Marital Relations

Lisa Sousa

in The Woman Who Turned Into a Jaguar, and Other Narratives of Native Women in Archives of Colonial Mexico

Published by Stanford University Press

Published in print January 2017 | ISBN: 9780804756402
Published online May 2017 | e-ISBN: 9781503601116 | DOI:
Marital Relations

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Chapter 4 examines marital relations in indigenous communities of highland Mexico. The first part of the chapter reveals the social, political, and economic significance of marriage to shed light on marital expectations and obligations. The chapter also considers informal unions, and the circumstances that gave rise to these types of arrangements. The second section of the chapter examines marital conflicts and domestic violence that developed in failed relationships. Formal and informal attempts to resolve disputes illustrate cultural expectations and attitudes about one’s rights within a relationship. The study reveals a complex process of negotiation among husbands and wives, their households, and local native officials, in which women sometimes aired their grievances before the community. Chapter 4 argues that the criminal prosecution of wife-beating suggests that domestic violence, especially when it was deemed excessive, was not condoned in indigenous communities.

Keywords: wife-beating; uxoricide; homicide; domestic violence; marriage alliances; labor; family; children

Chapter.  10145 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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