Patterns of Marriage

Main Question: How many marriage partners are there? What are monogamy and polygyny?

Introductory Terms | References

10.9 MB     00:07:05     shot in 1986

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Introductory Terms

Dowry: Transfer of wealth from bride’s parents to bride
Bridewealth/Brideprice: Transfer of wealth from groom’s kin to bride’s kin
Jointure: Wealth settled on bride by groom’s parents, in case of groom’s death
Polygyny: The marriage of one man to two or more women at the same time
Polyandry: The marriage of one woman to two or more men at the same time
Sororal: Of sisters (hence sororal polygyny = two or more sisters married to one man)
Adelphic: Of brothers (hence adelphic polyandry= two or more brothers married to one woman)
Levirate: "A custom whereby a woman preferably marries a brother of her deceased husband" (reciprocal = sororate; widower marries deceased wife’s sister)
Marital Dissolution: Includes death, separation, divorce
Marital Stability: Many distinct meanings, including stable jural relations irrespective of conjugal relations


Gluckman, M., "Kinship and Marriage among the Lozi…", in Radcliffe-Brown, A.R., & Forde, D. (eds) African Systems of Kinship and Marriage excerpts in Goody, J., Ch.16, (eds) Kinship, Penguin
Goode, W.J., "Family Disorganization", in Merton, R.K. & Nisbet, R.A., Contemporary Social Problems, excerpts in Anderson, M., Ch.21, (eds) Sociology of the Family, Penguin
Goody, J. & Tambiah, S.J., Part 1, in Bridewealth and Dowry
Hajnal, J. "European Marriage Patterns in Perspective" in Glass, D., & Eversley, D., (eds) Population in History, partially reprinted in Goody, J., Ch.10, (eds) Kinship, Penguin
Mitchell, J.C., "Social Change and the Stability of Marriage in Northern Rhodesia" in Southall, A. (eds) Social Change in Modern Africa, and reprinted in Goody, J., Ch.16, (eds) Kinship, Penguin