Romero, Rachel (2008-10). The role of matriarchies and patriarchies in social evolution vis-a-vis Bachofen and his influence on the social sciences. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • Johan Jakob Bachofen (1815-1887) was a Swiss anthropologist and sociologist whose 1861 book, Mother Right: An Investigation of the Religious and Juridical Character of Matriarchy in the Ancient World is best known for his radical claims that matriarchy preceded patriarchy, and that matriarchy is the source of human society, religion, and morality. Scholars have acknowledged Bachofen's influence on a long list of writers, including but not limited to: Lewis Henry Morgan, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, Friederich Engels, Karl Marx, Erich Fromm, Joseph Campbelll, Emile Durkheim, Carl Gustav Jung, Thorstein Veblen, Ferdinand Tonnies, and Pitirim Sorokin. The focus of my thesis is to bring attention to Bachofen's influence on the early sociologists (Engels, Durkheim, Tonnies, Sorokin), and more importantly, on the later sociologists and other social scientists whom these early sociologists in turn influenced, including: David Riesman, Talcott Parsons, and Jean Baudrillard.

publication date

  • October 2008