Yörük - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Although prohibited by Turkish law, polygynous marriage is not uncommon among the Yörük; however it is generally restricted to older, wealthier males. In a 1969 study, 6 percent of presently married women were found living in polygynous matches. Marriages are arranged by parents. Formerly, a relatively high bride-price was paid prior to nuptials. Nowadays it is more common for both households to contribute to purchases of household items and gold for the newlyweds. Elopement and bride-theft or -kidnapping are common (about 30 percent of all marriages) and contribute to interfamily conflict. Such marriages usually entail a higher bride-price if peace between the families is to be even nominally restored. Marriage preference is for closely endogamous matches: marriages to father's brother's daughter or father's brother's son accounted for 21 percent of all marriages in a survey of 360 households; marriages between first cousins, for 39 percent. There were virtually no marriages with non-Yörük. Postmarital residence is almost always with the husband's household; 35 percent of households surveyed were extended-family households. Divorce is initiated by males and approximately 7 percent of those ever married had at least one marriage terminated by divorce.

Domestic Unit. People who share production and eat together are considered a household. Nomadic households are somewhat larger than sedentary ones, and average household size is somewhat larger than the rural national average for both nomadic and sedentary households. One 1971 sample of 360 households found mean nomadic household size to be 7.4 persons for village-dwelling Yörük and 8.3 for nomadic tent dwellers.

Inheritance. Property is generally divided equally among sons, to the exclusion of wives or daughters. Among the nomadic Yörük, anticipatory inheritance is common; that is, a son may claim his share of the family herds and establish a separate household during his father's lifetime. He will have no further claim on the estate. Usually a younger son takes responsibility for caring for parents or surviving parent and will also inherit the domicile and household possessions.

Socialization. Sex-role distinctions are inculcated from an early age; girls are put to productive tasks earlier than boys and are trained to pay close attention to sexual modesty. Respect for elders is also emphasized.


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