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Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
Marriage As Alliance
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Marriage As Alliance


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Marriage Alliances; Mauss's Three Obligations; Briadwealth; Borde Labor; Dowries; Parallel Cousin Marriage; Cross-Cousin Marriage.

Marriage Alliances; Mauss's Three Obligations; Briadwealth; Borde Labor; Dowries; Parallel Cousin Marriage; Cross-Cousin Marriage.

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  • 1. Marriage as Alliance An Examination of Interfamilial Politics
  • 2. Marriage as Alliance
    • Another function of marriage is alliance formation between lineages, clans, tribes, or even nations.
    • In European history, peace between nations was sealed by monarchial marriage.
    • Yanomamö: highest alliance is sealed by marriage outside the village.
    • Women marry their cross-cousins, affording her some kind of protection against an abusive husband.
    • She has no such protection if she marries outside; marriage outside the village must reflect high degree of trust.
    • The main ways to secure alliance are bridewealth and exchange marriage
  • 3. Bridewealth
    • Bridewealth—exchange of wealth such as cattle for a bride—is more than a marriage transaction
    • Marriage means more than a loss of a daughter: it is the loss of her reproductive power
    • Such a loss must be compensated.
    • Bridewealth entails payment by groom’s kin to wife’s kin and ensures that the wife’s kin attracts wives for its sons
    • Strengthens bond of kin through network of obligations.
  • 4. Bride Labor and Dowry
    • There are variations of bridewealth:
    • Bride labor ensures the woman’s family will be looked after if her husband son proves his worth by working for her family for a year or two.
    • The dowry is the transfer of wealth from wife’s family to husband.
    • A condition is that he looks after wife’s welfare even after his own death
    • A Dowry is also an assurance that the woman’s status is on par with her husband’s
  • 5. Exchange Theory: Mauss’s Analysis of the Gift
    • Exchange, of bridewealth or of marriage partners creates and maintains ties between two groups
    • Marcel Mauss identified three obligations of exchange, of the gift.
    • The first obligation is to give in order to form or create ties between two groups (families, clans)
    • The second obligation is to receive in order to cement ties. Failure to do so—a refusal of a gift--is to create hostilities.
    • The third obligation is to repay.
    • Failure to do so renders the recipient a beggar, resulting in his/her inferior status.
    • So these obligations have the force of law, in the absence of formal law as we know it.
  • 6. Parallel and Cross-Cousin Marriage
    • Marriage often involves these three obligations, especially when the gift exchanges are persons for marriage. There are two basic types:
    • Parallel cousin marriage is the marriage of a person with his/her father’s brother’s child or mother’s sister’s child
    • Cross-cousin marriage is the marriage of a person with his/her sister’s brother’s child or mother’s other’s brother’s child
  • 7. Patrilateral Parallel Cousin Marriage
    • Father’s brother’s children belong to same patrilineal descent unit
    • Practiced among Arab nomadic peoples, such as the Rwala Bedouin in various parts of the Middle East
    • This type of marriage serves to preserve wealth within extended family or lineage
    • The disadvantage is that it limits any possible ties between two groups.
    • Why? Notice here that the couple belongs to the same patrilineage.
  • 8. Cross-Cousin Marriage
    • Notice from this diagram that the marriage partners always belongs to different lineages.
    • (Marriage is indicated by the horizontal line below the two figures; siblings are linked by horizontal line above the two figures)
    • Why? Because crossing from one sex to the opposite sex means that you also switch from one lineage to the other; lineages are unisex.
    • Mother’s brother’s daughter: belongs to lineage or clan of the brother
    • Father’s sister’s daughter: belongs to lineage or clan of sister’s husband
  • 9. Matrilateral Cross-Cousin Marriage
    • Definition: marriage of man to his mother’s brother’s daughter,
    • He can never marry his father’s sister’s daughter
    • Man in lineage B takes his wife from Lineage A, but he can never marry the woman in Lineage C
    • There are always at least 3 groups that marry in a circle.
    • Close study of this diagram shows why
  • 10. Matrilateral Cross-Cousin Marriage: Alliance Patterns
    • The result is that B can never return his marriage with woman from A with his sister; she has to marry into Lineage C
    • Result: Lineage B is a “beggar” to Lineage A: likewise C is a beggar to Lineage B.
    • This type of marriage often occurs in stratified societies.
  • 11. Patrilateral Cross-Cousin Marriage
    • Woman is man’s father’s sister’s daughter
    • But man is woman’s mother’s brother’s son
    • Again, male is reference point
    • Pattern is somewhat more complicated
    • and rarer in occurrence
    • Structural implications will be bypassed
  • 12. Bilateral Cross-Cousin Marriage
    • Two definitions
    • Man marries either his m other’s brother’s daughter or his father’s sister’s daughter OR
    • May marry the one and the same woman who is his mother’s brother’s daughter AND his father’s sister’s daughter
    • This diagram shows how. Carefully trace for the men in the middle generation the two ties that link them with their wives.
    • Result: the two lineages are always paired; this is how the Yanomamö are organized.
  • 13. Alliance Patterns: Bilateral Cross-Cousin Marriage
    • Results: If you have only two lineages and everyone marries a bilateral cross cousin, you have only one choice of partner.
    • In a Yanomamö village, you have only two kinds of people:
    • Your patrilineal kinsmen and kinswomen and
    • Your in-laws, whom you are eligible to marry.
    • That is why Yanomamö are divided into two halves.
    • These halves are known as moieties
  • 14. Bilateral Cross-Cousin Marriage: Results
    • When fissioning or splitting apart, the villages always divide in pairs
    • Two kinds of people: your kin and your future spouse’s kin
    • Iroquois cousin terminology that the Yanomamö villagers use reflect his:
    • Parallel cousins are terminologically the same as brother (Br) and sister (Z)
    • Cross-cousin are given different names (Co) : study this chart carefully; notice the difference in terms of parallel cousins and cross-cousins.
  • 15. Importance of Kin Terms: Bilateral
    • Reflect how cousins are to behave toward each other
    • Hawaiian: all cousins merge siblings with cousins.
    • Bilateral: marriage occurs outside kin covered by terminology.
    • Eskimo: our own: immediate siblings separated from cousins
    • Often found with nuclear families
  • 16. Importance of Kin Terms: Unilineal
    • Iroquois: Parallel cousins merged with siblings
    • Separated from cross cousins
    • Yanomamö: give indication of marriageable partners
    • Guinea: Cross-cousins separated from immediate siblings and parallel cousins,
    • Matrilateral and patrilateral cross-cousins are separated from each other.,
    • This distinction suggests that one type of cross-cousin marriage--matrilateral or patrilateral marriage is preferred, if not prescribed or mandates.
  • 17. Kinship Terminology
    • Much more could be said
    • Omaha and Crow reflect
    • Patrilineal and matrilineal relations, respectively
    • Main point: terms are “markers” of basic relationships
  • 18. Conclusion: Value of Marriage and Kinship
    • Involves how gender relations are managed
    • Sexual relations
    • Division of labor
    • Marriage and childbirth
    • Involves relations outside immediate realm of kin
    • Economic rights and obligations (next)
    • Social control through other institutions