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Definition[ edit ] A dowry is the transfer of parental property to a daughter at her marriage i. This fund may provide an element of financial security in widowhood or against a negligent husband, and may eventually go to provide for her children.
Anthropologist Jack Goody 's comparative study of dowry systems around the world utilizing the Ethnographic Atlas demonstrated that dowry is a form of inheritance found in the broad swath of Eurasian societies from Japan to Ireland that practice "diverging devolution", i. This practice differs from the majority of Sub-Saharan African societies that practice "homogenous inheritance" in which property is transmitted only to children of the same sex as the property holder.
These latter African societies are characterized by the transmission of Thesis on crime in pakistan " bride price ," the money, goods or property given by the groom or his family to the parents of the bride not the bride herself.
In sparsely populated regions where shifting cultivation takes place, most of the work is done by women. These are the societies that give brideprice. Boserup further associates shifting horticulture with the practice of polygamyand hence bridewealth is paid as a compensation to her family for the loss of her labour.
In plough agriculture farming is largely men's work; this is where dowry is given. Close family are the preferred marriage partners so as to keep property within the group. Sylvia Yanagisko argues, for example, that there are a number of societies including parts of Japan, Southern Italy, and China, that do not support Goody's claim that dowry is a form of female inheritance of male property.
She notes that Goody's is an evolutionary model in which these historical variables may not be the decisive factors today. Tambiah Goody's co-author on the earlier "Bridewealth and Dowry"  later argued that Goody's overall thesis remained pertinent in North India, although it required modification to meet local circumstances.
He points out that dowry in North India is only partially used as a bride's conjugal fund, and that a large part goes directly to the groom's joint family.
This would initially seem to discount Goody's model, except that in North India, the joint family is composed of the groom's parents, his married brothers and unmarried sisters, and their third generation children.
But when the parents die, and the joint family partitions, this jointly held wealth was then divided among the married sons, such that ultimately, the bride's dowry given to the joint family returned to her and her husband as their "conjugal fund. They argue that a major factor in determining the type of marriage transaction is the type of property controlled by the household.
Bridewealth circulates property and women, and is typical of societies where property is limited. Dowry concentrates property and is found in property owning classes or commercial or landed pastoral peoples.
When families give dowry, they not only ensure their daughter's economic security, they also "buy" the best possible husband for her, and son-in-law for themselves.
Daughters did not normally inherit anything from their father's estate. Instead, with marriage, they got a dowry from her parents, which was intended to offer as much lifetime security to the bride as her family could afford. However, bride price almost always became part of the dowry.
The return of dowry could be disputed, if the divorce was for a reason allowed under Babylonian law. He had no say, however, in its ultimate disposal; and legally, the dowry had to be kept separate for it was expected to support the wife and her children.
The wife was entitled to her dowry at her husband's death. If she died childless, her dowry reverted to her family, that is her father if he was alive, otherwise her brothers.
If she had sons, they would share it equally. Her dowry being inheritable only by her own children, not by her husband's children by other women. A husband had certain property rights in his wife's dowry. In addition, the wife might bring to the marriage property of her own, which was not included in the dowry and which was, as a result, hers alone.
This property was "beyond the dowry" Greek parapherna, the root of paraphernalia and is referred to as paraphernal property or extra-dotal property.
A dowry may also have served as a form of protection for the wife against the possibility of ill treatment by her husband and his family,  providing an incentive for the husband not to harm his wife.
This would apply in cultures where a dowry was expected to be returned to the bride's family if she died soon after marrying. In contemporary Greece, dowry was removed from family law through legal reforms in All the property of the wife which was not dowry, or was not a donatio propter nuptias, continued to be her own property, and was called Parapherna.Free Essays on Crime In Pakistan.
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