Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Catherine Mitchell Fuentes
Anthropologists have long recognized that marriage, while widely variable in meaning and form, is cross-cultural. One way that marriage varies pertains to the cultural norms dictating the appropriate number of spouses in the marriage. Monogamy is a marriage pattern where a person may only have a single spouse at a time. Polygamy is a marriage pattern that allows for multiple spouses. Polygamy comes in two main forms, polygyny and polyandry. In polygynous marriages a man is married to more than one woman at the same time. Polyandrous marriages, which occur in fewer than 5% of societies, involve the marriage of one woman concurrently to several men. Polyandry is the rarest form of marriage, having generally been found only in areas of Nepal, Tibet, India, and Sri Lanka. Each of the groups ...