초록 close

This paper argues that in the study of matriliny in Kerala, insufficient attention has been paid to the post-marriage residence norm of virilocality in which a woman goes to reside in her husband’s house after marriage. This has led to considerable romanticization of what matriliny meant for women in everyday life. In focusing on a caste called the Thiyyas, who have a history of matrilineal descent and inheritance, the paper explores the way the norm of virilocality is coupled with the idea of the ‘providing husband.’ I consider the idea of the ‘providing’ husband as both central to the image of a normative conjugality among the Thiyyas and also as an idea that has characterized legislative changes in matriliny and marriage since the late nineteenth century. Further, I argue that the idea of the ‘providing husband’ and post-marriage virilocal residence are coupled not only with a strong sense of a dependent wife but a husband’s unequivocal authority. However, what marks out this context is that women inherit property and have a right to return to their natal homes. These practices in turn enable considerable flexibility in residence in everyday life.