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The Study of Polyandry: A Critique and Synthesis

MARGARET L. CASSIDY and GARY R. LEE
Journal of Comparative Family Studies
Vol. 20, No. 1 (SPRING 1989), pp. 1-11
Published by: Dr. George Kurian
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41601990
Page Count: 11
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The Study of Polyandry: A Critique and Synthesis
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Abstract

Polyandry, the marriage of woman to two or more men, is a rare form of marriage that has engendered much controversy and speculation. This paper examines how certain ethnocentric and/or androcentric biases have hindered the objective study of polyandry and explanations for its existence. A synthesis of the characteristics shared by polyandrous societies is also presented, in order to further our understanding of the conditions under which polyandry might be practiced and culturally endorsed. La polyandrie, mariage d'une femme à deux ou plusieurs hommes, est une rare forme de mariage qui a donné lieu à bien des controverses et conjectures. Cet article examine comment certains préjugés ethnocentriques et/ou androcentriques ont retardé l'étude objective de la polyandrie et les explications de son existence. Une synthèse des caractéristiques communes aux sociétés polyandriques est également présentée, afin de poursuivre notre compréhension des conditions sous lesquelles la polyandrie pourrait être pratiquée et culturellement acceptée. La poliandria, el matrimonio de una mujer con dos o mas hombres, es una forma rara de matrimonio que ha ocasionado mucha polémicay especulatión. Este trabajo examina cómo ciertos prejuicios etnocéntricos y/o androcéntricos han impedido el estudio objetivo de la poliandria y la explicación de su existencia. Se presenta también una síntesis de las características compartidas en las sociedades poliándricas, esto con el objectivo de amplicar más nuestro entendimiento de las condiciones en donde la poliandria puede ser practicada y aceptada culturalmente.

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