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The Marital Immigrant. Land, and Agricultue: A Malawian Case Study

P Kishindo


The central and southern regions of Malawi predominantly follow matrilineal succession and inheritance and practice uxorilocal marriages. Women, rather than men, own the primary land rights. Colonial government officials and some Eurocentric scholars have argued that the system of uxorilocal marriages and female ownership of land rights are inimical to agricultural development principally because men lose the motivation to make long term investments in land which does not belong to them. This study of marital immigrants sought to investigate whether the location of land rights in someone other than themselves affected the way they viewed agriculture and made farm decisions. It found that while short term decisions are not affected, long term investments are influenced by perception of security, understood in terms of marital stability.

Keywords: marital immigrant, uxorilocality, patrilineal system, matrilineal system, matrimonial village, maternal village.

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eISSN: 1027-4332