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Chapter 9 Marriage, Family and Domestic Groups Chapter Questions What are some of the universal functions of marriage and the family? What are some of the rules that regulate marriage in different societies? How can these rules be explained?

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Chapter 9 l.jpg

Chapter 9

Marriage, Family and Domestic Groups


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Chapter Questions

  • What are some of the universal functions of marriage and the family?

  • What are some of the rules that regulate marriage in different societies?

  • How can these rules be explained?

  • How do arranged marriage and romantic love relate to the values of marriage and family in different societies?

  • What kinds of changes are taking place in the family in the United States?

  • How does a society’s subsistence strategy influence the shape of the family and the household?


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Functions of Marriage

  • Regulates sexual access.

  • Creates a family.

  • Expands social group.


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Marriage

Customs, rules, and obligations for relationships between:

  • A sexually cohabiting man and woman

  • Parents and children

  • Families of the bride and groom


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Regulate Sexual Access

Reasons:

  • Limits sexual competition.

  • Provides stability for children.

  • Allows for stable economic exchange.


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Incest Taboos

  • Prohibit sexual relations between relatives.

  • Universal to most cultures.

  • Exceptions :

    • Brother-sister marriages among royalty in ancient Egypt

    • Traditional Hawaiian society


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Reasons for Incest Taboo

  • Avoids inbreeding.

  • Prevents disruption in the nuclear family.

  • Directs sexual desires outside the family.

  • Forces people to marry outside the family and create a larger social community.


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Family Structure

Marriage provides a stable structure:

  • Provide food and protection.

  • Nurse and nurture the children.


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Expands Social Groups

  • Links different families and kin groups.

  • Leads to cooperation beyond the primary husband-wife pair.

  • Allows people to share resources.

  • Benefits the survival of the species.


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Exogamy

  • Rules specifying that a person must marry outside a particular group.

  • Almost universal within the primary family group.

  • Leads to alliances between different families and groups.


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Endogamy

  • Rules that marriage must be within a particular group.

    • In India, the caste is an endogamous group.

    • In the U.S., social classes tend to be endogamous.


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Preferential Marriage Rules

  • Rules about the preferred categories of relatives for marriage partners:

    • Levirate

    • Sororate


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Number of Spouses

  • Rules of # of spouses at one time.

  • Monogamy-Europe and North America.

  • Polygamy-75% world’s societies.

    • Polygyny

    • Polyandry


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Primary Marriage Rights

  • Sexual access.

  • Obligations to care for children born to the union.

  • Rights of economic services of the other.

    • Bride Wealth

    • Bride Service

    • Dowry

    • Divorce


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Young woman from Mursi village from Southern Ethiopia

Mursi are largerly known for their custom of inserting a large balsawood or terracotta disk in the lower or upper lip. It is a sign of tribal identity and ornamentation but more importantly it is a useful means of indicating the size of the dowry paid.


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Nuclear Family

  • A husband, a wife, and their children.

  • Effects of high divorce & remarriage rates.


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Composite Family

  • Aggregates of nuclear families linked by a common spouse.

  • Example: Polygynous household consisting of one man with several wives.


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Extended Family

  • Blood relations extending over three or more generations.

  • Economic advantages:

    • keeps land intact

    • provides security in times of crisis.

  • Provides a sense of participation and dignity for the older family members.


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Class Discussion Activity

  • Describe the following forms of marriage and give their characteristics:

    • Polygyny

    • Polyandry

    • Serial Monogamy

  • Using Cultural Relativism describe the universal of marriage cross-culturally.

    • Reasons, functions, family structure, social relations, roles, global pressures (cost of globalization).

  • Describe what are some of the issues surrounding Gay Marriages (pro/con arguments of the debate).

    • What do you think? Should Gay people be allowed to marry? What about having or adopting children? Why or why not?


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