Accepted Paper:

A brother as saviour: siblings and family in Bénin  

Author:

Erdmute Alber (University of Bayreuth)

Paper short abstract:

My paper tells the story of a Baatonu-girl who worked as a maid in an urban household of relatives. The story tells us how she struggled in a complex situation of negotiated kinship. The example shows how brother- and sisterhood can play a crucial role in a family conflict.

Paper long abstract:

My paper tells the story of a Baatonu-girl in the Republic of Bénin who worked as a maid in an urban household of relatives without being paid. She escaped from that situation through the intervention of a half-brother whom she convinced to take his role as brother. The story tells us how she struggled in a complex situation of negotiated kinship, including not only the sibling relation, but also that of in-laws, parents and foster parents in urban as well as rural settings. The example shows how brother- and sisterhood can play a crucial role in a family conflict that touches on fundamental values about child labour and belonging of girls.

Panel W067
Brother- and sisterhood in anthropological perspective