A relative newcomer to the word “Kyriarchy”, I find it an interesting word when talking about power imbalances and a kind of an antidote to the word “Patriarchy”, because I believe power corrupts and no gender is immune when given the opportunity or the inclination to abuse. Feminism for me isn’t about bashing men. I love guys and they can be just as oppressed by this patriarchal system we live in. I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts and theories about this term, thanks in advance.
Thanks to Wikipedia for this definition.
“Kyriarchy is a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza to describe interconnected, interacting, and multiplicative systems of domination and submission, within which a person oppressed in one context might be privileged in another. It is an intersectional elaboration of the concept of patriarchy — it extends the analysis of oppression beyond traditional feminism to dynamics such as sexism, racism, economic injustice, and other forms of internalized and institutionalized oppression.
Schüssler Fiorenza (2009) describes interdependent “stratifications of gender, race, class, religion, heterosexualism, and age” as structural positions assigned at birth. She suggests that people inhabit several positions, and that positions with privilege become nodal points through which other positions are experienced. For example, in a context where gender is the primary privileged position (e.g., matriarchy), gender becomes the nodal point through which sexuality, race, and class are experienced. In a context where class is the primary privileged position (i.e., classism), gender and race are experienced through class dynamics.
Schüssler Fiorenza writes about the interaction between kyriarchy and critical theories as such:In light of this analysis, it becomes clear that the universalist kyriocentric rhetoric of Euro-American elite men does not simply reinforce the dominance of the male sex, but it legitimates the imperial “White Father” or, in black idiom, the enslaving “Boss-Man” as the universal subject. By implication, any critical theory — be it critical race, feminist, liberationist, or Marxist theory — that articulates gender, class, or race difference as a primary and originary difference masks the complex interstructuring of kyriarchal dominations inscribed in the subject positions of individual wo/men and in the status positions of dominance and subordination between wo/men. It also masks the participation of white elite wo/men, or better “ladies,” and of Christian religion in kyriarchal oppression, insofar as both have served as civilizing colonialist conduits of kyriarchal knowledges, values, and culture.
Tēraudkalns (2003) suggests that these structures of oppression are self-sustained by internalized oppression; those with relative power tend to remain in power, while those without tend to remain disenfranchised.
The term was coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza as an elaboration of patriarchy, derived from the Greek words κύριος or kyrios (lord or master) and ἄρχω or archō (to lead, rule, govern). The term was coined in But She Said: Feminist Practices of Biblical Interpretation, published in 1992.[3“