Journal Article

South Asian Transnational Marriages in Comparative Perspective

Published 1 January 2006 / By Katharine Charsley, Alison Shaw

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This issue on South Asian transnational marriages brings diverse practices and networks into detailed ethnographic focus. Gender and agency are key themes explored in the collection, as well as the potential and actual transformation of gendered status resulting from marrying a migrant or joining a spouse overseas. The introduction identifies some common threads. Several articles challenge the assumption of wives’ passivity in arranged marriages or in their joining husbands overseas, while one highlights the less-documented experiences of men who migrate to join wives working abroad. The collection also offers insights into the cultural and emotional reasons for such marriages, complementing analyses that stress strategic motivations, and noting the emotional consequences of separation and new household formations for the experiences of marriage and parenthood. Marriage emerges as an important means of producing and transforming transnational networks, while marriage practices and dynamics are themselves transformed in the process.