A Legally and Socially Sanctioned Union between a Man and a Woman

In some societies, from Central Asia to the Caucasus to Africa, the custom of bridal abduction still exists, in which a woman is captured by a man and his friends. Sometimes this covers running away, but sometimes it depends on sexual violence. In ancient times, Raptio was a larger version of it, with groups of women captured by groups of men, sometimes at war; the most famous example is The Rape of the Sabines, which provided the first citizens of Rome with their wives. Fox argues that “the main difference between polygyny and monogamy could be expressed in this way: while plural mating occurs in both systems, under polygyny several unions can be recognized as legal marriages, while under monogamy, only one of the unions is recognized as such. However, it is often difficult to draw a hard and fast line between the two. [27] What is marriage? Different people define it in different ways. Even sociologists are not able to agree on a one-way street. For our purposes, we define marriage as a legally recognized social contract between two people, traditionally based on a sexual relationship and involving a permanence of the union. When creating an inclusive definition, we should also consider variations, for example whether a legal association is required (think “common law” marriage and its equivalents) or whether more than two people may be involved (consider polygamy).

Other variations in the definition of marriage could include whether the spouses are of the opposite sex or the same sex, and how one of the traditional expectations of marriage (having children) is understood today. Sociologists are interested in the relationship between the institution of marriage and the institution of the family, because historically, marriages are what create a family, and families are the most fundamental social unit on which society is built. Marriage and family both create status roles that are sanctioned by society. Less traditional family structures in sitcoms gained popularity in the 1980s with shows like Diff`rent Strokes (a widowed man with two adopted African-American sons) and One Day at a Time (a divorced woman with two teenage daughters). Yet traditional families like those on Family Ties and The Cosby Show dominated the ratings. In the late 1980s and 1990s, the dysfunctional family was introduced. Shows like Roseanne, Married with Children, and The Simpsons depict traditional nuclear families, but in a much less flattering light than those of the 1960s (Museum of Broadcast Communications 2011). The anthropological textbook Notes and Queries (1951) defines marriage as “a union between a man and a woman, so that the children born of the woman are the recognized legitimate descendants of both partners.” [9] In recognition of a practice of the Sudanese Nuer people that allows women to act as husbands in certain circumstances (ghost marriage), Kathleen Gough proposed changing this to “one woman and one or more other people.” [10] 3. A woman married to two men would be an example of: Most marriages in the modern world are monogamous, that is, there are only two people involved, usually a man and a woman. Some countries have also legally accepted same-sex marriages. Polygamous marriages are marriages involving more than two partners: polygyny implies that men have several wives, while polyandry implies that women have several husbands.

However, in most developed countries of the world, bigamy and polygamy are illegal practices. Until the end of the 20th century, marriage was rarely a matter of free choice. In Western societies, love between spouses was associated with marriage, but even in Western cultures (as evidenced by the novels of writers such as Henry James and Edith Wharton), romantic love was not the main motive for marriage in most eras, and the spouse was carefully selected. Although all marriages are planned, some are arranged, whether between the spouses concerned and/or their families or through a third party. Today, an interesting adaptation of arranged marriages has developed, involving online websites and contract matchmakers to help people living in different countries find a suitable spouse of their birth culture. As transnational corporations spread around the world and individuals become increasingly mobile (or even nomadic) to work, it can be difficult to find a spouse who shares the same cultural values. Although there are matchmakers for many different cultural groups, there are a variety of matchmakers for people of Indian nationality or ancestry. Although not all of these sites are reputable, the explosion of marital brokerage activities reminds us that marriage is first and foremost a cultural institution. Cohabitation is a state in which two people live together without the sanction of marriage; On the other hand, marriage is a legally or formally sanctioned union between two people. The main difference between cohabitation and marriage is their legality and social acceptance. Despite the seemingly casual attitude towards sex and paternity, a number of rules were strictly enforced, and failure to comply with these rules could lead to the harshest penalties: exclusion and death.

The most important ones focused on two ritual acts: the liaison of the tali and the payment of the midwife`s fees. In the Tali ritual, girls and boys of allied lineages performed a symbolic wedding ceremony together, during which each “groom” attached a golden ornament to the neck of his “wives.” In successive rites, the couple was withdrawn and may or may not have had sexual activity (usually the girl was too young). At the end of the ritual, no specific rights or duties were established between the couple, except for the expectation that the “wife” and her children would do special funeral services if her “husband” died. However, without tying the tali, a woman could not engage in sexual activity. If she were born, her child would be considered illegitimate. After the ceremony, she could begin to receive lovers, provided that they did not come from a lower hereditary box or subcaste, as she did. When the woman gave birth to children, one of the lovers had to acknowledge her paternity by giving gifts to the midwife who helped with the delivery. Although this, like the bond, was an almost exclusively symbolic act and did not entail any subsequent responsibility, it was considered essential to both the legitimacy and status of the child in that it offered the guarantee that it was not the product of a relationship between his mother and a socially inferior man. Marriage is an effective way to address several common family challenges. It provides a structure in which offspring can be produced, bred and promoted. It reduces competition between men and women. And this creates a stable, long-term socio-economic household in which the family unit can live more appropriately through shared work and resources.

All societies practice marriage rules that determine in which groups a person should marry (called endogamy rules) and which groups are considered taboo and unsuitable for spouses (so-called exogamy rules).