Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hoes and ploughs

Following up on the last post, I sent it to a local discussion group we're having on the integral model. John responded:

"Talk about outdated "science." It's been pretty widely accepted within cultural anthropology that cultures which are male dominant vs those that are more egalitarian are those where men's greater strength is more useful to where it is less useful. The classic distinction is that cultures that depend on intensive agriculture with plows are male dominant, cultures that do their agriculture with hoes are more egalitarian. It has nothing to do with "warrior cultures" or the other commonly accepted mythologies. Here's a discussion of a 2010 paper that puts a bit of statistical rigor behind the idea. . It's fairly long, and Razib Khan expects that his readers will have the background to understand what he's saying without a lot of hand-holding."

My reply:

Thanks, good article and food for discussion tonight. Even discounting Eisler's warrior narrative and accepting the hoe/plough, female/male domination of agricultural work, the article nonetheless points to some similarities with Eisler's points. For example, plough cultures divide up work with women in the home and men in the field, since ploughs require greater physical strength. So far so good. However it appears greater value was placed on men's productive work in these patriarcal societies, with women's care-taking roles being valued far less even today.

It seems that conservative values grew out of this plough culture, "where a few controlled the many, and the many persisted on the barest margin of subsistence." And those few were (white) men that maintained their power via private property and hierarchical relations: men over women, man over nature etc. In that sense it was a dominator instead of partnership culture. But partnership cultures were not just of the lower hoe-tech type. We are entering entering a "third age," where more advanced tech has produced abundance and allowed for women to participate in a work economy once again outside the home. And gender relations are again more partnership and equitably oriented.

"What you tend to see is that cultures which are the most developed and least developed have the most equitable relations between the genders, while those in the middle are generally more conventionally male-dominated."

How this relates to the integral model with its dominator hierarchical relations and unconscious adherence to private property can be further explored at some point down the road. For now it seems we're just going over what the model is. But it does raise questions along the way, like the above discussion.

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