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Interfaith Marriages

The Tâlesh Solution

Christian Bromberger

The Tâlesh population is divided between Twelver Shi'a and Shafi'ite Sunnis. Here, the relations between the two 'communities' are harmonious and interfaith marriage is frequent. Family descent in Tâlesh is patrilineal (property, name and social status are transmitted along paternal lines) but the transmission of religious affiliation differs from that of property and social status and is governed, in the words of Meyer Fortes, by 'complementary descent': boys will adopt the religious affiliation of the father and girls that of the mother. So confessional affiliation is bilinear. However, there are exceptions that are as often linked to specific context as they may be to personal 'choice'.

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"Et Plus Si Affinités"

Malagasy Marriage, Shifting Post-Colonial Hierarchies, and Policing New Boundaries

Jennifer Cole

In 1999 and 2004, a debate exploded within the Malagasy expatriate community in France after Et Plus Si Affinités, a realist style documentary about arranged marriage between Malagasy women and French men, aired on local television. The series chronicled the adventures of three French bachelors who went to Madagascar to find brides. In this article, I use the reactions to Et Plus Si Affinités as a lens through which to examine changes in Malagasy sexual relations as they are inflected by relations between different ethnic groups in Madagascar, particularly how different groups have historically approached sexual and marital relationships between Malagasy women and French men. Drawing on this case study, I argue that studies of transnational arranged marriage need to attend more closely first to historical representations and the way they figure into transnational marriage, and second to how circulating representations mediate women's agency and their ability to achieve their goals.

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Yagoub Yousif Al-Kandari

The rate of consanguineous marriage in Kuwait is considered to be high. Several research studies have shown that marriage among relatives is one of the major factors leading to health problems because it increases homozygosis. This article deals with both cultural and physical aspects by examining the health consequences of consanguineous marriages in Kuwait. Variables such as reproductive wastage, health problems in the offspring and infant mortality are included and measured in relation to other socio-cultural variables. Cultural variables such as the respondents' roots (Bedouin and non-Bedouin) and beliefs (Muslim Sunni and Muslim Shi'a) are also examined. The results show that there is no significant association between consanguineous and non-consanguineous marriages in the rate of abortion or the mortality of infants and children up to five years old. Finally, the data reveal significant differences between the genetic and genetic-environmental diseases in consanguineous couples' offspring and those of non-consanguineous couples. Since some of these findings contradict those of other studies, more research is needed.

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The nationalization of desire

Transnational marriage in Dutch culturist integration discourse

Willem Schinkel

Dutch discourse on “integration” is currently characterized by a strong focus on the “culture” of especially Turks and Moroccans, two minority populations in Dutch society mostly of Muslim orientation. This article discusses the issue of the “import bride” as a case study of contemporary culturist discourse. It argues that this issue is problematized because transnational marriage is construed as circumventing loyalty to Dutch society and nation-state.

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Jane Bristol-Rhys

Marriage has become an expensive proposition in the United Arab Emirates, so much so that it is used by some Emirati men as justification for marrying someone outside Emirati society. This article examines the changes in Emirati weddings over the last 30 years, presents a synopsis of the public discussion of Emirati marriages, and considers how the carefully contained public discussion deflects the comprehensive changes that have transformed Emirati society.

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Temperamental Differences

The Shifting Political Implications of Cousin Marriage in Nineteenth-Century America

Susan McKinnon

By focusing on the debate about cousin marriage that unfolded over the mid- to late-nineteenth century in the United States, this article explores the capacity of kinship to produce difference as well as sameness, exclusion as well as inclusion. I follow the cultural logic of temperaments through which the relative value of cousin versus non-kin marriages was debated. I also examine the rhetoric that linked these contrasting forms of marriage with contrasting political formations—specifically those of ‘backward’ hierarchical monarchies and ‘progressive’ egalitarian democratic republics. This marital and political logic was countered by the political economy of race, which made evident the forms of racial exclusion that defined the boundaries of marriage, national belonging, equality, and democracy in nineteenth- century America.

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Giuseppe Marcocci

In 1578, a same-sex community that gathered in a church, performing marriages between men, was discovered in Rome. Documentary evidence now verifies this story, reported by many sources, including a passage of Michel de Montaigne's Travel Journal, but which was for a long time denied by scholars. While briefly reconstructing this affair, this article explores the complex emotional regime surrounding the episode. In particular, it argues that those who participated in the ceremonies did so not only as an expression of affection for their partners, but also in an attempt to legitimize their relationships in a rite that imitated the Counter-Reformation sacrament of marriage. This approach challenges the predominant historiography on the birth of homosexuality and helps us to better understand the sentiments of those who were part of a same-sex community in Renaissance Rome.

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“To take a wyf”

Marriage, Status, and Moral Conduct in “The Merchant’s Tale”

Natalie Hanna

Across the eighteen Canterbury Tales that deal in some way with marriage, the language of “The Merchant’s Tale” is most concerned with the role of a “wyf” and a concept of “taking” a wife. By contrast, the text appears to show little concern for the status “housbonde,” but the limited use of the term is in fact a means to scrutinize the correlation between these medieval marital roles. Using a corpus of The Canterbury Tales, this article reveals how Chaucer semantically distinguishes Januarie’s position as one who wishes only to be served by his wife, from “housbondes” that are in partnership with their wives. The study shows that, through terminology and phraseology, Januarie’s status is connected to Walter’s of “The Clerk’s Tale,” to highlight the underlying abusive traits of men who treat marriage as an economical transaction for their own gain, rather than as a union of love.

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Freedom from Religion in Israel

Civil Marriages and Cohabitation of Jews Enter the Rabbinical Courts

Zvi Triger

The only form of marriage that is recognized under Israeli law is religious marriage. Following the Supreme Court's ruling in the landmark 1963 Funk-Schlesinger case, Israeli authorities must register couples who marry abroad as married. In a 2006 decision, the Supreme Court held that the rabbinical court system has jurisdiction over the divorce of couples who marry civilly abroad and that it has exclusive jurisdiction over the dissolution of civil marriages of Jews residing in Israel. The Court's decision was based on Halachic principles and was pre-approved by a rabbinical court panel. However, rabbinical courts have been insisting on performing a full get (religious divorce) procedure even for civilly married couples. This article analyzes this phenomenon and speculates as to the reasons for and the direction of these developments.

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Scott Gunther

This article examines the political style and rhetoric of the Manif pour tous (MPT), the main organization opposing same-sex marriage in France, from summer 2013 to the present. It exposes how the MPT’s style and rhetoric differ from those of their American counterparts, and what this tells us about the different strategies of political movements in France and the United States generally. It is based on an analysis of the language used by activists whom I interviewed in 2014 and 2015 and on a discourse analysis of the MPT’s website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and press releases since 2013. This analysis of the distinctive features of the MPT brings to light underlying concerns about French identity in the face of globalization. In other words, for the MPT and its members, what is at stake is not just same-sex marriage but the very definition of Frenchness.