Polygyni is a marriage structure where men have more than one wife at a time. Widely spread in world societies, but practiced only by a minority of those communities because population sex-ratios and a lack of economic resources make it inaccessible for the majority. Polyandry is contrasted with polygyny.
Polyandry is a form of polygamy in which a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time. Polygyny is polygamy in which one man has two or more wives at the same time. The term polygyny is also used where a male animal has more than one female mate. Polygynist is a person who practises or favours polygyny, that is, a man who has several wives at the same time.
Polygamy is marriage with several spouses, or more than one spouse, at once, or living at the same time. Most Muslim-majority countries permit polygyny but not polyandry. Anthropologist Jack Goody's demonstrated a historical correlation between the practice of extensive shifting horticulture and polygyny in Sub-Saharan African societies.
Polygyny has been criticized by feminists such as Professor John O. Ifediora, who believes that polygyny is a "hindrance to social and economic development" in the continent of Africa due to women's lack of financial control.
Cross-National Differences in Polygyny Intensity
Resource-Defense, Sex Ratio, and Infectious Diseases - Nigel Barber, Portland, Maine
Cross-Cultural Research, Vol. 42, No. 2, 103-117 (2008).
Possible adaptive functions of polygyny include resource-defense, scarcity of men, and countering a high pathogen load. Using a sample of 32 polygynous countries broken down by urban and rural location, each of these explanations of polygyny was tested in regression analysis.
Polygyny increased in tropical countries having plenty of arable land and unequal distribution of wealth (Gini coefficient), supporting the resource-defense explanation. Polygyny also increased in female-biased populations and in countries with a high burden of infectious diseases. In contrast, there was little evidence for cultural determination of polygyny, although female literacy was a negative predictor. Results thus support the three main functional theories and reject cultural determinist accounts of polygyny.
Market forces affect patterns of polygyny in Uganda - Thomas V. Polleta, and Daniel Nettleb. Edited by Eric A. Smith, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Abstract: Polygynous marriage is generally more beneficial for men than it is for women. We use the theory of biological markets to predict that the likelihood of a man marrying polygynously will be a function of the level of resources that he has, the local sex ratio, and the resources that other men in the local population have. Owning land is particularly important when men are abundant in the district, and that a man's owning land most increases the odds of polygyny in districts where few other men own land. Results are discussed with reference to models of the evolution of polygyny.
EFFECTS OF POLYGYNY AND CONSANGUINITY ON HIGH FERTILITY IN THE RURAL ARAB
POPULATION IN SOUTH JORDAN - SHUJI SUEYOSHI and RYUTARO OHTSUKA.
Journal of Biosocial Science (2003), 35:4:513-526 Cambridge University Press.
Abstract: This paper examines the effects of polygyny and consanguinity on high fertility, which was recognized as natural fertility. The prevalence of polygynous and consanguineous marriages largely reflected the population's traditional marriage customs. The formation of polygynous marriage was decided by the husband, mostly as a result of his senior wife's infecundity or sub-fecundity, and the age of the husband at marriage to his junior polygynous wife was high in many cases, leading to a decline in this wife's fecundity.
For Polygyny: Reproductive Rights and Empowerment amongst 19th Century Mormon Women - Kane, Nazneen.
Thus, in this paper, I discuss four direct and proxy measures of women's empowerment to construct an alternative narrative of these polygynous feminists as resisting oppression within a patriarchal society, emphasizing the increased fertility control and reproductive rights of plural wives.
Peoples Perception of Polygyny in Contemporary Times in Nigeria
M.A.O. Aluko and J.O. Aransiola.
ABSTRACT The study examined the peoples perception of polygyny in Contemporary Times in Nigeria. The study sought to identify the factors that have led to peoples change of attitudes about polygyny in general as well as their perceived advantages and disadvantages of polygyny. The study revealed that, there has been a change in people's attitudes towards the practice of polygyny. As high as 79.8% of women in our sample desire that polygyny be eradicated while 51.2% of the men will support legislation against the practice. Again a greater percentage of the women are against polygyny than the men.
Punishment of polygyny - Esa Ranta and Veijo Kaitala.
Abstract: We investigated the evolution of monogamy and polygyny (one male, more than one female). In particular, we studied whether it is possible for a mutant polygynous mating strategy to invade a resident population of monogamous breeders and, alternatively, whether a mutant monogamy can invade resident polygyny. Polygyny is an evolutionarily stable strategy mating system; this holds throughout the examined range of numbers of offspring produced per female. So that the two strategies can coexist, polygyny has to be punished. The coexistence of monogamy and polygyny is achieved by reducing the offspring number for polygyny relative to monogamy. An alternative punishment is to increase the sensitivity of polygynous breeders to population density.
On the Economics of Polygyny - Theodore C. Bergstrom
This paper concerns the economics of polygynous societies with well-functioning markets for marriage partners. The institutions that we model appear to be particularly close to those found in the polygynous societies of Africa where polygyny is the norm. In Southern Africa, polygyny is less common, with just under 10% of women living in polygynous households. (Lesthaege (1986)). In a polygynous society, one may want to distinguish the rights and obligations of full siblings from those of half-siblings who share the same father but have different mothers.
Comparing Explanations of Polygyny
Melvin Ember, Carol R. Ember, Bobbi S. Low, University of Michigan.
Cross-Cultural Research, Vol. 41, No. 4, 428-440 (2007)
Polygyny is common in the ethnographic record. The vast majority of cultures known to anthropology allowed at least some men to have more than one wife simultaneously. This article compares various explanations of nonsororal polygyny, by far the most common type of polygyny. The two main independent cross-cultural predictors of appreciable nonsororal polygyny are high male mortality in war and high pathogen stress, which seems to favor nonsororal polygyny to maximize genetic variation and disease resistance in progeny.
A role for female
ornamentation in the facultatively polygynous mating system of collared flycatchers
In a polygynous mating system, females settling with already mated males often experience low mating success due to the reduced parental contribution of the male. Facultative polygyny is believed to be dominated by male advertisement and female choice. Although quality differences and competition among females are increasingly recognized as important determinants of polygynous settlement patterns, the importance of signals of female quality in this mating system is largely unknown.