Arranged Marriages Essay Research Paper A Study

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Arranged Marriages Essay, Research Paper A Study of Arranged Marriages ?An Arranged Marriage refers to a situation in which marriage partners are chosen primarily by someone other than the partners themselves. These other persons are usually parents, but they may also be other kin, a matchmaker, or an agency. Because the marriage partners may or may not be consulted, this situation implies a strong sense of family loyalty.? (Patricia Uberoi, p.15) An arranged marriage is a type of mate selection in which the individual getting married has little or no choice in selecting a spouse because family members?usually parents? are more influential in the process. In sociology, arranged marriages are viewed and studied as a particular form of mate selection. Arranged Marriages add to

the understanding of the functions of marriage, types of social authority, and the nature of the families living in traditional societies. However, arranged marriages are considered by North American standards, to be unacceptable in principle when compared to choices available based on romantic love. But arranged marriages are certainly not rare, as a large percentage of the worlds population engages in this practice. Nonetheless, the concept of arranged marriage is viewed differently by different people. In the Middle Ages, the kinship unit was very important in the transmission of property and the protection of the individual and the family. The bride and the groom were the least important unit in forming of a marriage because parents, other kin, the church, and the community

all played major roles. Accordingly, marriages could be contracted in order to implement an alliance between feuding families. Not only would this practice continue to enhance the value of the kinship group, but also it would help keep the tradition of endogamy (a societal expectation that individuals should marry partners very much like themselves in terms of race, ethnicity, and class). Marriage in traditional Japan meant that a couple became permanent members of an extended household and were expected to fulfill familial obligations. They were providing a vital link to ancestors by bringing infants into the world and taking care of elders soon to leave the world. Because of these important cultural mandates, it made sense that parents, rather than sons and daughters, would

select marriage partners. Recent studies done in India and Bangladesh listed a number of functions that arranged marriages serve. According to the studies, arranged marriages helped to maintain social stratification, to affirm and strengthen parental power over children, to keep family traditions and value system intact, to consolidate and extend family property, to enhance the value of the kinship group, to maintain the tradition of endogamy (a societal expectation that individuals should marry partners very much like themselves in terms of race, ethnicity, and class), and to aid young people in finding mates. (B. Goswami, J.Sarkar, and D. Danda, pg.156) In looking at China?s modern-day society, it is possible to see how the communist government attempted to eradicate such

aspects of traditional society by declaring arranged marriages to be invalid in the 1950s. Individuals in China were encouraged to select their own mates without parental consent, thus greater loyalty to the state than to the family. However, China?s policy was not accepted by many of the older generation. They maintained control over their children?s marriages because they had the economic resources to do so. The children could legally win the right to select their own spouse, but it was difficult to disobey parents with whom they might have had to live after marriage. The authority of parents cannot be overemphasized. When the young live close to their parents and are dependent on them, parental power remains strong. If parents can arrange their children?s marriages while they