Dominator culture refers to a model of society where fear and force maintain rigid understandings of power and superiority within a hierarchical structure. Futurist and writer Riane Eisler first popularized this term in her book The Chalice and the Blade (Harper Collins San Francisco, 1987). In it, Eisler positions the dominator model in contrast to the partnership model, a more egalitarian structure of society founded on mutual respect among its inhabitants. In dominator culture, men rule over women, whereas partnership culture values men and women equally. Other theorists, including Terence McKenna and bell hooks, have expanded on the implications and impact of dominator culture. They, among others, argue that adherence to the dominator model over the partnership model denies the possibility of a more equal society, systematically allowing for the persecution of those who are “dominated”—including racial and ethnic minorities, LGBT people, and women.
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