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George Washington University

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Senegal: National Identity and the Arts


Polygamy is the practice in which a man takes multiple wives. While it is no longer legal in certain countries, it is still allowed both legally and religiously in Senegal, and is still practiced today. Traveling to Senegal from the United States, one might find that the opinions toward the practice vary by country. This study was conducted for three purposes. The first purpose was to define polygamy in a Senegalese context and discover how married men and women in Dakar regard the practice. The second was to determine whether these opinions vary based on gender, length of marriage, ethnicity, and whether subjects were in monogamous or polygamous marriages. The final goal was to ascertain whether western ideals or Islam practices and traditions have a stronger impact on these opinions, and how they are influenced by each. Over the course of this research project, fourteen men and women were interviewed and answered questions about their marriage and thoughts on polygamy in Senegal. In this study, they are used as representations of the general married population of Dakar, Senegal.


Family, Life Course, and Society



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