Love by arrangement: the ambiguity of ‘spousal choice’ in a Turkish village

Authors

  • Kimberly Hart

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Regina
      Department of Anthropology, University of Regina, Regina, SK, S4S 0A2, Canada. kilhart@gmail.com
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Department of Anthropology, University of Regina, Regina, SK, S4S 0A2, Canada. kilhart@gmail.com

Abstract

Through an ethnographic story of a couple in a village in western Turkey who met by arrangement and created a romance before marriage, I explore the relationship between courtship and ideologies of modernity. Parents have absorbed the prejudice that arranged marriage is outmoded and claim they refuse to arrange marriages as a sign of enlightened modernity. In contrast to ideological claims, arranged marriage is not uncommon. Today, arranged marriage bridges the apparent gap between love-match and arrangement, as parents allow children space for developing romance after engagement. This article shows how ideologies of modernity are modified to accommodate individual needs, and in the process parents are willing to expand the definition of arranged marriage to include romance.

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