kyriarchy

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Ancient Greek κύριος (kúrios, lord, master) +‎ -archy (suffix meaning ‘rule of’), modelled after German Herrschaft (lordship; dominion, reign). The word was coined by Romanian-born German feminist Roman Catholic theologian Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (born 1938) in the book But She Said (1992).[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

kyriarchy (usually uncountable, plural kyriarchies)

  1. A system of ruling and oppression in which many people may interact and act as oppressor or oppressed. [from 1992]
    • 1994, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, “And Mary Went into the Hill Country: Issues in Feminist Christology”, in Jesus: Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet: Critical Issues in Feminist Christology, London: SCM Press, →ISBN, page 38; Jesus: Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet: Critical Issues in Feminist Christology (T&T Clark Cornerstones), 2nd edition, London; New York, N.Y.: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015, →ISBN, part I (The Invitation of Wisdom), page 38:
      [F]eminist theologies must adopt a social analytic that can break through the sex/gender system's totalizing and mystifying dualistic frame of reference. An analytic of kyriarchy rather than simply an analytic of gender, I argued, provides a more adequate conceptual tool of analysis.
    • 1995, Marsha Aileen Hewitt, Critical Theory of Religion: A Feminist Analysis, Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress Press, →ISBN, page 167:
      The idea of kyriarchy or kyriocentrism acknowledges the complex interstructures of domination that include sexist practices and social arrangements but contextualizes and situates them within a wider scope of oppression.
    • 2001, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Wisdom Ways: Introducing Feminist Biblical Interpretation, Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, →ISBN:
      I have argued that patriarchy must be re-conceptualized as kyriarchy, a neologism which is derived from the Greek kyrios (lord, master, father, husband) and the verb archein (to rule, dominate). [] Kyriarchy is best theorized as a complex pyramidal system of intersecting multiplicative social structures of superordination and subordination, of ruling and oppression. Kyriarchal relations of domination are built on elite male property rights as well as on the exploitation, dependency, inferiority, and obedience of wo/men.
    • 2013, Eda Ruhiye Uca, “Hornets at the Roundtable: Life and Death in the Interstitial Margins”, in Laurel Dykstra, editor, Bury the Dead: Stories of Death and Dying, Resistance and Discipleship, Eugene, Or.: Cascade Books, Wipf and Stock, →ISBN, part III (Remembrance and Resistance), pages 136–137:
      As a Palestinian woman, she [Jean Zaru] has experienced what Asian postcolonial feminist theologian Kwok Pui Lan names as the multiple kyriarchies (or interlocking layers of oppressions) faced by those in colonized lands.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (1992) But She Said: Feminist Practices of Biblical Interpretation, Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, →ISBN: see Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (2015), “And Mary Went into the Hill Country: Issues in Feminist Christology”, in Jesus: Miriam’s Child, Sophia’s Prophet: Critical Issues in Feminist Christology (T&T Clark Cornerstones), 2nd edition, London; New York, N.Y.: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, →ISBN, part I (The Invitation of Wisdom), page 38: “[I]n But She Said I coined the word "kyriarchy" in analogy to the German term Herrschaft. This neologism, I submit, is historically more adequate and theologically more appropriate than "hierarchy," which is commonly used in English to designate a pyramidal system of power relations.”

Further reading[edit]