Something Old, Something New: Historicizing Same-Sex Marriage within Ongoing Struggles over African Marriage in South Africa

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This paper examines contemporary struggles over same-sex marriage in the daily lives of black lesbian- and gay-identified South Africans. Based primarily on 21 in-depth interviews with such South Africans drawn from a larger project on post-apartheid South African marriage, I argue that their current struggles for relationship recognition share much in common with contemporaneous struggles of their heterosexual counterparts, and that these commonalities reflect ongoing tensions between more extended-family and more dyadic understandings of African marriage. The increasing influence of dyadic understandings of marriage, and of associated ideals of romantic love, has helped inspire same-sex marriage claims and, in many cases, facilitate their acceptance. At the same time, continuing contestation over such understandings helps drive instances of opposition.

Yarbrough, M. W. (2019, May 4). Something Old, Something New: Historicizing Same-Sex Marriage within Ongoing Struggles over African Marriage in South Africa. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460717718507


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