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Forum Lockedtribal society and intermarriage

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    Posted: 02-May-2009 at 15:08

This is another question that I find intriguing....

In many parts of the world society is still tribal; where the individual feel's strongly identified to the tribe that he belongs to; and if the necesity arise, he is often willing to defend his tribe to death.

The irony is; many tribal societies actually have an exogamic tradition; where men are almost forced to take wives from distinct tribes. If this was the case; what would actually stop the distinct tribes from merging into one if people have been intermarrying for generations?

What we often hear is that very often these tribes with extensive kinship relations would then go to war with other. How could the members be motivated to kill members of their mothers' or grandmothers' tribe?

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2009 at 15:47
It's a complex subject because family relationships in such societies don't usually correspond to out ideas of nuclear families. At a guess I'd say that most such societies are matrilocal - the child grows up with his mother's family and his male 'role model' is his mother's brother. His father is then relatively immaterial and probably absent anyway so there would be no reason not to fight against his people. The reverse, patrilocality, also exists but in that, rarer, case the mother is more likely to stay with the child for obvious biological reasons. But the child will then grow up with allegiance to he father's people, and is quite likely to be removed from his mother's (or any woman's care) at or around or even before puberty.
 
The interplay of totemism and tribal structure also complicates the issue: totemic exogamy, or tribal exogamy?
 
That's assuming we are talking about cultures that are aware of the father's role in childbirth, which tribal societies may not be.
 
In more modern and developed societies it has been common enough to find people fighting against their mother's people, so I don't really see why it should have been a big deal in tribal ones.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bulldog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2009 at 17:19
Calvo not all tribal societies have an exogamic tradition, I know the Turks have practiced this and it could be one of the reason they often made tribal confederacies and unions, for example the Oghuz Turks were made up of many tribes and clans but had allegience to the Oghuz group as a unit and shared a common tribal history, legends and mythology ie that they all derived from the legendary Oghuz Khan and their tribes were founded by his sons.

However, despite this feeling of kinship to each other, they still have conflicts aswell, the tribes have their own laws and codes of conduct, yasa / tore. Other tribal societies have similar systems like Pashtuns with their Pashtunwali.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2009 at 17:31

Hello to you all

Well I am half bedouin and the type of marriage was (and still is endogamous) and in many other tribes exremely endogamous (to the point of determining who marries who from childhood and the marriages are exclusively within paternal first cousins). Same thing exist within Arabs all over the Arab world and I have never heard of forced exogamous marriages.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2009 at 19:13
Re-reading, I think I didn't make it clear I meant the majority of exogamous tribal societies were matrilocal. An example is provided by the Navajo, who were/are exogamous, matrilocal and matrilineal: the child is said to be born for the father's clan, and born to the mother's clan. 
 
Of course introducing the notion of clan within the tribe complicates thngs even further.


Edited by gcle2003 - 02-May-2009 at 19:15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote malizai_ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-May-2009 at 01:55
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

This is another question that I find intriguing....

In many parts of the world society is still tribal; where the individual feel's strongly identified to the tribe that he belongs to; and if the necesity arise, he is often willing to defend his tribe to death.

The irony is; many tribal societies actually have an exogamic tradition; where men are almost forced to take wives from distinct tribes. If this was the case; what would actually stop the distinct tribes from merging into one if people have been intermarrying for generations?

What we often hear is that very often these tribes with extensive kinship relations would then go to war with other. How could the members be motivated to kill members of their mothers' or grandmothers' tribe?

 
Patrilineal descent and 'inheritance' in fathers estate 'only' would ensure that ur tribal identity was unambiguous and your competitors clearly defined(Be they from ur mother's tribe).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-May-2009 at 02:16

Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

What we often hear is that very often these tribes with extensive kinship relations would then go to war with other. How could the members be motivated to kill members of their mothers' or grandmothers' tribe?

Generally speaking, when some issue of honour had been offended.

Keep in mind that internecine warfare between very small tribes (such as you seem to be thinking of) was not practiced in the same way as warfare between large tribal confederacies, city-states, or nations and empires. Sometimes, there were simply raids intended to steal or destroy goods (such as cattle-raiding), or combat would be nonlethal (eg counting coup), or very ritualized - two whole tribes might arrive at a battle, and simply be spectators to one or more fights between a pair of rivals or tribal champions. The spectacle of individual combat, as opposed to mass violence, was a very very common practice among tribal groups all over the world. As an institution, it often endured in some societies long past the tribal stage (for instance, the Germanic and Celtic tribes of Europe once practiced individual combat between champions as an occasional substitute for war, which endured into the feudal era).

The very intensive sort of tribal warfare, with some exceptions, was generally practiced between confederacies of tribes. These were not internecine conflicts, but war between wholly different groups with little or no familial relations. Such conflicts could rapidly reach genocidal intensity, especially when the two groups have utterly different lifestyles (eg agrarians vs pastoralists or hunter-gatherers, good example being conflicts between Iroqouian groups and Algonkian groups in eastern North America).



Edited by edgewaters - 03-May-2009 at 02:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-May-2009 at 07:29
Sometimes, there were simply raids intended to steal or destroy goods (such as cattle-raiding), or combat would be nonlethal (eg counting coup), or very ritualized - two whole tribes might arrive at a battle, and simply be spectators to one or more fights between a pair of rivals or tribal champions. The spectacle of individual combat, as opposed to mass violence, was a very very common practice among tribal groups all over the world.
 
This is a very good explanation Smile
The case is that independent to whether tribes are matrilineal or patrilineal, what is common practice in many societies is "wife-exchanging" or "husband-exchanging" between different tribes; so a child would grow up as part of one tribe, but have a mother or father belong to another. Then you hear about a "war" between these 2 very tribes....
 
You made a good point that "tribal confederacies" are a whole different entity to "tribes".
 
 
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