"Marriage is a union between a man and a woman such that children
born to the woman are the recognized legitimate offspring of both partners"
(Notes & Queries)
"Every society has some way to operate a distinction between free
unions and legitimate ones" (Levi-Strauss)
"Marriage is a relationship established between a woman and one or
more other persons, which provides that a child born to the woman under
circumstances not prohibited by the rules of the relationship is accorded
full birth-status rights common to normal members of his society or social
"Marriage is (to borrow Maines phrase)" a bundle
of rights; hence all universal definitions of marriage are vain"
Rights in Rem (possessive): Literally "in a thing", a
right against all the world, e.g. infringed if someone steals it or destroys
it or damages it, "possessive rights"; such rights are often
infringed if a man commits adultery with wife. They also give "procreative"
rights, rights in a woman as a mother or childbearer
Rights in Personam (personal): Personal rights and duties, for
example in relation between husband and wife each partner has personal
rights imposing duties upon the other, such as sexual access, provision
of food, clothing and shelter. Those in a woman are termed "in uxorem",
to distinguish them from procreative rights "in genetricem".
Monogamy: Only one partner of each sex in a marriage
Polygamy: Several partners (either sex) marriage to one of opposite
Spouse: Marriage partner of either sex
Marriage Rules: In many societies the "bundle of rights"
that is contained in a marriage is of interest to a wider group than the
individuals concerned and hence there are a number of explicit rules (normastive
rules) concerning whom one should or should not marry
Elementary/Complex Systems: "Elementary structures of kinship
those systems which prescribe marriage with a certain type of
relative or, alternatively, those which, while defining all members of
the society as relatives, divide them into categories, viz., possible
spouses and prohibited spouses
Complex structures is
reserved for systems which limit themselves to defining the circle of
relatives and leave the determination of the spouse to other mechanisms,
economic or psychological" (Levi-Strauss)
Positive Rules: Stating that one should marry a certain category
of relative, if the rule states that "one must" this is termed
"prescriptive", if the command is only that "one ought"
then the system is "preferential"
Negative Rules: Stating whom one must not marry, "proscriptive"
Exogamy: "Rule of marriage that requires a person to marry
outside local, kin, status, or other such group to which a person belongs"
Endogamy: the reverse of exogamy, i.e. to marry inside group
Matrilateral: On the mothers side
Patrilateral: On the fathers side
Cross-cousin: "The child of a fathers sister or of a
mothers brother; the children of siblings of opposite sex are cross;
Parallel Cousin: "The children of siblings of the same sex.
The children of a fathers brother and a mothers sister are
parallel cousins" (Schusky)
M., Chs. 13-15 (on mate selection in "complex" societies)
Dumont, L., (1968) "Marriage; Marriage Alliance" in Int. Enc.
Fox, R., Chs 7&8 in Kinship & Marriage, Penguin
Gough, E.K.M. (1965) "The Nayars and the Definition of Marriage",
Jnl. Roy. Anth. Inst.
Harris, C.C., Ch.2 in The Family
Keesing, R., Chs. 3& 5 in Kin Groups and Social Structure
Leach, E.R., Ch.3 & 4, in Rethinking Anthropology