Marriage and the Family
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Marriage and the Family



Marriage Definitions, Types and Functions; Family Types.

Marriage Definitions, Types and Functions; Family Types.



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Marriage and the Family Marriage and the Family Presentation Transcript

  • Kinship II: Marriage and the Family Cultural Anthropology
  • Defining Marriage: General Issues
    • Defining marriage: A daunting task
    • Nayar: The stretch of sambandham
    • N. America: Extensive ceremony
    • Common elements
    • Legal or customary sanctions
    • Economic dimensions
    • Social recognition
    • Haviland: mating is biological; marriage is cultural
  • Defining Marriage: Notes and Queries Definition
    • Named after a Royal Anthropological Institute newsletter
    • The definition
    • A union between a man and a woman
    • such that children born to the woman
    • are recognized legitimate offspring of both parents
  • Operative Term: Legitimate Offspring
    • Legitimacy
    • Children born of male-female unions
    • that are culturally approved
    • are allowed full membership in their culture
    • have a right to inherit
    • have other rights pertaining to their birth
    • and to their status in society
    • Children of nonlegitimate unions have no such membership or rights
  • Polygyny and Concubinage: Rights of Offspring
    • Polygyny
    • Marriage of one man to many women
    • Marriages are “legally” recognized
    • Children of all unions (upper left in Nigeria) have birthrights
    • Concubinage/Concubines
    • A union in Imperial China that did not involve full rights
    • Offspring did not inherit or obtain full rights of their imperial or noble fathers
    • Yet, concubine Wu Zetian (left) overthrew the empress and became one herself
  • Nayar: An Introduction
    • Nayar of Malabar Coast, SW India
    • Comprised the warrior caste in India
    • Organized into matrilineages called taravad
    • Women lived with their brothers: consanguine families
    • Brother and sister did not mate
    • Each taravad was linked ceremonially with other taravads
  • Nayar Sambandham: Tali Ceremony
    • Tali Ceremony
    • Initiation of prepubescent girls into womanhood
    • Girls “married” to boys from other taravads (left: a taravad residence)
    • After ceremony, each boy put a tali or gold chain around each girl’s neck
    • Each couple were secluded for a few days
    • Afterward took bath for purification
    • No obligation except period of woman’s mourning on death of “husband ”
  • Sambandham: A Description
    • A right to entertain men at night
    • After dinner and before breakfast
    • A formal relationship
    • Gifts expected from man 3 times/year
    • Involved sexual intercourse
    • No other obligations were involved
    • Up to 12 liaisons might be ongoing (not during the same night, of course)
  • Sambandham: Relationship and Child Legitimacy
    • Three restrictions
    • Men had to be outside woman’s taravad
    • Men had to be Hindus: no Muslims or Christians allowed
    • Men had to be of warrior or Brahmin caste
    • Legitimation
    • Upon childbirth one man paid for delivery costs, thereby recognizing legitimacy
    • If no man did so, illegitimacy suspected
  • The Nayar Household: Consanguineal Family
    • Child was reared by the mother and mother’s brother
    • Two concepts of father
    • Genitor: The biological father--the visitors
    • Pater: The social father
    • Woman’s brother
    • Child’s mother’s brother.
  • Redefining Marriage
    • Other examples:
    • Nuer: Woman marriage
    • Kwakiutl: Man marriage
    • Haviland’s definition
    • Relationship between one or more men (male or female)
    • With one or more women (male or female)
    • Recognized by society as having claim
    • to right of sexual access to one another
  • Functions of Marriage/Nuclear Family
    • George Peter Murdock’s Social Structure argues:
    • Nuclear families (upper left) embedded in:
    • Extended families (lower left)
    • Polygynous families
    • There are universal functions
    • Sexual gratification
    • Gender division of labor
    • Reproduction
    • Enculturation
  • Sexual Gratification
    • Sexual behavior allowed through a legitimate channel--marriage
    • Diminishes sexual competition
    • Lessens disruption through jealousy
    • Problems with explanation
    • Sexual behavior occurs outside wedlock
  • Gender Division of Labor
    • Gender-assigned tasks
    • Relieve spouse of a block of tasks
    • Assigned according to
    • Strength (of male) for heavier and dangerous jobs
    • Domestic tasks (women) including child care
    • Erigbaatgsa woman planting garden is one example
  • Drawbacks of explanation
    • Women often active outside home
    • Long-distance trade
    • Women do perform strenuous tasks (left: Yanomamo women bringing in loads)
    • And perform dangerous tasks (e.g. Atga woman hunting)
    • Navajo women were first sheep herders
  • Reproduction
    • Both sexes required for reproduction
    • Assumption: genitor and pater roles exercised by same man
    • Exceptions
    • Nayar separation of genitor from pater
    • Mother’s brother performs pater role in many matrilineal societies
  • Nurturance and Enculturation
    • Family has primary role of child rearing
    • Usually mother provides nurturance
    • Robin Fox: Primary bond is mother-child
    • Beyond this, enculturation may occur within other institutions
    • East Africa: Age set/age grade system
    • New Guinea: Men’s houses
    • Trobriand Islands: Mother’s brother
    • Consanguineal families
  • Types of Marriage
    • Monogamy : One man, one woman
    • Serial monogamy: multiple partners in lifetime but never at the same time
    • Polygamy: Multiple marriage
    • Polygyny: One man, two or more women
    • Polyandry: One woman, two or more men
    • Group Marriage (Polygynandry): More than one man, more than one women
    • The last is rare and transitory
  • Polygyny
    • Found among societies with intensive female labor: horticulturists, pastoralists (top)
    • Extra hands are always welcome
    • Often found with wealth generation
    • Often a potential source of division
    • “ Fault lines” between sons of different co-wives (bottom)
    • Large herds reduced by such division
  • Sororal Polygyny: A Mitigating Factor
    • Defining sororal polygyny
    • Marriage involving sisters
    • From family of orientation
    • Sibling familiarity breeds (some) harmony
    • Tension minimal compared to nonsisters
  • Polyandry
    • Found in fewer than a dozen societies
    • Tibet:
    • Fraternal polyandry is practiced
    • Marriage of one women to two or more men who are brothers to each other
    • There is only one child bearer
    • In mountainous regions, arable land is scarce
    • Helps maintain land as one parcel
    • Controls population growth
  • Same-Sex Marriage
    • Woman marriage (Nuer and Nandi)
    • Both societies are pastoralists
    • Mothers with no sons has no one to inherit man’s property
    • They “marry” a young woman
    • Second woman provides male heirs barren or sonless woman lacks
    • The first women becomes “female” husband/father
    • Actually enhances her status--as a “man”
  • Family and Household
      • Family: Not all are residential
      • Household defined
      • Basic residential unit
      • in which production, consumption, child rearing, and inheritance
      • are organized and implemented
      • Variations
      • May form subunits of extended family
      • May be nonfamily: New Guinean men’s houses
      • Or spouses may form separate units
  • Nuclear Family
    • Couple may form own household
    • Neolocal Residence: Couple forms an entirely new household
    • Nuclear Family: Family comprising one husband, one wife, and their children
    • Nuclear families usually found where
    • Industrial societies as in U.S. and Canada
    • Harsh environments such as the Arctic among Inuit or desert among !Kung
  • Extended Families
    • Textbook definition
    • A collection of nuclear families
    • United consanguineally
    • Living in one household
    • A common definition:
    • A family of three or more generations
    • of married kin.
    • Extended family household refers to such families sharing a residence
  • Patrilocal Residence
    • Couple moves in with groom’s parents/kin
    • Sometimes called virilocal residence
    • Patrilocal Extended Family:
    • Comprises all consanguineal males
    • All unmarried females
    • All females married into family
    • Occurs where male cooperation important in subsistence or war
  • Matrilocal Residence
    • Couple moves in with bride’s parents/kin
    • Sometimes called uxorilocal residence
    • Matrilocal Extended Family:
    • Comprises all consanguineal females
    • All unmarried males
    • All males married into family
    • Found where female cooperation important in
    • Subsistence or land ownership
  • Avunculocal Residence
    • Occurs only with matrilineal descent
    • Household Formation
    • Boy moves in with mother’s brother at age 5-6
    • Reared by mother’s brother
    • On marriage, wife move in
    • Their boys move in with wife’s brother
  • Avunculocal Residence: A Likely explanation
    • Formerly relied on female cooperation
    • Male property becomes valuable
    • Variation: chiefly class in Trobriands
  • Ambilocal (Bilocal) Residence
    • Occurs with bilateral descent
    • Household formation :
    • Couple moves in either with groom’s parents or wife’s parents
    • Occurs where resources are limited
    • Choice depends on resource advantage
  • Example: Gilbert Islanders Oo and Bwoti
    • Oo: An overarching bilateral descent group
    • Bwoti : Community council seat
    • Membership is based on land rights, potentially several
    • A man or woman can choose only one bwoti,
    • Here, 8 individuals have chosen 6 bwotis :
    • Four in father’s group (2, 3,5,6)
    • Four in mother’s group (1,4,7,8)
  • Example: Gilbert Islanders Kainga
    • Kainga: Localized landowning group based on marriage
    • If a couple decides to move into man’s group, woman retains rights to her kainga
    • But she may not pass it down to her children
    • Kainga is structurally similar to the bwoti
    • Over time, ramages or ambilineal descent groups form
  • Matrifocal (Matricentric) Household
    • Today, single parent households are becoming common
    • Matrifocal (Matricentric ) households comprise a woman and her children
    • Reasons: deindustrialization, divorce, inability of man to support family
    • Patrifocal (patricentric) households are also increasing
  • Successor Marriage: Levirate and Sororate
    • Levirate: Marriage in which widow marries the brother of her deceased husband
    • Sororate: Marriage in which widower marries the sister of his deceased wife
  • Summary
    • Marriage has been defined in two ways
      • One stressing legitimacy of children
      • One stressing relationship of persons
    • Household and Family have been defined
    • Types of family defined
      • Extended family
      • Extended family by postmarital residence.
    • Next: what about larger kin-based groups?