Marriage, Love, Caste and Kinship Support: Lived Experiences of the Urban Poor in India
Shalini Grover
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Social Science Press

Out Of Stock

Marriage, Love, Caste and Kinship Support: Lived Experiences of the Urban Poor in India makes use of interesting case studies and photographs to describe the everyday life in a squatter settlement in Delhi.

The book helps to understand the marital experiences of these people most of whom belong to the Scheduled Caste and live in one identified geographical space. The author describes the shifts within their marriages, remarriages and other kinds of unions and their striking diversities, which have been described with care. Shalini Grover also examines the close ties of married women with their mothers and natal families.

An important contribution of the book lies in the unfolding of the role of women-led informal courts, Mahila Panchayats, and their influence in conflict resolution. This takes place in a distinctly different mode of community-based arbitration against the backdrop of mainstream legal structures and male-dominated caste associations.

The book will be of interest to students of sociology and social anthropology, gender studies, development studies, law and psychology. Activists and family counsellors will also find the book useful.

Shalini Grover is author of several papers on marriage and kinship including 'Lived Experiences: Marriage, Notions of Love and Kinship Support Amongst Poor Women in Delhi', Contributions to Indian Sociology, 43(1), 2009. This book was written during her tenure as a Sir Ratan Tata Fellow in Sociology at the Institute of Economic Growth, University of Delhi.

Foreword by Professor Patricia Uberoi
1: Mapping the Debate on Marriage
2: Revisiting Arranged Marriages: Marital Roles, Conflict and Kinship Support
3: Courtships and Love Marriages
4: Secondary Unions and Other Conjugal Arrangements
5: Informal Dispute Settlement: The Mahila Panchayats
6: Towards the Democratization of Marriage and Relationships: Conclusion

‘This book provides a new and welcome perspective on contemporary marriage and co-habitation patterns among the Indian urban, low-caste poor.  This is a subject on which little previous anthropological research has been done; consequently, much that has been written on it is replete with stereotypes.  The rich ethnography, with its large number of extended case studies of the marital experiences of individual women and married couples, is one of the work’s strong points.  It should be widely read by anyone interested in the Indian family and kinship structure or in issues of poverty, marriage, and urban life more generally.’ 

-Professor (Emerita) Sylvia Vatuk, University of Illinois          

‘This book deserves a large audience. With fascinating case studies and detailed ethnographic material, Shalini Grover enriches our understanding of how poor urban women in Delhi negotiate their married lives, move in and out of relationships, and mobilise support from their kin or from women-led informal courts. Using her data to argue robustly against the many unfounded presumptions about gender politics, love, marriages, intimacy, and married women’s relationships with their families of origin, she makes important interventions into wider debates about gender, marriage and kinship.’

- Professor Patricia Jeffery, University of Edinburgh

‘Shalini Grover’s ethnography of marriage, re-marriage and arbitration in an urban squatter colony makes a significant contribution to recent feminist and anthropological research on marriage, kinship and law in India. Grover provides rich vignettes of cultural negotiations around marriage: gender- and caste-inflected ideologies of roles in marriage, the cushion provided by kin support, conjugality in the shadow of the law. We see the ways in which marriage is dynamically shaped through kin and labour demands, and legal pluralities emerging through innovative NGO and caste council actions. My favourite is the chapter on mahila panchayats, “women’s courts” which work to change the adversarial contours of marital disputes but are nonetheless embedded in normative gendered scripts.’

- Professor Srimati Basu, University of Kentucky

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