Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Cousin marriage = arranged marriage = coercive marriage

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That's it really - but it is a point most people seem to miss.

People don't spontaneously and en masse pick-out their cousins from all others as marriage partners; nor will people marry their cousins above all others without powerful carrots and sticks.

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Of course I am referring to cousin marriage as a societal norm - and certainly not to each and every individual instance of cousin marriage - obviously some cousin marriages are spontaneous love matches. But most are not when it is the societal norm.

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And whether spontaneous love matches are the best basis for marriage as a social norm is another question again - maybe arranged marriages, and coercive marriages are better overall? Certainly there are strong arguments on that side.

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I'm just saying that cousin marriage as a societal norm is inevitably achieved by social mechanisms that are arranged and coercive.

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P.S - I won't be publishing comments for this post.

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1 comment:

  1. were cousin marriages more common when people knew many fewer people? probably so--hunter gatherers and people living in non-motorized societies maybe were more likely to marry cousins, right? smaller pool of options.

    also, does more cousin marriage make for more exteme-ness in phenotype? tall cousins marrying making taller than average kids. smart cousins making smart kids, psychopathic cousins making psychopathic kids, et c?

    would we expect societies w/more cousin marriage than our own to be prone to more extremes? mild tensions amongst different people in one generation become more and more intense over time as the psychopaths become more psychopathic and othe smart become smarter, et c.

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