Practices controlling the relation of the sexes in the selection of marital partners. Exogamous groups require their members to marry outside the group, sometimes even specifying the group into which members must marry. Such groups are usually defined in terms of kinship rather than politics or territory. Exogamy is usually characteristic of unilineal descent groups, in which descent is reckoned either patrilineally or matrilineally. In endogamous groups, marriage outside one's group may be forbidden, or there may merely be a tendency to marry within the group. Endogamy is characteristic of aristocracies and religious and ethnic minorities in industrialized societies but also of the caste system in India and of class-conscious nonliterate societies such as the Masai of East Africa.
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Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a social group. Cultures who practice endogamy require marriage between specified social groups, classes, or ethnicities. A Danish endogamist would require marriage only to other Danes. Just about any accepted social grouping may provide a boundary for endogamy. Despite the fact that many people tend to marry members of their own social group, there are some groups that practice endogamy very strictly as an inherent part of their moral values, traditions or religious beliefs. The caste system in India is based on an order of (predominantly) endogamous groups and its formation has been suggested to have originated from the social organization of endogamous groups.
Endogamy encourages group affiliation and bonding. Endogamy is a common practice among displanted cultures attempting to make roots in new countries as it encourages group solidarity and ensures greater control over group resources (which may be important to preserve where a group is attempting to establish itself within an alien culture). It helps minorities survive over a long time in societies with other practices and beliefs. Famous examples of strictly endogamous religious groups are the Yazidi in Northern Iraq (under Islamic majority), Turkmens and Armenians in Iran, Orthodox Jews, Old Order Amish, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Parsi of India (a non-Hindu minority in India). Fifty or sixty years ago in the US, the Catholic Church was successful at keeping its people marrying within the Catholic community, where at one time ethnic and national groups did not marry out. Since the 1960s, that has been changing as well. The isolationist practices of endogamy may lead to a group's extinction rather than its survival. For instance, while long serving to preserve their religion, the Samaritans' practice of endogamy now threatens this community. Refusal to intermarry, in conjunction with their non-acceptance of converts, has led the population of this ethnic group to decrease to fewer than one thousand. Such a small gene pool has contributed to genetic disease within the community.
Endogamy also plays an important role in social stratification. It can refer to different social factors such as occupations, activities, or education. This type of social endogamy is very apparent in the United States because occupations have become a chief form of social networking for many after college.. For instance, actors and actresses generally marry or bond with people in a similar industry. These relationships are created in part because work is the basic way in which people meet each other. They may often feel more connections with someone with similar interests who understands the same world.
Class endogamy affects social mobility. Business connections also frequently follow this pattern. Top executives can pave the way for their offspring to follow a similar path in their business or field. Elite families generally contribute to endogamy within big business. This produces social links that are carried forward and keep certain groups restrictive. There have been such rapid changes in business and technology, however, that new fields open up where people of achievement can create new hierarchies. Professions also establish endogamy. A child growing with doctor parents, for instance, learns to be at home in that world and is likely to choose a similar education and career. A son or daughter of a famous actor or musician has a much greater chance of becoming successful compared to the son or daughter of an average American worker. This is because the parents have connections in the business and can easily share them.
Greek organizations at many universities in the United States are a good example of endogamy. Members generally date within these organizations. This is fostered by special events held exclusively between Greek organizations. Being a member of these groups creates social bonds that may be continued through one’s life. Obtaining a job could be eased by such a connection. .
Endogamy causes groups to be less diversified because of the desire to stay within one’s social group. For example, the percentage of interracial marriages in the United States is small compared to all marriages. With increased ethnic diversity and changing social attitudes among many people, younger people are entering into such marriages more often, also because they have more opportunity at college and work to meet people of different ethnic backgrounds but similar class and occupational connections.
National Endogamy and Double Standards: Sexuality and Nationalism in East-Central Europe during the 19th Century
Dec 22, 2007; During the "long nineteenth century," nationalism came to permeate all aspects of European society, including attitudes toward...