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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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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

Why Do Women Run Away?

Why Do Women Run Away?

Matrimonial Strategies among the Yanomami

(p.124) 7 Why Do Women Run Away?
The Anthropology of Marriage in Lowland South America

Catherine Alès

University Press of Florida

This chapter examines the way the Yanomami manipulate their kinship and marriage system. Alès demonstrates that the Yanomami do not use only genealogical relationships for the categorization of marriage practices, but rather select from a number of strategies in response to a set of structural variations in order to obtain a desired outcome. Nearly one-third of marriages are between classificatory brothers and sisters if the appropriate genealogical paths are taken, and not between classificatory husbands and wives. The Yanomami employ strategies that bend or break the rules while simultaneously maintaining their ideal conceptual model of the kinship and marriage structure. Alès’ description of parents deciding the relationship terms of their children’s possible spouses is one of many examples. She concludes that affinity is not determined mechanically from birth, but rather, one might say, affinity is “elective.”

Keywords:   Yanomami, marriage practices, affinity, kinship

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