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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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polyandrya form of plural marriage (POLYGAMY) where a woman has more than one husband. It is regarded as a functional strategy for ensuring reproductive stability when there is a shortage of women. Compare POLYGYNY.
a rare vestigial form of group marriage in which one woman has several husbands. In the 19th century, polyandry was still extant, particularly among the Aleuts and some groups of Eskimos; it existed even later among some ethnographic groups of Tibet and Hindustan. Polyandry may be fraternal, as among the Tibetans, or unrelated, as in South India.