Theorising differences in patriarchy
The concept of patriarchy gives a necessary causal basis to the study of gender divisions and gender inequality. However, it has often been employed in a deterministic way, where variation is unexplained and agency is underplayed. This paper reviews Walby's reconceptualisation of six dimensions of patriarchy, based on a realist view of causation, which attempts to reintroduce empirical complexity and institutional variation into the concept. The author suggests that this reconceptualisation does not go far enough. Similarly, models of gendered welfare states, though descriptively quite detailed, are analytically weak. It is suggested that an integration of Walby's theory of patriarchy with Scandinavian ideas of the gender contract provides the best means of conceptualising difference in gender divisions.
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