Natl. Acad. Sci., Mem.


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There is [among the Manobos of Mindanao] absolutely no trace of a levirate system by which the nearest male kinsman must marry his deceased brother’s widow. On the contrary, a marriage with any relative’s widow is absolutely tabu, and this tabu, as far as my observations warrant the assertion, is never violated.2

In the Himalaya Mountains there is a notable marriage arrangement known as Tibetan polyandry, whereby a woman is married to the eldest son in a family and shared by his younger brothers who remain otherwise unmarried. The practice resembles the levirate as a device for the conservation and continuity of property and in the sharing of wives among equivalent persons, as was pointed out by Grenard3 in a comparison of the Turkomans and the Tibetans. The practice of both, he says, has the effect of handing women on from one family member to another, but among the Turkomans the rights of junior brothers were suspended until the death of the eldest brother while among the Tibetans they were not suspended at all.

In connection with the inheritance of property in land there are two contrasted definitions of the situation. The most prominent practice is based on primogeniture, whereby the eldest son retains the land and is made responsible in some way for the welfare of the younger children. On the other hand, the history of the settlement of America shows that it was an ideal of fathers to acquire more and more land and endow each child (including daughters) with a farm on marriage. This was possible with an abundance of free and cheap land, and there was consequently a tendency for the youngest son to remain with the parents until their death and then retain the homestead—a practice called "borough English."

2Garvan, J.M.n/an/an/an/a, "The Manobos of Mindanao," , 23: 109.

3 Grenard, F., Tibet, 252–253.

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Chicago: Natl. Acad. Sci., Mem. in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed July 21, 2024, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=ZWB4B933YFDJML9.

MLA: . Natl. Acad. Sci., Mem., Vol. 23, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 21 Jul. 2024. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=ZWB4B933YFDJML9.

Harvard: , Natl. Acad. Sci., Mem.. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 21 July 2024, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=ZWB4B933YFDJML9.