Bridewealth and Dowry (Cambridge Papers in Social Anthropology)

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9780521098052: Bridewealth and Dowry (Cambridge Papers in Social Anthropology)

In these insightful papers, first published in 1973, two leading authorities make a wide-ranging review of ideas and materials on bridewealth and dowry. The authors analyse the two institutions in the contexts of Africa, with its preponderance of bridewealth, and South Asia, where dowry is the commoner institution.

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Bridewealth and dowry have certain obvious similarities in that they both involve the transmission of property at marriage, the usual interpretation suggesting that what distinguishes them is the direction in which the property travels - in the case of bridewealth, from the husband and his kin to the wife and her kin, and in the case of dowry, vice versa. The authors of these 1973 papers criticise this interpretation as oversimplified, and analyse the two institutions in the contexts of Africa, with its preponderance of bridewealth, and South Asia, where dowry is the commoner institution. Dr Goody seeks to explain these geographical differences in terms of the basic structure of the societies and the rules governing the inheritance of property. Dr Tambiah considers these institutions in India, Ceylon and Burma as two kinds of property transfer, examining Indian juridical concepts, and relating these to the concepts and practices of Ceylon and Burma.

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Book by Goody Jack Tambiah S J

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