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Chapter 11

ANTH 100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Dowry Death, Bride Price, Matrilocal Residence

Course Code
ANTH 100
Mc Guire Erin- Lee

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human life is group life
-relationships are organized in many different ways
-forms of relatedness are always embedded in & shaped by politics,
economics & world-views
marriage: a social process that creates socially & legally recognized
partnerships in society
-transforms status
-perpetuates social patterns
-creates relationships between the kin of partners
-is symbolically marked
-regulates sex between marriage partners
sanctioned by society
-divides labour
marriage regulates the tasks that men & women are expected to
perform in society
some are biological, but most are based on cultural values
-supports & legitimizes children in society
-all societies have clear rules for marriage, though they differ greatly
-definitions of marriage are social constructs (created & agreed upon
by a group of people) that may change over time
-acts as an economic exchange
-along with family & gender roles, marriage is fundamental to social
-a diverse range or marriage patterns & family types contribute to stable
societies across the world
monogamy: marriage between 2 people
-opposite-sex unions are the most common
-seen most in industrial Western nations due to strict religious rules
imposed by European settlers
-works best in countries that rely on independence training to raise children
serial monogamy: marriage to series of partners, one after the other
polygamy: having 2 more spouses, either wives or husbands
-provides social, economic & political functions
-polygyny: having 2 more wives at the same time
accepted by most societies, though not all men in these societies have
the wealth to take on more than 1 wife
expensive gifts are often required to be given to the bride
allows families to grow rapidly
women may be treated as property & be sold to their husband
-polyandry: when a women has 2 or more husbands at one time
much less common
limits the # of offspring for each husband
may be beneficial in a place where limits on population growth aids
in survival
fraternal polyandry: women marry brothers
group marriage: marriage of multiple spouses of each sex
-much more rare than polygamy
exogamy: marriage partners come from different groups
-links families from different communities, creating alliances
-broadens the gene pool & leads to more genetic diversity
moieties: social divisions that separates members of a society into 2 groups
-also called a clan
endogamy: marrying within one’s social group
-supports the survival of the group in the future
-seen in societies with strong ethnic, religious or social-economic class
-caste system: endogamous marriage patterns of India
-sibling endogamy: historically used to preserve royal bloodlines of
ruling families
-close endogamy reduces genetic diversity & can increase the risk of the
expression of harmful recessive genes
incest taboo: prohibition against sexual relations with a close relative
-what is considered incest varies cross-culturally
-an example of a cultural universal: a cultural practice that meets
universal human needs
a) psychological - Westermarck Effect: children raised together
develop sexual aversion towards one another
b) social - provides clear-cut roles in society
c) political - allows for families to create relationships with others
d) biological - avoids the reduction of genes in a gene pool
family: two or people who define themselves as family
-changes over time, both individually & culturally
-extremely difficult to come up with a definition for…
families of orientation: blood-related family (i.e. parents, siblings,
grandparents, etc) that one is born into & grows up in
-marriage creates a web of economic & social relationships
families of procreation: the family unit created by marriage & children
(i.e. spouses/partners & children)
-each member has a role based on their position
household: a domestic unit of residence in which members contribute to
child rearing, inheritance & the production & consumption of goods
-members don’t have to physically live under the same roof, yet they still
contribute to the needs of the whole family
nuclear family: a family unit consisting of two generations (most often
parents & their children)
-referred to as neocality
-are many different variations
-allows easier mobility because the # of members is smaller
-the least common residence type in the world’s societies
extended family: a family unit made up of three generations of blood-
related members & their spouses
-a mix of consanguineal & affinal kin
-the most common family structure across cultures
-provides constant care of children & many role models of both sexes
-matrilocality: husbands join their wives’ family after marriage
common under conditions in which land is held by the womens
family line
women play a crucial role in subsistence
-patrilocality: wife moves to her husband’s household
most common form of residence
men play the predominant role in subsistence
property may be accumulated & passed down through the mens line
found in societies in which men’s cooperation in government &
warfare is important
marriage compensation: gifts/service exchanged between the families of
a bride & groom
-depends on the cultural context (who’s losing/gaining a family member)
-bride price: the valuables that the groom & his family are required to
give the bride’s family
-bride service/brides wealth: the groom is required to work for the
bride’s family in order to compensate the wife’s linage for the loss of her
labor & childbearing capacities
-dowry: the gifts of money or goods that the bride’s family must give to
the groom’s family to compensate for the loss of their son
more associated with a low status of women (i.e. serves as
compensation to the groom’s family for having to take the wife into
their family)
-dowry death: death of women due to unmet dowry demands
divorce: varies cross-culturally
-more common in matrilineal & matrilocal societies
-occurs less when marriage serves as an economic exchange
-replacement marriages preserve alliances
arranged marriage: parents find a suitable husband or wife for their child
forced marriage: parents demand their child to marry someone
child marriage: parents marry young girls to older men who offer to
provide for them
kinship: form of relatedness
-not a direct reflection of biology
consanguinity: blood connection
affinity: connection through marriage
kinship system: focuses on ideas about shared substance & its transmission
kinship terms: culturally constructed words that designate relationships
between consanguine & affines
fictive kinship: a constructed “family” of unrelated individuals who rely on
each other for social support, economic, resources & protection
nurture kinship: relationships built upon mutual caring & attachment
decent group: those who trace their lineage to single ancestor
-may be real or fictive
-totem: mythological ancestor linking people together in kinship ties
-determines who you belong to & what rights you have
-are permanent units
bilateral decent: tracing one’s genealogy through both the mother &
father’s line equally (cognatic descent)
-generally equal expectations of both the father & mother’s families
unilineal decent: tracing one’s genealogy through either the mother or
father’s line (severity depends on the culture’s beliefs)
-patrilineal decent: tracing one’s genealogy through the father’s line
-matrilineal decent: tracing one’s genealogy through the mother’s line
-one lineage is responsible for the continuation of the family’s name &
Anthropology Chapter 11 - Marriage, Family & Gender
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