Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 75–97 | Cite as

The psychological origins of the white male patriarchy

  • George W. Albee


A white male patriarchy developed in England as the British empire grew, expanding its colonial exploitation around the world. A rational explanation was required to explain how a small number of men deserved to control this enormous and growing wealth. With Darwin's theory of evolution (survival of the fittest), Galton's studies of genius (rich and successful men were related to each other) and Spencer's insight that natural selection in human societies was Nature's way of getting rid of bad stock and preserving the best, the theory took shape. The theory was imported to America where it flourishes. Psychologists provided evidence to support the ideas of the ruling class: intelligence, mental disorders, crime and the addictions are all due to bad genes and bad brains. The defect model occupies the center of the stage. There is no need to act to remove injustice, sexism, racism, homophobia—the causes of distress are not social, they are internal, personal defects. Drugs will reduce the symptoms while the search goes on for the internal defects.

Key words

Social Darwinism patriarchy class bias prejudice 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • George W. Albee
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of VermontUSA
  2. 2.Florida Mental Health InstituteUniversity of South FloridaUSA

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