Endogamy: Definition & Overview

Instructor: Chevette Alston

Dr. Alston has taught intro psychology, child psychology, and developmental psychology at 2-year and 4-year schools.

This lesson defines endogamy and the many ways that this practice of segregation is used in society. It also gives examples of four well-known endogamy types and the reason for their cultural practice.

What is Endogamy?

Endogamy is also called in-marriage and is the custom of marrying within one's cultural group or clan. This requirement was created to keep health, culture, and ethnicity within cultural groups. Historically, endogamy has been associated with aristocracy, religious groups, ethnic groups, and social classes. Exogamy is when a person marries outside of their social group or class. Within some of the royal/historically known families, the practices of endogamy or exogamy can be seen.

Endogamy Circle


Endogamy is a form of segregation that helps groups or communities resist integrating or merging with other groups or cultures who do not share the same beliefs or resources. This type of practice can help smaller or minority cultures survive over a long period of time. Endogamy also encourages group unity and control over resources needed in order for the group/clan to continue to exist. However, it should be noted that group and cultural isolation may also lead to the group's extinction due to genetic disease within the group, which may wipe out the population.

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