Bride Price, Cultural and Gender Identity, and Husband-to-Wife Abuse in Ghana

No Thumbnail Available
Adjei, S Baffour
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Although much anecdotal evidence about the legendary practice of bride price exists in Ghana, there is a paucity of empirical studies that explore the psychological impact of the practice on the people who pay and those for whom bride price is paid. This paper draws insights from discursive psychology to explore the subjective interpretations of and contextualized discourses around the time-honored custom of bride price, and how it shapes cultural and gender identity and husband-to-wife abuse in Ghana. Semistructured focus group discus sions and in-depth individual interviews were conducted with 32 participants, comprising 16 perpetrators (men) and 16 victims (women) from rural and urban Ghana. The age of participants ranged from 24 to 60 years old. Discursive accounts of participants suggest that payment of bride price serves as a material condition necessary for accomplishing desired masculinity and femininity, legitimizing husbands’ exercise of matrimonial authority over their wives, and apparently objectifying and commoditizing women in marriage. The paper concludes that the marked and continued saliency of the practice of bride price results from its significant role in conferring cultural identity status on both men and women in Ghana.
Adjei, S. B., & Mpiani, A. (2018). Bride price, cultural and gender identity, and husband-to-wife abuse in Ghana. Victims & Offenders, 13(7), 921-937.