The supporter of the Matriarchal theory was? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

Matriarchal theory


Question: The supporter of the Matriarchal theory was?

  1. Sir J.G. Frazer
  2. Sir Henry Maine
  3. Mclennan
  4. Manu

Answer: (3)

Matriarchal Theory Overview:

The Matriarchal theory posits the existence of societies where women hold a central and dominant role in social, political, and economic aspects. It suggests that matriarchy preceded patriarchy in human social evolution. According to this theory, lineage and descent were traced through the maternal line, and women played a crucial role in the organization of family and society.

Key Thinkers:

Mclennan, mentioned in the question, is one of the key thinkers associated with the Matriarchal theory. Other scholars, such as Lewis H. Morgan and John Ferguson McLennan, also contributed to the development of this theory. Their work involved studying kinship structures and social organization in various cultures to propose the existence of matriarchal societies.

Features of Matriarchal Societies:

Matrilineal Descent:

In matriarchal societies, lineage and descent are traced through the female line. This means that family ties, inheritance, and social status are determined by one’s maternal ancestry.

Role of Women:

Matriarchal societies are characterized by women holding prominent roles in decision-making, governance, and property ownership. The theory suggests that women were not just confined to domestic roles but actively participated in the socio-political affairs of the community.

Property Distribution:

According to the Matriarchal theory, property and wealth were often passed down through the female line. Inheritance was matrilineal, and women had control over resources.

Polyandry and Female-Centric Families:

The theory proposes that in matriarchal societies, women may have had multiple husbands, and families were organized around the maternal line. Children were often identified by their maternal lineage.

Critiques and Challenges:

While the Matriarchal theory offers an intriguing perspective on the evolution of human societies, it has faced several critiques and challenges:

Lack of Concrete Evidence:

Critics argue that there is insufficient archaeological and historical evidence to conclusively support the existence of universally prevalent matriarchal societies in ancient times. The absence of concrete proof makes it challenging to validate the theory.

Diversity of Societal Structures:

Societies across the world have exhibited diverse structures and norms. Assertions that matriarchy universally preceded patriarchy overlook the complexity and variability of human social development. For example, some cultures may have had elements of both matriarchy and patriarchy.

Evolution of Society vs. Evolution of State:

The Matriarchal theory focuses more on explaining the evolution of society rather than the evolution of the state. Critics argue that understanding the development of political institutions and governance is equally crucial in comprehending societal evolution.

Claim of Chronological Precedence:

The theory’s claim that matriarchy came before patriarchy is disputed. Different regions and cultures may have experienced different social structures, and asserting a universal chronological sequence is challenging.

Regional Variations:

The question acknowledges the existence of both matriarchy and patriarchy in India. This highlights the importance of considering regional and cultural variations when discussing social structures. India, for instance, has a history of diverse social systems, with some communities practicing matrilineal descent while others follow a patrilineal system.


In conclusion, the Matriarchal theory, associated with thinkers like Mclennan, suggests a unique perspective on the evolution of human societies. While it posits the existence of matriarchal structures characterized by female dominance, matrilineal descent, and property distribution, the theory faces challenges in terms of evidence and universality. The critique emphasizes the need for a nuanced understanding of societal evolution, considering regional variations and the complex interplay of social, political, and economic factors. The acknowledgment of both matriarchal and patriarchal elements in different cultures underscores the diversity of human social organization throughout history.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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