Malaita - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Marriage is generally serially monogamous, although polygyny is possible in some places. Bride-wealth is universal. Prohibitions on marriage generally are bilaterally based, with marriage between close cousins normatively prohibited. As noted previously, postmarital residence was Initially virilocal, although in some areas later flexibility in residential attachment was possible. Divorce was possible but difficult because of bride-wealth.

Domestic Unit. Domestic family groups (prototypically nuclear families but often augmented by widows, bachelors, spinsters, and foster children) are the primary units of Production and consumption.

Inheritance. Inheritance assigns rights to those who create property and transmits these rights to and through Children. Normatively, although sons and daughters inherit rights, sons transmit primary rights to their children and daughters transmit secondary rights. A steward, ideally a senior agnate, acts as a spokesperson for collectively held land and other property.

Socialization. Children are highly valued and caringly nurtured, with women having the primary responsibilities for early child care and training. Sexual polarization early separates boys' and girls' life experiences (though there are no Formal initiations), with boys being much more free to hunt and play and girls beginning early a regimen of hard labor and child care. Boys spend progressively more time with men, stay in men's houses, and participate in ritual.

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