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Lecture 9

Lecture 9: Representing Culture: From Origin Myths to Survivor South Pacific

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Carleton University
ANTH 1002
Eric Henry

Lecture 9: Representing Culture From Origin Myth to Survivor: South Pacific What is Marriage?  “Let me be the first to say that the traditional family has stood for 5,000 years. There is no moment in recorded history when the traditional family was not recognized and sanctioned by a civilized society—it is the oldest institution that exists. The traditional family is found in the oldest writings of mankind, and is an institution which people decided was so important for happiness and progress that it was worth singling out and was worth giving special status above all other contracts in terms of a relationship among people.” – Sen. Phil Gramm (R) Texas Senate debate on “Defense of Marriage Act”  For Senator Gramm, traditional marriage (monogamy) as several components: 1. An arrangement between one man and one woman 2. Granting exclusive sexual access between them 3. Which gives their children legal status as belonging to both of them 4. Creates lasting bonds between their families  Anthropologists argue that, from a cross-cultural perspective, marriage should actually be thought of as: 1. An arrangement between people 2. Granting some measure of sexual access 3. Which gives children some form of legal status, but not necessarily as belonging to all parents 4. Creates lasting bonds between (sometimes multiple) families  Affinal relationship are kin relationships created by marriage, while consanguineal relationships are based on descent th  Our ideas of marriage are constantly changing; before the 20 century, marriage typically occurred only once in a person’s lifetime, but today, remarriage after divorce or death is common Post-Marital Residence Patterns 1. Neolocal: new couples form an independent household in a place of their own choosing (bilateral kinship: non-kin social ties are primary) 2. Patrilocal: new couples join or live near the household of the husband’s family (patrilineal: produces groups of related men) 3. Matrilocal: new couples join or live near the household of the wife’s family (matrilineal: produces groups of related women) 4. Avunculocal: new couples join or live near the household of the wife’s mother’s brother (matrilineal: but characterized by male control of wealth) Polygamy  A marriage pattern in which one man is married to multiple wives at the same time  This pattern can be found in many African and Middle Eastern societies  Polyandry is a marriage pattern in which one woman is married to multiple husbands at the same time  This pattern can be found in parts of South Asia and West Africa  This arrangement may include one woman married to several brothers (fraternal polyandry), unrelated men (associated polyandry), or several men serially (secondary marriage) Ghost Marriage  Occasionally practiced in patrilineal East Asian societies  If a man or woman dies without children, they will have no heirs to maintain their
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