Parent-offspring conflict over mating and the evolution of mating-control institutions

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Parents and offspring often have conflicting interests over mating, which results in the ideal spouse not being the ideal inlaw and the ideal in-law not being the ideal spouse. This induces parents to control the mating decisions of their offspring, which in turn gives rise to social institutions that uphold this control. Based on this theoretical framework, it is predicted that these institutions intend predominantly to control the mating decisions of the female offspring when they are young, that they are more prevalent among the upper strata, and that they arise only in an ecological context where parents are able to exercise some degree of control over the mating decisions of their offspring. These predictions are examined on a number of institutions, such as arranged marriage and female circumcision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-74
Number of pages26
JournalMankind Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Arranged marriage
  • Breast-ironing
  • Clitoridectomy
  • Evolutionary sociology
  • Female circumcision
  • Foot-binding
  • Infant-child betrothal
  • Infibulation
  • Mating control institutions
  • Parent-offspring conflict over mating
  • Social institutions


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