ABSTRACT

Within the community there were twelve temporary or permanent conjugal separations during an eighteen-month interval. Of the coresidential unions 19 per cent were unstable. Does this statistical fact contradict the assertion that households consist of a conjugal pair plus children? The topic of this chapter is the relation of conjugal separations to family structure and household organization. The material is divided into three sections. In the first I show how conjugal instability is a reflection of ideas which are held about the person, that is, the contrasting definitions of the sexes. I then explain how a separation affects and fractures an entire household group. Finally, I show how households, after a separation, are re-constituted in accordance with the ideal patterns described.