You are here: Past Lectures > Elizabeth F. Colson > Published Works > 1959 Review of Marriage and the Family Among the Plateau Tonga of Northern Rhodesia, American Sociological Review

Anthropology Emeritus Lecture Series at U.C. Berkeley

HomeLectureBiographical InformationExhibitPublished Works
Scholarly Monographs | Journal Articles & Chapters in Books | by Year | Public Documents

American Sociological Review, December 1959, vol. 54, no. 6, p. 929

Marriage and the Family Among the Plateau Tonga of Northern Rhodesia. By ELIZABETH COLSON. New York: Humanities Press, 1959. xvi, 379 pp. $8.50.


The author spent over two years collecting data from four different neighborhoods, selected to represent different degrees of conservative and progressive orientation regarding traditional social forms. In this work, she provides an account of the overall structure of Tonga society, followed by a detailed description of Tonga family relationships. We see the family in relation to other kin groups and as it affects and is affected by economic and labor relations. Household organization. is thoroughly described in connection with monogamy and polygyny alike. Husband-wife relations and the relations between other members of the household are well documented. The education and training of young people in preparation for marriage, the ideals associated with marriage, courtship, and how marriages are negotiated, contracted, and dissolved are thoroughly treated. Appendices on kinship terminology, labor migration, and fertility rates are included.

Highly informative about an important African people., this book is an excellent cultural and sociological account of a study conducted in accordance with the highest standards of social anthropology It is a valuable contribution to the comparative study of marriage and the family.



Copyright © 2007 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Document maintained on server: by the Anthropology Library.
If you have questions about this page, mail
Last update 08/23/2007. Server manager: contact

Past Lectures Forthcoming Lectures Welcome