Gender and Identity Construction: Women of Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Turkey

By Feride Acar; Ayşe Günes-Ayata | Go to book overview

WOMEN IN MARRIAGE IN ASHKABAD, BAKU, AND
ANKARA1

NURAN HORTAÇSU

SHARON BAŞTUĞ

The present study aims to investigate women’s position within the urban family in three Turkic societies, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey. These societies were chosen because they share the same origins, the Oğuz Turks of Central Asia, but have undergone different historical developments. The traditional Turkish family in Central Asia was characterized as patrilineal and patrilocal. Oğuz families were part of patrilineages which had well defined authority structures and responsibilities for mutual aid and defense (Güler 1992; Saray 1989). Thus it may be argued that collectivist values were dominant in the traditional Turkish culture. in this culture, monogamy was the rule rather than the exception, bride-price was an established custom, and marriages were mostly arranged and served the function of forming alliances between clans. Women, by marriage, became part of their husband’s family and their status within this family depended on the number of male children they contributed to the lineage, their personal dexterity in handicraft and household tasks, their adjustment to the new family, and how they performed their role within the family, whether as new bride, mother, or mother-in-law. Infertility was a justified cause for a man to take a second wife. Since women did not inherit from their own fathers, their future depended on having sons and someday becoming the mother-in-law in a household; thus bearing sons was a necessity for women in this society.

Family researchers have posited a relationship between the level of industrialization, cultural values, and family functioning. It has

1 This research was supported by the Center for Black Sea and Central Asia of Middle East Technical University, through the funds they generated from Turkish Ministry of Culture and Turkish International Cooperation Agency. Thanks are extended to Professor Overdurdi Muhammetberdiyev for his help in collecting data and for providing useful advice.

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