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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:The Scorpion's Sting: Youth, Marriage and the Struggle for Social Maturity in Niger
Author:Masquelier, AdelineISNI
Periodical:Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Geographic term:Niger
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
Religion and Witchcraft
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Women and Their Children
Abstract:Through a focus on the problems associated with bridewealth and wedding expenses in Dogondoutchi, a predominantly Muslim town of some 38,000 Hausa speakers in rural Niger, I discuss the predicament of young Mawri men who, in the double pursuit of marriage and maturity, often struggle to satisfy contradictory sets of moral and financial requirements. I trace the distinctive and divergent ways in which Mawri men and women of different generations participate in interpenetrating debates about wealth, domesticity, and sexuality to highlight how the experience of social reproduction is shaped by distinctly local dynamics of gender and generation. In contemporary Niger, the combined effects of neo-liberal economics and reformist Islam have massively transformed the terms and meaning of marriage. What emerges most conspicuously from this exploration of the ways in which processes of identity formation are played out in the controversial arena of marriage is the palpable sense of declining opportunities that young men experience as they delay marriage. [Abstract journal]