Navigation Links
Multiple husbands serve as child support and life insurance in some cultures says MU researcher
Date:8/2/2012

Marrying multiple husbands at the same time, or polyandry, creates a safety net for women in some cultures, according to a recent study by a University of Missouri researcher. Extra husbands ensure that women's children are cared for even if their fathers die or disappear. Although polyandry is taboo and illegal in the United States, certain legal structures, such as child support payments and life insurance, fill the same role for American women that multiple husbands do in other cultures.

"In America, we don't meet many of the criteria that tend to define polyandrous cultures," said Kathrine Starkweather, doctoral student in MU's Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Science. "However, some aspects of American life mirror polyandrous societies. Child support payments provide for offspring when one parent is absent. Life insurance allows Americans to provide for dependents in the event of death, just as secondary husbands support a deceased husband's children in polyandrous societies."

Starkweather and her co-author, Raymond Hames, professor of anthropology at the University of Nebraska, examined 52 cultures with traditions of polyandry from all continents except Europe. They found that similar conditions seemed to influence cultures toward polyandry. Males frequently outnumbered females in these cultures, as a result of high mortality prior to adulthood. Although males out-numbered females, they also were more likely to die in warfare or hunting and fishing accidents or to be absent for other economic reasons. Polyandrous cultures also tended to be small scale and egalitarian.

In approximately half of the cultures studied, the other husbands were closely related to the first husband, a practice with economic repercussions. In previously studied polyandrous cultures, especially those of Nepal, Tibet and India, inheritance traditions called for land to be divided evenly among male offspring after a parent's passing. That practice would have resulted in land being sub-divided into useless parcels too small to provide enough crops to feed a family. However, if several brothers married the same wife, the family farm would stay intact. In the small egalitarian cultures Starkweather studied land and property ownership was unusual. In these societies, younger brothers in the marriage often protected and provided food for the family in the absence of the older brother, who was often the primary husband.

"This research shows that humans are capable of tremendous variability and adaptability in their behaviors," said Starkweather. "Human marriage structures aren't written in stone; throughout history, people have adapted their societal norms to ensure the survival and well-being of their children."


'/>"/>
Contact: Tim Wall
walltj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists uncover multiple faces of deadly breast cancer
2. Experimental Pill for Multiple Sclerosis Shows Promise
3. Fish Oil Supplements Wont Help in Multiple Sclerosis: Study
4. Kessler Foundation scientist awarded $554,000 for multiple sclerosis employment research
5. Low-dose whole-body CT finds disease missed on standard imaging for patients with multiple myeloma
6. Multiple thought channels may help brain avoid traffic jams
7. Study shows benefit of new maintenance therapy for multiple myeloma
8. FDA Issues Multiple Sclerosis Drug Alert
9. Pot Might Help Ease Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
10. Lenalidomide prolongs disease control for multiple myeloma patients after stem cell transplant
11. Multiple sclerosis patients have lower risk of cancer: UBC-VCH research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... ... to the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®) certification according to a large-scale ... value of certification study, conducted by the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) in ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Food Proteins Asia 2017 seeks to unveil ... the fastest CAGR of 9.1% over the next few years. Day 1 begins ... in Asia’ – highlighting alternative proteins, sustainable food protein sources, technologies and the ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... Plano, TX (PRWEB) , ... September 18, 2017 ... ... wellness services has recently expanded the finance role on the executive team adding ... Therapies was transitioning to an independent company. This expansion will support the strategic ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... ... 18, 2017 , ... While Floridians confront the aftermath of one of the ... an aid effort focused on the elderly population that was less able to evacuate ... left thousands homeless and displaced. , “The elderly are often hidden from view in ...
(Date:9/18/2017)... Park, New Jersey (PRWEB) , ... September 18, 2017 , ... ... in New Jersey, is rallying the community on Sunday, September 24 to support residents ... the U.S. and the Caribbean. Starting at 9:00 a.m. in Overpeck County Park in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/13/2017)...   OrthoAtlanta has been named the official orthopedic ... (AFHC) for the 2018 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship ... Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia . OrthoAtlanta is ... campaign, participating in many activities leading up to, and including ... ...
(Date:9/9/2017)... -- Dealmed Medical Supplies, New York City,s ... drugs, vaccines, and specialty medical products and services, announced ... acquire Vantage Medical Supplies, a major distributor of medical ... York . ... practices, will operate under the Dealmed name as of ...
(Date:9/7/2017)... , Sept. 7, 2017 NuvoAir (formerly ... Spirometer, announced today a partnership with Novartis Pharma AG to ... NuvoAir,s position as the leading mobile spirometry platform and Novartis, ... ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: