Article

Les complexités de La nuptialité : de la précocité des unions féminines à la polygamie masculine en Afrique

DIAL (Développement, Institutions & Analyses de Long terme), Working Papers 01/2002;
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT (English) Evolutions in matrimonial behaviour reveal profound changes in society. Current transitions in nuptiality in African cities can be mainly accounted for by the increase in schooling for girls, but also by growing economic difficulties that tend to weaken traditional systems governing social life. Transitions in nuptiality concern the age at which unions are entered into, but also the entire dynamics of matrimony, including changes in the age differences of spouses, marriage breakdowns, etc. This study particularly underlines the complexity of polygamy, which is more frequent in West Africa than in the other regions of the continent. A certain number of changes have taken place within African societies in recent years. In particular, deepening economic difficulties have led to a marked increase in the average age for first marriages, and unions have become more fragile. These changes can therefore result either in an evolution in the practice of polygamy, or in changes to the other factors. If the age difference on marriage is reduced, polygamy can only be maintained by a corresponding growth in definitive male celibacy. On the other hand, giving up polygamy would have an enormous impact on how these societies are organised and run, especially as this would challenge men's power over women, and elder people's over younger people. _________________________________ (français) L’évolution des comportements matrimoniaux est révélatrice de profondes mutations de la société. Dans les villes africaines, la transition de la nuptialité en cours est largement due à la scolarisation des jeunes filles mais aussi aux difficultés économiques croissantes conduisant à un affaiblissement du système traditionnel de gestion de la vie sociale. La transition de la nuptialité concerne non seulement l’âge d’entrée en union, mais aussi toute la dynamique matrimoniale, comme l’évolution de l’écart d’âges entre conjoints, les ruptures d’union, etc.

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May 22, 2014