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Nurturing Our HumanityHow Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future$
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Riane Eisler and Douglas P. Fry

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190935726

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190935726.001.0001

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The Real Culture Wars

The Real Culture Wars

(p.258) 11 The Real Culture Wars
Nurturing Our Humanity

Riane Eisler

Oxford University Press

We humans live, and all too often die, by stories, as one of the authors almost died as a child in the Holocaust. This chapter shows that the real culture wars are not between religion and secularism, East and West, or capitalism and socialism, but are within all societies, between orientation to either the partnership or domination side of the social scale. Starting with the two different biblical stories about the creation of humanity—the famous tale where Eve is an afterthought responsible for all our ills, and the earlier story where both men and women are created equal—is a contrast in normative narratives that support domination or partnership. Covering a wide swath of prehistory and history, this contrast offers fascinating new insights: for example, how Western science came out of a hierarchical, conformist, misogynist, all-male medieval clerical culture (a world without women and children) and how it took more than 700 years for women’s, men’s, and gender studies to emerge in universities; how Freud’s secular theories replicated the earlier religious ideology of original sin and male supremacy; and how in all spheres (from the family, politics, and the academy to mainstream and popular culture worldwide), the underlying tension between movement toward partnership and the resistance/regressions to domination is playing out.

Keywords:   normative narratives, religious dogmas, Adam and Eve, Western science, ideology, gender studies, fairy tales, psychological dynamics, domination, partnership

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