Marriage and Types: Sociology Notes

Marriage is a social institution that is a lot related to the family. It has been defined by different people in different ways. Some believe it is just for making children and taking care of them. Some others believe it is a socially acceptable phenomenon wherein individuals start their own families. A few others believe it is an everlasting bond between two people.

As the institution of marriage has been evolving over the ages, there are many types of marriages present in the world and are classified based on various basis. Let us know more about them.

Based on the number of spouses:

Monogamy is the type of marriage wherein one man marries only one woman at a time. It is widely followed all across the world today. It is of two types: Serial monogamy is when a person can get remarried in case of divorce or death of the spouse and Non-serial monogamy is when a person is supposed to have a single spouse all throughout one’s life.

Polygamy is the type of marriage in which one can have multiple spouses. It is of three types:

Polygyny refers to the marriage in which a man marries multiple women at a time. Each of the wives lives in a separate household and the man keeps visiting each of them. It is further divided into: Sorroral polygyny wherein a man gets married to his wife’s sisters, either all at a time or after his wife’s death and Non-sorroral polygyny wherein a man marries multiple women who are not sisters, which is the opposite of sorroral polygyny.

Polyandry is the type of marriage in which a woman gets married to multiple men at a time. It is further divided into Fraternal polyandry wherein brothers share the same wife (Ex: Toda and Khasi tribes) and Non-fraternal polyandry which is just the opposite of fraternal polyandry.

Endogamy, also referred to as Group marriage, is a type of marriage in while some men marry some women and every one of the women is the wife of every man. This is practiced by tribes in Africa and New Guinea.

Based on choosing of mate:

Endogamy is the kind of marriage in which one marries within one’s own group (caste, sub-caste, varna or tribe). It is further classified as:

Caste endogamy: In this marriage, one marries within one’s own caste. This is a typical feature of a caste-based society.

Sub-caste endogamy: Castes are divided into sub-castes and in this marriage, one marries within one’s own sub-caste.

Varna endogamy: In Indian society, varna is a very characteristic feature. And in this kind of marriage, one marries within one’s own varna (i.e., Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or Shudras).

Tribal endogamy: In this kind of marriage, one marries within one’s own tribe.

Exogamy is the kind of marriage in which one marries outside one’s Gotra (clan), Village, Pravara or Sapinda (lineage).

Gotra exogamy: It is believed that two individuals with the same gotra are blood relations and hence, one must marry outside one’s gotra.

Village exogamy: In this kind of marriage, one marries outside one’s village since it is believed that everyone in the village is like one’s siblings.

Pravara exogamy: The term Pravara refers to siblings (those originating from the same saint are believed to be of the same pravara). In this type of marriage, one marries outside one’s pravara.

Sapinda exogamy: Sapindas are the people from five generations from the father’s side and three or seven generations from the mother’s side. In this marriage, one is to marry outside one’s pinda.

Most ancient forms of marriage:

Anuloma marriage: In this type of marriage, a man from a higher caste (or varna) marries a woman from a lower caste. It is also called Hypergamy marriage.

Pratiloma marriage: In this type of marriage, a man of lower caste (or varna) gets married to a woman from a higher caste. It is also called Hypogamy. This kind of marriage is not approved by Hinduism.

Marriage is a universal institution but while some societies believe marriage to be a contract, others believe it is a religious ritual. It has various implications in various societies and it has been classified by sociologists accordingly.