a form of social regulation of choice of wife (or husband) that existed among the majority of tribes of the aborigines of Australia, where each of two exogamous phratries (halves) of a tribe was divided into two marriage classes (sections) in a four-class system, or, more seldom, into four marriage classes (subsections) in an eight-class system. Under this procedure, a man of each marriage class of one phratry could marry only women of a certain marriage class in another phratry, and their children were attached either to the marriage class of the paternal grandfather or to the marriage class of the maternal grandmother. F. Engels saw in the system of Australian marriage classes one of the confirmations of the hypothesis of a primordial group marriage, of which marriage classes, in his opinion, were a vestige.
REFERENCESEngels, F. Proiskhozhdenie sem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti i gosudarstva. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 21. Moscow, 1961.
Narody Avstralii i Okeanii. Moscow, 1956.