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Himalayan Polyandry and the Domestic Cycle

Gerald D. Berreman
American Ethnologist
Vol. 2, No. 1, Intra-Cultural Variation (Feb., 1975), pp. 127-138
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/643539
Page Count: 12
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Himalayan Polyandry and the Domestic Cycle
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Abstract

The fraternal polyandry of Jaunsar Bawar in the western Himalayas of India is described by examining the domestic groups it creates. The form and composition of these groups vary within the society so that structures commonly associated with the terms monogamy, polygyny, and group marriage, as well as polyandry and polygynandry, occur simultaneously in any community and, over time, in many families. All are manifestations of a single set of principles and beliefs about the nature of marriage, family, and the domestic group. The variations are the result of changes in family composition during its life cycle (the developmental cycle) and in response to circumstantial and optional factors. Generalizations about polyandry, its causes and consequences, can only apply to this society if they encompass the temporal and situational diversity of the domestic group. The developmental cycle of the domestic group explains most of the intra-cultural variation in the Pahari family.

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