Håkansson, Thomas. Bridewealth, women, and land: social change among the Gusii of Kenya

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Chapter 1 Introduction

Bridewealth Theories

An Approach To Bridewealth And Social Change

The Data And Its Limitations

Material And Methods

Written Sources


Part I. Pre-colonial Gusii Society

Chapter 2 Pre-colonial Gusii Society And Economy: A Model


The Settlement Of Gusii Land


Socio-political Structure

1. The Segmentary Structure

2. The Lineage

3. Clans And Subclans

4. Social And Economic Relationships Within The Homestead



Chapter 3 Bridewealth And Marriage


Marriage Procedure

1. Initiating The Marriage

2. Bridewealth Negotiations

3. The Honeymoon, Egechabero

4. The Wedding Ceremonies, Enyangi

5. Livestock Transactions

Marriage And The Status Of Husband And Wife

1. The Status Of Wife

2. Marriage And The Status Of Husband

3. Relationship Between A Husband And His Affines

The Bridewealth Contract

Assembly And Allocation Of Bridewealth

Jural Aspects Of Bridewealth

1. Bridewealth And A Folk Model Of Society

The Political Economy Of Bridewealth

1. Wealth And Political Competition

2. Bridewealth Fluctuations

3. Women's Independence From Male Control



Part Ii. Bridewealth And The Colonial Transformation

Chapter 4 The Impact Of Colonial Administration: Land And Law


Economic Change

Politico-legal Changes

Legal Organization And Disputes

Land Tenure And Marriage


1. Changing Norms

2. Changing Pattern Of Affinal Interaction

3. Expansion And The Segmentary Model


Chapter 5 Bridewealth, Market And The Exploitation Of Women


Bridewealth And Market Expansion

1. The Source Material

2. Market Expansion 1920–1965

Women's Labor And Legal Control

1. Changing Division Of Labor

2. Control Of Women And “customary Law”

3. Divorce Law

4. Market And Marriage


1. The Introduction Of Money


Untitled Section: ...

Part Iii. The Contemporary Role Of Bridewealth

Chapter 6 Contemporary Gusii Society And Economy


The Economy

1. Land Tenure

2. Summing Up:


Chapter 7 Modern Forms Of Social Organization


Aspects Of Traditional Social Organization Today

1. The Clan

2. The Lineage

3. The Segmentary Model And Social Action

New Social Groups And Categories

1. Socio-economic Stratification

2. The Church

3. The Modern Legal Apparatus



Chapter 8 Bridewealth And The Family Today


Marriage Procedure

The Status Of Husband And Father

1. The Husband's Rights In Children

2. Rights And Authority Over Children

3. Rights In A Wife

4. Principles Of Male Land Rights

5. Intrafamilial Conflicts Over Land

6. Inheritance

The Status Of Wife

1. The Concept Of Wife

2. Women As Mothers

3. Women's Relationship With Family Of Birth

4. Women's Rights In Land

5. Cattle As House Property

The Bridewealth Contract

1. Replacement

2. The Husband's Affinal Relationships.

3. Divorce


Chapter 9 The Changing Value And Use Of Bridewealth


The Decline In Bridewealth Value

The Demise Of Polygyny

1. Polygyny Rates

2. Economic Constraints

3. Prestige And Polygyny

4. Content Of Bridewealth

The Use Of Bridewealth

1. Redirection Of Investments

2. Wealth, Bridewealth And Education



Chapter 10 Elopement And The Marginalization Of Women



1. The Increase In Elopement

1. The Social And Economic Character Of Informal Unions

2. Estrangement And Single Mothers

3. Economic Marginalization

4. Social Marginalization

Marriage And Elopement: Choice And Constraints

1. Wife-givers

2. Wife-takers

3. Women's Strategies



Chapter 11 Bridewealth And Marriage Among The Employed


The Changing Use And Meaning Of Bridewealth

1. The Economic Value Of Employed Women

2. Strategies Of Employed Women.

3. The Relationship Between A Husband And His In-laws

Cattle, Cash And Bridewealth

1. Bridewealth Negotiations

2. Church Marriage



Chapter 12 Conclusion

Social Change, Bridewealth And Resources

Marriage Relationship

Family Structure

Changing Norms

Socio-economic Stratification And Bridewealth

The Gusii Case And The Study Of Bridewealth


Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Bridewealth, women, and land: social change among the Gusii of Kenya

Published By: Original publisher Uppsala ; Stockholm, Sweden: [Uppsala University] ; Distributed by Almqvist & Wiksell International. 1988. 237 p. ill.

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Thomas Håkansson

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2000. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Gusii (FL08)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Sociocultural trends (178); Real property (423); Labor supply and employment (464); Gender status (562); Mode of marriage (583); Arranging a marriage (584); Nuptials (585); Household (592); Family relationships (593); Polygamy (595); Lineages (613); Clans (614); Judicial authority (692);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This document examines the persistence of bridewealth among the Gusii people of southwestern Kenya. The focus of the work is on the various factors which have affected the norms and actions connected with bridewealth transactions. This entails a study of the integration of bridewealth into: 1. The market economy; 2. The new, altered aspects of social organization; and 3. The legal and administrative apparatus of colonial and modern Kenya. The role of bridewealth vis-a-vis change is examined with respect to family organization, property relations and social interaction between people connected through such transactions. In contrast to the usually male-centered studies of bridewealth exchanges, the relationship between bridewealth and women's statuses and role, especially pertaining to property, is explored (p. 13).

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 26

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. fl08-026

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: 'Printed editon of a doctoral dissertation presented to the faculty of arts, Uppsala University, 1987'--Verso of t.p. Includes bibliographical references (p. 228-233) and index

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1982-1983, 1985

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. John Beierle ; 2005

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1900-1985

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Kisi District, southwestern Kenya

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Gusii (African people)


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