Brideservice has traditionally been portrayed in the anthropological literature as the service rendered to the bride's family by the bridegroom as a brideprice or part of one (see dowry).

Brideservice and bridewealth models frame anthropological discussions of kinship in many regions of the world.

Patterns of uxorilocal post-marital residence, as well as the practice of temporary or prolonged brideservice, have been widely reported for Native Amazonia.

In Amazonia, brideservice is frequently performed in conjunction with an interval of uxorilocal residence. The length of uxorilocal residence and the duration of brideservice are contingent upon negotiations between the concerned parties, the outcome of which has been characterized as an enduring commitment or permanent debt.

The power wielded by those who "give" wives over those who "take" them is also said to be a significant part of the political relationships in societies where brideservice obligations are prevalent.

Rather than seeing affinity in terms of a "compensation" model whereby individuals are exchanged as objects, Dean's (1995) research on Amazonian brideservice among the Urarina demonstrates how differentially situated subjects negotiate the politics of marriage.

A famous example of brideservice occurs in the Book of Genesis, when Jacob labors for Laban for fourteen years to win Rachel. Originally the deal was seven years, but Laban tricked Jacob by giving him Leah on their wedding day, so Jacob worked another seven years to obtain the girl he had originally fell in love with, Rachel.

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