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Marital Choice in Sub-Saharan Africa: Comparing Structural and Cultural Influences in Contemporary Ghana

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

A transformation is underway in family and marital processes in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. With the exception of recent research with an emphasis on childbearing issues, few researchers have analyzed these on-going developments. Using Ghana as a case study, this article examines the context of mate selection among men and women. We also compare the effect of structural as opposed to cultural factors on contemporary mate selection patterns. Findings from our analysis indicate an increasing propensity for Africans to self-select their partners. At the same time, women are more likely than men to consider the family's input in selecting their partners. Individual reports and concordance in couples' replies reflect this observation. Our overall results support the thesis that worldwide family processes in Africa may be converging to patterns in other parts of the world.


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