The Ties That Bind? Marriage Formation, Consanguinity and War in Lebanon and Palestine

Yara Jarallah , The University of Waikato

This paper explores the link between the civil war (1975-1990) in Lebanon and the first Intifada (1987-1993) in Palestine, and women’s transition to marriage and consanguinity. The paper marries the literature on demographic behaviour and social ties, and contributes to the nascent literature on demographic behaviour in times of war extended to consanguinity. It uses mixed methods with two national data sets complemented with in-depth interviews (n=55). The estimation methods are a discrete-time hazard model for entry into marriage and a discrete-time competing risks model for type of marriage. Findings provide empirical support for a war- induced effect on marriage formation with conflict induced educational differential especially for higher educated women in both settings. In times of war, Lebanese and Palestinian women and their families resort to marriage as a protective strategy especially when further educational pursuit is no longer deemed relevant because of both actual and perceived threats to women’s safety. The strategies that women devise however, differ across both countries. Women in Lebanon strategize out-group marriages to diversify resources by establishing new alliances through marriage. Palestinian women on the other hand, utilize a bit of both by maintaining existing familial bonds through in group marriages, while also diversifying resources through out-group marriages to facilitate new alliances. The differences in women’s strategies in each setting might also be indicative of other context contingent conflict induced mechanisms. These operate through distorted sex-ratios against women in Lebanon and through the breakage of kin networks through migration/displacement in Palestine.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy