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The Anthropology of Marriage in Lowland South AmericaBending and Breaking the Rules$
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Paul Valentine, Stephen Beckerman, and Catherine Alès

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054315

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054315.001.0001

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Marriages, Norms and Structures

Marriages, Norms and Structures

The Dilemma of Finding a Wife among the Piaroa of the Sipapo

(p.36) 2 Marriages, Norms and Structures
The Anthropology of Marriage in Lowland South America

Alexander Mansutti Rodríguez

University Press of Florida

Mansutti adopts Needham’s scheme of distinguishing three analytical levels; the jural rules; the statistical-behavioural, and the categorical. He includes a computer simulation to gain a time depth in his model of Piaroa kinship and marriage, which demonstrates that the exceptions to the marriage rules are not residual and inexplicable but are necessary to maintain the ideal model anticipated by the formal rules. Although violations of the rules are motivated by personal desires and not a desire to save the formal system, they are in fact necessary to its preservation. Moreover, he employs Bourdieu’s distinction between official and private kinship, and illustrates his approach with apposite case studies. For instance, he describes how personal interests can be transmuted into community interests, and genealogical relationships between two people in small-scale societies can be “read” along different routes with telling results.

Keywords:   Piaroa, marriage, kinship, Bourdieu

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