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Marriage And Kinship

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Chapter Summary

The objective of establishing a wholly self-sufficient house was the main preoccupation of every struggling individual dependent household. Hence, the problem of economic self-sufficiency seems to have caused two types of marriage: patrilocal and neolocal. Patrilocality retained the male population in the household: all the marriage partners were coparceners of the patrimony. Neolocality meant the dispersion of sibling-groups, and those who left their natal home inherited very little. It appears that patrilocal marriages entailed the perpetuation of the name and wealth of the house. Neolocal marriages disqualified the marriage partners as coparceners of their natal home. The latter type of marriage was determined by the non-viability of the household economy, but a neolocal household could become a patrilocal one in due time. This cyclic process continued so long as a minimum economic threshold could be maintained, and failure to do so meant the divisive and fluctuating life of dependents.

Keywords: kinship; marriage; neolocality; patrilocality



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