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Society of OthersKinship and Mourning in a West Papuan Place$
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Rupert Stasch

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520256859

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520256859.001.0001

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Marriage as Disruption and Creation of Belonging

Marriage as Disruption and Creation of Belonging

(p.173) Chapter 5 Marriage as Disruption and Creation of Belonging
Society of Others

Rupert Stasch

University of California Press

This chapter explores how Korowai centrally define marriage as the practice of a husband and wife sharing life activities. It considers bridewealth and other affinal institutions that express and ameliorate a marriage's disruption of the bride's relations with her own kin. Three kinds of marriage-making events are addressed: communication between prospective spouses, actions of brinkmanship, and betrothal. Affinal institutions such as betrothal, bridewealth, and direct reciprocal marriage are all important enough, but the real litmus test of affinal bonds is spatial copresence and the crossing of spatial distance. The geographic dynamics of marriage qualify and elaborate landownership's effects of organizing people's lives around belonging to place and around acts of crossing spatial margins to engage with owners of strange places. Courtship, histories of shared living, histories of affinal conciliation, and other marital processes are often dominantly processes of the formation of belonging.

Keywords:   bridewealth, affinal institutions, disruption, brinkmanship, betrothal, direct reciprocal marriage, Korowai, belonging

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