Love, Money, and Economies of Intimacy in Tamatave, Madagascar

Fennifer Cole

in Love in Africa

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226113524
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226113555 | DOI:
Love, Money, and Economies of Intimacy in Tamatave, Madagascar

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This chapter provides both a genealogy of the changing semantic field associated with fitiavina. It also recounts the story narrated by a young Malagasy man, Dez, who, when asked about love, launched into an account about meeting his true love in a clothing stall at the marketplace. Missionary interpretations of fitiavina and marriage had an impact on local conceptions of fitiavina. Dez's narrative is iconic, given the role of gifts, and especially clothes, in creating and expressing fitiavina between men and women. Anita's narrative clearly embodies the increasingly evident opposition between fitiavina and money. For contemporary urbanites like Anita or Bera, fitiavina has become split and differentiated so that there can be such a thing as “clean fitiavina” where a woman can feel love for a man and get nothing in return or a woman can take resources from one man while “loving” another.

Keywords: fitiavina; Dez; love; marriage; Anita; money; clothes

Chapter.  11269 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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