Intermarriages and Generational Relations: A Sociological Study in Kathmandu City
Marriage is one of the universal social institutions found in every society. It establishes not only conjugal relations between husband and wife, but also establishes relations between families. The population of Nepal consists of numerous racial, cultural, religious and linguistic groups who follow their own patterns of marriage. Since Nepal was a Hindu state before the Jana Andolan (People’s Movement II) of 2006, Hindu religion has a high place in its deep-rooted traditional customs, and shapes the ideal nature of marital relationships. Hindu doctrine prohibits youth participation in mate selection, encouraging instead early marriage arranged by the parents. Other aspects of Hinduism also prohibit divorce, inter-caste marriage and widow remarriage. In Nepal, endogamy was an established practice which limited the field of mate selection. We can actually consider that Nepal is undergoing social and economic change, such as an increase in education, a development of mass media, improved transport and communication systems, and exposure to the outside world. These social changes have dramatic impacts on the family, individual choices in marriage behavior related to participation in spouse choice, intermarriages and divorce. In a way, these changes have promoted intermarriages, which in turn have affected the traditional structures of the family. The traditional family in Nepal is, characteristically, the patriarchal joint family. In this model, it is the responsibility of the family members to arrange marriages for their younger relatives. But the shift from arranged marriage to self choice marriage has brought changes in both inter- and intra-generational relations. So the proposed study was undertaken to analyse the generational relations of women in intermarriage in Nepalese society.
Research questions/ hypothesis: As I am a PhD candidate, during my literature review on intermarriage from different perspectives, I found that most of the literature deals with intermarriages from a community and societal perspective. My interest was to find out about the family relations of intermarried women, with a particular focus on inter- and intra-generational relations. By “inter-generational”, in the study, I mean relations of intermarried women with their parents and parents in-laws. Moreover, “intra-generational” refers to relations with one’s siblings and siblings in-law. In arranged or endogamous marriages, a spouse is chosen by the family members on the basis of caste, economic status of the family etc. On the other hand, when individuals choose their own partners, the choice is often based on love, affection and personal compatibility. So it is assumed that marriages in which partners are chosen by the family members will have stronger generational relations, while the opposite will be true in intermarriages. Thus, the study aims to answer the following research questions:
- What is intermarriage?
2. Who are the women involved in intermarriages?
3. What kind of intermarriages takes place in Nepal?
- How are the inter- and intra-generational relations of intermarried women best described?
Methodology: Methodology is a method or mode of collecting data for the study to be undertaken. The present study is descriptive in nature and has been conducted in the city of Kathmandu. The universe of the study was women who are involved in intermarriages. For the purpose of this study, women who are intermarried were selected by simple random method. Data were collected by using an interview schedule. After the data collection, the schedule was edited, the code design was prepared and codes were transferred to coding sheets. Data analyzing is under process and will be added in the main paper.