Usino - Marriage and Family

Marriage. Polygyny in Usino is accepted but not preferred, and it is practiced by only about 18 percent of the families. Successful polygynous unions are initiated by the cowives themselves. Preferential intraparish marriage and sister Exchange characterize Usino, and if suitable mates are not available within the opposite carpel, spouses are selected from other Usino parishes. Consequently, a multiplicity of affinal and cognatic ties connect Usino parishes. Intergroup alliances are maintained through trade partnerships rather than marriage. Divorces do not threaten the system of alliance and exchange, and they are accomplished with relative ease. Low population density and minimal cash income limit access to wealth and goods, prohibiting large bride-price prestations, and there are no marriage-payment negotiations. Partners are officially betrothed by their parents, sometimes as children, but in practice young people often choose their own mates. Women generally choose their second husbands. Postmarital residence is usually virilocal, but most parish members live their entire lives within Usino territory, if not in the same village.

Domestic Unit. The basic domestic and economic unit is the household, composed of either a nuclear or extended family.

Inheritance. Inheritance is patrilineal, once bride-price and child-price are paid by the husband to his affines.

Socialization. Education is primarily informal, through observation and imitation; relatively few children attend the primary school 6.4 kilometers away, and only a few Usino men have attended high school. Scolding and physical punishment are frequently used to impress upon children their responsibilities.

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