Managing Men, Marriage, and Modern Love

Daniel Jordan Smith

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:
Managing Men, Marriage, and Modern Love

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This chapter is about Igbo women's strategies for dealing with their husband's infidelities in “love marriages.” It discusses how older Igbo ideals of marriage were premised on a conception of marriage as a joint project of social reproduction, in which men and women had separate but complementary roles. Women's responses to male infidelity provide a revealing and instructive lens through which to examine the complex connections between economics, romance, and gender, particularly in marriages where couples see themselves as having modern relationships premised on romantic love. Intimacy in marriage is heavily inflected by people's concerns about the social perceptions of their marriage and can best be understood as a kind of negotiated exchange between husband and wife. New social expectations about women's domestic roles exacerbate the difficulty of addressing men's infidelity. It is noted that love is less than liberating for Igbo women.

Keywords: love marriages; male infidelity; Igbo women; economics; romance; gender; romantic love; intimacy

Chapter.  9724 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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