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Post-marital residence in urban Senegal: Revelations about contemporary marital dynamics and conjugal life

Sara Randall, University College London
Nathalie Mondain, Université d'Ottawa

This paper uses qualitative data from two contrasting urban communities in Senegal to investigate the local forces transforming nuptiality. We examine the choices surrounding cohabitation after the marriage as these reveal the changes affecting marriage processes and conjugal relationships. Since, in Senegal, the wife traditionally joins her husband’s household, a gendered approach to current marriage dynamics is necessary. It shows that both the perspectives of the reasons for change, and the experienced reality of the transformations, differ substantially between men and women. We also demonstrate that urban settings should not be treated as homogenous categories by showing the diversity of situations between the two communities. In particular, international migration is shown in one context to reinforce ‘traditional’ marriage patterns whereas in the capital the combination of higher education, new values and aspirations, economic crisis and difficult living conditions have transformed conjugal relations

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Presented in Session 51: Cohabitation,marriage and remmarriage patterns