The Creation of InLaws

One aspect of the transition at marriage, which is almost entirely overlooked in the anthropological literature, is the transformation of the elder generation into in-laws, a change of status that is sometimes almost as dramatic as that of the bride. In the area of the Old World that Brown (1997) has designated as "the great mother-in-law belt," reaching from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, we encounter societies in which the overbearing and often abusive mother-in-law is freed from most work by the young bride. At marriage the wife enters into a life of servitude and is expected to be obedient, submissive, and stoic in the face of gratuitous mistreatment, both psychological and physical, until she becomes a mother-in-law herself. (For additional information concerning the intergenerational relationships among women, see Dickerson-Putman & Brown [1998], and for a cross-cultural analysis of these relationships, see Brown, Subbaiah, & Sarah [1998].)

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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