A1 Journal article (refereed)
Motives and Agency in Forced Marriage among the Urban Poor in Tanzania (2020)

Stark, L. (2020). Motives and Agency in Forced Marriage among the Urban Poor in Tanzania. Ethnos, 85(1), 124-144. https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2018.1559214

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Stark, Laura

Journal or series: Ethnos

ISSN: 0014-1844

eISSN: 1469-588X

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 85

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 124-144

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2018.1559214

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/66879


Using the method of third-person elicitation and 171 interviews in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I examine one form of forced marriage, ‘marriage on the mat’ (ndoa ya mkeka). In it, girls’ parents use the normative pressure of Islamic norms to circumvent the groom’s lack of consent to the marriage and promote their daughter’s future economic security. Premarital sex and forced marriage, rarely examined together, are often causally linked and provide strong motives for parents to resort to ndoa ya mkeka. In an urban context where girls’ and women’s income-earning possibilities are limited to transactional sex, marriage at a young age is often the only way to embody the culturally approved behaviours of both economic self-sufficiency and sexual modesty. Findings indicate that coercive practices do not necessarily rule out the agency of those coerced; similarly in forced marriage parents are not always oppressors and daughters are not always the victims.

Keywords: forced marriage; poverty; human agency

Free keywords: Africa; agency; transactional sex

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:37