Back to Conference session list

Session Detail (parallel)

Panel 7: Bridewealth and the productive and reproductive autonomy of women in the Pacific

Coordinator(s)

Christine Jourdan, Karen Sykes

Session presentation

Bridewealth is a conspicuous component of many marriages in the Pacific; it has been vital to both reproduction and reconfiguring Pacific environments. However, the society that it reproduces has changed, and especially the place of married and unmarried women in it. The contraints bridewealth has on women’s productive and reproductive autonomy in the contemporary Pacific begins with its definition, and how it is said to obligate women. Anthropologists since the mid-twentieth century analyzed bridewealth as an analogy for economy and cosmology, while mentioning the relationships of bridewealth to women’s autonomy as an ancillary issue. The analytic focus in the twenty-first century shifted to themes that were once captured only in the ethnographers’ peripheral vision. However, the ways Pacific women embrace bridewealth in ‘traditional marriage’, and use it to enable new social actions in both family and workplace is not fully understood. Possible topics include women’s health; child spacing and limits; divorces and child custody; gender relations; marital relationships, including relations with in-laws; and access to land, including women’s economic dependence or independence.


To submit a paper, please follow these instructions:

  • Create an account at pacific-studies.net, or, if you already have one, log in, then come back to this page. You can create an account, log in, update your profile or ask for a password reminder at any time from the homepage in the member's corner. Having an account will allow you to easily submit papers in future conferences as well, and it will enhance your visibility and that of Pacific Studies in general.