Navigating the Changing Intersection of Masculinities and Gerontocracy: Paths to Marriage in a Local Context, Mtoni, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Megan Klein Hattori, University of Massachusetts at Boston

In many settings, the path to marriage is changing from one where extended kin networks have played a large role in selecting partners to a model in which young adults select their own spouses. Such institutional change warrants an examination of how gender and hierarchies of masculinities encourage or hinder specific paths to marriage. Using data from 23 in-depth interviews with young men in Dar es Salaam, I analyze how gender is performed and policed through the marriage process, leading to a “locally molded” path to marriage based on feelings of romantic love. Young men outlined more power in the marriage process and male elders having less power. This analysis shows how gender influences possible paths to marriage and demonstrates the process through which the internal struggles among different groups of men are resolved in such a way that allow for their continued hegemony over women during times of change.

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 Presented in Session P1. Marriage, Unions, Families, and Households