Bride service

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Bride service has traditionally been portrayed in the anthropological literature as the service rendered by the bridegroom to a bride's family as a bride price or part of one (see dowry). Bride service and bride wealth models frame anthropological discussions of kinship in many regions of the world. [1]

Anthropology is the scientific study of humans and human behavior and societies in the past and present. Social anthropology and cultural anthropology study the norms and values of societies. Linguistic anthropology studies how language affects social life. Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans.

Bridegroom male preparing to be married

A bridegroom is a man who will soon be or has recently been married. A bridegroom is typically attended by a best man and groomsmen.

Bride price custom

Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money, property, or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride price can be compared to dowry, which is paid to the groom, or used by the bride to help establish the new household, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. Some cultures may practice both dowry and bride price simultaneously. Many cultures practiced bride pricing prior to existing records.



Patterns of matrilocal post-marital residence, as well as the practice of temporary or prolonged bride service, have been widely reported for indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin. [2] Among these people, bride service is frequently performed in conjunction with an interval of uxorilocal residence. The length of uxorilocal residence and the duration of bride service are contingent upon negotiations between the concerned parties, the outcome of which has been characterized as an enduring commitment or permanent debt. [3] [4] The power wielded by those who “give” wives over those who “take” them is also said to be a significant part of the political relationships in societies where bride service obligations are prevalent. [5] [6]

Indigenous peoples Ethnic group descended from and identified with the original inhabitants of a given region

Indigenous peoples, also known as first peoples, aboriginal peoples or native peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original settlers of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently. Groups are usually described as indigenous when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture that is associated with a given region. Not all indigenous peoples share this characteristic, as many have adopted substantial elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given region (sedentary) or exhibit a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, but they are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend. Indigenous societies are found in every inhabited climate zone and continent of the world.

Amazon basin drainage basin in South America drained via the Amazon River into the Atlantic Ocean

The Amazon Basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries. The Amazon drainage basin covers an area of about 6,300,000 km2 (2,400,000 sq mi), or about 35.5 percent that of the South American continent. It is located in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.

Debt deferred payment, or series of payments, that is owed in the future

Debt is when something, usually money, is owed by one party, the borrower or debtor, to a second party, the lender or creditor. Debt is a deferred payment, or series of payments, that is owed in the future, which is what differentiates it from an immediate purchase. The debt may be owed by sovereign state or country, local government, company, or an individual. Commercial debt is generally subject to contractual terms regarding the amount and timing of repayments of principal and interest. Loans, bonds, notes, and mortgages are all types of debt. The term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value. For example, in Western cultures, a person who has been helped by a second person is sometimes said to owe a "debt of gratitude" to the second person.

Rather than seeing affinity in terms of a "compensation" model whereby individuals are exchanged as objects, Dean’s (1995) research on Amazon bride service among the Urarina [7] demonstrates how differentially situated subjects negotiate the politics of marriage. [8]

Object (philosophy) technical term in modern philosophy often used in contrast to the term subject

An object is a technical term in modern philosophy often used in contrast to the term subject. A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed. For modern philosophers like Descartes, consciousness is a state of cognition that includes the subject—which can never be doubted as only it can be the one who doubts—and some object(S) that may be considered as not having real or full existence or value independent of the subject who observes it. Metaphysical frameworks also differ in whether they consider objects existing independently of their properties and, if so, in what way.

Marriage social union or legal contract between people called spouses that creates kinship

Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognised union between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between those spouses, as well as between them and any resulting biological or adopted children and affinity. The definition of marriage varies around the world not only between cultures and between religions, but also throughout the history of any given culture and religion, evolving to both expand and constrict in who and what is encompassed, but typically it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged or sanctioned. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal. A marriage ceremony is known as a wedding.


An example of bride service occurs in the Hebrew Bible, Genesis 29:16-29, when Jacob labored for Laban for fourteen years to marry Rachel. Originally the deal was seven years, but Laban tricked Jacob by giving him Leah on their wedding day, so Jacob had to work another seven years to obtain the girl he had originally fallen in love with, Rachel.

Hebrew Bible Canon of the Hebrew Bible.

The Hebrew Bible, also called the Tanakh or Mikra, is the canonical collection of Jewish texts, which is also the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. These texts are composed mainly in Biblical Hebrew, with some passages in Biblical Aramaic. The form of this text that is authoritative for Rabbinic Judaism is known as the Masoretic Text (MT), and is divided into 24 books, while the Protestant Bible translations divide the same material into 39 books.

Jacob Patriarch son of Isaac, God renamed him as Israel. Father of the Israelites

Jacob, later given the name Israel, is regarded as a Patriarch of the Israelites. According to the Book of Genesis, Jacob was the third Hebrew progenitor with whom God made a covenant. He is the son of Isaac and Rebecca, the grandson of Abraham, Sarah and Bethuel, the nephew of Ishmael, and the younger twin brother of Esau. Jacob had twelve sons and at least one daughter, by his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and by their handmaidens Bilhah and Zilpah.

Laban (Bible) son of Bethuel, brother of Rebekah described in the Book of Genesis

Laban is a figure in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible. He was the brother of Rebekah, who married Isaac and bore Jacob. Laban welcomed his nephew as a young man, and set him the stipulation of seven years' labour before he permitted him to marry his daughter Rachel. Laban tricked Jacob into marrying his elder daughter Leah instead. Jacob then took both women as wives.

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A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging. Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on domesticated species.

Kinship human relationship term; web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of most humans in most societies; form of social connection

In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even within this discipline are often debated. Anthropologist Robin Fox states that "the study of kinship is the study of what man does with these basic facts of life – mating, gestation, parenthood, socialization, siblingship etc." Human society is unique, he argues, in that we are "working with the same raw material as exists in the animal world, but [we] can conceptualize and categorize it to serve social ends." These social ends include the socialization of children and the formation of basic economic, political and religious groups.

In social anthropology, matrilocal residence or matrilocality is the societal system in which a married couple resides with or near the wife's parents. Thus, the female offspring of a mother remain living in the mother's house, thereby forming large clan-families, typically consisting of three or four generations living in the same place.

Bororo ethnic group

The Bororo are indigenous people of Brazil, living in the state of Mato Grosso. They also extended into Bolivia and the Brazilian state of Goiás. The Western Bororo live around the Jauru and Cabaçal rivers. The Eastern Bororo (Orarimogodoge) live in the region of the São Lourenço, Garças, and Vermelho Rivers. The Bororo live in eight villages. The Bororo are an ethnic group in Brazil that has an estimated population of just under two thousand. They speak the Borôro language and are mainly of animistic belief . They live in eight villages in the central areas of Mato Grosso. A famous exponent of this group is Cândido Rondon, Brazilian army official and founder of Fundação Nacional do Índio . Bororo's culture was closely studied by French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss during his expedition to Amazonia and Mato Grosso (1935–1936), described in his famous book Tristes Tropiques (1955).

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