Consensual unions as an alternative form of family formation is a growing phenomenon in
especially urban centres in Africa, including Ghana. This qualitative study was aimed at exploring
the lived experiences of persons in consensual unions. The research was conducted in the urban
space of Accra and the target population was all persons who at the time of the study were in
consensual unions. With the use of purposive sampling technique, a total of thirty-one participants
were selected for the study. The life history interviewing approach was used in primary data
collection. The data was organised and analysed by doing a thematic network analysis. Further
analyses were done with secondary data obtained from journals, books, newspapers, and related
It was revealed in the study that there is a gendered experience of consensual unions. For female
research participants their unions served the purposes of livelihood strategy, an escape route, an
avenue for intimate relations and a way of rehearsing for marriage. Male participants, entry into
their union was primarily a mark of their maturity and masculinity. Whilst women mostly
conceptualised their unions as a precursor to marriage, their partners were more likely to
conceptualise it as an alternative to marriage. These different realities translated into the lived
experiences of persons in such unions. The experiences include, pressures from the family, church,
friends and neighbours to convert the unions into marriage, intimate partner violence and sanctions
from extended kin. The study showed that based on these experiences, persons in consensual
unions accordingly devised management strategies. The contribution of this thesis to knowledge
is that it has shown the gendered conceptualisation of consensual unions either as a precursor or
an alternative to marriage and the everyday experiences of persons in these unions.
Eastern Network, L (2021). Understanding Consensual Unions As A Form Of Family Formation In Urban Accra. Afribary.com: Retrieved April 11, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/understanding-consensual-unions-as-a-form-of-family-formation-in-urban-accra
Library, Eastern Network. "Understanding Consensual Unions As A Form Of Family Formation In Urban Accra" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 07 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/understanding-consensual-unions-as-a-form-of-family-formation-in-urban-accra . Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.
Library, Eastern Network. "Understanding Consensual Unions As A Form Of Family Formation In Urban Accra". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 07 Apr. 2021. Web. 11 Apr. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/understanding-consensual-unions-as-a-form-of-family-formation-in-urban-accra >.
Library, Eastern Network. "Understanding Consensual Unions As A Form Of Family Formation In Urban Accra" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed April 11, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/understanding-consensual-unions-as-a-form-of-family-formation-in-urban-accra