Warfare in Polygamy
Marriage is a universal trait of human kinship and social organization.
It probably developed very early in the course of human social history.
In human society, several cultures have used marriage to carry out some
widespread functions. Some people are married because of love or romance.
Yet, others are married for economic security, economic contribution, heritage,
or political reason. However, in spite of these general features, different
cultures have developed different pattern of regulations and customs that
determine prohibitions and preferences for marriage partners. These regulations
and customs are also helped to shape expectations between spouses and in-laws
Monogamy is the major form of marriage and is closely associated with
most societies of Europe and Asia, while polygyny is found in traditional
societies such as Africa. According /Corresponding/
to "The History of Human Marriage," m/M/onogamy,
always the predominant form of marriage, has been more prevalent at the
lowest stages of civilization than at somewhat higher stages; whilst, at
a still higher stage, polygyny has again, to a great extent, yielded to
monogamy" (Westermarck, 505). Yet, some polygyny can be found in more advanced
societies such as Eurasia. Other regions /societies/
that are associated with polygyny include Circum-Mediterranean, Insular
Pacific, North America, and South America. However, the percentage of occurrence
is very different in each society. Because polygyny in different society
serves a different purpose, the causation for participation in collective
fighting in polygyny of different society will be different.
For instance, in Africa, plural marriage is far more general. According
/to Dorjahn in/ "the Factors of Polygamy
in African Demography", /he states that/
"about 35 percent of married men have more than one wife" (Dorjahn, 136).
This shows that a large group of people is likely to be part of the polygynous
unit at some point of their lives. However, the causation for people to
prefer polygyny is different across societies and countries. In Africa
with extensive and low densities, labor becomes the major factor in the
economy. As for this example, the reason men /to/
polygyny in this society may be for the husbands to generate wealth.
Fighting between genders has been a very interesting topic in recent society. However, there has not been much study on this issue. Do men always start the fighting first or do women? Is it always a man fighting a woman? Or, are both men and women participating in the fighting? Such issues are still left uncertain. In my paper I have chosen two variables: polygamy and participation in collective fighting and warfare, and I am going to study why do women /only/ fight only in polygamy, especially in polygyny, but not in monogamy. Moreover, I am also going to study why the number of women fighting increases when the number of wives in polygyny increases. Furthermore, I am going to find the relationship between polygamy and participation in collective fighting and warfare.
My hypothesis is that it is /there are/ more likely for men to have more wives as they get older; and as the numbers of wives/wife/ in each marriage increase, the numbers of wives/wife/who /to/ participate in collective fighting and warfare also increase.
Test of Hypothesis
/In my paper, I am going to/ I will test my hypothesis with different variables: variable 584 (participation in collective fighting and warfare), variable 870 (additional wives or concubines from slavery or capture in warfare), and variable 876 (polygyny distributions).
Cross-Tabulations with Correlation and Statistical Significance
Table # 1 shows correlational tests for the two variables: Polygamy
and Participation in Collective Fighting and Warfare. We can see that the
correlation between these two variables are strong because the /significant/
two tailed /significance/ test result/s
in 0.052 which is a little bit more than/ is
0.05. Therefore, the hypothesis /factor/
that fighting by women occurs with /in/
polygamy is strongly supported.
Next, in table # 2, I have presented a chart with the same variables
as table # 1. And we can see from the table that with 70 cases
with fighting /cases/,
in 1 society with polyandry only men fight
polyandry/, and in 12 societies /with
monogamy only men fight /in monogamy/.
With polyandry or monogamy, we can see that no women participate in fighting.
However, with polygyny, different stories appear. In the case of polygyny
with less than 20 percent plural wives, there are 30 cases where men do
the fighting and 3 cases where /with/
both genders do the fighting. The numbers of wives who participate in the
fighting gets higher when the numbers of wives /wife/
increases. In polygyny with more than 20 percent plural wives, there are
19 cases where men do the fighting, while the number of society where both
genders participate in fighting increases to 5. Why would there be more
fighting by both genders against a common enemy in polygyny than in polyandry
In table # 3, we can see that the variable of polygyny distribution
is strongly correlated with the variable of participation in collective
fighting and warfare. As we can see from the table, the /significant/
two-tailed significance test for variable
876 (polygyny distributions) is 0.052. For this significance/t/
number, we can determine that polygyny distributions are/is/
an important factor for women to participate in collective fighting. However,
the variable of polygyny distributions is strongly influenced
by the cultural basis of polygyny. Furthermore,
we can also see that the factor of additional wives or concubines from
slavery or capture in warfare is strongly related to the variable of participation
in collective fighting. The /significant/
two tailed significance test for variable
870 (additional wives or concubines from slavery or capture in warfare)
yields 0.035. Therefore, we can conclude that one of the reasons
that there is /are/
more fighting by the two genders in polygyny than in polyandry and monogamy
is because there are more wives that are from slavery or captured in warfare
Table # 4 is a crosstabulation for variable 876,
/that is/ polygyny distributions and
variable 860, /which
is/ cultural basis of polygyny. There are
two different categories for polygyny distributions: negative binomial
and true binomial. Negative binomial represents long tail on wives which
means there is /are/
more than one wife in the marriage. On the other hand, true binomial just
means there is only one wife in the marriage. As we can see from the table,
if monogamy is preferred in the society, there are 7 cases with ture binomial.
If men with leadership attributes prefer polygyny, there are 3 cases with
negative binomial and 10 cases with true binomial. Next, if men of higher
social class prefer polygyny, there are 4 cases with negative binomial
and 6 cases with true binomial. And if most men in the society prefer polygyny
to obtain wives, there are 19 cases with negative binomial and 3 cases
with true binomial.
In table #5, it /is shown/s/
that women are not involved in collective fighting in the society where
monogamy in prescribed. However, there is 1 case of both genders /to/
in collective fighting in the society where monogamy is preferred, but
is an exceptional case of polygyny. Most of the cases
where women participate in
happens in polygyny. We can see that in the society where men with leadership
ascribed prefer polygyny, there are 12 cases of fighting that involve only
men and 1 case of fighting that involves both men and women. On the other
hand, in the society where men of higher social class prefer polygyny,
/in this case/
there are 11 cases of fighting that involve only men and 2 cases of fighting
that involve both genders. However, if most men in the society prefer polygyny
to obtain wives, then there are 17 cases of fighting
involving only men and 4 /fighting's/
involving both genders. This table clearly shows/presents/
that most of fighting that involves both genders will occur in polygyn/ous
societies/y society/. The way that
the society is organized is one of the important factors for causation
of participation in collective fighting by women.
Table # 6 is a Crosstabulation for variable 584 (participation in collective
fighting and warfare) and variable 876 (polygyny distributions). It is
clearly presented that women only are involved
in fighting where the society has polygyny that is negative binomial. In
the negative binomial polygyny societies/y/,
there are cases of /is/
11 fighting involving only men and 5 /fighting/
involving both genders. Oppositely, if the polygynous/y/
society is true binomial, there will be 10 cases of fighting that involve
only men and 0 cases that involve both genders.
Table # 7 is a correlation table for the factor of additional wives or concubines from slavery or capture in warfare and the factor of participation in collective fighting and war. We can see that/e/ when there are no female captives in the polygyny, with 51 case, there are 29 /cases/ where men do the fighting and only 1 /case/ where both genders participate in collective fighting. Where women are taken captive but not married, /in this case/ there are 22 cases for only men and 6 /cases/ for both genders to participate in fighting.
Research Significance of the Findings
Many people may associate polygyny with surplus in women/'s
availability. Yet, Paul Spencer in "Polygyny as a Measure of Social Differentiation
in Africa" states a totally contrastive/d/
finding. He /Paul/
points out that many studies have found that "the most significant feature
that accounts for this surplus is not any intrinsic unbalance in numbers
between the sexes, but a delay in the age of first marriage of men" (Spencer,
118). In other words, with about equal numbers of both sexes, men usually
hold up their marriages; therefore, young men are delayed
in their marriages in that lead the elders
tend to monopolize /over/
As we can see from table # 4, the negative binomial polygyny distribution
appears the most when most of the men in the society prefer polygyny to
obtain wives. One of the reasons for men to acquire wives is to manipulate
wealth flows. In some countries, the bride's family will provide bride-wealth
for the daughter when she gets married. In this case, men are married to
generate wealth by polygyny. According to Professor Douglas R. White in
his study of "Rethinking Polygyny," /he
states that/ "co-wife residential autonomy
predicts that polygynous wives generate wealth, that there is wealth differentiation
among polygynists, [and] that there polygyny
is more likely to become a preference of most men" (White, 557). As a result,
polygyny occurs most in the societies/y/
where majorities of men want to accumulate wealth by obtaining wives. Another
reason that polygyny does/e/
not happen as much in the society where it is preferred by men with leadership
is because the economic contributions of wives are not needed for men in
With the information from tables # 4, 5 and 6, we can conclude why most
of the women are participate/d/
in warfare in the society where polygyny is negative binomial and where
most men in the society prefer polygyny to obtain wives. In the society
where polygyny is negative binomial, most of women participate/d/
in fighting /occurs/
when most men in society prefer polygyny. The reason is because men will
prefer to have multiple wives because of their economic value and this
also means they will /to/
participate in wars that will benefit their husbands.
Moreover, as we can see from table # 7 /that/ most of /cases where women are involved/ing/ in fighting happens in the society were women are taken as captives but not married. The reason is because when men fight other societies, they will take captives /which/, including women. Yet, they do not marry their captives because these captives are slaves to them. As a result, these captives may have to fight for the /on/ benefit of their captors.
This research is difficult yet very interesting. It was /is/ ambiguous why women only participate in warfare in polygynous/y/ society at the beginning. Now, it is apparent that when women are participating in collective fighting, they will do so for the /on/ benefit of another man. In the case of negative binomial polygyny /society/, in most of the cases /that/ men are married to other women because of wealth generating reasons. As a result, women become men's workers, and they will have to participate in any war that will bring benefit to their husbands. However, in the case of concubines, it is more straightforward that these women are slaves and they will have to fight for their captors. All of the above factors really support that the causation for women to participate in collective fighting will differentiate across societies and countries.
/this is a good paper as far as understanding the problem when the grammar is cleaned up/
DorJahn, V. "The Factors of Polygamy in African Demography." Continuity and Change in African Cultures.In Herskovits, M., and Bascom, W. (eds.), Chicago: 1959, p. 125-158.
Goody, Jack. "Polygyny, Economy and the Role of Women." The Character Of Kinship.Cambridge University Press, London: 1973, p.175-189.
Spencer, Paul. "Polygyny as a Measure of Social Differentiation in Africa." ASA Essay in Social Anthropology.Institute For the Study of Human Issues Publisher, Philadelphia: v.3, 1980, p.117-160.
Westermarck, E. the History of Human Marriage.London, 1893.
White, Douglas R. "Rethinking Polygyny" Current Anthropology.The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, The U.S., V 29, No 4, 1988, p. 529-571.