Polygamy. Polygamy is illegal in the United States and in European countries. However, it is legal --even preferred-- in many countries and in numerous local societies throughout the world.
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Polygamy is illegal in the United States and in European countries. However, it is legal --even preferred-- in many countries and in numerous local societies throughout the world.
Why is this the case? Why do some societies accept polygamy and even consider it an ideal, while others forbid it?
Polygamy occurs in two general forms: polygyny and polyandry. Polygyny is far more common.
Many national governments, particularly in Africa, have attempted to outlaw polygamy. Christian missionary activities have also largely attempted to eradicate the practice. Have they been successful? If so, why; if not why not?
Many feminists view polygamy as the exploitation of women and the subordination of women to the dominance and sexual gratification of men. How well does this perspective describe the examples of polygamy you have read?
Is it possible to generate a logically consistent etic explanation for why different forms of marriage are commonly practiced in various societies?
Consider the following questions:
Polygamy is particularly associated with intense agricultural societies where large families represent prosperity and future survival. These are also the societies in which prospective husbands are valued in terms of their potential ability to oversee large prosperous families while future wives are valued largely in terms of their fecundity and nurturing qualities. We see a dramatic shift in the ideal characteristics associated with potential mates with the evolution of industrial and post-industrial societies.
There has been a resurgence of polygamy in many parts of the world, including the United States. Polygamy was previously practiced by Mormons in the U.S. until it was outlawed by the United States Government and officially rejected by the Mormon Church during the late nineteenth century. However, there are several flourishing polygamous communities in the U.S. today, and their number is growing.
Salt Lake City
Polygamy is not limited to the human species. It is widespread among animal populations. Moreover, both forms of polygamy --polygyny and polyandry-- are practiced by other animals.