International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

Negotiating Love and Marriage in Contemporary Senegal: A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Document Type

Article

Abstract

In Senegal, love, respect, and compatibility have historically figured into marital calculations, yet prospective husbands must also provide material support. After decades of stagnant economic growth, good providers are hard to find. In this article we examine two strategies that women employ in an attempt to achieve economic security: nonmarital sex and transnational marriage. Though recent anthropological literature proposes a global transition toward companionate marriage, evidence from Dakar suggests that Senegalese women are prioritizing short-term material gain over longer-term projects of social reproduction. Transnational marriage and nonmarital sexual relationships illuminate women's new strategies to stabilize their social positions in increasingly precarious times.

Publication Title

African Studies Review

Publication Date

9-1-2015

Volume

58

Issue

2

First Page

205

Last Page

225

ISSN

0002-0206

DOI

10.1017/asr.2015.44

Keywords

marriage, nonmarital relations, Senegal, transnational migration

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

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