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Matrilineal Practices along the Coasts of Malabar

Matrilineal Practices along the Coasts of Malabar

Aleena Sebastian

Sociological Bulletin 65, no. 1: 89-106 | 2016


The study provides an ethnographic account of matrilineal practices along the coasts of Malabar through a case study of the Koyas of Kozhikode (Calicut). Challenging the common assumption of Muslim societies as patrilineal and patrilocal in nature, Koyas follow matrilineal practices. Contestations have been posed by British colonial policies, legislative reforms, Islamic reformist trends, Gulf migration and modern education at various moments in the history of Malabar to the matrilineal elements in the social organization of the Koyas. However, negotiating religious and cultural elements in multiple ways, these practices continue to constitute a crucial aspect of their everyday life along the coasts of Malabar. Through an analysis of ethnographic and archival sources, the study explores the contemporary form of matrilineal practices among the Koyas and the ways in which kinship ties are reasserted in recent times.

Region: India, Kerala | Communities: 

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