Smith, M. G. (Michael Garfield). Secondary marriage in northern Nigeria

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Title: Secondary marriage in northern Nigeria

Published in: Africa -- Vol. 23, No. 4

Published By: Africa -- Vol. 23, No. 4 Oxford University Press. 1953. 298-323 p.

By line: M. G. Smith

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2015. Computer File

Culture: Katab (FF38)

Subjects: Sociocultural trends (178); Marriage (580); Localized kin groups (618); Inter-community relations (628); External relations (648); Legal norms (671); Theological systems (779);

Abstract: This is a look at marriage practices among the Kagoro and Kadara (FF34). The author makes the case that marriages play an important role along with religious rituals in maintaining social organization. Both groups are organized into localized, exogamous patrilineages, several of which can reside in the same village. A group of villages form a community that shares religious activities. There are three types of marriage: betrothal, widow-inheritance, and so-called "secondary marriage." Betrothal most often occurs between lineages living in the same community, and involves bride payment and service. In widow-inheritance, a man may inherit the wife of his real or classificatory brother, or the wife of his maternal or paternal grandfather. Secondary marriage occurs when a wife deserts her husband to live with another man. The first marriage is never annulled and the wife may in fact return to him at some point, or go live with yet another man. Such marriages are forbidden between members of the same community or lineage. One form of secondary marriage practiced by the Kagoro is wife-abduction between communities. The Kagoro distinguish between three types of marriageable relationships between groups: those that can intermarry ([n]niendi[/n]), those that cannot intermarry ([n]bin[/n]), and those that cannot intermarry but between which wife abduction is permitted ([n]nendwang[/n]).

Document Number: 8

Document ID: ff38-008

Document Type: Journal Article

Language: English

Note: Includes bibliographical references

Field Date: 1950

Evaluation: Ethnologist-5

Analyst: Ian Skoggard; 2012

Coverage Date: 1926-1950

Coverage Place: north-central Nigeria

LCSH: Katab (African people)


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