Elaine Donovan

Doctor of Philosophy, (Social Anthropology)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Anomalous Children: Orphans and Interlineage Marrriages in Malawi

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Using a discursive approach Ms Donovan’s research discovered Malawian orphans became vulnerable to abuse and violence on account of the contrasting lineage beliefs of their mother and father’s tribes. Created through interlineage marriage, these contrasting constructions of belongingness saw women from patrilineal tribes who understood children as belonging to their father’s family, marry men from matrilineal tribes who understood children as belonging to their mother’s family. Generally, difficulties only emerged when the two extended families became involved in child custody decisions following the death of the children’s father.

Dr Carolyn Morris
Dr Robyn Andrews

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