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Marriage. Why do People Get Married – or what do most people want in life? w Traditional reasons for marriage: Sexual division of labor To have legitimate.

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Presentation on theme: "Marriage. Why do People Get Married – or what do most people want in life? w Traditional reasons for marriage: Sexual division of labor To have legitimate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Marriage

2 Why do People Get Married – or what do most people want in life? w Traditional reasons for marriage: Sexual division of labor To have legitimate children and provide for them Economic and political considerations To extend social relationships Gain adult status To gain respect Duty To survive Love

3 Functions of Marriage Regulates mating, reproduction and child rearing in a socially approved way. Provides a mechanism for regulating the sexual division of labour. Creates a set of family relationships that can provide for the material, educational and emotional needs of children. Legitimizes children provides for the woman in many technologically simply societies there is no means whereby an unmarried woman can support herself defines social position of individuals e.g. adulthood establishes legal rights and interests e.g. over property, children etc. Serves as an instrument of political relations between individuals and groups

4 History of Passionate Love w 1500 west diverges from rest of world - emergence of the self w the rise of individualism, democracy reinforces romantic love w West: 500 yrs to make transition w Rest of world: - 50 yrs w love marriage sweeps the world

5 WHAT IS MARRIAGE? Old Common Law Definition "lawful union of one man and one woman." New Common Law Definition (Bill C38) "lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others"

6 Anthropological definitions Tahitian couple Marriage is a union between a man and a woman such that the children born to the woman are recognized as legitimate offspring of both partners Notes and Queries on Anthropology 1951

7 Characteristics of Marriage 1.socially approved or sanctioned? 2.sexual union 3.between a man and a woman? 4.between adults? 5.Political / religious / economic union 6.a bundle of rights, expectations, and obligations 7.assumption of relative permanence (a contract) 9.between individuals? 10.part of a social process

8 Living in Sin? 1. Socially Approved Prior to 1960 unmarried couples in the US were legally prevented from registering in hotels or obtain a home mortgage. In Canada, the number of common- law relationships more than doubled between 1981 and 2001 (14% 2001) Women in the 90s were more likely than women in the 80s to cohabit rather than marry in response to pregnancy. Suggests that cohabitation is becoming more a substitute for marriage, rather than a form of engagement that culminates in marriage Is it OK for unmarried couples to cohabit?

9 Even older people, when a marriage breaks up are now more likely to first enter a common law relationship before re-marrying Stats Canada

10 Who Should one Marry/Not Marry Rules of Exogamy (out marriage) and Endogamy (in-marriage) It was only after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1967 that mixed race couples could marry anywhere in the U.S


12 Ego's cross cousins (yellow) are the children of opposite sexed parental siblings Ego's parallel cousins (green) are the children of same sexed parental siblings Cross Cousin and Parallel Cousin Marriages In some societies the ideal is to marry ones cross cousin, as he/she will belong to a different lineage (for alliance purposes), or parallel cousin, as he/she will be in the same lineage (inheritance purposes).


14 Cleopatra, the Last Pharaoh (B.C ) reigned as Queen Philopator and Pharaoh between 51 and 30 BC Married brother Ptolemy XIII After Ptolemy XIIIs death, married brother Ptolemy XIV Incest Taboo Holds for parents and siblings in all current societies Only exceptions in past: Brother-Sister mating among royalty in ancient Egypt, Hawaii, Inca

15 Explanations for incest taboo w Biological Inbreeding results in Deleterious genetic defects w Psychological Familiarity breads contempt w Sociological Increases network of cooperation, alliances, prevents fighting Minimizing sexual competition within family Avoids role disruption within family

16 Many, many years ago when I was just twenty-three, I was married to a widow, she was pretty as could be. This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red And my father fell in Love with her. Soon they too were wed. This made my dad my son-in-law--changed my very life! My daughter was my mother because she was my father's wife! To complicate the matter even though it brought me joy, I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy. My little baby he then became a brother-in-law to Dad. Well, that made him my uncle--made me very sad! Because if he was my uncle then he also was a brother To the widow's grown-up daughter, who, of course, was my stepmother. My father's wife then had a son who kept them on the run. And, of course, he became my grandchild because he was my daughter's son. My wife is now my mother's mother and this makes me blue Because although she is my wife, she's my grandmother too! Now if my wife is my grandmother, well, then I am her grandchild, And every time that I think about this, it nearly drives me wild! Because now I have become the strangest case that you ever saw As husband of my grandmother, Im my own grandpa! Im My Own Grandpa

17 2. Sexual Union? Nayar Girls, Upper Class. Photo by Nicholas & Co. [ca. 1913] Marriages of Convenience Nayar Exception Is exclusivity in a relationship necessary?

18 3. Between a Man and a Woman? Cheyenne Are same sex marriages, an affront to a divinely ordained order, or, as George Bush claims a threat to civilization? The Nandi- Kenya

19 Same Sex Marriages 1961 Illinois is the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize homosexuality. Others follow in 1960s and 1970s 1967 Britain decriminalizes homosexuality 1969 homosexuality decriminalized in Canada 1989: Denmark becomes the first country to legally recognize same-sex partnerships, essentially sanctioning gay marriages 2000Vermont is the first state in the U.S. to provide same-sex couples with rights, benefits and responsibilities similar to those of heterosexual couples 2001: The Netherlands allows same-sex couples to marry and gives them the same rights as heterosexuals when it comes to adopting 2003 June 10, Ontario widens marriage definition allowing same- sex couples to obtain marriage licenses. Other provinces follow 2005 (July 20) Bill C-38 becomes law redefining marriage as alawful union of two persons permitting same sex marriage

20 4. Between Adults? Berber Child Bride, Morocco (12 yrs old) Mina, 8, with Sukhram, 22, right, and his family members, after their marriage (Rajasthan N. India 1998) Each year thousands of girls, some as young as 6 months, are married to older boys in weddings across Rajasthan as part of the annual Akhai Teej, festival considered an auspicious day for marriage.

21 Human rights activists have demanded action over the marriage of Ana-Maria Cioaba to a 15-year-old bridegroom. Ana-Maria is reported to be either 12 or 14 years old Family members say she had been promised in marriage to 15-year-old Birita Mihai when she was just seven, for the price of 500 gold coins. The girl's father, Florin Cioaba, told critics to keep out of his business. "As a father I know what is good for my kids. We Roma have a tradition to marry our children when minors," he said. The minimum age for legal weddings in Romania is 16, but the practice of school- age marriages remains common in the Roma community, and the Romanian authorities normally turn a blind eye. Friends say she was forced to consummate the marriage. "Legally it was rape," one friend said. The wedding was an "exceptionally grave breach of children's rights", said Romanian Deputy Prime Minister Serban Mihailescu. Florin Cioaba was defiant about Ana- Maria's wedding September National Post

22 5. Political, Religious, Economic Union? Catherine of Aragon Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary)

23 A gift of money or goods given to the brides kin by the groom or his kin. most common in pastoral communities where the traditional currency is livestock, especially cattle, horses, camels and, increasingly, money. in order to marry, young men must subordinate themselves, and become obligated to their elders (and provide labour, political support, bear arms etc.) senior men also therefore command the allocation of womens labour power. some men use this power to obtain several wives for themselves Bridewealth or bride-price Dani Chief with Bride Price Stone

24 Represents a tangible public statement of the marriage transaction -- as if they went through a church wedding Some dramatic changes in bridewealth have occurred with the introduction of education. An educated women is worth far more than an uneducated one. Bridewealth payments may be concluded at the time of marriage or may continue for years. Bridewealth provides for a continuing relation between groups since in many societies a mans kin are expected to contribute to the bridewealth needed for this marriage.

25 Bridewealth is most common in patrilineal descent systems For the Nuer and Dinka, the transfer of cattle in marriage has a symbolically and politically central place in the affairs of descent groups. rights transferred to the grooms group in exchange for rights over a womans fertility labour future members characteristically seen as compensation to her kin group for the loss of her work services and presence as well as her fertility.

26 Legalizes marriage and legitimizes offspring In patrilineal system, gives father the right to have the children belong to his group Compensates brides family for loss of her services and allows them to replace her with daughter-in-law Serves to ally families, those who receive share of payment are witnesses to marriage Status symbol for both families Guarantee of husbands good behavior w Bride service: groom works for brides family Bridewealth

27 1.a dowry can be thought of as a womans share of parental property which instead of passing to her upon her parents death is distributed to her at the time of her marriage 2.which does not mean that she controls it 3.under traditional European law, for example, a womans property falls exclusively under the control of her husband. 4.Also provides a mechanism for forming alliances between families 5.characteristic of societies with fixed plot agriculture 6.common among European peasants and widespread in Asia, especially India A Kazak woman opening a young bride's dowry. The dowry includes rugs, handsewn mattresses, dresses, and dishes. A transfer of goods or money from the brides family to bridegroom, or the grooms family. Dowry

28 Bollywood spoof posters Anti-Dowry Demonstration Delhi, 1980 Although demanding a dowry has been illegal since 1961 it is still an essential part of many marriage negotiations in India.

29 As the Indian economy opened up for international investment in the 1990s, the gulf between rich and poor widened so did the economic uncertainty facing the majority of people including the relatively well-off. Anti-Dowry Demonstration Delhi Jan 07 There has been a dramatic escalation in reported dowry deaths and bride burnings. Dowry deaths in India increased from around 400/yr in 1980s to over 5000/yr in 1990s to 7,026 in killed because they did not bring a big enough dowry ("bride burning" or "dowry deaths") Dowry has been transformed as a means to escaping poverty, augmenting ones wealth or acquiring the modern conveniences that are now advertised daily on television.

30 Traditionally, in most societies, marriage was primarily an alliance between kin groups rather than between individuals. 6. A Bundle of Rights and Obligations marriage involves a transfer or flow of rights from a wifes group to husbands (or vice versa) rights to labour of men and women (economic) rights to property (economic) rights to the priority of sexual access (sexual) rights over fertility - children i.e. belong to mans or womans lineage (patrilineal/matrilineal) (social) Gabonaise Woman – Michael Brugger

31 Belarus Russia Sweden Latvia Ukraine Czech Rep. Belgium Finland Lithuania U. K. Moldova U.S. Hungary Canada Norway France Germany Netherlands Switzerland Iceland Kazakhstan 68% Austria Denmark Slovakia Bulgaria Israel Kyrgyzstan Romania Portugal Poland Armenia Greece Spain Azerbaijan Croatia Cyprus Georgia Italy Uzbekistan Albania Turkey Macedonia Percentage of Divorces (as % of marriages) in Selected Countries (1996) 7. Assumption of Relative Permanence

32 often involves a contract between corporate groups and is more difficult than in West where bridewealth is high marriage is stable, where low divorce common what happens to the bridewealth? sometimes all or part returned may depend on the cause of divorce, or any children what happens to the contract between kin groups in terms of rights over the children. The relationship contractually established may endure despite the death of one of the partners Divorce in non-Western societies

33 Deuteronomy 25:5-6 If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husbands brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother- in-law to her… The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. Levirate 8. A legal contract What happens when the contract is broken?

34 1. a widower is entitled to a replacement bride from the same lineage or family. 2. obliges a woman to marry her deceased sisters husband. 3. The longer the period of first marriage and the more children the less the claim. 4. levirate and sororate demonstrate that marriage is a union not simply between individuals but between the representatives of groups and that it is a contractual relationship Sororate If a wife dies her lineage may be contractually obliged to provide a replacement I.e. her sister, or brothers daughter, or some other close relative

35 Nuer Ghost Marriage A Nuer woman whose husband has died remains subject to a legal contract through which rights to her children were transferred to her husband's group. Ideally, she should remarry her deceased husband's brother. Alternatively she may simply take lovers Any children she then bears are socially defined as the offspring of her dead first husband. Occasionally an unwed woman may marry the ghost of a dead man

36 Minghun -- afterlife marriage rooted in Chinese form of ancestor worship an ancestor is someone to honour, but also someone whose needs must be maintained Traditional Chinese beliefs also hold that an unmarried life is incomplete, which is why some parents worry that an unmarried dead son may be an unhappy one National Post Oct 6, 2006 To ensure a son's contentment in the afterlife, some grieving parents will search for a dead woman to be his bride. once a corpse is obtained, bury the pair together as a married couple Jan 2007, 3 men are arrested in China for killing two women so they could sell their corpses as ghost brides for recently deceased young men

37 How Many Should one Marry? 9. Between individuals?

38 Polygamy one man and two or more women. (70% of societies) Polygamy has been the cultural ideal in most societies. But monogamy is the statistical reality in all societies. most common where women are important contributors to the economy e.g. agricultural societies Polygyny often practised by men of wealth or high rank Commonly associated with an age asymmetry, were prominent men have gained power and wealth later in life and can afford another wife This causes a shortage of young women, and an excess of young unmarried men men marry at an older age than women. Polyandry Polygyny

39 w Many children w Prestige w Wealth produced by wives and children w Sex partners -- often many taboos w Political alliances with in-laws w Advantages for man: Tom Green and Family Salt Lake City Utah

40 Polygyny Advantages for woman

41 Polygyny Prestige and wealth of household Share housework and childcare Less child bearing Greater freedom and autonomy Companionship Can get married easily Advantages for woman Conflicting interest in children – inheritance jealousy Conflicts

42 Polyandry two or more men married to one woman quite rare common form is where a group of brothers marry one woman - called fraternal polyandry E.g. In Himalayas with land shortage its an effective way of limiting the population while ensuring their perpetuation. The marriage of brothers to a single woman averted the danger of constantly subdividing farmlands among all the sons of any one landowner.

43 process through which families and kinship groups are formed process whereby descent groups are interlinked process of achieving reproduction of society, both socially and biologically. 10. Marriage as a process

44 Rules of Residence w Patrilocal: Wife joins husbands family w Matrilocal: Husband joins wifes family w Neolocal: Couple form new residence

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