Ghorbat - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Ghorbat lineages are, on the whole, endogamous. In keeping with the general Middle Eastern pattern, patrilateral parallel-cousin marriages as well as exchange marriages between sibling pairs were preferred, but in reality such unions constituted only about 17 percent and 18 percent respectively of all marriages. In such marriages, bride-price was lower than usual. In accordance with Islam, marriage was considered a contract, and divorce and widow remarriage were permitted, although not frequent. Cases of polygyny were extremely rare. The vast majority of marriages were arranged by the parents, and the residence pattern was virilocal.

Domestic Unit. The nuclear family was the minimal unit of production and consumption. It usually consisted of a married couple with their two unmarried children.

Inheritance. The Ghorbat followed fairly strictly the Islamic laws of inheritance prevalent in Afghanistan regarding the disposal of almost all of a man's personal possessions (clothes, tools, cash, etc.); a woman's jewelry was distributed equally among all her living children. The tent of a Ghorbat was inherited by his child/ren living in it at the time of his death; his widow had the right, if she wished, to continue to live in it—she would then have to be cared for by the inheritor(s). The same applied, in principle, to a house and its parts. The clientele a woman peddlar had built up over the years, and which was the major source of subsistence for her family, was "inherited" equally by all her daughters.

Socialization. Infants and children were raised by both parents (although more by the mother), siblings, and other members of the camp and/or extended family. Among the nomadizing families, physical punishment was never used in child rearing.

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