subversion of kin-based organization and the development of private property, as described by Engels.

We are in basic agreement with Leacock on this overall outline of the historical evolution of male dominance, and of the effects of commodity production on the primitive commune. But the underlying question of what stimulated men to commandeer the productive activities of women in order to engage successfully in trade exchanges is still not clearly answered.

Even if cattle were the first exchangeable commodity, they were certainly by no means the only trade item; nor was warfare inevitably the accompaniment of the transition to ranking. By social status we mean a ranking or hierarchy of perceived prestige.

This means that the dominant group were close together in a confined circle while the subdominants were more widely separated around the outside of that circle. They were men to be feared and obeyed. The dominant group saw to it that the church was subservient to its interests and this inevitably widened the breach between the two classes. Consequently the dominant group erects a binder of coercive pressure about the other.

Otherwise, the range of application of the word will be unspecified. But this again checks the previously observed item of distribution in the United States where we found the South was far behind in its quota. Baptists are probably the dominant group in this region. Thus, one of its major achievements has been to shift the blame for unemployment and underemployment, for the loss of economic competitiveness, and for the supposed breakdown of traditional values and standards in the family, education, and paid and unpaid work places from the economic, cultural, and social policies and effects of dominant groups to the school and other public agencies.

Members of agent groups are also trapped by the system of social oppression that benefits them, and are confined to roles and prescribed behavior for their group. Words like "power", "order" social order"possesses", "resources", "privileges", "ability", "construct", and "impose".

For "power", the most common usage is category "