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exogamy(ĕksŏg`əmē): see marriagemarriage,
socially sanctioned union that reproduces the family. In all societies the choice of partners is generally guided by rules of exogamy (the obligation to marry outside a group); some societies also have rules of endogamy (the obligation to marry within a group).
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exogamya rule prescribing marriage outside a given social group. The group may belong to a LINEAGE, CASTE, CLASS, ethnic affiliation or other social classification. Structural anthropologists have seen this practice as an exchange of women between groups which contributes to social stability. It may, therefore, be enforced by the use of INCEST TABOOs. The converse of exogamy is ENDOGAMY.
the practice of marrying only outside one’s own group, as prescribed by law or custom in the age of the primitive communal system. The ban could apply to marriages within one’s family group (such as the clan or phratry) or, more rarely, to marriages within one’s regional group or community. The prohibition against such marriages was retained in later times.
There are numerous theories concerning the origin of exogamy; the theories basically fall into three groups. Some researchers, including L. H. Morgan, believe the practice arose from the need to avoid the possibly harmful consequences of marriages between blood relatives. Others, including E. Tylor, A. M. Zolota-rev, and C. Levi-Strauss, regard it as an attempt to expand social contacts and initiate relations with other groups. Still others, including S. P. Tolstov and Iu. I. Semenov, regard it as a means of establishing social peace within a group, since sexual relations and the conflicts that accompany them are thus carried beyond the confines of the group.
REFERENCESEngels, F. Proiskhozhdenie sem’i, chastnoi sobstvennosti i gosudarstva. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed, vol. 21.
Semenov, Iu. I. Proiskhozhdenie braka i sem’i. Moscow, 1974.
Pervobytnoe obshchestvo: Osnovnye problemy razvitiia. Moscow, 1975.