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The Family among the Australian Aborigines

Bronislaw Malinowski

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .A.R., i. p. 108.">[147] mention that marriage by capture occurred. But all these authors add emphatically that this was the most exceptional mode of acquiring a wife.[148] And it appears from Spencer and Gillen's account that capture is effected rather by an avenging party than by an individual enterprise. And even in the case of capture, possession does not mean right. The woman must belong in the first place to the right class (Rusden, Spencer and Gillen), and in the case related by Spencer and Gillen she had to be especially allotted to one of the men by the leader of the party.

Elopement on the other hand is, as we mentioned above, to be found in nearly all tribes. In all cases it is considered as an encroachment on the rights of the family or of the husband over the girl, and it is punished. But the severity of punishment seems to vary according to the tribe; in the Kurnai elopement was probably the most usual way of getting married; it was therefore n. . . Read More