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Endogamous marriage or endogamy is the practice of marrying within a social group, rejecting others based solely on culture as being unsuitable for marriage or other close personal relationships. Cultures who practice endogamy require marriage between specified social groups, classes, or ethnicities. A Danish endogamist, for example, would require that a marriage be only with another Dane.

A tendency toward endogamy may be quite commonplace, but globalization is said to counteract this tendency.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Several religious groups are notably endogamous, although with the added dimension of requiring marital religious conversion, permitting an ostensibly endogamous marriage to be performed, as the convert has accepted the partner's culture. Certain groups[attribution needed] practice endogamy very strictly as an inherent part of their moral values, traditions or religious beliefs.

Adherence[edit | edit source]

Endogamy, proponents say, encourages group affiliation and bonding, and is a common practice among displanted cultures attempting to make roots in new countries as it encourages group solidarity and ensures greater control over group resources (which may be important to preserve where a group is attempting to establish itself within an alien culture). They[attribution needed] claim that endogamy helps minorities survive over a long time in societies with other practices and beliefs.

Famous examples of strictly endogamous religious groups are the Jews, Yazidi in Northern Iraq (under Islamic majority), Turkmens and Armenians in Iran, Old Order Amish, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and the Parsi of India (a non-Hindu minority in India). During the 1940-1950s in the United States, the Roman Catholic Church was successful at keeping its people marrying within the Catholic community.[How to reference and link to summary or text] Since the 1960s, that has been changing as well.[How to reference and link to summary or text] The caste system in India is based on an order of (predominantly) endogamous groups and its formation has been suggested[How to reference and link to summary or text] to have originated from the social organization of these groups.

The isolationist practices of endogamy may lead to a group's extinction rather than its survival when genetic disease can affect a larger percentage of the population. For instance, while long serving to preserve their religion, the Samaritans' practice of endogamy now threatens this community: refusal to intermarry, in conjunction with their non-acceptance of converts, has led the population of this ethnic group to decrease to fewer than one thousand. Such a small gene pool has contributed to genetic disease within the community.

Endogamy also plays an important role in social stratification of different social factors such as occupations, activities, or education. This type of social endogamy is very apparent in the United States because occupations have become a chief form of social networking for many after college.[How to reference and link to summary or text] For instance, actors and actresses generally marry or bond with people in a similar industry.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Class endogamy affects social mobility: children of top executives have an easier time following a similar path as their parents due to similarities between the two, but also the power that executives have in modern corporations allowing them to influence hiring and promotion decisions. Elite families generally contribute to endogamy within big business, producing social links that are carried forward and keep certain groups restrictive. There have been such rapid changes in business and technology, however, that new fields open up where people of achievement can create new hierarchies. Professions also establish endogamy: A child growing with doctor parents, for instance, learns to be at home in that world and is likely to choose a similar education and career; A son or daughter of a famous actor or musician has a much greater chance of becoming a successful performer compared to the son or daughter of an average worker.[1]

Fraternities and sororities at many universities in the United States are a good example of endogamy: Members generally date within these organizations[How to reference and link to summary or text], fostered by special events held exclusively between these organizations.

Endogamy causes groups to be less diversified because of the desire to stay within one's social group. For example, the percentage of interracial marriages in the United States is small compared to all marriages.[How to reference and link to summary or text] With increased ethnic diversity and changing social attitudes among many people, younger people are entering into such marriages more often.[2]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Brudner, Lilyan A., and Douglas R. White. "Class, Property, and Structural Endogamy: Visualizing Networked Histories." University of California, Irvine. Academic Publisher, 1997. 1-48. 14 Nov. 2007.
  2. Belding, Theodore C. "Nobility and Stupidity: Modeling the Evolution of Class Endogamy." University of Michigan. 2004. 1-25. 7 Nov. 2007.
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