Monday, January 16, 2012

Marriage- Hypergamy and Hypogamy

Marriage is a universal social institution establishing legitimacy of children born in wedlock.The norm in hypergamy is that a man should marry his daughter in a family of higher status than his own status.In a hypergamous marriage a woman preferably marries a superior or marries an equal;a man should not marry a woman of higher status than himself.Though hypergamy is prevalent in India it is not universal.In Hindu ideology the bride is considered as a gift or dan.Ideally the bride is a virgin offered as kanyadan.In addition gifts in terms of dowry and materials are also given.The hierarchical relationship between the wife-giver and wife receiver may be expressed in commensal activities.Hypergamous marriage may led to improved status and rank of the families involved.Hypergamous marriages when repeated by wife-giver and wife-receivers may lead to consolidation of affinal relationship. The norm in the hypogamous system is that a man should marry a woman of higher status than his own.In such a case wife-giver has a higher status than the wife-receiver.Leach and Levi-Strauss have discussed the relationship between matrilateral cross-cousin marriage between persons of different social status and class structure.According to Levi-Strauss hypogamy represents the maternal aspect of anisogamy since it lends privilege to the female line and hypergamy privileges the male line.

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