Crossing Disciplines to Breach the Frame

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:14
Oral Presentation
Wendy AITKEN, University of Tasmania, Australia
Feminism arose within a public sphere formed through masculine subjectivity. This paper proposes that Australian Aboriginal culture, where no separation between public and private existed (Etienne and Leacock 1980), offers a lens from which to view this masculine frame. Patriarchy is interpreted as a psychological process (Aitken 2013) in line with Nandy's (2009) critique of colonialism. Social psychology is drawn on to demonstrate the ongoing sway masculine subjectivity holds over Western cultures, from political ideologies and processes through free market capitalism to the control of knowledge (Aitken 2013). Masculine subjectivity also permeates all the disciplines that feminism was built upon (Tong 1992). In contrast, pre-colonial Aboriginal culture – which is increasingly thought of as matriarchal – demonstrates how knowledge is dispersed, how authority rests upon responsibility, and how balance – within society and with the environment – is maintained (Rose 1992). The argument posed is that matriarchy is not merely a mirror image of patriarchy: a hierarchy with women in power. Matriarchy is the prerequisite for an egalitarian society