This site uses cookies. By continuing, your consent is assumed. Learn more

99.4fm shares

Dating and mate selection


Social scientists who study the family have long been interested in the question "Who marries whom? Emphasis is placed on the customs that regulate choice of mates. A counterperspective views the family as an association. This perspective centers instead on the couple and attempts to understand the process of marital dyad formation. Both of these perspectives generate an abundance of knowledge concerning mate selection. Beginning primarily in the s, theoretical and empirical work in the area of mate selection has made great advances in answering the fundamental question "Who marries whom?

The purview of anthropologists has centered on kinship structures as they relate to mate selection in arranged marriage systems. Sociological inquiry that sees the family as a social institution in the context of the larger society focuses instead on the evolution of courtship systems as societies modernize.

In this respect, it is important to Dating and mate selection the contributions of scholars such as Bernard Mursteinwho have pointed out the importance of cultural and historical effects on courtship systems that lead to marriage. Historical evidence suggests that, as a society modernizes, Dating and mate selection in the courtship system reflect a movement toward autonomous courtship systems. Thus, parentally arranged marriages diminish in industrialized cultures, since arranged marriages are found in societies in which strong extended kinship ties exist or in which the marriage has great significance for the family and community in terms of resources or status allocation.

As societies modernize, arranged marriages are supplanted by an autonomous courtship system in which free choice of mate is the preferred form.

These autonomous courtship systems are also referred to as "love" marriages, since the prerequisite for selection of a mate has shifted from the need to consolidate economic resources to that of individual choice based on love. Of course, family sociologists are quick to point out "Dating and mate selection" the term "love marriage" is somewhat of a misnomer, since many other factors operate in the mate selection process.

Family social scientists have tried to understand the human mate selection process by using a variety of data sources and theoretical perspectives.