In Conversation with Riane Eisler

Stefano Mercanti (Università di Udine)

Abstract

Cultural historian and evolutionary theorist Riane Eisler talks to Le Simplegadi about her vision of new human possibilities and her belief in humanity’s capacity forcaring and mutuality as an alternative to the violence and domination of much ofrecorded history. In her ground-breaking works, The Chalice and the Blade (1987) and Sacred Pleasure (1995), both published in more than 20 languages including the recent Italian re-editions by Udine University Press Forum, she gives evidence of “another history”, that of the Neolithic before the violent invasions of pastoralistnomads, in which an equalitarian mode of living was far more central than thepatriarchal dominator configuration. This resulted, as Eisler describes, in relations of “linking” rather than rigid “ranking”, and what she calls “hierarchies of actualisation” rather than hierarchies of domination. This work provides a newradical perspective on the ways human relationships and institutions werestructured and how they can be again structured, ranging from culture,education, and economics to spirituality, sexuality, and family and other intimate relationships.

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