Dominator culture is a term coined by futurist and writer Riane Eisler. This term first appears in her book The Chalice and the Blade (Harper Collins San Francisco, 1987). This book outlines in detail her theory of hierarchical dominator cultures vs. distributed "Partnership" cultures.
Terence McKenna, a friend of Eisler, consciously borrowed and credited Eisler's ideas in his notes and the bibliographies of his books. He used the idea of dominator culture in part to illuminate what happened to cultures native to the Americas, and in part to describe the contrasting, antithetical character of what he sees as Western patriarchal culture—indicating, for example, his claims that it perennially lacks social conscience and lacks concern for the environment. Furthermore, he argues that, "The entire structure of the dominator culture ... is based upon 'our alienation from nature, from ourselves and from each other'". As a result, McKenna claimed, "Our ideas are exhausted—the ideas that we inherit out of Christianity and its half-brother science, or its bastard child science."
The term has been since used and expanded upon by other writers, such as
- Carol J. Adams in The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory
- Fritjof Capra in The Turning Point
- Thom Hartmann in The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight
- Leonard Shlain in The Alphabet Versus the Goddess
- Starhawk in Dreaming the Dark
- bell hooks in Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
- Center for Partnership Studies
- Alien Dreamtime Talk by Terence McKenna that describes dominator culture in the context of his main ideas.