Lisbet Holtedahl: Understanding Marriage, Love and Dependency, with the Tools of Visual Anthropology

Understanding Marriage, Love and Dependency,

with the Tools of Visual Anthropology.

 

Since 1970, I have done anthropological research with visual tools. My main topic has been gender relations in the societies of Eastern Niger, Northern Norway and Adamaoua province, Cameroon. Throughout these 47 years, I have been saying that visual tools in anthropological research offer interesting opportunities and contribute to new forms of knowledge; when we learn about and try to understand other cultures, and convey this understanding cross – culturally.

In this paper, I will relate this understanding to the audio-visual footage that I have recorded in the family of Al Hajji Alkali Ibrahim Goni, Ngaoundéré, during the years 1992-2015.

From 1950 to 1995, Al Hajji served as a traditional judge at the Sultanate of Ngaoundéré, where he settled numerous cases of marriage and divorce.  He married altogether eleven wives and got 32 children during his adult life. He divorced some wives, others he divorced and remarried, still others died. I want to scrutinize various household scenes of everyday life events and interviews. With this, I hope to identify the audio-visual material’s contribution to my understanding of marriage, love and dependency of six of Al Hajji’s wives and their husband.