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Polygamy Around the World

Cultural Anthropology: Group Presentation

Rachel LaPorta

on 23 April 2013

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Transcript of Polygamy Around the World

Africa East Asia United States South Asia Thailand East Asia The Chinese culture of Confucianism and thus the practice of polygamy spread from China to Japan and areas that are now Vietnam. Before their modernizations, East Asian countries permitted similar practices of polygamy.
It is illegal in modern China to have more than one spouse for either sex
In Hong Kong, polygamy was banned in October 1971 South Asia Thailand Wealthy or upper-class Thai men were historically recognized to maintain mansions consisting of multiple wives and their children in the same residence. Among the royalty and courtiers in the past, wives were classified as principal, secondary, and slave.
Male polygamy is no longer legally or socially acceptable in the contemporary Thai society
The practice of having "minor wives" continues in modern days in secrecy from the "primary wife"
Minor wives are viewed with contempt by the Thai society as being amoral women or home breakers Africa Polygamy existed all over Africa as an aspect of culture or/and religion. Plural marriages have been more common than not in the history of Africa.
Polygamy is very common in West Africa
Polygamy is widespread in Kenya, the most prominent individual being Akuku Danger who married over 100 wives
In South Africa, traditionalists commonly practice polygamy
The president, Jacob Zuma, is also openly in favor of plural marriages, being married to four wives himself United Kingdom United Kingdom Arranged marriages are big business in the UK
Muslim men bring almost 12,000 women to Britain as spouses from the Middle East and the subcontinent every year
Marriage is viewed as a means to an end, not the ultimate goal
The ultimate goal is to meet your Lord, if you find tranquility in marriage
Love can be the outcome of a marriage but is very rarely the starting point Polygamy is on the rise in Britain for the Muslim community.
A recent poll conducted shows that 77% of men and 23% of women would choose to be apart of a polygamist marriage
Career women don’t want a full-time husband so they are comfortable with the notion of a part time man
Some single mothers feel they don't have a choice
70-75% of Muslim marriages are not registered under the Marriage Act. [When a marriage is not registered and the relationship breaks up, the unregistered wife has NO rights to spousal or child support and can even be left homeless, denied her fair share. In the event of a death, the registered wife and her children inherit and the unregistered wife and her children do not.] Indonesia Indonesia Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population
Out of 230 million, 90% are Muslim
Polygamy is not particularly common in Indonesia, it emerged as a contentious moral issue throughout 20th century
Muslim women groups did not embrace polygamy but opposed the colonial states attempts to intervene in religious practice
In 1974, the government passed the marriage law which permitted men to take a second wife if the first is infertile, invalid, or terminally ill with court approval
In1983, the government required male civil servants to seek permission from superiors before divorcing or taking a second wife
In 2009, the Ministry of Religious Affairs drafted a bill that would require men seeking to marry another wife to get consent from their current wife or wives and had to prove they had the financial means to support them all equally
While fundamentalists argue that Allah knows the weaknesses of humanity and makes rules for for those humans for which one wife is not enough, and opens the opportunity for polygamy Polygamy Around the World Polygamy in the United States Mormons are the 5th largest religious denomination in the US
Polygamy is the primary symbol of the Mormon identity for the Latter-day saints
Mormonism emerged in the US in the 1830s
 with the formal organization of the church
Joseph Smith believed that the institutions of family and community required radical restructuring
In 1835 although not legal by Ohio law, Smith began performing illegal marriages under “authority of the holy priesthood” The act of having more than one spouse simultaneously

Plural marriage
Term used by those who practice it
Carries less of a stigma What is Polygamy? Polygamy Today In September 2010 TLC premiered a reality television series entitled Sister Wives, which deals with polygamy by a self-described fundamentalist Mormon family in modern day Utah.
On July 13, 2011, the show's husband,
Kody brown filed a lawsuit asking a federal district court to find the Utah criminal bigamy statute unconstitutional.
If the statue is found unconstitutional then he and his illegal wives can return to Utah South Asia Polygyny (one male, multiple females), permitted under Islamic law, is present amongst some Muslims in South Asia.
Polygamy is illegal in India for Hindus and other religious groups under the Hindu marriage Act. It remains legal for Muslims under the terms of The Muslim Personal Law Application Act of 1937
Polygamy is generally quite rare in urban areas, and among the cosmopolitan middle classes. The History of Polygamy In Reynolds vs US in 1879 judges ruled that the free exercise of religion clause of the 1st amendment did not protect the Mormons practice of polygamy
Established the legal distinction between belief and practice
In 1890 the Mormon president Woodruff signed the Manifesto announcing the discontinuation of the practice of polygamy
The infamous siege of Short Creek, Arizona in 1953 brought polygamy back into public view
Parents were jailed and children were separated from their mothers
In February 1999 the New York Times magazine published a lead article on the polygamy in Utah, accounting stories of the abuse of John Daniel Kingston's daughter, a girl who escaped from a polygamist lifestyle in which her father repeatedly beat her and forced her to marry her uncle.
In 1999 the WRLU protested in front of the Salt Lake Tribune offices and argued that polygamists are unfairly singled out for prosecution under Utah's unlawful cohabitation statute
In response, state legislatures raised the age of consent in Utah from 14 to 16 years old
Full transcript