CHAPTER 14: MARRIAGE FAMILY KINSHIP
KIN GROUPS THAT INCLUDE HUNDREDS OR EVEN THOUSANDS OF
RELATED PEOPLE ARE FOUND IN MANY SOCIETIES ADN
STRUCTURE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL-POLITICAL, AND RELIGION
IN NON-COMMERCIAL SOCIETIES, KIN GROUPS WERE PROBABLY
THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF SOCIAL ORGANIZATION
-socially approved sexual and economic union
- married couple does not have to hide the sexual
nature of their relationship.
George Peter Murdock: "Sexual relations can occur
without ecconomic cooperation, and there can be a
division of labor between men and woment without sex.
But marriage unites the economic and the sexual."
WHY IS MARRIAGE NEARLY UNIVERSAL? : we can only
assume that the custom is adaptive. several
interpretations have traditionally been offered...
GENDER DIVISION OF LABOUR
● males and females in every society perform
different economic activities.
● marriage a mechanism to share the product of
● this is clearly not the only possible solution
so... PROLONGED INFANT DEPENDENCY
● humans have longest period of infant dependency of
● this dependence places greatest burden on mother.
● prolonged childcare by woman limits the types of
work they can do.
● not clear why a group of women and men could not
cooperate to take care of children without marriage
● unlike most other female primates, humans may
engage in intercourse at any time
● this may have created considerable sexual
competition amongst males for females
● it is argued that marriage prevented the
competition from becoming ultimately destructive
● several problems with this:
1. continuous female sexuality may make competition
less since the scarcity of mating women is
2. males of any animal species don't show much
aggression over (over as in 'compared to' or
3. if competition is a problem why couldn't it be
regulated by other rules ie men and women circulate
with each other? jealousy? love?
OTHER MAMMELS & BIRDS: POSTPARTUM REQUIREMENTS - most species of birds and some mammals such as wolves
and beavers have male-female bonding.
- among 40 mammal and bird species, none of the three
factors above predicts or is correlated with m/f
ONLY ONE PREDICTOR AMONG MAMMALS AND BIRDS FOR M/F
BONDING: ANIMAL SPECIES IN WHICH FEMALES CAN
SIMULTANEOUSLY FEED THEMSELVES AND THEIR BABIES AFTER
BIRTH (POSTPARTUM) TEND NOT TO HAVE STABLE MATINGS;
SPECIES IN WHICH POSTPARTUM MOTHERS CANNOT FEED
THEMSELVES AND THEIR BABIES AT THE SAME TIME TEND TO
HAVE STABLE MATINGS.
- when humans lost most of their body hair, babiels