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Islamic marriage and start of cohabitation in Mali

Solene Lardoux, Population Council

Mali is a country where more than 90 percent of the population is of Islamic faith. I conducted over sixty semi-structured interviews (women and men of several birth cohorts) on entry into marriage in Bamako and in rural areas of different regions of Mali. Results from the anthropological approach help better understand specificities of marriage in Mali such as the three types of marriage (religious, customary and civil) in urban and rural places. In particular I am interested in the meaning of Islamic marriages as well as in the observation of religious rules by the youngest generations in conjunction with civil law; how their entry into first marriage characterizes transformations in the timing of cohabitation (i.e. when partners start to live together) and the timing of the first birth. How does Islam define the specificities of the process of entry into first marriage in Mali?

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Presented in Session 10: Anthropological demography