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25.01.2023   kl. 11:15 - 12:30

DIAS Guest Lecture Webinar: The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems

Professor Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Webinar Zoom link: here.

Invited and presented by DIAS Senior Fellow Pieter Vanhuysse

The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems

Instead of describing social systems by one noun or another, such as capitalism, racism, post-colonialism, or patriarchy, we can conceptualize more complex intersecting, overlapping hierarchies based on multiple dimensions of institutional power.

This presentation outlines the co-evolution of patriarchal, racist, nationalist, and capitalist institutions over time, with an emphasis on conflicts and complementaries among different dimensions of assigned group membership.

Building on the Marxian metaphor of an "aristocracy of labor," it argues that many people find themselves in contradictory positions--enjoying advantages in some dimensions and disadvantages in others.

It suggests that interactions between patriarchal and capitalist institutions help explain serious threats to sustainable economic development resulting from deterioration of both the physical and the social climate.


Nancy Folbre is Professor Emerita of Economics and Director of the Program on Gender and Care Work at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Senior Fellow of the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College in the United States.

Her research explores the interface between political economy and feminist theory, with a particular emphasis on the value of unpaid care work. In addition to numerous articles published in academic journals, she is the author of The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems (Verso, 2021), the editor of For Love and Money: Care Work in the U.S. (Russell Sage, 2012), and the author of Greed, Lust, and Gender: A History of Economic Ideas (Oxford, 2009), Valuing Children: Rethinking the Economics of the Family (Harvard, 2008), and The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values (New Press, 2001).

She has also written widely for a popular audience, including contributions to the New York Times Economix blog, The Nation, and the American Prospect. You can learn more about her at her website and blog, Care Talk:

This lecture takes place online. You can join the webinar here. Everybody is welcome and no registration is needed.