Religion Past and Present

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Matriarchy and Patriarchy
(550 words)

[German Version]

The terms matriarchy and patriarchy refer to the social position of the mother or father, determined by such phenomena as the matrilineal or patrilineal definition of kinship, the social status of the child, and the principle of hereditary succession. Marriage itself may be matrilocal or patrilocal. The conditions of such social norms define the role of the wife or husband in society and politics, in economic production, and in sexual self-determination; they also shape religious and …

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Idelberger, Petra, “Matriarchy and Patriarchy”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 04 March 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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