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Lecture 8

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University of Toronto Scarborough

ANTA02 Lecture8 Marriage - 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 bonds. - 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 group. - No single definition of marriage accounts for cross-cultural diversity in marriages. - Some societies recognize various kinds of same-sex marriages, symbolic and social relationships. MARRIAGEASSOCIALALLIANCE - Several specific cultural practices highlight the importance of marriage as an alliance between groups. - 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. MARRIAGEASEXCHANGE - 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 descent group. - Common in patrilineal groups. - Dowry: marital exchange in which wife’s group provides substantial gifts to husband’s family - Correlates with relatively low female status. - Much less common than bride wealth. WHOTOMARRY?EXOGAMY,ENDOGAMY - 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. EXOGAMY:THEINCESTTABOO - 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. PLURALMARRIAGE - 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. Economics - 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 economy. - 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 possible. - Homo Economicus: human nature is to maximize individual self interest (the profit motive). ECONOMICANTHROPOLOGY - 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
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