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When Brothers Separate: Conflict And Mediation Within Polyandrous Houses In Central Tibet

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the partition of polyandrous houses and the issues of co-partnership, relative age and the position of husbands, which reveals the house to be the prime social institution in the village community, that with which individuals identify and are identified by others. Scholars of Tibet from various disciplines have emphasised the conflicts that occur within polyandrous marriages and the partition that often results. This interest in its problematic sides could be seen as reflecting the underlying notion that polyandry is contrary to Western ideas of male sexuality. When talking about conflicts and fissions in polyandrous marriages, villagers in Sharlung often claim that most of these are of the first type, that is, the nama's inability to distribute her affection and sexual access in a fair and even way amongst her husbands. Relations between brothers in polyandrous houses are also relations of co-partnership in marriage.

Keywords: central Tibet; nama's inability; polyandrous houses; social institution



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