Flashcards for Sex and Marriage
Topic 4:  Marriage Rules: Part II
(20 cards)

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Copyright © 2004 by Dennis O'Neil. All rights reserved.

The typical sources of disagreements in monogamous marriages around the world.

husband and wife disagreements and parent-child rivalry for the attention of the other parent

The typical sources of disagreements in polygynous marriages around the world.

jealousy between co-wives over perceived unequal attention from their shared husband and rivalry between the children, especially if there is something important to inherit

The term for the marriage of two or more sisters to the same man.  They are both his wives at the same time.

sororal polygyny

The most common source of friction in polyandrous marriages in the past before the introduction of the idea of romantic love.

rivalry between the fathers and their children for the attention of their wife/mother

How friction is usually avoided or reduced between the wives in a polygynous marriage.

giving each wife a separate house, ranking the wives in terms of relative status within the family, and sisters marrying the same man

The region of the world in which the Nuer live.

East Africa (mostly the southern part of Sudan)

A form of marriage among the Nuer in which a man may marry a woman as a stand-in for his dead brother.

ghost marriage

A second marriage rule specifying that a widow should marry the brother of her dead husband.


The reason for the levirate rule. (Hint: think of the advantages.)

It keeps the dead man's children and wealth within his family and continues the bond between the two families of the married couple despite the death of the husband.

A second marriage rule specifying that a widower should marry the sister of his dead wife.

The reason for the sororate.

It continues the bond between the families of the married couple despite the death of the wife.

The term for the sexual permissiveness between a husband and his wife's younger sister in anticipation of a presumed future marriage between them. (Hint: this occurs in societies that have sororal polygyny.)

anticipatory sororate

Money or property given by the bride's family to the groom when a marriage occurs. (Hint: this money is usually intended to establish a new household or to provide the bride with her share of the family inheritance.)


The regions of the world in which dowrys have been traditionally most important.

the mostly monogamous societies of Europe and Asia

Things of high value given by a groom to his bride's father. (Hint: this is usually seen as a way of showing respect for the bride and her parents. At the same time, it is a compensation for the bride's family for the loss of her economic services. In addition, it is a way of validating the groom's right to future offspring. It has also been called bride wealth and progeny price.)

bride price

The regions of the world in which bride price has been traditionally most important.

polygynous, small-scale, patrilineal societies in sub-Saharan Africa and among Native Americans

Work or services done by a groom for his wife's family instead of paying a bride price. (Hint: this service is usually for a set period of time, often years.)

bride service

The main reason why in societies that have a substantial bride price that the bride's family has a strong interest in keeping her marriage together. (Hint: think about economic advantages.)

divorce would require the return of the bride price, which often has already been given away.

The person who usually gets to keep the children when a divorce occurs in a society that has bride price. (Hint: think in terms of the husband and wife.)

The father usually keeps the children and the bride price usually does not have to be returned. He keeps the children instead of the bride price. In a sense, the bride price becomes a payment for children.

The usual circumstances that lead to marriage by capture as an alternative method of acquiring a wife. (Hint: marriage by capture has occurred in Melanesia, the Amazon Basin of South America, and scattered elsewhere among warlike peoples.)

when bride price can’t be arranged, when women are in short supply, or when the bride’s family will not grant permission for the marriage even though the future bride may wish to marry the man