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Marriage, Social Inequality, and Women's Contact with their Natal Families in Alliance Societies: Two Tamang Examples

Publication Abstract

Fricke, Tom E., William Axinn, and Arland Thornton. "Marriage, Social Inequality, and Women's Contact with their Natal Families in Alliance Societies: Two Tamang Examples." PSC Research Report No. 92-265. November 1992.

Anthropological and other approaches to women's natal kin links demonstrate a relationship between these linkages and the reproduction of social inequality in addition to noting implications for the social standing of women themselves. Few studies have, however, dynamically considered the simultaneous dimensions of individual history, community context, and inter-familial politics influencing such contact. Using data from two Tamang communities in Nepal, this paper examines the impact of changing individual experience and inter-familial relations on home visits in the first year of marriage. Explicit attention is given to these forms of social action as a critical moment in the construction of social inequality. Informant testimony is combined with statistical analysis to demonstrate the salience of these natal visits in the early months of marriage for individual and wider social relationships. The visits are shown to be strongly related to the nature of inter-familial relations organized by marriage in addition to earlier life course experiences of women. Different community contexts, however, condition the direction of effects for these variables in ways consistent with enduring structures of relationship.

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