Modern Matriarchal Studies

 Helheta / Gunilla Madegård

  MMS Website Blog    




by studying


 Dr Heide Göttner-Abendroth

  founder of

 International Academy HAGIA
  for Modern Matriarchal Studies




This book presents the results of Heide Goettner-Abendroth's pioneering research in the field of modern matriarchal studies, based on a new definition of matriarchy as true gender-egalitarian societies. Accordingly, matriarchal societies should not be regarded as mirror images of patriarchal ones, as they have never needed the patriarchy's hierarchical structures of domination. On the contrary, matriarchal patterns are socially egalitarian, economically balanced, and politically based on consensus decisions. They have been created by women and are founded on maternal values. This new perspective on matriarchal societies is developed step by step by the analysis of extant indigenous cultures in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

About The Author:

Heide Goettner-Abendroth is a German philosopher and researcher of culture and society who is focused on matriarchal studies. She taught at the University of Munich and was visiting professor at the University of Montreal, Canada and the University of Innsbruck, Austria. She organized and guided two World Congresses on Matriarchal Studies in 2003 and 2005. She was nominated as one of the -1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize- in 2005.


Editorial Reviews

For decades, Heide Goettner-Abendroth has been a serious scholar of the deep history and ongoing traditions of matriarchy in Europe. Her extensive research has taken her through strong historical matriarchies on several continents, drawing together the research of the most modern international scholars on matriarchy. Her book now brings to undeniable light the matriarchal alternatives available to humanity. Goettner-Abendroth should be on the reading list of every women's studies program. --Barbara Alice Mann, Ohio Bear Clan Seneca, Assistant Professor in the Honors College of the University of Toledo, and Co-Director of the Native American Alliance of Ohio 

If in the millenium of women, future generations look back to find the origin of their peaceful societies, they will find that the work of Heide Goettner-Abendroth opened the way. Modern matriarchal studies break through patriarchal capitalist ideology and provide the new/old models for viable ways of life of which our present globalizing market is only a destructive abberation. 
--Genevieve Vaughan, Author of For-Giving: A Feminist Criticism of Exchange and Women and the Gift Economy: A Radically Different Worldview Is Possible, and Founder of International Feminists for a Gift Economy
With the publication of this important book, Heide Goettner-Abendroth s brilliant critical conceptualization of the deep structures shared by matriarchal societies around the world becomes fully available in English. Her theory has developed, not abstractly but inductively, from the analytical investigation of numerous societies by non-indigenous and indigenous researchers. It provides the basis for a full-fledged interdisciplinary and cross-cultural field of matriarchal studies where previously only isolated studies were possible. 
Matriarchal studies is a deeply political and liberatory field grounded in an understanding that the destructive patriarchal power structures pervasive today are a historically recent development. Scholars of matriarchy, some of whom are members of matriarchal societies, are uncovering and reclaiming cultures created mainly by women. Their research offers support for indigenous peoples struggles on every continent for land and cultural rights and brings hope to us all that we can build a better world. 
--Angela Miles, Professor of Adult Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, Canada


Heide Goettner-Abendroth has devoted her life to the study of matriarchal societies and the development of modern matriarchal studies. Her monumental work is presented in this book. As a Western feminist and peace activist this knowledge has transformed almost every facet of my thinking, theorizing, and activism as well as my daily life. My work on, motherhood, sexuality, racism, and above all peace and peace building has been significantly altered by Goettner-Abendroth's scholarship. I believe her work offers Western feminists and other progressive scholars as well as social change activists a new, innovative vision of an alternative society a society of peace and balance, insightful ways to heal the many harms Western civilization brought about, and groundbreaking passages of doing politics, peace building, and conflict resolution. 
Erella Shadmi, Isha L Isha feminist center, Israel, and former Head of Women's Studies Program, Beit Berl College, Israel

In an ideal world this ground-breaking study would already be required reading in most disciplines from women s' and native studies to anthropology and, most importantly, economics, political science, and religious studies. I predict, however, that in this era of urgent survival studies following the moral, financial, ecological, and climate crises, Heide Goettner-Abendroth's vital findings regarding past and present matriarchal gift economies and societies will finally be embraced. The English translation of this part of Dr. Goettner-Abendroth's life work has been long overdue; the work her magnum opus is likely to become a classic among all those scholars who have the courage and ethics needed to resist the ethno- and androcentric legacy of white patriarchal Western science. No paradigm shift parallels that which replaces the master discourses that have wreaked havoc on women, non-human species and other colonized objects of capitalist patriarchy. Goettner-Abendroth brings us the factual knowledge that allows us to adopt a radically alternative worldview, beyond establishment claims that matriarchies are reversals of patriarchies or never existed. This book establishes that academic colonialism not only blocks the truth, academic freedom and sustainability, but must now be stopped in the name of the planet's survival. 
--Kaarina Kailo, Assistant Professor (Docent), Oulu University, Finland, and former Professor of Women's Studies and Director of Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Canada 


Heide Goettner-Abendroth is one of the most insightful and important social thinkers of our time. With this long-awaited translation of her German work on matriarchy, she brings her penetrating understanding and synthetic analysis of mother-centered and mother-origin societies to the entire English-speaking world. There is no more articulate theorist about the true nature of such societies, no more thorough, respectful, and appreciative cataloguer of them. Dispelling stereotypes and misunderstandings about matriarchy, she unveils the riches of an alternative social structure beneficial to humanity that has been with us for millennia and continues to function in many pockets around the globe. Hers is a work of tremendous scholarly activism. By showing us that peaceful ecological living based on mothering values is possible, and that warfare and economic imbalance are not natural and given human conditions, her vision offers great hope for the future. 
--Marguerite Rigoglioso, Dominican University and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, California, and Author of The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece and Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity 


Heide Goettner-Abendroth is one of the very few scholars who has delved into the wider meaning of the word matriarchy as it is meant to be understood and not as a mirror-image of patriarchy. She has been unwavering in her commitment to enquire deeper into the social arrangements of matriarchal societies across the globe. This enquiry is critical in the twenty-first century if we have to reverse the rapid pace at which world economic, political, and financial systems, based largely on the patriarchal model, are collapsing one by one. This scholarship is one of a kind! 
Seeing the world through the eyes of matriarchy requires adjusting the mind's lenses and discarding past prejudices. Goettner-Abendroth has used all the scientific tools for intellectual and social enquiry even as she argues cogently about how matriarchies were relegated to a position of insignificance and how this egalitarian social system needs to reclaim itself from the hands of those who use patriarchy to promote an unsustainable global system. 
--Patricia Mukhim, Journalist and Editor of The Shillong Times, Shillong, India, and Director of the Indigenous Women's Resource Center at Shillong, Meghalaya, India


"Societies of Peace: Matriarchies Past Present and Future celebrates women's largely ignored and/or invisible contribution to culture by exploring matriarchal societies that have existed in the past and that continue to exist today in certain parts of the world. Matriarchal societies, primarily shaped by women, have a non violent social order in which all living creatures are respected without the exploitation of humans, animals or nature. They are well-balanced and peaceful societies in which dominationis unknown and all beings are treated equally. This book presents these largely misunderstood societies, both past and present, to the wider public, as alternative social and cultural models that promote trust, mutuality, and abundance for all." "Contrary to common belief, which misunderstands matriarchy as "women's rule," these societies are based on a tradition of gender equality, negotiate their political decisions through consensus, and have intelligent rules to ensure a peaceful life. At the beginning of this new millennium, there is a lively interest in what has become a new social science. Matriarchal studies make visible a form of society, which is peaceful and balanced both in regard to gender and with respect to the generations, and which demonstrates an ecologically appropriate way of dealing with all living beings. The example of matriarchal societies can inspire us to find better social and cultural models for the solution of many contemporary problems."--BOOK JACKET.