Probelm With Polyamy Brooks Reading

Probelm With Polyamy Brooks Reading - Electronic copy...

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Unformatted text preview: Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1331492 Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1331492 Page 1 THE PROBLEM WITH POLYGAMY* Thom Brooks University of Newcastle Abstract . Polygamy is a hotly contested practice and open to widespread misunderstandings. This practice is defined as a relationship between either one husband and multiple wives or one wife and multiple husbands. Today, polygamy almost exclusively takes the form of one husband with multiple wives. In this article, my focus will centre on limited defences of polygamy offered recently by Chesire Calhoun and Martha Nussbaum. I will argue that these defences are unconvincing. The problem with polygamy is primarily that it is a structurally inegalitarian practice in both theory and fact. Polygamy should be opposed for this reason. I Polygamy is a hotly contested practice and open to widespread misunderstandings. This practice is defined as a relationship between either one husband and multiple wives or one wife and multiple husbands. Today, polygamy almost exclusively takes the form of polygyny: one husband with multiple wives. 1 Polygamy is neither exclusively Western nor non-Western: it has been practised by some Hindus, Mormons, Muslims, and other cultural and religious groups. 2 Furthermore, the Christian Bible notes several polygamous marriages, beginning with Adam and Eves grandson, Lamech (who was also the father of Noah), and * Department of Politics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom (email: t.brooks@newcastle.ac.uk ). 1 Polyandrywhere one wife is married to multiple husbandscan be found in sparsely populated rural areas, such as Bhutan, Mongolia, and Tibet. Polyandrous marriages form a significantly small number of polygamous marriages. 2 The widespread practice of polygamy across the globe by different cultural and religious groups suggests that arguments against, or in favour of, the practice need not necessarily serve as an endorsement of any one cultural or religious group over another. Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1331492 Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1331492 Page 2 including several important Biblical figures, such as Abraham, David, and Solomon. 3 Nevertheless, the number of polygamous marriages is relatively minuscule despite the cross-cultural presence of polygamy (Gher 2008: 561). T h e s t a n d a r d o f d e b a t e o v e r t h e p e r m i s s i b i l i t y o f p o l y g a m y h a s b e e n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y poor. Thus, for example, some proponents of polygamy argue that it is acceptable, in part, on the grounds that many in Western societies also cohabit with multiple partners, such as married men forming relationships with mistresses....
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Probelm With Polyamy Brooks Reading - Electronic copy...

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