Organized Panel Session
“Love or arranged marriage?” young women often ask each other when chatting about weddings in their friend circle and young men regularly brag about their premarital affairs. Both notions – the arrangement of a marriage as well as love in its manifold shapes – are heavy with preconceived associations, emotions and moral conflicts. Contemporary love relationships and marriages in South Asia seem, among others, to be strongly influenced by various media-scapes. While Bollywood tales invoke a globalized love narrative, daily TV dramas uphold more indigenous concepts of intimacy, gender roles and family networks.
Taking up the growing body of literature on negotiation processes around marriages in South Asia, it is worthwhile to unpack and rethink social, cultural, and political questions linked to changing marriage practices: from rather rational wedding arrangements considering new forms of status and class mobility in the marriage market, over secret elopements and legal articulations of women, to new modes of dating enabled by communication technologies.
On the basis of ethnographic examples we would like to explore the many facets of pyar, mohabbat, prem or ishq circulating in South Asia and their connection to marriage. What is the position of love in marital arrangements? How can individual choice be conceptualized in family decisions? And how do couples ‘make it work’ before or after the wedding? We explore how changing ideas about love and intimacy impact general as well as particular values, norms, and practices related to marriage as the central institution of kinship in South Asia.