One of the most puzzling questions in anthropology is why marriage and incest taboos are nearly

600 WordsApr 23, 20193 Pages
One of the most puzzling questions in anthropology is why marriage and incest taboos are nearly universal institutions in human societies. In order to answers these questions their many theories will be explained and compared. There are many theories for the universal institution of marriage. It solves a few problems between men and women, but these problems cannot be considered the prime motivation for marriage as an institution. Some of these problems include sharing the products of gendered labor, caring for extremely dependent offspring, and minimizing sexual competition. If sharing the products of labor was the cause of the development of marriage, why did humans not evolve a more efficient system of distribution? If minimizing…show more content…
The production of such offspring would render these unions evolutionarily unfit. Sex and Gender are two very different concepts in anthropology. Sex refers to the biological differences inherent in males and females. Gender is a socially and culturally defined construction and may be different between different societies. In many different cultures gender differences do not always align with sexual differences. Many cultures in fact see male and female as opposing ends of a continuum; there may be many intermediate 'genders' between male and female. These social constructions may be very difficult to separate from the biological realities of maleness and femaleness. For example a cross-cultural study done by anthropologists recorded that boys within many societies tend to be more aggressive than the females within that same culture. Females in turn tend to be more nurturing in those cultures. Since these differences are universal, are they a product of biological differences? Or do all societies need men and women for different roles and so they socialize their children appropriately? A study on Australian aborigines has shown a high level of female aggression, leading many researchers to speculate that behavioral differences are cultural in origin. The Navajo of Southwestern United States

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