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From Cutting to Fading

A Relational Perspective on Marriage Exchange and Sociality in Rural Gambia

Tone Sommerfelt

Based on 21 months of field research on the northern bank of the Gambia River, this study deals with ceremonial exchange and sociality among rural Wolof speakers. In exploring the procurement and distribution of bridal trousseaus, I examine the process of exchange that shapes and limits these potentially endless affinal networks and analyze the social forms that arise from these complex sets of transfers. It is argued that redistributions of objects and money do not establish definite boundaries around units based on categorical exclusion and inclusion, but rather gradual distinctions of social proximity. In effect, I question the appropriateness of the concept of the 'cutting' of networks in this West African setting, proposing instead that 'fading' paints a clearer picture of the particular ways in which affinal networks are limited and relationships are rendered recognizable.

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Stanley Chojnacki

those men—fathers and husbands or their surrogates—and the role of those goods in capturing the loyalty of married women. The dowries that Venetian nobles carefully detailed in their marriage contracts invariably included a trousseau ( corredo ) for the

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Hope Chest

Demythologizing Girlhood in Kate Bernheimer’s Trilogy

Catriona McAra

in Miranda July’s film Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) , when Sylvie, crucially on the verge of adolescence, explains that her “hope chest or trousseau in French” represents her “dowry” to her future husband and daughter, of whose social and