Anthropology and Ethics

Mainstream Polygamy

The Non-Marital Child Paradox In The West

Authors: Legros, Dominique

  • ​Examines monogamy in Western cultures with a critical eye
  • Includes non-Western perspectives
  • Contextualizes the study of monogamy in the larger field of anthropology and anthropological methods and ethics  
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About this book

This volume explores the forms of knowledge generated by exoticizing the subject studied. It analyzes monogamy in Western cultures from a cultural distance. First, from the cultural perspective of a Kenyan writer who underlines the moral evils unwittingly generated by a system imposing universal monogamy and generating annual cohorts of illegitimate children. Then, the essay considers the case of France, which, starting in the 1970’s, changed its laws regarding children born out of wedlock. Such children have now become legitimate. Unwittingly, this has allowed for polygyny or polyandry to become legal options for French males and females. The analysis is further extended to Western Europe, two Latin American nations and to the contemporary U.S.A. with its polyamory movement, where legal outcomes similar to those of France have occurred.

The volume examines monogamy by using the epistemological approach that is typically used in the anthropological study of cultures other than one’s own, showing how exotic and strange the system of monogamy can look, when observed from afar, from the eyes of many non-Westerners. It gives insight into planes of the human Western experience that would normally remain invisible. Students and teachers will delight in the close-to-home debates stimulated by this evocative thought-provoking essay.

About the authors

Dominique Legros is a professor of anthropology emeritus at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He graduated from the University of Paris X (M.A.) and from the University of British Columbia, Canada (Ph.D.). Since 1972, he has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Yukon Territory among the Northern Tutchone Athapaskan Indians. He is the author numerous articles and of several books; among them Tommy McGinty's Northern Tutchone Story of Crow: A First Nation Elder Recounts the Creation of the World. Canadian Museum of Civilisation; Oral History as History: Tutchone Athapaskan in the Period 1840-1920. Hudę Hudän Series, Yukon History No. 3. Yukon, 2 vols. He has been a president of the Canadian Anthropology Society.

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  • In Praise of Exotopy

    Legros, Dominique

    Pages 1-11

  • Monogamy? Exoticizing a 3,000-Year-Old Pre-Christian Western Tradition

    Legros, Dominique

    Pages 13-30

  • Mistress, Concubine, Spouse, Lover or Paramour? The Need for a Cross-Culturally Valid Definition of Marriage

    Legros, Dominique

    Pages 31-40

  • Anthropologizing Traditional Marriage in France

    Legros, Dominique

    Pages 41-47

  • Legislating Polygyny and Polyandry in Mainstream France

    Legros, Dominique

    Pages 49-60

Buy this book

eBook $39.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-8307-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $54.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-8306-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Mainstream Polygamy
Book Subtitle
The Non-Marital Child Paradox In The West
Authors
Series Title
Anthropology and Ethics
Series Volume
2
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media New York
eBook ISBN
978-1-4614-8307-6
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4614-8307-6
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4614-8306-9
Series ISSN
2195-0822
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 113
Number of Illustrations and Tables
2 illustrations in colour
Topics