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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Are Households Universal? On Misunderstanding Domestic Groups in Swaziland
Author:Russell, Margo
Year:1993
Periodical:Development and Change
Volume:24
Issue:4
Period:October
Pages:755-785
Language:English
Geographic term:Swaziland - Eswatini
Subjects:households
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Family Life
Sex Roles
urbanization
External link:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7660.1993.tb00503.x
Abstract:This article argues that 'household' is not a neutral, universal category, but a culturally loaded, historically specific, Western term, like 'family'. It demonstrates the inappropriateness of the term 'household' in capturing the nature of domestic organization in Swaziland through a critical examination of attempts to reduce the indigenous domestic unit 'umuti' (rural homestead) to various constellations of household. The patrilineal homestead on traditionally tenured land persists as the dominant domestic group despite urbanization and the deep penetration of the economy by market principles. The relationship between this homestead and the more ephemeral urban households, into which many of its members are continually dispersed, underlies the linkage between urban and rural areas. Basic to understanding the distinctive structure of rural and urban domestic groups is the land tenure system. In this context, the author deals with homestead membership and access to rural land, marriage, descent and homestead membership, and access to urban land. Finally she discusses three fallacies: the fallacy of the homestead development cycle, the fallacy of the trend to nuclear family households, and the fallacy of the contrast between urban wealth and rural poverty. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.
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