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Chapter 6B: Anthropology of Love


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Polygyny
A mating system involving one male and two or more females, or a form of marriage in which a man has two or more wives at the same time. Multiple wives often associated with status - Wives as status symbol: wealth, power, and fame. May marry sisters; Brother may marry deceased brother’s widow: Widow and children looked after in same family.
Polygynous Same Sex Marriages
Eg: Lovedu society in South Africa: Aristocratic women who can afford to pay bridewealth in cattle can take wives as they assume male political roles - Such a marriage could also be considered polyandrous since the main spouse is a woman.
Polyandry
A woman has more than one husband at the same time. Believed to be more likely in societies with scarce environmental resources - limits human population growth and enhance child survival. Eg: Himalayan Mountains polyandry is related to the scarcity of land; the marriage of all brothers in a family to the same wife allows family land to remain intact and undivided. If every brother married separately and had children, family land would be split into unsustainable small plots.
Polyandry - Fraternal
Was traditionally practiced in Nepal, parts of China and part of northern India: Two or more brothers are married to the same wife, with the wife having equal 'sexual access' to them. It is most common in egalitarian societies marked by high male mortality or male absenteeism. It is associated with partible paternity, the cultural belief that a child can have more than one father.
Polyandry – Non-fraternal
Occurs when the wives' husbands are unrelated, as among the Nayar of India. In this case, a woman undergoes a ritual marriage before puberty, and he is acknowledged as the father of all her children. She, however, may never cohabit with him, taking multiple lovers instead. The women remain in their maternal home, living with their brothers, and property is passed matrilineally
Matrilineal Society
Property passed along the female line
Patrilineal Society
Property passed along the male line. Inheritance may also include father’s name passed on to children
Monogamy
A form of relationship in which an individual has only one partner during their lifetime or at any one time.
Monogamy – Same Sex
Marriage between two people of the same biological sex and/or gender identity - Informal, unsanctioned, and temporary relationships to highly ritualized unions that have included marriage