ENDOGAMY AND EXOGAMY Assignment Help & Writing Service


Every society limits choice in marriage by requiring that one choose a mate outside, some specified group. This is called exogamy In our society the prohibition applies' only to close blood relatives; one may" not marry a brother or sister, first cousin, or certain other close relatives. Many societies extend the circle of prohibited kin to forbid marriage within the clan, the village, or sometimes even the tribe. Most societies also require that mates be chosen wit/tin some specified group. This is called endogamy. Clan, village, and tribal endogamy are quite common among primitive societies. In our society, racial endogamy was required by law in many states until the U.S. Supreme Court held all such laws unconstitutional in 1%7, but custom and social pressure continue to discourage racial intermarriage throughout our society. With varying degrees of pressure we also encourage religious endogamy and class endogamy in our country.

Every society 'practices both exogamy and endogamy as it specifies the limits of group closeness (exogamy) and the limits of group distance (endogamy) within which mates must be found. Sometimes between these two limits there is little room for hunting! The Aranda of Central Australia have a complicated marital pattern known to anthropologists as "eight-class system with exogamy and indirect brilliantine descent." To skip the detailed explanations, this means that a man can marry only a woman from a particular group within the proper subsection of the opposite half of his tribe [Murdock, 1936, pp. 27-30). In a number of societies, a formula such as this makes an actual choice unnecessary, for only one person may be in the permissible category for a boy or girl to marry. If there is none at all, tighten the couple who are supposed to become parents-in-law normally adopt a marriageable boy or girl from another family with a surplus. After all, an institution is a structure for meeting human needs, and it usually does so in en fashion or another.

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