Gainj - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Virtually all Gainj marry. The exogamous unit is the bilateral kindred, with membership delimited by the first degree of collaterality. Sister exchange is permitted but not preferred; it obviates bride-wealth if exchange is simultaneous. All other marriages require payment from the groom's kin to the bride's, although Gainj bride-wealths are small by highland standards. There is a preference for kunyung exogamy, but there are no negative sanctions for kunyungendogamous marriages. Once a child has been born there is virtually no divorce. Men usually remarry after the death of a wife, while widow remarriage is correlated with the number of children a woman has borne. Postmarital residence is ideally patrivirilocal, but there is considerable variation in actual living arrangements. Polygyny is highly valued, but most marriages are monogamous.

Domestic Unit. The basic domestic unit is the household composed, ideally, of a nuclear family, although many households do in fact include nonnuclear members. The household is the basic unit of consumption and production.

Inheritance. Since land is not owned, the only heritable items are personal property, which is generally distributed along same-sex networks, although there are no rules as to disposition.

Socialization. Young children of both sexes are primarily socialized by mothers, although other concerned adults are often part of the process. Boys are initiated between ages 10 and 15; at that time they move into bachelors' houses, away from their mothers' influence. While it is not unknown for a child to be punished physically, it is unusual. Children are often permitted to learn the outcome of dangerous situations (e.g., playing near a fire) by painful experience.

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