Series Editor 

Péter Berta, University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Series Description 

We are eager to consider original scholarship on cutting-edge themes and issues for this series. The intention of this series is to fill a gap in research by examining the politics of marriage and related practices, ideologies, and interpretations, and to address the key question of how the politics of marriage has affected social, cultural, and political processes, relations, and boundaries. The series will look at the complex relationships between the politics of marriage and gender, ethnic, national, religious, racial, and class identities, and will analyze how these relationships contribute to the development and management of social and political differences, inequalities, and conflicts. 

Books in the Series

(1) Joanne Payton: Honor and the Political Economy of Marriage. Violence against Women in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

“Joanne Payton’s study is a perfect fit within the scope of the series. In Honor and the Political Economy of Marriage, Payton examines the changing relationship between the meanings of 'honor' and the patterns of violence against women in Iraqi Kurdistan. Explaining 'honor'-based violence from an analytical perspective based primarily on the anthropology of kinship and marriage rather than that of religion, Payton demonstrates, in an innovative and convincing way, why the concept of 'patriarchal violence' (frequently associated with Islam itself) should be treated critically, and how the topic of 'honor'- based violence is often used strategically in Islamophobic discourses in the West. Payton’s book also sheds light on the consequences of the widespread use of culturalization in conceptualizing and explaining 'honor'-based violence as well as in justifying and legitimizing it – highlighting the intense need for and usefulness of a less culturalizing and less religious-focused analytical approach.”

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the series foreword for Honor and the Political Economy of Marriage)

(2) Rama Srinivasan: Courting Desire. Litigating for Love in North India

"Rama Srinivasan’s book is an ethnographically rich analysis of 'court marriages' in North India. While investigating cases of elopements and 'love marriages' that are mediated through legal interventions, Srinivasan explains how the politics of consent and choice is embedded into courtroom spaces and processes and highlights how these legal interventions transform marital patterns and preferences by shaping local interpretations of an ideal marriage and choice of a marriage partner. Courting Desire is a fascinating story of a normalization contest, or, in other words, of a symbolic conflict between the value regimes of family-arranged matches and 'love marriages'. It also offers readers a nuanced insight into how the dominant patterns of citizens’ engagement with the state and its laws are changing in contemporary North India." 

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the series foreword for Courting Desire )

(3) Sara Smith: Intimate Geopolitics. Love, Territory, and the Future on India’s Northern Threshold

"Sara Smith’s fascinating book is not only a good fit with the thematic scope of the series, it will certainly also become a landmark study for quite some time to come in research on the subtle and dynamic relationship between geopolitics, territory, body, and intimacy. In this thought-provoking and compelling analysis, Smith convincingly demonstrates why bodies and individual decisions on intimate bodily life – marriage, birth, contraception, etc. – can acquire geopolitical agency and significance of their own: how bodies can contribute to construct and maintain territory by affecting demographic data, discourses, processes, and the imaginaries of possible demographic futures. Intimate Geopolitics brilliantly highlights how – in the Ladakh region of Northern India that is characterized by intense, historically-rooted territorial conflicts – marriage and reproductive capacity of bodies are often regarded as strategic and contested 'symbolic sites' (to be monitored and ideologically controlled) in the course of geopolitical planning, maneuvering, and conflicts between various ethnic or religious populations. Smith’s book offers a path-breaking and insightful analytical framework for a deeper understanding of how bodily technologies of territory operate, how the body, demography, and territory intersect and shape one another, and it also elegantly illuminates why these technologies and interplays matter for all of us."

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for Intimate Geopolitics)

(4) Hui Liu – Corinne Reczek – Lindsey Wilkinson (eds.): Marriage and Health. The Well-Being of Same-Sex Couples

"Marriage and Health: The Well-Being of Same-Sex Couples is an original, path-breaking, and stimulating volume, examining various dimensions of the health and well-being of individuals in same-sex unions (legal marriage, civil unions, cohabitation, and so on). Demonstrating and insightfully analyzing contemporary opportunities, challenges, and constraints faced by same-sex unions, the chapters cover a wide range of timely and underexplored topics such as minority stress experienced by same-sex couples prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage; the association between same-sex union status and adult mortality risk; health care access; lesbian couples’ experiences of childbirth and (gendered) parental identities; and the likelihood of dissolution for gay and lesbian couples. The novelty of this volume derives, on the one hand, from the new theoretical perspectives and newly available population-based data used, and, on the other, from the fact that the authors investigate not only same-sex marriage and civil unions but also dating and cohabiting relationships as well as same-sex sexual experiences outside of relationships. This volume is a landmark study in a relatively new and growing area of research, and also offers nuanced critical perspectives on how some key systems in the wider context of same-sex unions – such as health care and the law – work and how individuals can or cannot navigate within “institutional mazes” relating to these systems. Consequently, the new research findings presented in this volume will certainly have far-reaching policy implications for the health of sexual minorities – making these chapters essential reading not only for academics but also for practitioners and policy makers."

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for Marriage and Health)

(5) Rebecca Joubin: Mediating the Uprising. Narratives of Gender and Marriage in Syrian Television Drama

"Mediating the Uprising is a unique, insightful, and thought-provoking summary of why and how metaphors of marriage and gender are used strategically in post-revolutionary Syrian television drama. The chapters brilliantly outline how (the subculture of) post-uprising television miniseries can mediate – through staging and framing the themes of love, sexuality, and marriage – political critique of the state and current power relations; social critique of the ethics of sociability amidst war and bloodshed; and, finally, a cultural critique of certain gender and marital roles and identities. Mediating the Uprising offers an excellent insight not only into the dynamics of (narrative, value-based) conflicts between the political regime and the opposition, but also into how the politics of nostalgia, fatherhood, and masculinity work; how various (often contesting) interpretations and visions of the nation’s past and future are negotiated; and how cultural forms and mechanisms of everyday resistance against oppression are deployed in contemporary Syrian society. Using the lens of marriage and gender, the ultimate aim of Joubin’s nuanced and impressive monograph is to demonstrate and analyze continuities and discontinuities in Syrian television drama, politics, and society – convincingly highlighting (via investigating, among other things, seven seasons of drama, press releases, anecdotes, and interviews) how art and the drama creators themselves are involved in shaping the ongoing public debate on the meanings and consequences of the 2011 Syrian revolution." 

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for Mediating the Uprising )

(6) Asha L. Abeyasekera: Making the Right Choice. Narratives of Marriage in Sri Lanka

"Making the Right Choice: Narratives of Marriage in Sri Lanka shows in a fascinating way why the desire to be modern has emerged and become a key identity-forming ideology in the urban middle-class in Sri Lanka and how this process has been shaping marriage patterns and practices from the early years of the 20th century. Based on fifteen months of field research amongst Sinhala Buddhist families in Colombo, Abeyasekera convincingly demonstrates the complex socio-cultural dynamics of the shift from ‘arranged’ marriage to ‘love’ marriage – emphasizing that this transformation took place much earlier in Sri Lanka than in other South Asian societies.

Abeyasekera’s book offers a brilliant picture of why ‘choice’ rather than ‘love’ is defined as the central factor of modern partner selection and convincingly highlights how the key narrative of ‘choice’ – and its central element, “a choosing person” – has been created jointly by various generations. Making the Right Choice not only explains how the narrative of ‘choice’ is closely connected to ideologies of gendered self, modernity and progress of the family, women’s education and employment, and caste and class identities, but also provides a thought-provoking analysis of how women’s marital agency works in the urban middle-class in Sri Lanka and why the moral and emotional effects of that agency are manifold and often ambivalent."

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for Making the Right Choice)

(7) Raksha Pande: Learning to Love. Arranged Marriages and the British Indian Diaspora. 

"Learning to Love: Arranged Marriages and the British-Indian Diaspora is a nuanced and thought-provoking analysis of the social and cultural dynamics of arranged marriage practices among the British-Indian diaspora living in Northern England. Drawing on five years of ethnographic research, Pande convincingly shows that arranged marriages are neither homogenous nor timeless phenomena but increasingly varied and flexible socio-cultural practices which are reshaped and reinterpreted by each British-Indian family to suit individual or family-level ambitions,  aspirations, and identities. Investigating the contemporary lived experience of arranged marriage, Learning to Love also demonstrates in a fascinating way why arranged marriages are inextricably connected to negotiating citizenship and (trans)national belonging, and how arranged marriage practices have been continuously transformed in order to contribute to the creation of a prized narrative of collective identity, which portrays the British-Indian diaspora as “modern and progressive migrants”. In this illuminating book, Pande not only illustrates how love and romance may play an important role in partner selection, but also brilliantly highlights the patterns and dynamics of interpersonal and affective negotiations concerning marriage – with a special focus on intergenerational cooperation and conflict management."

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for Learning to Love)

(8) Natasha Carver: Marriage, Gender, and Refugee Migration. Spousal Relationships among Somali Muslims in the United Kingdom

"Marriage, Gender, and Refugee Migration is an insightful analysis of how cultural, religious, and gendered identities are transformed and renegotiated in the context of (and due to) transnational migration among Somali migrants living in Bristol. By outlining the nature of conflicts and tensions between these identities created through the migration process, Carver’s monograph also convincingly reveals why and how cultural, religious, and gendered identity projects reflect and shape each other.

On the one hand, Marriage, Gender, and Refugee Migration highlights the discursive strategies and practices through which marital breakdown and divorce are explained, framed, and justified, and compares the complex and often conflictual relationship between the public narratives and personal tales focusing on these intimate processes. On the other hand, Carver’s analysis meticulously presents the ideological, emotional, and practical struggles of Somali migrants to harmonize as well as partially reformulate the socio-religious – Islamic, and so on – ideals of “doing family” and “doing gender” within the new context of living in Bristol.

By vividly demonstrating how diaspora masculinities and femininities work and change, Carver’s monograph gives a fascinating insight into the dynamics of how and why Islamic family life has been changing in contemporary Britain."

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for Marriage, Gender, and Refugee Migration)

(9) Yafa Shanneik - Annelies Moors (eds.): Global Dynamics of Shi'a Marriages: Religion, Gender, and Belonging

"Global Dynamics of Shi’a Marriages: Gender, Religion, and Belonging offers a fascinating insight into why, how, and to what extent Shi‘a Muslim marriages have been undergoing transformation in rapidly changing local and transnational contexts as a result of global developments, trends, and processes. Although the main focus is on the complex relationships between marriage practices and preferences as well as religious identities, value regimes, and institutions, the volume convincingly demonstrates that, in the case of Shi‘a Muslim marriages, not only religious belonging shapes the meaning and patterns of marriage: nationality, ethnicity, generation, and class can also play a decisive role. Based on a brilliant investigation of the interplay between and context-sensitive hierarchies of religious and other forms of belonging, the volume argues against the widespread essentializing and deceptive practice where the imagination and meaning of being a Muslim is reduced to religious affiliation, commitment, and identity. Through analysis of various forms and aspects of Shi‘a Muslim marriages – such as new dating practices, the politics of dowry, temporary marriages, or long-term changes in marriage patterns – the chapters provide the reader with a novel comparative perspective through which major similarities and differences between marriage practices among Shi‘a Muslim communities in different parts of the world as well as the consequences of embeddedness of marriage practices within wider contexts of migration, transnationalism, and living in a diaspora can be effectively captured."

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for Global Dynamics of Shi'a Marriages)

(10) Anna-Maria Walter: Intimate Connections. Love and Marriage in Pakistan's High Mountains

"Anna-Maria Walter’s Intimate Connections is a fascinating, ethnographically informed account of how women actively participate in constant reinterpretation and reorganization of gender and conjugal relations in Gilgit District in Pakistan’s northernmost mountain area. Based on a total of fourteen months of anthropological fieldwork, Walter convincingly demonstrates that love provides an insightful lens for a deeper understanding of how global discourses, ideologies, and patterns of intimacy shape local patriarchal ideals, value regimes, and power relations. Besides portraying the complexity of Muslim women’s subjectivity, Intimate Connections highlights how power, sexuality, and gender dynamics as well as the politics of kinship work within and outside the family and explains how these factors contribute to and are formed by changing configurations of love and marriage in a politically marginalized South Asian region. It also gives a detailed picture of why and how the introduction and popularity of mobile phones have led to the emergence of mobile phone romances offering a new way for creating pre-marital intimate relationships and increasing young people’s individual agency in choosing a marriage partner."

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for Intimate Connections)

(11) Viktoriya Kim - Nelia Balgoa - Beverley Anne Yamamoto: The Politics of International Marriage in Japan

"Through an in-depth investigation of the interplay between transnational, national, and regional trends and processes as well as the relationships between them, The Politics of International Marriage in Japan offers a path-breaking analysis of the main reasons, strategies, and consequences of international marriage migration in contemporary Japan – focusing especially on women coming from the former Soviet Union, from the Philippines, and from North America and Western Europe. The authors offer a nuanced interpretation of how state-level attitudes towards migration, marriage, family planning, and gender shape conjugal power relations within international couples living in Japan; how and why couples’ perceptions of (an ideal) marriage as well as of constraints and opportunities change during marriage; how couples use individual and structural characteristics (such as ethnic, class, cultural, or gender identities, various forms of structural inequalities) in continuous (re)negotiation of their marital relationship; and how the micro-politics of bilingualism and biculturalism work within international couples. Besides meticulously investigating not only the contemporary forms but also the historical roots of transnational marriage migration, the authors convincingly argue why this practice is a gendered phenomenon and highlight the complex web of factors and circumstances that can contribute to divorce among international couples living in Japan." 

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for The Politics of International Marriage in Japan)

(12) Anne-Marie D'aoust (ed.): Transnational Marriage and Partner Migration. Constellations of Security, Citizenship, and Rights

"Opting Out: Women Messing with Marriage Around the World offers a fascinating new perspective on studying the dynamics of marriage. Instead of focusing on often researched topics such as why and on the basis of which preferences marriage is established in various socio-cultural contexts or how it functions, the authors propose a refreshing analytical lens that concentrates on why and how women try to avoid or reject marriage in places where it has long been obligatory. The ethnographically informed chapters inthis volume not only analyze the most frequent causes, forms, and consequencesof gendered resistance within the context of and to the institution of marriagebut they also shed light on complex cases where women reject entering into marriage (or into remarriage). By meticulously examining ethnographic contexts where marriage becomes disappointing for more and more women, the authors convincingly outline how and why the steadily growing individual need toreconceptualize the value, significance, and meaning of marriage emerges, and they also demonstrate the limits and risks of this effort. A detailed analysis of the global tendency of decreasing popularity of marriage not only can contribute to a better understanding of the most important local, transnational, or global transformations that are behind this tendency but it also draws attention to the need to concentrate the analytical gaze more and more consistently on how marriage as a social institution itself is undergoing significant transformations."

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for Transnational Marriage and Partner Migration)

(13) Minjeong Kim - Hyeyoung Woo (eds.): Redefining Multicultural Families in South Korea. Reflections and Future Directions

"Redefining Multicultural Families in South Korea is a fascinating account of how the multilevel politics of partner selection, family formation, interpersonal intimacy, and cultural brokerage and mediation work and how, from time to time, it is modified and reconceptualized in multicultural South Korean contexts. As many chapters in this volume superbly demonstrate, there is a complex and dynamic relationship between the varied practices and lived experiences of multiculturalism versus South Korea’s multicultural family policies – one of the major merits of the volume is that it offers a sophisticated and illuminating investigation of why this relationship is often conflicting and tense in nature and of how the changing dynamics and content of the interplay between these personal and family practices/experiences as well as state policies can be meticulously documented and analyzed. In order to emphasize that marriage migration is only one of the many possible ways of forming multicultural families, the authors pay special attention to the high diversity of contemporary immigrants (among others, to the families of undocumented migrant workers or Korean-Chinese migrants) who become part of multicultural families in South Korea. In an effort to deconstruct and destigmatize the popular depiction of immigration, the chapters convincingly highlight and investigate the major challenges (economic precarity, exploitative labor conditions, racial discrimination, gender inequality, nationalist xenophobia, and restrictive immigration policies) that immigrants and their families face in their everyday life. Redefining Multicultural Families in South Korea presents not only a brilliant example of how state policies shape lived experiences and everyday practices of multiculturalism (and vice versa), but also offers a perceptive insight into the dynamics and logic of distribution of marital power between spouses living in multicultural families and into how the intra-family politics of inequality (based on race, ethnicity, legal status, nationality, socioeconomic status, or religion) affects multicultural family members in contemporary South Korea."

Péter Berta (an excerpt from the Series Foreword for Redefining Multicultural Families in South Korea)

To submit a proposal for a new book in the series, please contact: 

Kimberly Guinta, Executive Editor, Rutgers University Press, 848-445-7786; and Péter Berta, Series Editor, University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies;  

Before submitting a manuscript, please send a brief email of inquiry summarizing your project. Visit our website for manuscript submission guidelines:

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