exogamy and endogamy


exogamy and endogamy
Practices controlling the relation of the sexes in the selection of marital partners.

Exogamous groups require their members to marry outside the group, sometimes even specifying the group into which members must marry. Such groups are usually defined in terms of kinship rather than politics or territory. Exogamy is usually characteristic of unilineal descent groups, in which descent is reckoned either patrilineally or matrilineally. In endogamous groups, marriage outside one's group may be forbidden, or there may merely be a tendency to marry within the group. Endogamy is characteristic of aristocracies and religious and ethnic minorities in industrialized societies but also of the caste system in India and of class-conscious nonliterate societies such as the Masai of East Africa.

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      practices controlling the relation of the sexes and the selection of marital partners. Exogamous groups enjoin their members to marry outside the group, sometimes even specifying the outside group into which members must marry. Conversely, marriage outside a specific group may be forbidden, and for this restriction the term endogamy is used; more loosely it applies to a tendency to marriage within a group. Endogamy, rare among nonliterate societies, is characteristic of aristocracies and religious and ethnic minorities in industrialized societies, but it is also a notable characteristic of the caste system in India and of class-conscious nonliterate societies such as that of the Masai of East Africa.

      Exogamy, more characteristic of nonindustrial societies, is usually based on ties of kinship, clan, or moiety (see dual organization) rather than on political or territorial lines. Since exogamous rules usually characterize unilineal descent groups, in which descent is reckoned either patrilineally or matrilineally, the marriage prohibition will apply only to one side of the family. Thus, some blood relations will inevitably be available for marriage.

      The severity of enforcement of endogamous and exogamous restrictions varies greatly—from being a capital crime to one garnering only mild disapproval.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • caste — casteism, n. casteless, adj. /kast, kahst/, n. 1. Sociol. a. an endogamous and hereditary social group limited to persons of the same rank, occupation, economic position, etc., and having mores distinguishing it from other such groups. b. any… …   Universalium

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