Exogamy is the custom of seeking a mate or marriage
partner outside of ones own kinship group or class, religion, ethnic group or area of
residence. Exogamy is when one marries someone outside one's own group. Endogamy is when one marries someone within one's own group.
The organizational advantage of exogamy is that outsiders are constantly brought
in, which might be desirable, e.g. if the group has shortages in their work force.
Exogamy also means that representatives of other, potentially enemy groups will be
present in your own group, exerting pressure to avoid conflicts.
The exchange of spouses across groups, is therefore a classical mechanism of
Exogamy is the custom by which a man is obliged to
marry outside his own community, clan, or tribe.
Exogamic: of or pertaining to exogamy.
Exogamous: practicing exogamy; of or pertaining to
Endogamy is when one marries someone within one's own group.
The organizational advantage of endogamy is that few outsiders are brought into
the group, so inheritance and property are not dissipated among too many persons.
"The tangential disposition of the male is expressed in the system of exogamy
so characteristic of tribal life. The movement towards exogamy doubtless originates in the
restlessness of the male, the tendency to make new coordinations, the stimulus to seek
more unfamiliar women, and the emotional interest in making unfamiliar sexual alliances.
But quite aside from its origin, exogamy is an energetic expression of the male
nature." - W.I. Thomas. "The Relation of Sex to Primitive Social Control,"
American Journal of Sociology 3, (1898): 754-76.
Genetics, Ecology and the Origins of Incest and Exogamy - Frank B.
Current Anthropology, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Feb., 1969)
Abstract: The biological consequences of inbreeding are often advanced as the cause of the
evolution of incest and exogamy in human societies. This paper attempts to show that
genetic analysis does not support such a conclusion. An alternate reconstruction of the
origins of incest and exogamy based on cultural and populational consequences of these
phenomena is proposed to show that reconstructions of human cultural evolution can
contribute to the interpretation of human biological evolution. - jstor.org
From Westermarck's Effect to Fox's Law: paradox and principle in the relationship between
incest taboos and exogamy - Alex Walter
Various theories that purport to explain the relationship between incest taboos and
exogamous marriage customs are reviewed. These include sociological, psychological, and
sociobiological approaches. Each of these approaches poses challenges not easily addressed
by its competitors and yet no satisfactory synthesis seems available given the currently
existing explanatory paradigms. It is argued here that exogamy is not a simple outgrowth
of incest taboos and incest taboos are not a simple extenuation of inbreeding avoidance.
Relationships between the sociobiology of inbreeding avoidance and social institutions
such as exogamy and incest taboos are recast with the help of evolutionary psychology,
which provides additional tools with which to approach this complex and contradictory set
of interlocking problems. - ssi.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/39/3/467
Migration of Culture(s) symposium - Endogamy and exogamy among post-war Calabria-born
women in South Australia - Giulia Ciccone
ABSTRACT: Calabria-born women have always had a significant presence within South
Australias Italian community. Between 1927 and 1940, of the estimated 2,493 Italian
arrivals, 512 (20.5%) were from Calabria, of whom 123 (24%) were females.1 The women
either migrated with a male or they waited in Calabria until their husband, father,
relative or male paesano had saved enough money to sponsor them out. Upon arrival in South
Australia the women most commonly performed domestic duties or looked after the children.
In the decades following the end of World War Two, Italian migration to Australia,
including South Australia, rose dramatically2 and there was a considerable increase in the
arrival of Italian women.3 Between 1948 and 1971, of the 36,357 Italians who settled in
South Australia, 8,549 (23.5%) were from Calabria, of whom 3,485 (40%) were females.4 If
married, the Calabria-born woman either migrated to Australia with her husband or, more
commonly, was sponsored out by the husband who often had been living in South Australia
for a number of years. Some brides arrived to join their husband to whom they had been
married by proxy in Italy. Other brides migrated with their new husband, who had been able
to return to his hometown from South Australia in order to achieve
sistemazione,5 then the newly weds would migrate together to Australia.Others
arrived as single women.
In this paper I analyse the results of my study of single Calabria-born women who married
after their arrival in South Australia. In order to look at their marriage patterns I
sifted through the marriage registers of four Catholic Parishes in Adelaide covering the
period 1961 to 2005 and I identified all the marriages in which there was a Calabria-born
bride. I chose the parishes of Newton, Salisbury, Seaton and Virginia as they are located
in areas where there is a high proportion of Italians. These parishes are frequented by a
large number of Italyborn people. By examining the brides choice of spouse I was
thus able to determine whether these Calabria-born brides married endogamously or
exogamously and, when the latter, the spouses place of origin. Marriages were
classified as endogamous when the Calabria-born bride married a man born in either
Calabria or in another region of Italy or when she married a man of Italian origin.
Marriages were considered exogamous when the Calabria-born bride chose a spouse who was
not born in Italy and was not of Italian origin.
In addition, in order to learn of the womens personal experiences of marriage I
conducted face-to-face, one-on-one interviews with a sample of Calabria-born women who had
married in South Australia. I met women to interview by attending Calabria club meetings
and South Australian Calabrian festivals. My paper provides evidence to show Calabria-born
brides in South Australia married predominantly endogamously. It was most common for the
bride to marry a man from Calabria, often from her own hometown or from the same province,
or a man born in Southern Italy, in particular Campania or Sicily. In some marriages the
woman chose a groom who was born in Central or Northern Italy. There were a significant
number of marriages in which the bride chose to marry a man who was born in Australia of
Italian origin. Calabria-born women rarely married exogamously.
Through the interviews conducted I was able to examine the impact of the Calabria-born
womans choice to marry endogamously or exogamously and the extent to which culture
and traditions were maintained, modified or abandoned by the woman as a result of this
choice. I found that the majority of the women who married endogamously felt that it was
easier to maintain their culture and traditions by marrying a man who had the same
cultural background as their own. On the other hand, I found that women who married
exogamously were less likely to continue their Calabrian traditions, beliefs and language.