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Elles seront des sœurs pour nous. Le mariage par permutation au Proche-Orient

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2011
Author Conte Édouard,
Project The practice of Islamic Family Law in Palestine and Israel: Text and Context
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Études rurales
Volume (Issue) 2011/1(187)
Page(s) 157 - 200
Title of proceedings Études rurales


This article suggests a systemic analysis of marriage by permutation of spouses, in particular of siblings, called badal in Arabic. Reconsidering of the notion of “exchange”, it is based on the study of a line of textual sources ranging from Dead Sea manuscripts to classical Arabic “lives of the Prophets” (qisas al-anbiyā’), on the one hand, and, on the other, a comparative ethnographic analysis of observations from Palestine and Turkey. This dual approach suggests, with regard to the gendered dynamics of kinship, not to ascribe a posteriori an a priori causality to descent and not to dissociate siblingship and affinity. Indeed, badal places siblingship at the heart of matrimonial alliance, while leaving intact the illusion of agnatism. Accommodating gender and generational hierarchy, it establishes siblingship as a source of filiation, while guaranteeing the prohibition of brother-sister marriage once instituted in the “antediluvian” traditions attributed to Adam.