MONOGAMY AND POLYGAMY Assignment Help & Writing Service


To all properly ethnocentric Americans, there is only one decent and civilized form 'of marriage-monogamy new man to one woman (at a time). Yet a majority of the world's societies have practiced polygamy, allowing a plurality of   mates, There are three theoretical forms of polygamy. One is group marriage, in which' several men and several women are all in a marriage relationship with one another. While this is an jntriguing theoretical possibility, there is no authentic instance of a society in which group marriage has been fully institutionalized, with the possible exception, at one time, of the Marquesans [Murdock, 1949, p. 24]. A very rare form is polyandry, where several husbands share a single wife. The Tod's of Southern India provide one of our few examples. Here, as .in most other cases, polyandry was fraternal, meaning that when a woman married a man, she automatically became wife to all his brothers, and they all , lived together with little jealousy or discord. Tod polyandry becomes understandable when one learns that they lived in a harsh environment where food was scarce and female infanticide was used to limit population size [Murdock, 1936, pp. 120-121; Queen et al., 1974, chap. 2]. Only where some situation has created a shortage of women is polyandry likely to be found [Unni, 1958]. But the scattered handful of societies which practice polyandry serve to show how a practice which seems to us to be contrary to human nature can still be the accepted and preferred pattern for people who are socialized to expect it.The usual form of 'polygamy is polygons plurality of wives, not usually sisters and generally acquired at different time. during one's life.

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