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Volume 41

Fertility, Reproduction and Sexuality: Social and Cultural Perspectives

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Married but Available

Elite Polygamy in Urban Malaysia

Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen

298 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-990-5 $130.00/£92.00 Hb Not Yet Published (September 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-991-2 eBook Not Yet Published

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Elite Malay women’s polygamy narratives are multiple and varied, and their sentiments regarding the practice are conflicted, as they are often torn between personal and religious convictions. This volume explores the ways in which this growing practice impacts Malay gender relations. As Muslims, elite Malay women may be forced to accept polygamy, but they mostly condemn it as women and wives, as it forces them to manage their lives and loves under the “threat” of polygamy from a husband able to marry another woman without their knowledge or consent; a husband that is married but available.

Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen is Curator in Modern History and World Cultures at the National Museum of Denmark. She has done extensive research on polygyny in Muslim Southeast Asia and among Mormon fundamentalists in North America, and currently explores polyandry in the Himalayas. Her previous publications include Polygamy: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (Bloomsbury, 2008).

Subject: General Anthropology Sociology Gender Studies
Area: Asia


Introduction: Polygamous Anxieties

Chapter 1. Stories
Chapter 2. Elites
Chapter 3. Islam
Chapter 4. Secrets
Chapter 5. Blame
Chapter 6. Husbands
Chapter 7. Wives
Chapter 8. Desires
Chapter 9. Co-wives
Chapter 10. Sharing
Chapter 11. Children
Chapter 12. Families
Chapter 13. Rivals
Chapter 14. Magic
Chapter 15. Divorce

Conclusion: To Be or Not to Polygamous


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