- Love and marriage, do they go together like a horse and carriage?
- What exactly is marriage and what role does it play in society?
- The argument that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and woman
is problematic for several reasons.
- Cross cultural variation.
- Changes over time.
- Marriage as union between individuals is a relatively recent phenomena- associated
with industrial revolution and capitalism.
- Marriage is due to love is a modern phenomena that has almost started after the
industrial revolution. Before that marriage had different importance to different cultures.
- What is marriage?
- Social institution that provides certain rights and responsibilities and creates social
- legal father and mother to children. It creates a legal contract of parenthood.
- Monopoly on sexual access. They pose restrictions on people to have sexual
relationships with the person u are married to.
- Rights to the labor of the other.
- Rights over the other’s property.
- Establish a joint fund of property for children.
- Establish a socially significant “relationship of affinity”.
- Between spouses and relatives.
- Outside industrial societies, marriage often is more of a relationship between groups
than just between individuals.
- Romantic love may exist, but it often subordinated to priorities of larger family / descent
- No single definition of marriage accounts for cross-cultural diversity in marriages. - Some societies recognize various kinds of same-sex marriages, symbolic and social
- Several specific cultural practices highlight the importance of marriage as an alliance
- Sororate: widower marries one of his deceased wife’s sisters(or another woman from
her group if a sister is not available).
- Levirate: widow marries one of her deceased husband’s brothers.
- Bride wealth and Dowry
- Bridewealth: customary gift before, at, or after marriage from the husband and his kin to
his wife and her kin.
- Also called progeny price: makes children full members of her husband’s
- Common in patrilineal groups.
- Dowry: marital exchange in which wife’s group provides substantial gifts to husband’s
- Correlates with relatively low female status.
- Much less common than bride wealth.
- Exogamy:practice of seeking spouse outside one’s own group.
- Forces people to create and maintain a wide social network.
- Endogamy:mating or marriage within group to which one belongs.
- Most cultures are endogamous units. - Classes and ethnic groups within society may be quasi-endogamous.
- Most cultures have rules of both Exogamy and Endogamy.
- E.G. People must marry outside their immediate family (exogamy) to avoid incesst, but
within their own cultures or ethnic groups (Endogamy) to maintain cultural purity.
- Incest: sexual relations with a close relative.
- Incest taboo within the nuclear family is a cultural universal.
- Societies vary in the range and definition of relatives who are considered prohibited
sex and marriage partners.
- Polygyny:a man having more than one wife.
- Even when polygyny encouraged, most people and to be monogamous.
- Reasons for polygyny:
- Men marrying later than women.
- Inheritance of widow from a brother.
- Increase prestige or household productivity.
- Infertile Wife.
- Polyandry: a woman has more than one husband.
- Fraternal polyandry: woman married to group of brothers.
- Vary rare, almost exclusively in South Asia(Tibet, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka).
- Effective strategy when resources are scarce.
- Expanded polyandrous households allow brothers to pool resources. - Restricts number of wives and children, so land transmitted is more.
- An economy is a system of production, distribution and consumption of resources.
- Economics is the study of study of such systems - focus on modern capitalist
- Classical economy theory defined economy as a system of individuals competing
under conditions of scarcity to obtain as much of what they want for as little as
- Homo Economicus: human nature is to maximize individual self interest (the profit
- Study of cross cultural economic systems demonstrates:
- People around the world are not always motivated my profit/wealth - may try to
maximize power, prestige, social cohesion, equality, pleasure, etc.
- Many economic systems founded on assumptions of humans as social beings