Toba - Marriage and Family



Marriage. Norms regarding marriage are lax; it is an uxorilocal system in which the men circulate. The marriage ceremony formerly implied that the bride's parents accepted the groom. A festive meeting sealed the union, and for a period of time the new couple lived in the home of the bride's father. Tribal endogamy gives way nowadays to marriages between individuals from different tribes and even to unions between Toba women and White men. Marriages are usually monogamous but there is an institutionalized practice of using small packets of love magic, called iyagaik, which facilitate the formation of temporary alliances. Both sororate and levirate are observed to this day. There is a tendency toward neolocal residence. When a couple divorces, the extended family usually takes charge of raising and educating the children.

Domestic Unit. Until the middle of the twentieth century the basic domestic unit was the extended family. Since then however, as a consequence of new forms of land tenure and the reorganization of social relations, there has been a process of nuclearization.

Inheritance. There are no rigid norms regarding inheritance. Inheritable items are limited to objects of daily use, livestock, and the area of agricultural exploitation belonging to the extended family. Property is usually communal, even though there are individuals who live in villages and cities outside of their original communities.

Socialization. Education is provided by the parents and extended kin and is permissive and nonauthoritarian. Children learn rules of behavior through imitation, play, and the advice of adults, as standardized in oral tradition. Solidarity and sharing of goods are emphasized, whereas hoarding and egotism are detested. Provincial primary schools integrate a large number of native students, where they are taught the norms of White socialization and the written codes of cultural transmission. There are some cases in which schools tend to use an intercultural and bilingual approach, but these are still in an initial phase. It is almost always difficult to make values and norms of the house compatible with those that children are taught in school.


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