Polygamous Families in Contemporary Society

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Social psychologist Irwin Altman and anthropologist Joseph Ginat examine husband-wife and wife-wife relationships in contemporary Mormon polygamous families in this intriguing book. Using interviews and observations, they describe how husbands and wives in plural families cope with their complex lifestyle in many facets of everyday life, including courtship, weddings, honeymoons, adjustments to a new life, living arrangements, and the husband's rotation among his wives. Other topics covered are budget and resource management, psychological attachments to homes, and the social and emotional relationships between family members. This is the first comprehensive analysis of life in present-day Mormon polygamous families in American society. Adopting a transactional and dialectic approach, the authors being an interdisciplinary perspective to this unique form of family structure in modern society.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An exhaustive, fine piece of scholarship; it is timely and should be read with great interest—not just by scholars but by the wider educated public as well." Philip Kilbride, author of Plural Marriage for Our Times

"Based on interviews, observations, and ethnographic materials, the authors research provides a rich description and analysis of life in plural families....The authors have written an objective and sympatheic account of the structure and dynamics of fundamentalist Mormon families in contemporary America. Highly recommended." D.A. Chekki, Choice

"Their comprehensive analysis of life in present-day fundamentalist groups, both urban and rural, is scholarly, dispassionate, and very readable. Their research will be used and cited for years to come." Utah Historical Quarterly

"This volume is a complete, detailed work that is contemporary in nature....This book of research will enable the reader to better understand the motives, routines, rewards, and concerns of family life that exist in contemporary society as polygamous families live out what they believe in." Gerald John Kloss, Latter Day Saints History

"...the book is highly successful in explaining the values guiding Mormon fundamentalist communities and why maintaining polygynous unions is so important to them despite considerable costs to both male and female participants." Nancy E. Levine, American Anthropologist

"This is an interesting book, well researched and written....Altman and Ginat have managed to conduct a rich and remarkable anthropoligical/sociological study on the workings of polygamous families." Baffour Takyi, Family Relations

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521561693
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; Part I. Historical Background: 2. Mormon history 1830–1890: the early years; 3. Contemporary fundamentalist movements; 4. The people and their communities; Part II. Early Stages of Relationships: 5. Deciding to add a new wife to a family; 6. Courtship; 7. Wedding and marriage ceremonies; 8. Honeymoons; 9. Adjusting to a new marriage; Part III. Home Environments of Plural Families: 10. Living arrangements; 11. Wives and homes; 12. Husbands and homes; Part IV. Managing Everyday Life: 13. The rotation process: husbands and wives alone together; 14. Budget and resource management; 15. Celebrations; Part V. Social-Emotional Relationships: 16. Social-emotional relationships of husbands and wives; 17. Relationships between wives; 18. Family structure; 19. Parents and children; 20. Summing up; Appendices.

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