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Not marrying in South Africa: consumption, aspiration and the new middle class

James, Deborah (2017) Not marrying in South Africa: consumption, aspiration and the new middle class. Anthropology Southern Africa, 40 (1). pp. 1-14. ISSN 2332-3256

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Identification Number: 10.1080/23323256.2016.1237295


This article explores how marriage, or its absence, features in relation to the aspirations and obligations of members – especially female members – of South Africa’s new black middle class. In a context where the state and credit have played key roles in the newly financialized arrangements of neoliberalism, it considers how ties that are both conflictual and intimate – bonds that simultaneously distance people from, while creating increasingly intimate connections to, both kinsmen and (prospective) affines - operate within this novel space. Women are set apart from their less fortunate relatives, even as they continue to have to support and remain intimate with them; and divided from partners who expect them to conform to conservative female roles, even as they continue to hold positive views about marital exchanges (and payments) more generally.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2016 12:06
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:53
Projects: RES-062-23-1290
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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