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Elite Malay Polygamy: Wives, Wealth and Woes in Malaysia

Koktvedgaard Zeitzen, Miriam

978 1 78533 990 5
List price(s):
130.00 USD
92.00 GBP

Publication date:
30 September 2018

Short description: 

An ethnography of elite polygamy in urban Malaysia, this volume explores the impact this growing practice has on Malay gender relations, examining the varied and often-conflicted polygamy narratives of elite Malay women, who manage their lives and loves under the threat of husbands able to marry another woman without their knowledge or consent.

Full description: 

Elite Malay women's polygamy narratives are multiple and varied, and their sentiments regarding the practice are conflicted, as they are often torn between personal and religious convictions. This volume explores the ways in which this growing practice impacts Malay gender relations. As Muslims, elite Malay women may be forced to accept polygamy, but they mostly condemn it as women and wives, as it forces them to manage their lives and loves under the threat of polygamy from a husband able to marry another woman without their knowledge or consent; a husband that is married but available.

Table of contents: 

Introduction: Polygamous Anxieties Chapter 1. Stories Chapter 2. Elites Chapter 3. Islam Chapter 4. Secrets Chapter 5. Blame Chapter 6. Husbands Chapter 7. Wives Chapter 8. Desires Chapter 9. Co-wives Chapter 10. Sharing Chapter 11. Children Chapter 12. Families Chapter 13. Rivals Chapter 14. Magic Chapter 15. Divorce Conclusion: To Be or Not to Polygamous Bibliography Index


Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen is Curator in Modern History and World Cultures at the National Museum of Denmark. She has done extensive research on polygyny in Muslim Southeast Asia and among Mormon fundamentalists in North America, and currently explores polyandry in the Himalayas. Her previous publications include Polygamy: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (Bloomsbury, 2008)




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