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Stratification, Polyandry, and Family Structure in Central Tibet

Melvyn C. Goldstein
Southwestern Journal of Anthropology
Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring, 1971), pp. 64-74
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3629185
Page Count: 11
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Stratification, Polyandry, and Family Structure in Central Tibet
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Abstract

Polyandry has long held an important place in the literature on kinship and social organization, and Tibet has commonly been used to exemplify a fraternal polyandrously organized society. But even a cursory examination of the literature on marriage and the family in Tibet reveals glaring contradictions concerning the role and importance of polyandry. This paper attempts to show how these contradictions are resolved when marriage is analyzed in terms of stratification and land tenure. Polyandry emerges as only one strategy (albeit a major one) in a larger "monomarital" pattern that was characteristic of certain types of landholding serf and lord strata.

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