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Lecture 13 Marriage

by: Emily Bird

Lecture 13 Marriage Anthropology 1000

Emily Bird
GPA 4.0
Introduction to Anthropology
Dr. Christopher Berk

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Introduction to Anthropology
Dr. Christopher Berk
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Emily Bird on Monday October 26, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Anthropology 1000 at Auburn University taught by Dr. Christopher Berk in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 67 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at Auburn University.


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Date Created: 10/26/15
Lecture 13 Marriage Marriage gt Let s begin this lecture with some massive questions What is marriage What is marriage about Is it something based on love Respect for pa rents A desire to have children Is it ultimately about economic survival gt For most Americans marriage is supposed to be based on Love 0 Sex love and sex SHOULD connect at some point 0 Choice people must choose to marry and choose in ways that display commitment and the choice must be intensely independent family shouldn t choose for you gt For most Americans marriage should not be an explicitly economic decision a decision made by parents a decision made against the will of the espoused a decision made for reasons other than love or a decision made for impersonal reasons gt Marriages based on these factors are often dismissed and viewed negatively as 0 Americans typically don t believe in arranged marriages Or do we 0 marrying people who are similar to you gt Solf we were to try to concoct a de nition of marriage that went beneath popular ideology what would it look like gt refers to customs rules and obligations that establish a special relationship between sexually cohabitating adults typically but not exclusively male and female between them and any children they produce together or singly and between the kin of the spouses gt In fact I would argue O O O O O O O IE Extremely patrilineal society A woman can marry another woman only if the father doesn t have a male heir so the daughter takes on the male s role 0 This is not a sexual relationship The wife are allowed to have children with men but the children are recognized as the offspring of the female offspring social rather than biological paternity is socially recognized as the male heir 0 Why is this important Incest and the Incest Taboo gt Americans are currently arguing over the legitimacy of quotsamesex marriagequot but no one seems to be advocating incestuous ones gt sexual relations with a close relative gt A taboo against incest the is a human universal o BUT how a culture de nes their relatives and thus incest is variable and culturally speci c and therefore a social construction IE Cross cousins versus parallel cousins gt Example 0 Extremely patrilineal so the male line matters the most 0 LOOK AT THE TABLE ON THE SLIDES o Demonstrates how we as humans decide who is kin and therefore how to de ne incest gt it was very routine for them to marry each other 0 This caused many diseases like hemophilia 0 IE Inbreeding of Charles II of Spain to maintain alliances power prestige etc UncestTaboo gt While incest itself is culturally speci c a taboo against incest is a human universal There are many theories that attempt to explain why 0 Inbreeding avoidance instinctive or otherwise 0 Familiarity breeds contempt if you get too close it becomes maladaptive 0 Prevention of domestic chaos o Marry out or die out we need to expand gt Marriages and Groups gt Marriage can also be viewed as a system of alliances between families and descent groups gt seeking a mate outside one s own group 0 Incest restrictions promote exogamy gt seeking a mate with one s own group NOT INCEST 0 IE Caste System in India xed membership in a speci c group gt V What about our society Our culture has endogamy tendencieswe tend to marry in our own groups For example if you marry someone of a different faith you may feel the urge or be pressured into converting to your partner s faith So why would one marry in to another group In short one marries in order to preserve a resource a state of purity a sense of difference or superiority Marital Exchange gt V V V V Outside industrial societies marriage is often more a relationship between groups than one between individuals People don t just take a spouses they assume obligations to a group of inlaws As cases of exogamy and endogamy reveal marriage is always a relationship based on exchange or refusal to exchange gifts given by groom s family to bride s family usually objects rather than money such as as compensation for giving up the bride s labor and her children s labor gifts given by bride s family to groom s family compensation for becoming responsible for the bride Marital Alliances gt There are also customs that preserve the relationship between two groups of kin in the case of spousal death gt widower marries one of his deceased wife s sisters or another woman from her group if a sister is not available gt widow marries one of her deceased husband s brothers or another man from his group if a brother is not available gt Sororate and levirate highlight the importance of marriage as an alliance between groups 0 LOOK AT CHART ON SLIDE FIGURE 135 Plural Marriage gt VV So far we have only talked about marriages between two individuals There are however many cultural instances of having more than one spouse one man many wives gt one wife many husbands Polygyny gt Even when polygyny is encouraged most people tend to be monogamous o Roughly equal sex rations gt Reasons for polygyny 0 Men marrying later than women 0 The inheritance of widow from a brother 0 An increase prestige or household productivity 0 An infertile wife Polyandry gt Very rare almost exclusively in South Asia Tibet Nepal India Sri Lanka gt Cultural adaptation to mobility associated with customary male travel ON SLIDE gt is an effective strategy when resources are scarce h Plural Marriage gt What about the United States gt We practice people may have more than one spouse but not at the same time gt Why aren t more Americans advocating along with samesex unions the legalizing of polygamy You tell me


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