Families, Relationships and Societies
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What about a sister wife? Reasons for considering polygyny among Salafis in Switzerland

Author: Mira Menzfeld1
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  • 1 University of Zurich, Switzerland
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The article describes why some male and female Swiss Salafi converts support polygynous marriages. Against this background, it provides insights into how specific cultural models of partnerships that differ drastically from the majority society’s expectations can be managed. Swiss Salafis live in a society and legislative system that restrict polygynous civil marriage, especially religiously grounded polygyny. Drawing on Shore’s concept of cultural models, I will show how Salafi converts navigate partially contradictory relationship models by reconstructing their thoughts and feelings during the selection process of possible second wives or of already married men. Three case studies are presented, stemming from participant observations in 2019 in Switzerland.

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  • 1 University of Zurich, Switzerland

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