Sociological research looks particularly at social structures, that is, persistent patterns of human behavior arising from and impacting on collectivities. Thinking of gender as a social structure rather than an individual trait shifts the analytic focus to include multiple levels of interaction (macro, meso, micro) and the varied processes in which gender is actively produced and contested. This perspective leads me to an analysis of public and private patriarchies as contrasting ways in which the state may organize gender at the macro level. Using the FRG and GDR as examples of public and private patriarchy, I suggest that current conflicts in feminism in unified Germany may partly reflect realistic responses to different past experiences with gender as a social structure. (MMF)


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pp. 27-38
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