Join our Email List Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
The Return of Polyandry: Kinship and Marriage in Central Tibet

View Table of Contents

See Related
Anthropology Journals

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

The Return of Polyandry

Kinship and Marriage in Central Tibet

Heidi E. Fjeld

262 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-607-8 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Not Yet Published (August 2022)

eISBN 978-1-80073-608-5 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - edit   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This will probably be the single most important book-length study of polyandry, kinship and marriage in Tibetan societies yet to have been published. It is also one of very few fieldwork-based monographs of Central Tibetan rural communities, and it is an excellent one at that.” • Charles Ramble, University of Oxford

“The book reflects an important and original piece of research and I anticipate it will become a work of reference both in Tibetan Studies and in Social Anthropology. It is clearly written and well argued. It represents a milestone in promoting a fruitful dialogue between Tibetan Studies and anthropological approaches to the study of kinship.” • Hildegard Diemberger, University of Cambridge


Tibet is known for its broad range of marriage practices, particularly polyandry, where two or more brothers share one wife. With economic development and massive Chinese social and political reforms, including new marriage laws prohibiting plural marriages, polyandry was expected to disappear from Tibetan social lives. This book describes the surprising increase in polyandry in Panam valley during the 1980s. It explores married lives in polyandrous houses and develops a theory of a flexible kinship of potentiality through the lens of a farming village in Tibet Autonomous Region. It is the first book-length ethnography to explore kinship and marriage in Tibet under Chinese rule.

Heidi E. Fjeld is an Associate Professor in the Section for Medical Humanities: Anthropology and History, Institute of Health and Society at the University of Oslo. She is currently the Project Lead of ‘From Asia to Africa: Antibiotic Trajectories across the Indian Ocean’ (2020-2025) and is the author of Commoners and Nobles: Hereditary Divisions in Tibet (NIAS, 2005).

Subject: Anthropology (General) Gender Studies and Sexuality
Area: Asia


Back to Top