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SEXUAL AND FAMILIAL INSTITUTIONS IN NORTHERN HAITI *

SEXUAL AND FAMILIAL INSTITUTIONS IN NORTHERN HAITI * While there is no way of determining the proportion of Haitian peasant families which are based on legal marriage, a reasonably accurate estimate would be twenty per cent.2 Most of the peasants who have established families without civil or ecclesiastical ceremonies would prefer, because of the teachings of the Catholic church, to be legally married. However, to get married would cost twenty or twenty-five gourde^,^ a large sum for most peasants. What the average man does is to enter into a socially but not legally sanctioned relationship with a peasant woman. Such women are called placbes, but they are not all of the same type and rank. A jemme caille shares her mate's house, while a maman pitite is a woman who has borne children for a man without living in his house. A jemme place'e does not live in her consort s house, and she has given * An expansion of the paper presented to the American Anthropological Association in December, 1941. The data presented here were obtained on a field trip to Haiti which was madepossible by a post-doctoral fellowship from the Social Science Research Council, New York City. I am indebted to M. J. Herskovits, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Anthropologist Wiley

SEXUAL AND FAMILIAL INSTITUTIONS IN NORTHERN HAITI *

American Anthropologist , Volume 44 (4) – Oct 12, 1942

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
1942 American Anthropological Association
ISSN
0002-7294
eISSN
1548-1433
DOI
10.1525/aa.1942.44.4.02a00080
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

While there is no way of determining the proportion of Haitian peasant families which are based on legal marriage, a reasonably accurate estimate would be twenty per cent.2 Most of the peasants who have established families without civil or ecclesiastical ceremonies would prefer, because of the teachings of the Catholic church, to be legally married. However, to get married would cost twenty or twenty-five gourde^,^ a large sum for most peasants. What the average man does is to enter into a socially but not legally sanctioned relationship with a peasant woman. Such women are called placbes, but they are not all of the same type and rank. A jemme caille shares her mate's house, while a maman pitite is a woman who has borne children for a man without living in his house. A jemme place'e does not live in her consort s house, and she has given * An expansion of the paper presented to the American Anthropological Association in December, 1941. The data presented here were obtained on a field trip to Haiti which was madepossible by a post-doctoral fellowship from the Social Science Research Council, New York City. I am indebted to M. J. Herskovits,

Journal

American AnthropologistWiley

Published: Oct 12, 1942

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