The Return of Polyandry: Kinship and Marriage in Central Tibet | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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The Return of Polyandry: Kinship and Marriage in Central Tibet

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The Return of Polyandry

Kinship and Marriage in Central Tibet

Heidi E. Fjeld

Full Text PDF | Full Text ePUB Made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license with support from the University of Oslo.

232 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-607-8 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (August 2022)

ISBN  978-1-80539-719-9 $19.95/£15.95 / Pb / Not Yet Published (October 2024)

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“Fjeld's well-researched, readable book is the first full-length ethnographic treatment of kinship and marriage in Tibet under Chinese rule…The text is accompanied by striking black-and-white photographs, a glossary, an extensive index, and a comprehensive bibliography…Recommended.” • Choice

“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, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris

“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 takes as its starting point the surprising increase in polyandry in Panam valley from 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.

Heidi E. Fjeld is a Professor of Medical Anthropology at the Institute of Health and Society, 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

The Return of Polyandry by Heidi E. Fjeld is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) with support from the University of Oslo.

Full Text PDF | Full Text ePUB

OA ISBN: 978-1-80073-864-5


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