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Mariage et famille dans le Golfe aujourd’hui

Consanguineous Marriage and its Relationship with Sociocultural Variables in Urban and Bedouin Geographical Regions in Kuwait

Yagoub Y. Al‑Kandari et Yousif Y. Al‑Kandari

Résumés

Le mariage consanguin est un type matrimonial courant au Moyen-Orient et les pays arabes ont les taux de mariages consanguins les plus élevés au monde. La prévalence des mariages consanguins varie en fonction des spécificités de chaque région géographique. L’objectif principal de cette étude est d'examiner la relation entre la prévalence du mariage consanguin et certaines variables socioculturelles dans une région dite «  urbaine » (le gouvernorat (région administrative) de Ḥawallī) et une région dite « bédouine » (le gouvernorat d’Al‑Farwāniyya) au Koweït. Les différences entre les caractéristiques de la nuptialité dans les deux gouvernorats sont analysées. Un échantillon de 3497 femmes mariées a été sélectionné (2152 à Al‑Farwāniyya et 1345 à Ḥawallī). Le logiciel SPSS a été utilisé pour la saisie et l'analyse des données et des test-T, le χ² et des régressions linéaires multivariées ont été appliqués. Les données ont révélé que l'âge au mariage était étroitement lié aux schémas matrimoniaux. Des différences significatives entre les schémas matrimoniaux et de nombreuses variables socioculturelles ont été observées, comme la durée du mariage, l'âge moyen au premier mariage et le nombre d'enfants. Il a également été constaté qu'Al‑Farwāniyya montre un taux de mariages consanguins plus élevé  que Ḥawallī, en particulier concernant les mariages entre cousins au premier et second degrés. L’une des conclusions est que les différences entre les deux groupes sociaux étudiés sont liées à des modèles différents de mariage préférentiel au Koweït. Ceux-ci varient eux-mêmes en fonction d’autres variables socioculturelles.

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Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 Bittles et al., 1991; Bittles, 1994; Bittles, 1995; Rajab & Patton, 2000; Hussain & Bittles, 2004; (...)
  • 2 Islam, 2017; Alharbi 2015; Na’amnih et al., 2014.
  • 3 Bittles, 1995; Hamamy et al., 2011.
  • 4 Tadmouri et al., 2009.
  • 5 Al‑Sakawi, 1996.

1In the last two decades, several studies have shown the prevalence of consanguinity in the Middle East and Arab world,1 and most of the recent studies have supported these findings.2 Consanguinity can be defined as a marriage in the same kinship group and as a union between two spouses who are biologically related.3 Consanguinity is a preferred form of marriage in most Arab and Middle Eastern societies; with Arab countries having the highest rate of consanguineous marriage.4 Consanguineous marriage is related to the existence and spread of the tribes and clans who trace their roots to the Bedouin.5 In general, both men and women in these societies prefer to marry those with whom they share tribal, clan, or lineage affiliations.

  • 6 ElHazmi et al., 1995; Al‑Sakawi, 1996; Al‑Kandari, 2007.
  • 7 Bittles, l995.
  • 8 Murphy & Kasdan, 1959.
  • 9 Parallel cousins are defined as the childern of one's father's brothers or mother's sisters while (...)
  • 10 Layton, 1997.

2Despite the effect of modernization and sociocultural changes, consanguineous marriage, especially to first and second cousins, is still widely practiced in many Arab Muslims societies.6 Bittles7 summarized the main reasons given for consanguineous marriage in the Arab world and Middle East as being family tradition, maintenance of family structure and property, strengthening of family ties, financial advantage, ease of marital arrangements, better relationships between a wife and her in‑laws, and enhanced marriage stability and durability. Many classical works have discussed the practice of consanguinity from a theoretical perspective. For example, Murphy and Kasdan8 distinguished between types of first cousin marriages. They showed an important difference between cross‑cousin and parallel cousin marriages.9 From a structural perspective, Levi‑Strauss concentrated on social cohesion and its relationship to consanguinity; stating that matrilateral cross‑cousin marriages played an important role in social cohesion.10

  • 11 Bittles, 1995.
  • 12 Khlat & Halabi, 1986.
  • 13 Barbour & Salameh, 2009.
  • 14 Hamamy & Hakkak, 1989.
  • 15 Farhat, 2013.
  • 16 Bittles, 1995.
  • 17 Al‑Arrayed & Hamamy, 2012.
  • 18 Bittles, 1995.
  • 19 Alharbi et al., 2015.
  • 20 Bittles, 1995.
  • 21 Zaki, 2016.
  • 22 Hamamy et al., 2005.

3Despite the prevalence of consanguineous marriage in the Middle East and the Arab world, there are differences in the forms of consanguinity practiced, depending on the geographic area. Bittles11 stated that consanguineous mariages have an incidence of 20% to over 50% in Middle Eastern societies. In Beirut, 25% of marriages were consanguineous in 1984.12 Another recent study conducted in Beirut and other regions of Lebanon revealed a level of endogamy of 35.5%.13 In Iraq, Hamamy and Hakkak14 found that 46.4% of 4491 marriages examined were consanguineous. A recent survey carried out on children born in hospitals indicated almost the same percentage of 46%.15 Bittles16 stated also that two studies in Bahrain found the incidence of consanguinity to be 31.8% and 45.5%, respectively. However, another study showed that, over a ten‑year period from 1990 to 2009, cousin marriage rates have declined, especially marriage between first cousins, from 24% to nearly 7%.17 From the 1980s to the 1990s, four studies in Saudi Arabia found a range of 31.4% to 55.0%.18 A new study has shown that there is still a positive attitude towards consanguinity.19 In the same time period, three studies in Jordan indicated that the percentage of consanguineous marriage ranges from 39.7% to 52.1%.20 The latest survey conducted in 1993 showed that 32% were first‑cousin marriages and 17% were with other relatives.21 A recent study in Jordan in 2005 showed a decline in consanguineous marriages over generations. Consanguineous marriages after the 1980s showed a decline compared with before the 1950s and the period between 1950 and 1979. Consanguinity could decrease with the younger generations.22

  • 23 Khlat & Halabi, 1986.
  • 24 Bittles, 1995.
  • 25 Na’amnih et al., 2014; Al‑Kandari, 2006; Al‑Kandari, 2007.
  • 26 Barakat, 2013.

4Differences in the prevalence of consanguinity exist not only between countries; there are differences between different ethnic groups and between regions in a same country. Differences in the practice of consanguinity are also related to differences of religion within a society. For example, Khlat and Halabi23 found the incidence of consanguinity in Lebanon to be 16.5% among Christians and 29.6% among Muslims. In Iran, consanguinity is high among Muslims (24.3%) and Jews (25.5%) compared with other groups, 17.0% among Zoroastrians, 9.3% among Assyrians and 2.8% among Armenians. In Israel, consanguinity among Muslims is 39.7% and is 28.8% among Christians.24 Also, consanguineous marriages have been found to be higher in some ethnic groups, notably within Bedouin society.25 In general, it is well known and documented that many social groups in the Middle East and Arab world prefer to live together.26

  • 27 Bittles, 2003.
  • 28 Al‑Kandari & Crews, 2011.
  • 29 Jaouad et al., 2009; Hamamy et al., 2007; Zlotogora, 1997.
  • 30 Al‑Abdulkareem & Ballal, 1998; Al‑Awadi et al., 1986; ElMouzan et al., 2008.
  • 31 Denic & Nicholls, 2007.
  • 32 Bittles, 2003.

5It is well documented that there is a relationship between consanguineous marriage and the health of offspring. Bittles27 reviewed consanguineous marriage in many societies and cultures in relation to childhood health. Al‑Kandari and Crews28 compared studies that show genetic disorders in children born to consanguineous marriage partners and those born to non‑consanguineous parents. Some studies have shown significant differences,29 while others have found no significant differences.30 It has been show that consanguinity increases homozygosity and reduces genetic variation in a group, which may protect against the expression of recessive genes that can lead to genetic disorders.31 Bittles32 stated that consanguinity reflects long‑standing cultural and religious beliefs of subgroups living in close geographical proximity. As noticed in the studies, marriage between one's biological family and relatives is widely regarded as genetically disadvantageous in Middle East and Arab world.

Consanguineous Marriage in Kuwait

  • 33 Al‑Kandari, 2011; Al‑Kandari, 2007.
  • 34 Al‑Kandari, 2006a; Al‑Kandari, 2006b; Al‑Thakeb, 1982.
  • 35 Abdullah, 1995; Al‑Kandari et al., 2002; ElNajjar, 1996.
  • 36 Al‑Awadi et al.; 1985.
  • 37 Al‑Kandari, 2006b.
  • 38 Al‑Kandari, 2006a.
  • 39 Al‑Kandari & Crews, 2011; Al‑Awadi et al., 1986.
  • 40 Al‑Kandari, 2007.
  • 41 Al‑Kandari & Crews, 2011; Madi et al., 2005.
  • 42 Al‑Herz et al., 2011.
  • 43 Madi et al., 2005.

6Few studies have discussed consanguinity in Kuwait. Most of these studies relate consanguinity to health issues,33 while a few have concentrated on sociocultural aspects,34 and others discussed both.35 One of the earliest studies discussed the prevalence of consanguinity in Kuwait, in which the rate was found to be 54.3%.36 After almost two decades, a study observed a decline in consanguineous marriages. One of the major factors explaining this decline was the level of education and the enlargement of what is called the marriage circle.37 Another study found the existence of a relationship between consanguineous marriages and family stability. Spouses who are relatives appear to be more sTable in their married life compared with non relatives; and this may be attributed to relatives being more caring about each other in comparison to non relatives.38 Another study showed that in consanguineous marriages there is a spousal concordance of certain physical and cultural characteristics; for example systolic and diastolic blood pressures, height, weight. Most of these concordances are explained by genetic factors. Yet other studies have concentrated on the relationship of consanguinity to certain health issues in the offspring. It has been shown that there is a relationship between consanguinity and reproductive wastage (miscarriages),39 genetic and environmental diseases,40 congenital disabilities,41 and primary immunodeficiency disorders.42 Studies looking at the relationship between geographic area and consanguinity are rare in Kuwait. Madi et al.43 found a relationship between consanguinity and congenital malformations in neonates in Al‑Jahra region of Kuwait.

  • 44 Al‑Kandari, 2006a & b; Al‑Kandari &Poirier, 2001; Al‑Thakeb, 1982.
  • 45 Al‑Balhan & Al‑Naser, 2007.
  • 46 It is well known that in the Kuwait national assembly, tribes such as Al‑Muṭayrī, Al‑Āzmī, and Al‑ (...)

7Very few studies also discussed the social outcomes of endogamy in Kuwait.44 These studies mainly concentrated on how the level of education played an important role in decreasing consanguinity in Kuwait. Also, they discussed the family stability in relation to consanguinity. Other variables discussed in these studies were age at marriage, age differences between spouses, dowry, preferred number of children, and living in nuclear family. The trend toward consanguinity has changed because of modernization in Kuwait. The marriage circle became larger when both males and females from all social groups were able to meet each other outside the house and away from surrounding family. Higher education and work integrated all social groups together and increased the opportunity for non‑consanguinious marriages. Another study45 observed a relationship between happiness and marriage with relatives. Despite the importance of kin marriages in Kuwaiti political life, no research on this seems to have been conducted to date. Most studies have tended to focus on the relationship between consanguinity and health issues in offspring. Marriage among relatives enhances the tribe, which is considered as the most important element of political life. It enhances the tribe's unity and power in the political system, especially during the primary tribal elections in Kuwait.46 Most candidates in the parliament of Bedouin regions rely heavily on their tribes and kin. Relatives are the basic element and the way to win in the election. This cannot be achieved without social solidarity; and marriages among relatives enhance this solidarity.

8In this research, the relationship between marriage patterns and social and health variables were tested in two geographical regions in Kuwait; Al‑Farwāniyya, and Ḥawallī. No study has yet established a comparison between these two major regions in Kuwait. This study compares Bedouin (badū) and urban (ḥaḍar) governorates in terms of consanguinity. Questions were raised to examine the following relationships: are there significant differences in terms of marriage patterns between Al‑Farwāniyya and Ḥawallī governorates. This paper also analyzes four types of relationships: the relationship between the marriage patterns and the rate of reproductive wastage, infant mortality rate, and overall number of infant deaths; the relationship between marriage pattern and age at marriage, year of marriage, number of children, and rate of reproductive wastage; and the relationship between marriage pattern and family economic status, education level, age at marriage, and average number of miscarriages in both governorates.

  • 47 It needs to be stated here that there are no “Bedouin” or people living in the desert any more in (...)

9The primary objective of this study is to examine the relationship between the prevalence of consanguineous marriage and some sociocultural variables in urban and Bedouin geographical regions in Kuwait. This study shows how Bedouin culture differs from urban culture in Kuwaiti society. It also shows how kin and relatives play an important role in society, especially among people who come from a Bedouin background, revealing how kinship affects social life in modern society.47 The study shows the change in family structure in Kuwait and how consanguinity may affect the overall social identity.

Methodology

Sample

  • 48 See Al‑Kandari & Crews, 2011.
  • 49 It should be noted here that Jahra is known for being a Bedouin region (more than Al‑Farwāniyya). (...)

10This research was based on secondary data which was retrieved from a previous and larger project entitled ‘Consanguinity in Kuwait and its relation with some sociocultural and health determinants’.48 Samples were collected randomly from all over the country. Kuwait has six governorates: Ḥawallī, the Capital (Al‑‘Āima), Al‑Farwāniyya, Al‑Aḥmadī, Al‑Jahra, and Mubārak Al‑Kabīr. Only two governorates were included in the present research: Ḥawallī and Al‑Farwāniyya. The sample in this article indicated that most of the residents in Ḥawallī governorate are from urban roots and culture, most of them originally coming from the old cities that were close to the sea (Arabian Gulf). They were mainly merchants, sailors, fishermen, and pearl divers. On the other hand, Al‑Farwāniyya’s population came from Bedouin roots and culture; most of the residents came from the desert.49 For the purpose of comparing urban and Bedouin cultures, the residents of Ḥawallī and Al‑Farwāniyya were selected. The study seeks to establish whether there is a difference between urban and Bedouin cultures in terms of marriage patterns, and some other social and health variables. The sample for this study were married Kuwaiti women. A total of 3496 (aged 15 to 79) were selected during regular visits to Primary Clinical Units in these two governorates. The sample was selected randomly from these clinics. There were 2152 (61.5%) respondents from Ḥawallī and 1345 in Al‑Farwāniyya (38.5%). Women were selected because most of the questions concern them, for example incidence of reproductive wastage. The second reason for choosing women only is to avoid getting duplicate answers by speaking to both spouses on a clinic visit.

Tools

11The primary tool of this study was a questionnaire. Sociocultural and health variables were collected. The sociocultural variables were level of education, monthly income, age at marriage, year of marriage, and number of children. The health variables were: whether the participant had experienced a miscarriage or not, and the number of children who had died. The type of marriages was also recorded. Marriages are divided into four categories: first cousin marriage (father’s brother’s son, mother’s brother’s son, father’s sister’s son, mother’s sister’s son, parallel cousin from both sides), second cousin marriage, third cousin marriage (marriage from the kin in general), and non‑consanguineous marriages. The respondents were also asked whether they were from Bedouin or urban roots.

Statistical procedures

12SPSS (version 21) was used. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used. Chi‑square, T test, Pearson correlation and linear regression were the major statistical procedures.

13Chi‑square was used to examine differences in frequencies and percentages between Al‑Farwāniyya and Ḥawallī in terms of marriage patterns, and to find difference in frequencies and percentages between marriage patterns and certain variables. To show differences between marriage patterns and some variables (marriage duration, age at marriage, number of children, number of pregnancies and number of miscarriages), T test was used. Pearson correlation was used to examine the relationship between marriage patterns and some social and health variables. Correlation of some variables (monthly income, education level, age at marriage, average number of miscarriages, and number of pregnancies) on marriage types on marriage patterns, a multivariate regression model was used.

Results

14To examine if there is a significant difference in percentages of the degree of consanguinity between Al‑Farwāniyya and Ḥawallī governorates’ respondents in marriage patterns, Table (1) shows this difference by using Chi‑Square.

Table (1). The differences in frequencies and percentages between Al‑Farwāniyya and Ḥawallī governorates’ respondents in marriage patterns.

Governorate (muāfaa) awallī Al‑Farwāniyya
1st cousin marriage 401
18.9%
397
29.7%
2nd cousin marriage 163
7.7%
176
13.2
3rd cousin marriage 236
11.1%
179
13.4%
Total rate of consanguineous 800
37.7%
752
56.3
Non-consanguineous 1322
62.3%
584
43.7%
sig .000

15Table (1) shows that there are significant differences in percentages between the two governorates' respondents by type of marriage. Data show that 29.7% of Al‑Farwāniyya’s respondents are in first‑cousin marriages, while it is 18.9% in Ḥawallī. Also, 13.2% of respondents in Al‑Farwāniyya were in second‑cousin marriages, while the figure was 7.7% in Ḥawallī. On the other hand, non‑consanguineous marriages in Ḥawallī were 62.3%, and 43.07% in Al‑Farwāniyya. Data reveal a significant difference in percentages between these two governorates' respondents at the level of (p< 0.001). Marriage among relatives has a social function. There is a need to understand the interaction between kinship and marriage. Consanguineous marriages strengthen the ties of kinship that are considered an important factor in Bedouin social life, with tribal values enhancing social solidarity and social cohesion. This was, and remains, an important value in Bedouin life (called ‘aṣabiyya). On the other hand, kin marriages help to keep economic resources within the family. These elements lead to consanguineous marriage being widely practiced in the Kuwaiti Bedouin region.

16The data were examined to see whether there are significant differences in percentage of incidents of reproductive wastage and infant deaths, and in the overall number of infant deaths, between the marriage patterns (to relatives or to non‑relatives). Table (2) shows these relationships by using Chi‑square.

Table (2). Differences in the frequencies and percentages of miscarriages and infant deaths, and the overall number of infant deaths between marriage patterns.

Marriage type Variables Relatives Non-Relatives Sig.
Death of Children
Yes
No
12.8%
87.2%
7.6%
92.4%
.001
Number of infant deaths 73.7%
15.6%
27.3%
56.8%
13.6%
7.6%
.041
1
2
3+
Miscarriages
Yes
No
34.3%
65.7%
34.5%
65.5%
NS
.496

17Table (2) shows that there is a significant difference in infant mortality between types of marriage (relatives and non‑relatives). Results indicate that death of children is higher in consanguineous marriages compared with non‑consanguineous. In 12.8% of consanguineous marriages, respondents reported the death of an infant, while only 7.6% of respondents in non‑consanguineous marriages did so. The significant was at level (p< 0.001). Significant differences in percentages between relatives and non‑relatives marriages were found in overall number of infant deaths, 1,2, or 3+. It is found that 27.3% of (3 or above death) consanguineous marriages had 3 or more infant deaths, but only 7.6% of non‑consanguineous marriages. In addition, for the death of one child and the death of two children, it is found to be 56.8% and 13.6% respectively in the non‑consanguineous marriages, and 73.7% and 15.6% respectively in consanguineous marriages. The significant was at level (p< 0.05). Death of children is higher in consanguineous marriages. On the other hand, data indicate that there is no significant difference in the rate of reproductive wastage between marriages to a relative and those to a non‑relative. This could be explained by the positive role of natural selection during a long period of practicing consanguinity, as discussed in many studies which showed a decline of some health issue among offspring. Also, it could be the result of the small sample size of women who had miscarried in this study.

18To examine if there are significant differences between marriage patterns and age at marriage, year of marriage, average number of children, average number of miscarriages, average number of pregnancies, a t‑test was used. Table (3) shows the results.

Table (3). Differences between marriage patterns and age at marriage, year of marriage, number of children, number of miscarriages, number of pregnancies using mean (M), Standard Deviation (SD) and t value.

Elderly Health Status Type of Marriage Relatives Non-Relatives
N 371 3087
Marriage Duration M 15.99 14.80
SD 13.37 10.57
t 1.90*
Age at marriage M 19.83 21.05
SD 4.04 4.35
t −5.26**
Number of children M 3.92 3.43
SD 2.76 2.35
t 3.62**
Number of pregnancies M 4.53 3.88
SD 3.42 2.81
t 4.09**
Number of miscarriages M 1.66 1.65
SD .475 .476
t .074
  • 50 Al‑Kandari, Y (2006a). Consanguineous marriages and its relationship to family stability in Kuwait (...)

19Data reveal significant differences between marriage patterns (to relatives or to non‑ relatives) and marriage duration, age at marriage, number of children, and number of pregnancies. Data show that consanguineous marriages have a higher mean marriage duration (m=15.99; sd 13.37), compared to a mean of 14.80 (sd 10.57) for non‑consanguineous marriages. Non‑consanguineous marriages show a higher mean in age at marriage (m=21.05, sd 4.35), while for consanguineous marriages, the mean was 19.83 (sd 4.04). Also, consanguineous marriages showed a higher mean in the number of children (3.92, sd 2.76), while in non‑ consanguineous marriages, the mean was 3.43 (sd 2.35). In addition to that, the number of pregnancies was higher in marriages between relatives (m=4.53, sd 3.42), while in marriages between non‑relatives, the mean was 3.88 (sd 2.81). Data show no significant differences in the rate of reproductive wastage between consanguineous and non‑consanguineous marriages. These findings may explain why the practice of consanguinity results in more submissiveness to social and family norms in Arab countries. Submissiveness can also be explained by the fact that consanguinity may enhance family stability and decrease the incidence of divorce in Kuwait because of blood relation.50

20Relationship between marriage patterns and monthly income, education level, age at marriage, average number of miscarriages, and number of pregnancies were examined and Table (4) shows these relationships. Data use marriage patterns as interval variables (1 = first‑cousin marriage), (2 = second‑cousin marriage), (3 = third‑cousin marriage), and (4 = non‑consanguineous marriage).

Table (4). Relationship between marriage patterns (four categories) and social and health variables.

Variables Type of marriages
Economic status .042*
Education level .056**
Age at marriage .13**
Ave. no. of miscarriages .008
Number of pregnancies −.086**

*p<0.05; **p<0.01

21Data show that there is a significant relationship between the type of marriage and economic status (r=.042; p<0.05), educational level (r=.056; p<0.01), age at marriage (r=.13; P<0.01), and number of pregnancies (r=−.086; p<0.01). The higher the averages of economic status, education level and age at marriage of the respondents, the greater the tendency of the spouse to have married far from his/her kin group. Economic and education factors play an important role in marriage and family structure. It enlarges what is called the marriage circle. Educated people and rich people have more opportunity to marry outside the family. Also, the closer the kinship ties between the spouses, the higher the fertility levels tend to be.

22To examine the correlation with controlled of some variables (monthly income, education level, age at marriage, average number of miscarriages, and number of pregnancies on marriage types), a multivariate regression model was used. Table (5) illustrates the results of the multivariate regression of the marriage types on these variables.

Table (5). Regression Coefficient of marriage types on monthly income, education level, age at marriage, average number of miscarriages, and pregnancy number using multiple regression analysis.

Variables B Beta T value
Monthly income .020 .043 1.35
Education level .019 .023 .605
Age at marriage .031 .113 3.49*
Average no. of miscarriages .017 .014 .413
Number of pregnancies −.026 −.061 −1.46

Adjusted R Square .021 F= 5.518**
* P< 0.05

23The linear regression analysis indicates that only the age at marriage was significantly associated with marriage patterns and is the only predicTable variable. There is no prediction of any of the other independent variables. As mentioned above, economic status and education were related to endogamy. After we ran regression analysis for prediction, the data did not show these two variables as predicTable factors for endogamy in Kuwait. This can be explained by the new modern society; and by the fact that Kuwait has recently undergone fast sociocultural changes that have had an impact on social and family structure. Still, education and economic status have less effect on the practice of consanguinity in Kuwait. On the other hand, age at marriage is an effective variable since couples in consanguineous marriages have a lower mean at marriage compared with non‑consanguineous marriages. This is explained by the fact that marriages are generally arranged by the family, and not by the individuals or couples. For this reason, marriage between relatives occurs at an earlier age compared with marriage between non‑relatives. Younger age at marriage is a traditional practice and has not change. On the other hand, higher education and higher level of economic status are related to new modern society. It is difficult to predict these two variables compared with age at marriage.

Conclusion

  • 51 Woodley & Bell, 2013, p. 263.

24Modernization and social changes affect the family structure in Kuwait. Changes in many aspects of family life have occurred. However, and despite these changes, consanguinity remains widely practiced, especially among people of Bedouin origin. Kinship is an important aspect of Bedouin social life. Norms and values that relate to ‘aṣabiyya are still found in modern society. Kin marriages enhance social solidarity and cohesion. One of the most important sociological determinants of the importance of kinship in Bedouin life today is its role in political life, especially during election time. From a genetic perspective, it is stated by Woodley and Bell ‘that restricted gene flow arising from consanguineous marriage facilitates a rigid collectivism that is inimical to individualism and the recognition of individual rights, which are key elements of the democratic ethos. Furthermore, high levels of within‑group genetic similarity may discourage cooperation between different large‑scale kin groupings sharing the same nation, inhibiting democracy’.51 From another aspect, consanguinity affects the health of the offspring, as many studies have concluded. It is expected that a high number of health issues will be found in societies practicing consanguinity. These studies support these findings. It is expected, as this study shows, that some geographical regions that practice consanguinity will have more health issues among their offspring when compared with other regions.

  • 52 Al‑Awadi et al., 1986.
  • 53
  • 54 Al‑Kandari, 2006.

25The results of this study showed the relationships between marriage patterns and some social and health variables in two geographical regions in Kuwait, Ḥawallī and Al‑Farwāniyya. Consanguineous marriages in Kuwait vary from region to region, which is related to family organization. Bedouin culture in Al‑Farwāniyya is more likely to have consanguineous marriages, especially between first cousins. Ḥawallī, a governorate considered urban, has fewer consanguineous marriages than Al‑Farwāniyya. Child mortality and consanguineous marriages were found to be correlated. Data found higher mortality rates in the offspring of consanguineous marriages than in non‑consanguineous marriages. Childhood mortality is higher in the Bedouin geographic area compared with the urban area. More studies are needed to examine in detail the relationship between these two variables by looking at the causes of death, age at death, and other variables. Although many studies have indicated a correlation between consanguineous marriages and diseases, our results did not show a correlation between reproductive wastage and consanguineous marriage. This confirms the results of a previous study conducted in Kuwait.52 This enhances also other studies carried out in other countries.53 Our results found also that age at marriage and marriage pattern are closely correlated. This indicates that spouses who are relatives tend to marry earlier than those who are not related, because of a marriage arrangement between the families of the spouses and not between the couples themselves. Although not predicTable variables, correlations were found between marriage patterns and other variables such as economic status, education level, and number of pregnancies. The higher the economic status and educational level of respondents, the greater the preference for marriage outside the clan. However, these results have been enhanced by another study conducted in Kuwait54 stating that there is a high correlation between education levels and economic status and consanguineous marriage. It can be concluded that differences in social groups (urban and Bedouin) can lead to differences in the marriage preference type in Kuwait; and this may affect the social and health aspects. Despite the decline of consanguineous marriages in Kuwait, it is still preferred especially among people having Bedouin roots.

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Bibliographie

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Notes

1 Bittles et al., 1991; Bittles, 1994; Bittles, 1995; Rajab & Patton, 2000; Hussain & Bittles, 2004; Tadmouri et al., 2009; Barbour & Salameh, 2009, Bener & Hussain, 2006; Akarmi et al., 2009; Hamamy et al., 2005.

2 Islam, 2017; Alharbi 2015; Na’amnih et al., 2014.

3 Bittles, 1995; Hamamy et al., 2011.

4 Tadmouri et al., 2009.

5 Al‑Sakawi, 1996.

6 ElHazmi et al., 1995; Al‑Sakawi, 1996; Al‑Kandari, 2007.

7 Bittles, l995.

8 Murphy & Kasdan, 1959.

9 Parallel cousins are defined as the childern of one's father's brothers or mother's sisters while the cross cousin is the child of a parent's opposite‑sex sibling.

10 Layton, 1997.

11 Bittles, 1995.

12 Khlat & Halabi, 1986.

13 Barbour & Salameh, 2009.

14 Hamamy & Hakkak, 1989.

15 Farhat, 2013.

16 Bittles, 1995.

17 Al‑Arrayed & Hamamy, 2012.

18 Bittles, 1995.

19 Alharbi et al., 2015.

20 Bittles, 1995.

21 Zaki, 2016.

22 Hamamy et al., 2005.

23 Khlat & Halabi, 1986.

24 Bittles, 1995.

25 Na’amnih et al., 2014; Al‑Kandari, 2006; Al‑Kandari, 2007.

26 Barakat, 2013.

27 Bittles, 2003.

28 Al‑Kandari & Crews, 2011.

29 Jaouad et al., 2009; Hamamy et al., 2007; Zlotogora, 1997.

30 Al‑Abdulkareem & Ballal, 1998; Al‑Awadi et al., 1986; ElMouzan et al., 2008.

31 Denic & Nicholls, 2007.

32 Bittles, 2003.

33 Al‑Kandari, 2011; Al‑Kandari, 2007.

34 Al‑Kandari, 2006a; Al‑Kandari, 2006b; Al‑Thakeb, 1982.

35 Abdullah, 1995; Al‑Kandari et al., 2002; ElNajjar, 1996.

36 Al‑Awadi et al.; 1985.

37 Al‑Kandari, 2006b.

38 Al‑Kandari, 2006a.

39 Al‑Kandari & Crews, 2011; Al‑Awadi et al., 1986.

40 Al‑Kandari, 2007.

41 Al‑Kandari & Crews, 2011; Madi et al., 2005.

42 Al‑Herz et al., 2011.

43 Madi et al., 2005.

44 Al‑Kandari, 2006a & b; Al‑Kandari &Poirier, 2001; Al‑Thakeb, 1982.

45 Al‑Balhan & Al‑Naser, 2007.

46 It is well known that in the Kuwait national assembly, tribes such as Al‑Muṭayrī, Al‑Āzmī, and Al‑Rāshidī are well represented. For more details, see Khaldūn Al‑Naqīb, Tribalism and Democracy Conflict: The Case of Kuwait [in Arabic], Beirut: Dar Al-Sāqi, 1996.

47 It needs to be stated here that there are no “Bedouin” or people living in the desert any more in Kuwait. Bedouin here refers to respondents who have historically inhabited the desert while urban respondents used to live close to the coast. More information can be found in the work of Farah Al‑Nakib, Kuwait Transformed: A History of Oil and Urban Life. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016.

48 See Al‑Kandari & Crews, 2011.

49 It should be noted here that Jahra is known for being a Bedouin region (more than Al‑Farwāniyya). However, due to the fact that many Bidoun or stateless persons live there, Al‑Farwāniyya has been chosen instead.

50 Al‑Kandari, Y (2006a). Consanguineous marriages and its relationship to family stability in Kuwait. Journal of Arts and Sciences. 9,28‑39.

51 Woodley & Bell, 2013, p. 263.

52 Al‑Awadi et al., 1986.

53

Khoury

&

Massad

, 2000;

Jain

et al.

, 1993.

54 Al‑Kandari, 2006.

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Référence électronique

Yagoub Y. Al‑Kandari et Yousif Y. Al‑Kandari, « Consanguineous Marriage and its Relationship with Sociocultural Variables in Urban and Bedouin Geographical Regions in Kuwait », Arabian Humanities [En ligne], 10 | 2018, mis en ligne le 23 janvier 2019, consulté le 15 octobre 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/cy/3731 ; DOI : 10.4000/cy.3731

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Auteurs

Yagoub Y. Al‑Kandari

Department of Sociology and Social Work and Anthropology, Kuwait University

Yousif Y. Al‑Kandari

Department of Geography, University of South Florida & Department of Geography, Kuwait University

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