Marriage as Alliance


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Describes types of marriage alliances; Bridewealth, Bride Labor, and Dowry are defined; Types of Cousin Marriage are detailed; Kinship terminology is reviewed

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Marriage as Alliance

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