The Decline of Marriage in Namibia

The Decline of Marriage in Namibia: Kinship and Social Class in a Rural Community.
Pauli, Julia
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Title: The Decline of Marriage in Namibia
Subtitle: Kinship and Social Class in a Rural Community
Author: Julia Pauli
Publisher: transcript
Bielefeld, Germany 2019
ISBN 9783837643039 / ISBN 978-3-8376-4303-9
Softcover, 15 x 23 cm, 296 pages, 4 b/w and 14 colour photos

About: The Decline of Marriage in Namibia

Transformations in Namibian marriage practices have been framed and structured by dramatic political economic changes in the 20th century, roughly ranging from the creation of reserves by German colonialists early in the century, over the establishment of homelands during apartheid and the South African annexation of Namibia, to the celebration of independence and freedom from colonial rule since the 1990s. During this time frame, marriage has changed from an almost universal practice and collectively experienced rite of passage, creating social cohesion and community, to a celebration of difference and distinction by a small elite. Importantly, the appropriation of weddings for class distinctions commenced long before the end of apartheid and colonial rule. Since approximately the late 1960s and during the 1970s, marriage rates in Fransfontein started to decline while wedding practices became increasingly elaborate and expensive. Substantial political changes at that time, especially the establishment of homelands, resulted in an array of new constraintsand burdens for the great majority of the population while the agency of a small minority was significantly enhanced and extended. This minority rather rapidly consolidated and formed a local elite. It is this book’s central aim to describe and explain these multiple transformations and their interplay (i.e. changes in marriage rates but also political, material and ideational transformations) and to reflect on their consequences for the already large but nevertheless still growing group of non-married (and probably never-to-be-married) Fransfonteiners in Namibia.

Content: The Decline of Marriage in Namibia

List of tables
List of figures

Anna's wedding
Social class and class distinctions
Theorizing African marriages
The decline of marriage in Southern Africa
Aims, limits and structure of the book
Fransfontein fieldwork
Reflections on fieldwork with a family
Studying marriage over time
Lived experiences and historical events
Generations and cohorts of Fransfontein women
History through biography
The older generation
The middle generation
The younger generation
Postapartheid livelihoods
Farming with a vision
Living in Fransfontein
Fransfontein class structures
Sharing and caring
Contemporary Fransfontein marriages
Defining marriage in Fransfontein
An outline of contemporary Fransfontein marriages
Marriage variations
Marriage and the state
From decline to distinction
The decline of marriage in Fransfontein
Explanations for the decline of marriage
Sixty years of wedding practices
Performing distinctions
Why not a cheaper copy?
Forming families
Entanglements of marriage and reproduction
Fertility decline in Namibia
Reproductive dynamics of married and unmarried women
Becoming a woman and a mother
Families with and without marriage
Seventy years of forming families in Fransfontein
Intimacy outside marriage
Black cow marriages
Intimacy and love in times of AIDS
The making and unmaking of intimate relations
Women staying single
Between sex and sin
Reference list
List of tables