Miyanmin - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Most first marriages, involving young people whose parents are alive, are by consent. Fathers dote on their daughters and desire sons-in-law who will hunt for them. Women may be compelled to marry against their wishes when they are the wards of their brothers or other male kin. The most common form of marriage among members of largely endogamous parishes is sister exchange, with free marriages the next most common form. The remaining marriages involve capture and widow remarriage. For intraparish Marriages, bilocal residence amounts to bride-service, Interparish marriages are equally divided between sister exchange and uxorilocality, with elopement and delayed reciprocity accounting for most of the remainder. Marriage with members of one's own or mother's patrilineage (i.e., classificatory Siblings) is jurally prohibited, with the few exceptions involving spouses who never shared residence while growing up. The high proportion of parish-endogamous marriages reinforces solidarity and generates the cognatic appearance of the group, while the somewhat less frequent interparish marriages create and maintain durable patterns of cooperation. Death payments are demanded when a parish member who is residing uxorilocally in another parish dies. Traditionally, divorce was rare among the am-nakai groups while reportedly Common among the sa-nakai groups. It is increasingly common in modern times, however. Polygyny is not associated with high social status but instead involves a man's need to augment the labor of a disabled first wife or his desire to acquire a young sex partner. Polygynous marriages are tense and are the most likely to end in divorce. Cowives do not attend each other in childbirth. Widows are encouraged to marry leviratically.

Domestic Unit. The elementary family of husband, wife (or wives), and children is the basic unit of consumption and production. Traditionally, while childless married couples might sleep together in the wives' houses, men typically spent the night in a men's house, which women never visited. Today, it is increasingly common for the entire family to sleep under one roof, although modern houses are likely to be partitioned.

Inheritance. Traditionally, a man or woman's sparse movable property, along with certain cultivated trees and the portion of their taro planting stock that survived mortuary destruction, was inherited by their children. People inherit their right to use land from both the maternal and the paternal lines and claims may extend many generations into the past.

Socialization. Men and women share equally in the care of children. Father-son relations are frequently tense. In mitigation, boys have very close relationships with their cross uncles who, for example, tutor them in crafts and related fields of knowledge. Girls' relationships with their mothers and other women are relaxed and highly supportive; they join in daily tasks at a young age. For boys, most learning occurs in same-sex, near-peer play groups. Traditionally, boys were removed from their mothers' houses after puberty to commence their advance through the male initiation cycle. There are no puberty or initiation rites for women. Today, some children have access to a community primary school.

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