Contexts of Kinship: An Essay in the Family Sociology of the Gonja of Northern Ghana

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In her study of domestic organization in Gonja, a formerly important West African state, now part of Ghana, Esther Goody has concentrated on tracing the interrelationships between political and domestic institutions in a bilateral kinship system, untypical of the area. After outlining the problems which she is seeking to solve and describing the domestic, political and economic context of life in central Gonja, the author examines the several aspects of marriage fundamental to the establishment of domestic groups and their development. The practice of sending children to be reared by kin is then discussed and is related to the strong ties binding kin together however far apart they may live. Dr Goody examines patterns of residence through time, and seeks to relate these to both the political context and the form taken by authority in the kin group. The study concludes with a comparison of the Gonja system with other bilateral and unilineal African kingdoms, and the book is completed by appendices presenting the statistical material gathered during research.

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Table of Contents

List of tables; List of illustrations; Preface; Symbols used in the text; Part I. Contexts and Problems: 1. Problems; 2. The historical, political and economic setting; 3. Three divisions of central Gonja and their villages; Part II. Marriage: 4. Courtship and patterns of marriage: open connubium; 5. Establishing a marriage; 6. The conjugal relationship; 7. The termination of marriage; Part III. Kinship: 8. Parents and children; 9. Kinship and sibship; Part IV. Residence: 10. Residence: the synchronic view; 11. The developmental cycle; 12. Conclusions; Appendices; References; Index.

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