Marriage and the Family

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Marriage Definitions, Types and Functions; Family Types.

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Marriage and the Family

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

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