Some Parting Shots

And finally, we must say goodbye…but not without leaving you on a note of reflection!

Excuse me, then! you know my heart;
But dearest friends, alas! must part.
-John Gay

We hope to have made you, by now, an expert of sorts on marriage practices amongst the Bedouins, the Dobe Ju/’hoansi, and our own cultures. In this project, we have consciously refrained from treating the various aspects of marriage at face-value. It is important, we feel, to understand the social functions behind any marriage practice, belief, tradition or custom. Why do the Bedouins practice endogamy? Why does Ju/’hoansi culture not place much importance on chastity or modesty among women? What explains the relatively low rate of divorce observed among most of our group members’ cultures? These questions can only be given answers once we view marriage in context of society and culture, essentially understanding its internal ‘mechanisms’ instead of its outward appearance.

Of course, we are nowhere close to achieving the kind of intellectual prowess that is the trademark of some of the great anthropologists we have studied in this course. Nevertheless, we have constantly tried to adopt the 21st century anthropological trend of viewing marriage as a form of ‘discourse’, rather than a fixed aspect of culture. Marriage practices in all the cultures we studied are dynamic and ever-changing, especially with the influence of the twin forces of ‘globalization’ and ‘modernization’.

Lastly, we did not wish to sensationalize any aspect of marriage or make un-called for judgments about the cultures we have studied – we simply wanted to portray the Bedouins, the Ju/’hoansi and ourselves as normal people whose marriage beliefs and practices make perfect sense as a part and parcel of their everyday lives.

We hope that you will enjoy reading these Wiki pages as much as we have enjoyed writing them!

Warm regards,

Amirah, Anupama, Cindy, Eliarani and Yi Ting :)

Parting - Anthropology & the Human Condition

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