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Steven Goldberg (born 14 October 1941) is a native of New York City and was president of the sociology department at City College of New York (CCNY) from 1988 until his retirement. He is most widely known for his theory of patriarchy, which attempts to explain male domination through biological causes.


Interests and views

Catherine Hakim states that Goldberg has a particular passion for the work of cultural anthropology.

Cultural anthropology has given the world a priceless treasure the ethnographic descriptions of many hundreds—or thousands, if one counts less formal works—of societies and the incredible variation they have demonstrated. In the future, when the homogenization of the world has made all societies more alike than different, only these ethnographies will stand against the human ethnocentric tendency to think things had to be the way they are [emphasis original].[1]

Hakim states that in Fads and Fallacies Goldberg placed professional academics in his own discipline under scrutiny, that this made him unpopular with many people; but that he constantly gets letters from other academics who praise him for his "courage",[2] to which he responds:

It was Freud, I think, who once pointed out when someone called him courageous, all one has to lose by unpopular arguments is contact with people one would not be terribly attracted to anyway. Now, five hundred years ago when you said something unpopular they BOILED YOU IN OIL. That took courage [emphasis original].[1]

Goldberg is best known for his two books on patriarchy.

Goldberg and Brain Sex only spoke of results that were then known – the effects of hormones on brain development and hence social behaviour. Since 2005 however, studies have shown that sexual dimorphism in brains can be influenced by genes even before the influence of hormones in the womb. "Genes on the sex chromosomes can directly influence sexual dimorphism in cognition and behaviour, independent of the action of sex steroids." [3]

In his book, Fads and Fallacies in the Social Sciences, Goldberg reveals his personal hero is Jackie Robinson and devotes a whole chapter to him. Goldberg also devotes a chapter to Bob Dylan, whose lyrical ideas stimulate his sociological mind.



  1. ^ a b Hakim(2004)
  2. ^ Hakim(2004) p. 13
  3. ^ Skuse, David H (2006). "Sexual dimorphism in cognition and behaviour: the role of X-linked genes". European Journal of Endocrinology 155: 99–106. doi:10.1530/eje.1.02263.  


  • Hakim, Catherine (2004). Key Issues in Women's Work: Female Diversity and the Polarisation of Women's Employment. City: Routledge Cavendish. ISBN 1904385168.  

Further reading



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