Marriage has long been central to the study of kinship and family and to imaginings of culture, identity and citizenship. If the deeply gendered nature of marriage has been critiqued by feminist researchers, the conjugal contract has been the subject of debate in the legal domain and the economics of marriage and of the wedding ceremony figure in the discourse on development.
Engaging with these and other strands is Marrying in South Asia, a volume which looks closely at Bangladeshi, Pakistani and south Indian Muslims, Bhutanese ethnic groups, Nepali widows, the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, south Asian gays and lesbians, middle class and urban, working class communities and many other groups. With the globalising world as the backdrop, the essays trace the encounters with changing notions and practices of marriage. The book examines processes that make a marriage, the implications of non-marriage or its end and the acknowledgement of multiple sexualities, as well as the contestations and conflicts, including in the law courts, that are part of the institution. The integration of the larger economic and political contexts in understandings of personal relations around marriage is significant. The diverse ethnographic accounts, demographic analyses and economic investigations provide a wider window to marriage than is usually available in a single volume.
This volume brings together scholars in sociology, anthropology, economics, demography, development studies, queer theory and gender studies, and historical research, from around the world. Marrying in South Asia is a must-read for students of the social sciences and for all of us interested in the ideas around conjugality and the institution of marriage.
Ravinder Kaur is Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT, Delhi.
Rajni Palriwala is Professor, Department of Sociology, Delhi University.
List of Tables, Figures and Map
Introduction: Marriage in South Asia: Continuities and Transformations
Rajni Palriwala and Ravinder Kaur
Part 1: Diversities in Models and Practices
1. Change and Continuity in Marital Alliance Patterns: Muslims in South India
2. Marriage in Bhutan: At the Confluence of Modernity and Identity
3. Transgressions, Accommodations and Change: Configuring Gender and Sexuality within Marriage Practices of the Kolams
Part 2: Behind Demographic Trends
4. Marriage Continuity and Change in Bangladesh
Sajeda Amin and Maitreyi Das
5. Negotiating Marriage: Examining the Gap between Marriage and Cohabitation in India
Lester Andrist, Manjistha Banerji and Sonalde Desai
Part 3: Economics of Marriage
6. Marriage, Women and Work: The Estate Tamils in Sri Lanka’s Tea Plantations
7. Marriage, Labour Circulation and Smallholder Capitalism in Andhra Pradesh
8. Marriage, Women’s Economic Participation and Patterns of Support in Urban Karachi
9. Why Marry A Cousin?: Insights from Bangladesh
Shareen Joshi, Sriya Iyer and Quy Toan Do
Part 4: Making a Marriage
10. ‘Love’ in the Shadow of the Sewing Machine: A Study of Marriage in the Garment Industry of Chennai, South India
11. Transnational Marriages: Documents, Wedding Albums, Photographers and Jaffna Tamil Marriages
12. Surfing for Spouses: Marriage Websites and the ‘New’ Indian Marriage?
Ravinder Kaur with Priti Dhanda
Part 5: Love and Conjugality in and Beyond Marriage
13. ‘Why did you send me like this?’: Marriage, Matriliny and the ‘Providing Husband’ in North Kerala, India
14. ‘Purani aur Nai Shaadi’: Separation, Divorce and Remarriage in the Lives of the Urban Poor in New Delhi
15. Multiple Ironies: Notes on Same-Sex Marriage for South Asians at Home and Abroad
Part 6: Legal Interventions and Activism
16. Dreaming a Better Court for Women: Adjudication and Subjectivity in the Family Courts of Kolkata, India
17. When Marriage Breaks Down How do Contracts Matter?: Marriage Contracts and Divorce in Contemporary North India
18. Widowhood, Socio-cultural Practices and Collective Action: A Study of Survival Strategies of Single Women in Nepal
Notes on Contributors