Geographies of Marriage and Migration: Arranged Marriages and South Asians in Britain



This article examines the extant literature on marriage and migration with reference to the South Asian populations in Britain (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi). It will focus specifically on debates surrounding the practice of arranged marriages, their purpose, value and status in Britain. It will identify a gap in the literature when it comes to theorising and revealing the contemporary lived experience of arranged marriage among South Asians in Britain through lenses other than that of forced marriage. The article will begin by discussing the different ways in which arranged marriages have been defined. Central to this discussion will be an examination of how arranged marriages, as they are practised by the South Asian diaspora, are viewed as opposed to western notions of marriage. It will make a case for a renewed understanding of the institution of arranged marriage, one which gives due recognition to the affective register of such practices. It will conclude by calling for human geography research to attend to how contemporary British South Asians ‘do’ an arranged marriage, in order to see the ways in which this practice has been translated and reworked to suit individual aspiration and new (trans)national contexts.