Uxorilocal vs virilocal


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Posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on May 17, 2002 at 13:42:28:

In reply to: uxoriwhatcal? posted by stumped on May 16, 2002 at 19:36:35:

: What is an uxorilocal household?
In some societies it makes better economic sense for the blood-
related women to establish a household in common, sharing child
raising, resources, property and interitance. A young woman stays in
the household of her mother, and one or more "boyfriends"
or "daddies" may cruise in and out on a more or less permanent
basis. She, her mom, her sisters, manage their resources and
children more or less in common. Paternity isn't terribly important,
and there may be several potential "daddies" for any given child, and
if there is a concern over paternity, there were ways of making a
public declaration and determination of "daddy". This is the system
that prevailed in some nomadic areas prior to Islam. It can be a
stable system and work quite well as long as women have a sufficient
economic base to sustain themselves and their children, and works
quite nicely when men are away on shepherd duties and the women are
managing small horitultural areas. The downside of this system is
that if there is a cash economy rather than barter, women get the
short end of it. Also, if there is a famine, the men are less likely
to be required to protect their offspring as they may not be entirely
convinced that they're theirs. The upside is that women get to be
absolutely sexually self-determinant.

Virilocal societies are the other sort .. .where a young man stays
with or near his father's home, and brings his bride there. Children
are presumed to be ONLY fathered by that man on a bride brought to
his home as a virgin. This system works in a more complex society
where resources are "owned" "bought" "sold" and inherited. If men
are dominant in a cash economy, it's crucial that the paternity of
children be unquestioned for inheritance of property and money.
Otherwise, it's Jerry Springer all the way. So .... in this system,
a young woman is brought to the young man's home to live, after being
sequestered in her father's house. Hymaenal blood at defloration is
usually required to secure payment of brideprice. This system is
necessary if there is a currency and property system generated by an
increasingly complex society. The upside of this system is that it
provides a nice stable unarguable way to manage death and taxes in a
property-owning cash-based society. Women are faily well assured of
having a protector in the case of invasion or famine, as marriage
requries commitment. The Prophet Mohammed pushed for this
arrangement as a "kind, gentle" way of sheltering widows and orphans
after decades of civil unrest and famine in the 6th century. If the
economy and food supply is unstable ... women with dependant children
are very vulnerable. The downside of this system is that women have
little or no sexual self-determination.

As blood testing for paternity is now available, and women have some
economic power and resources, and day care for dependant children,
the system is is more diverse .... with some women having children by
subsequent daddies, and others being in longer monogomous bounds.

Hi from ALBQ!

 


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