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Cherlin, A. (2004). “The Deinstitutionalization of American Marriage.” Journal of Marriage and Family 66(4): 848-861.

has been cited by the following article:


Motivation for Union formation: A Case of Zambia

1Department of Social Work and Sociology, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia

2Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Journal of Sociology and Anthropology. 2019, Vol. 3 No. 1, 11-14
DOI: 10.12691/jsa-3-1-2
Copyright © 2019 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Ackson Mwale, Mundia Libati, Zarina Khan. Motivation for Union formation: A Case of Zambia. Journal of Sociology and Anthropology. 2019; 3(1):11-14. doi: 10.12691/jsa-3-1-2.

Correspondence to: Ackson  Mwale, Department of Social Work and Sociology, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia. Email:


Introduction: Marriage institution has been considered as an important institution in almost all societies. For a long time, the institution has been held in high esteem in most societies in both the developed and the developing countries. Despite marriage being considered as a culturally universal, its meaning and value has been changing over time and it has always differed from one society to another. Other societies such as Africa look at marriage as very important to one’s life process while other societies, such as European societies, marriage is considered a personal issue based on an individual’s desire to get into it. Increase in other family forms such as cohabitation and single parent families are some of the indicators showing that marriage is not perceived as important as it once was. In countries such as Zambia more people are getting married even when other societies are recording a decline in marriages as people opt for other forms of union such as cohabitation and single parent families. Based on this account, this paper seeks to understand the value or motivation for entering marriage in Zambia. Methods: The paper used a desk review approach to gather relevant literature to help address the paper’s questions. The review focused on literature from around the world with much emphasis on Marriage in Africa and other parts of the world. This data was accessed from journal articles in Family Sociology and other relevant journals articles such as Cherlin’s work on “Deinstitutionalization of American Marriage”. Results: The results show that primarily both Africa and Europe had similar views for marriage. In both societies, marriage was initially considered very important and was thus held in high esteem such that entrance and exit from this form of union was highly regulated by social institutions such as religion and the state. The study also noted that due to industrialisation, economic and social development, family formation was affected as new forms of unions emerged coupled with weakening influence and importance of marriage on individuals. On the other hand, it seems in Africa, social structure still highly influences marriage even with increasing pressure from forces such as globalization, modernization and increase in technological advancements. Conclusion: In conclusion, marriage unions in Zambia and other African countries are not free from the impact of globalization and modernization. But unlike Europe, Africa is still entrenched in its old traditions, values and beliefs on marriage union. In the case of Zambia, it primarily fulfils the social obligations while personal fulfilment comes secondary. Those individuals who seek other forms of union are usually given negative sanctions such as lack of recognition as members of the community and in most cases are considered as deviants who are used as examples of bad behaviour in society. This in one-way clearly shows that societal demands compel individuals to get married.