Sociology Index


Patrilocal Residence, Neolocal Residence, Matrilineal Descent

Matrilocal residence is the custom or practice of a new husband moving to his wife's village or household after marriage. Matrilocal residence tends to be found among matrilineal societies. Matrilocal designates or pertains to a pattern of marriage in which a married couple settles in the wife's home or community. Matrilocality refers to matrilocal residence. Patrilocality refers to the custom of patrilocal residence. The custom of a newly married couple taking up residence in the groom's family household or village. Patrilocal designates or pertains to a pattern of marriage in which the couple settles in the husband's home or community. In social anthropology, matrilocal residence is the societal system in which a married couple resides with or near the wife's parents. The female offspring of a mother remain living in the mother's house forming large clan-families.

Examples of matrilocal residence societies include the Ancient Pueblo Peoples of Chaco Canyon, the people of Ngazidja in the Comoros, the Nair community in Kerala in South India, the Siraya of Taiwan, the Moso of Yunnan and Sichuan in southwestern China, and the Minangkabau of western Sumatra. Among indigenous people of the Amazon basin this matrilocal residence pattern is often associated with the customary practice of brideservice. In China, matrilocal residence has been encouraged by the government to counter the problem of unbalanced male-majority sex ratios caused by infanticide and abandonment of girls.

An Evaluation of Alternative Theories of Matrilocal Residence Versus Patrilocal Residence
Carol R. Ember - Hunter College of the City University of New York, Cross-Cultural Research, Vol. 9, No. 2, 135-149 (1974). This paper evaluates two alteniative theories of the conditions favoring matrilocality-one proposed by M. Ember and C. R. Ember and the other by Dicale.

Migration, External Warfare, and Matrilocal Residence
William Tulio Divale, York College of the City University of New York - Cross-Cultural Research, Vol. 9, No. 2, 75-133 (1974)
It is suggested that matrilocal or uxorilocal residence is an adaptive response to the disequilibrium that occurs when a virilocal or patrilocal society migrates into an already inhabited region. In the face of severe external warfare, the chances of successful adaptation would be increased if these societies could cease their feuding and internal war and instead concentrate all their resources against the other society. Matrilocal residence accomplishes this, because the dispersal of males from their natal villages upon marriage results in the breakup of fraternal interest groups. In contrast to patrilocal residence societies, matrilocal residence societies tend to have recently migrated and to practice only external warfare.

Matrilocal residence is ancestral in Austronesian societies
Fiona M. Jordan, Russell D. Gray, Simon J. Greenhill and Ruth Mace
Abstract: Post-marital residence rules specify sex-specific dispersal and kin association, influencing the pattern of genetic markers across populations. We show that early Austronesian societies practised matrilocal residence or post-marital residence. Using a Markov-chain Monte Carlo comparative method implemented in a Bayesian phylogenetic framework, we estimated the type of residence at each ancestral node in a sample of Austronesian language trees spanning 135 Pacific societies. Matrilocal residence has been hypothesized for proto-Oceanic society, but we find strong evidence that matrilocality was predominant in earlier Austronesian societies.