Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Love, Marriage, and Intimate Citizenship in Contemporary China and India: An introduction

  • HENRIKE DONNER (a1) and GONÇALO SANTOS (a2)
Extract

Theorists of globalization as well as activists' writing from a range of positions have argued that intimate practices are taking centre stage and becoming part of global discourses in the process. This holds true for the institution of marriage and the associated ideas about appropriate family forms, but also more generally for the ways in which ideas about ‘modern selves’ are realized in relationships based on reflexivity and self-knowledge through engagement with an intimate other.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Love, Marriage, and Intimate Citizenship in Contemporary China and India: An introduction
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Love, Marriage, and Intimate Citizenship in Contemporary China and India: An introduction
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Love, Marriage, and Intimate Citizenship in Contemporary China and India: An introduction
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All

1 See, for example, Giddens, A., The Transformation of Intimacy. Sexuality, Love, and Eroticism in Modern Societies, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1992 and Runaway World. How Globalization is Reshaping Our Lives, Profile Books, London, 1999; Jamieson, L., Intimacy. Personal Relationships in Modern Societies, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1998; Plummer, K., Intimate Citizenship. Private Decisions and Public Dialogues, Washington University Press, Seattle, 2003; Povinelli, E., The Empire of Love. Toward a Theory of Intimacy, Genealogy, and Carnality, Duke University Press, Durham, 2006; Illouz, E., Cold Intimacies. The Making of Emotional Capitalism, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007 and Why Love Hurts? A Sociological Explanation, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2012.

2 Wardlow, H., Wayward Women: Sexuality and Agency in New Guinea Society, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2006.

3 Hirsch, J., Courtship after Marriage: Sexuality and Love in Mexican Transnational Families, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2003.

4 Ahearn, L., Invitations to Love: Literacy, Love Letters, and Social Change in Nepal, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2001.

5 Smith, D., ‘Love and the risk of HIV: courtship, marriage, and infidelity in Southeastern Nigeria’, in Hirsch, J. and Wardlow, H. (eds), Modern Loves. The Anthropology of Romantic Courtship and Companionate Marriage, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2006, pp. 127–47.

6 See, for example, Hirsch and Wardlow, Modern Loves; M. Godelier, The Metamorphoses of Kinship, Verso, London, 2011; Stacey, J., Unhitched. Love, Marriage, and Family Values from West Hollywood to Western China, New York University Press, New York, 2012; Donner, H., ‘Love and marriage globally’, in Anthropology of this Century, 4, 2012, http://aotcpress.com/articles/love-marriage-globally/, [accessed 18 February 2016] and ‘One's own marriage. Love marriages in a Calcutta neighbourhood’, South Asia Research, vol. 22, January 2002, pp. 79–94; Orsini, F. (ed.), Love in South Asia. A Cultural History, University of Cambridge Press, Cambridge, 2006; Marsden, M., ‘Love and elopement in northern Pakistan’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 13, March 2007, pp. 91108; Moody, P., The Intimate State. Love-Marriage and the Law in Delhi, Routledge, Delhi, 2007; Ahearn, Invitations to Love; Friedman, S., Intimate Politics. Marriage, the Market and State Power in Southeastern China, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2006; Yan, Y., Private Life under Socialism. Love, Intimacy, and Family Change in a Chinese Village 1949–1999, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2003; Lee, H., Revolution of the Heart. A Genealogy of Love in China, 1900–1950, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2006; Brandtstädter, S. and Santos, G. (eds), Chinese Kinship. Contemporary Anthropological Perspectives, Routledge, London, 2009; Davis, D. and Friedman, S. (eds), Wives, Husbands and Lovers. Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Urban China, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2014; and Santos, G. and Harrell, S. (eds), Transforming Patriarchy. Chinese Families in the 21st Century, University of Washington Press, Seattle, in press.

7 See Moore, H., The Subject of Anthropology, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007.

8 Collier, S. J. and Ong, A., ‘Global assemblages: anthropological problems’, in Collier, S.J. and Ong, A. (eds), Global Assemblages. Technology, Ethics, and Politics as Anthropological Problem, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 2005, pp. 1114.

9 See Tsing, A. L., ‘The global situation’, Cultural Anthropology, vol. 15, January 2000, pp. 327–60 and Friction. An Ethnography of Global Connection, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2005.

10 Gaonkar, D. P. (ed.), Alternative Modernities, Duke University Press, Durham, 2001.

11 See, for example, Muthucumaraswamy, S. and Wang, J. (eds), China, India and the International Economic Order, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2010; Sharma, S. D., China and India in the Age of Globalization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2009; Dahlman, C., The World under Pressure. How China and India are Influencing the Global Economy and Environment, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2009; Jaffrelot, C. and van der Veer, P. (eds), Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China, Sage Publications, Delhi, 2008; Davin, D., and Harriss-White, B. (eds), China–India. Pathways of Economic and Social Development, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014; van der Veer, P., The Modern Spirit of Asia. The Spiritual and the Secular in China and India, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2014.

12 For a critique of the tendency to analyse the transformations associated with kinship in an age of globalization with reference to macro-level developments see, for example, McKinnon, S. and Cannell, F. (eds), Vital Relations. Modernity and the Persistent Life of Kinship, SAR Press, Santa Fe, 2013; Godelier, The Metamorphoses of Kinship; and Carsten, J., After Kinship, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014.

13 This concept is explored as part of a research project G. Santos is conducting at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Hong Kong (Project title: ‘Intimate Modernities. Love, Money, and Everyday Ethics in the Hills of Guangdong, 1976–2014’, Code: 201411159201).

14 For earlier forms and an account of change during the colonial period, see Chatterjee, I., Unfamiliar Relations. Family and History in South Asia, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, 2004; Sturman, R., The Government of Social Life in Colonial India, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2012.

15 Examples for the extensive amount of literature on these domesticities are Sangari, K., The Politics of the Possible. Essays on Gender, History, Politics, Colonial English, Tulika, Delhi, 2002; Walsh, J. E., Domesticity in Colonial India. What Women Learned when Men Gave Them Advice, Rowan and Littlefield, London, 2004.

16 See, for example, Chatterjee, P., The Nation and Its Fragments. Colonial and Postcolonial Histories, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1989.

17 See, for example, Ray, R. K., (ed.), Mind, Body and Society. Life and Mentality in Colonial Bengal, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1996; Raychaudhuri, T. (ed.), Perceptions, Emotions, Sensibilities. Essays on India's Colonial and Post-colonial Experiences, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1999; Majumdar, R., Marriage and Modernity. Family Values in Colonial Bengal, Duke University Press, Durham, 2009; Sreenivas, M., Wives, Widows, Concubines. The Conjugal Family Ideal in Colonial India, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2008; Kapila, K., ‘Conjugating marriage: state legislation and Gaddi kinship’, Contributions to Indian Sociology, vol. 38, Autumn 2004, pp. 379409; and Liechty, M., Suitably Modern. Making Middle-Class Culture in a New Consumer Society, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2002.

18 See for instance Ebrey, P. and Watson, J. L. (eds), Kinship Organization in Late Imperial China, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1986; Watson, R. and Ebrey, P. (eds), Marriage and Inequality in Late Imperial China, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1995; Hershatter, G., Women in China's Long Twentieth Century, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2007.

19 See, for example, Glosser, S., Chinese Visions of Family and State, 1915–1953, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2003; Hershatter, G., Dangerous Pleasures: Prostitution and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Shanghai, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2007; Croll, E., The Politics of Marriage in Contemporary China, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1981; Stacey, J., Patriarchy and Socialist Revolution in China, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1983.

20 See in addition to some of the above, Evans, H., Women and Sexuality in China. Dominant Discourses of Female Sexuality and Gender since 1949, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007; Hershatter, G., The Gender of Memory. Rural Women and China's Collective Past, University of California Press, Berkeley, 2007; Yan, Private Life under Socialism; and S. Harrell and G. Santos, ‘Introduction’, in Santos and Harrell, Transforming Patriarchy.

21 See, for example, Liechty, Suitably Modern; Jaffrelot and van der Veer, Patterns of Middle Class Consumption in India and China; Greenhalgh, S., Cultivating Global Citizens. Population in the Rise of China, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2010; Zhang, L., In Search of Paradise. Middle-Class Living in a Chinese Metropolis, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 2010; Donner, H. (ed.), Being Middle-Class in India. A Way of Life, Routledge, London, 2011; Baviskar, A. and Ray, R. (eds), Elite and Everyman. The Cultural Politics of the Indian Middle Classes, Routledge, Delhi, 2011; and Osburg, J., Anxious Wealth. Money and Morality among China's New Rich, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2013.

22 See Chakrabarty, D., Provincializing Europe. Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2011.

23 See Goode, W., ‘Theoretical importance of love’, American Sociological Review, vol. 24, February 1959, pp. 3847. Later theorizations of intimacy, modernity, and globalization include for example Giddens, A., Modernity and Self-identity. Self and Society in the Late Modern Age, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1991; Giddens, The Transformation of Intimacy; Giddens, A., Runaway World. How Globalization is Reshaping Our Lives, Profile Books, London, 1999; Beck, U., Giddens, A., and Lash, S., Reflexive Modernization. Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1994; and Beck, U. and Beck-Gernsheim, E., Individualization. Institutionalized Individualism and its Social and Political Consequences, Sage, London, 2002.

24 See Firth, R., Hubert, J., and Forge, A., Families and Their Relatives. Kinship in a Middle-Class Sector of London: An Anthropological Study, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1970; and Schneider, D. M. and Smith, R. T., Class Differences in American Kinship, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1978.

25 For example Becker, G., A Treatise on the Family, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1991.

26 An example for India is Orsini, Love in South Asia. For China, see, for example, Barlow, T., ‘Theorizing woman. Funü, Guojia, Jiating’, Genders, vol. 10, March 1991, pp. 132–60; and Lee, Revolution of the Heart.

27 For China see, for example, Potter, S., ‘The cultural construction of emotion in rural Chinese social life’, Ethnos, vol. 16, June 1988, pp. 181208; Yan, Private Life under Socialism; Fong, V., Only Hope. Coming of Age under China's One-child Policy, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2004; Evans, H., The Subject of Gender. Daughters and Mothers in Urban China, Rowman and Littlefield, London, 2004; Friedman, Intimate Politics; Zheng, Tiantian, Red Lights. The Lives of Sex Workers in Post-socialist China, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2009; Freeman, C., Making and Faking Kinship. Marriage and Labor Migration between China and South Korea, Cornell University Press, New York, 2011; and Santos and Harrell, Transforming Patriarchy. For South Asia see, for example, Vatuk, S., Kinship and Urbanization. White Collar Migrants in North India, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1972; Seymour, S. C., Women, Family, and Child Care in India. A World in Transition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999; Trawick, M., Notes on Love in a Tamil Family, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992; Jeffery, P. and Jeffery, R., Don't Marry Me to a Plowman. Women's Everyday Lives in North India, Westview Press, Boulder, 1996; Rajeha, G. G. and Gold, A., Listen to the Heron's Words. Reimagining Gender and Kinship in South Asia, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1994; Ahearn, Invitations to Love; Donner, H., Domestic Goddesses. Maternity, Globalisation and Middle-class Identity in Contemporary Urban India, Ashgate, Aldershot, 2008; Twambley, K., Love, Marriage and Intimacy among Gujarati Indians. A Suitable Match, Palgrave, London, 2014.

28 See, for example, Goode, ‘Theoretical importance of love’; and Giddens, The Transformation of Intimacy.

29 See Donner, Domestic Goddesses; and Santos and Harrell, Transforming Patriarchy.

30 See Hirsch and Wardlow, Modern Loves.

31 On Chinese (great and little) traditions of romantic love see, for example, Lee, Revolution of the Heart; Yan, Private Life under Socialism; Jankowiak, W., ‘Romantic passion in the People's Republic of China’, in Jankowiak, W. (ed.), Romantic Passion. A Universal Experience?, Columbia University Press, New York, 1997, pp. 166–83; Du, S., ‘“With one word and one strength”: Intimacy among the Lahu in Southwest China’, in Jankowiak, W. (ed.), Intimacies: Love and Sex across Cultures, Columbia University Press, New York, 2008, pp. 95121; and Shih, C., Quest for Harmony. The Moso Traditions of Sexual Union and Family Life, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2010. On South Asian traditions of romantic love see, for example, Orsini, Love in South Asia; Harlan, L. and Courtright, Paul B. (eds), From the Margins of Hindu Marriage. Essays on Gender, Religion and Culture, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995; Hawley, J. Stratton and Wulff, D. M. (eds), The Divine Consort. Radha and the Goddesses of India, Beacon Press, Boston, 1987; J. P. Parry, ‘Ankalu's errant wife. Sex, marriage and industry in contemporary Chhattisghar’, Modern Asian Studies, vol. 35, December 2001, pp. 783–820; Tiwari, G., ‘Interplay of love, sex and marriage in a polyandrous society in the high Himalayas of India’, in Jankowiak, W. (ed.), Intimacies: Love and Sex across Cultures, Columbia University Press, New York, 2008, pp. 122147;

32 For China see, for example, Pan, W., Love and Marriage in Globalizing China, Routledge, London, 2015; and Zhu, Y., Television in Post-Reform China. Serial Dramas, Confucian Leadership, and the Global Television Market, Routledge, London, 2008. For India see, for example, R. Dwyer, ‘Kiss or tell? Declaring love in Hindi films', in Orsini (ed.), Love in South Asia, pp. 289–302; and Brosius, C., ‘Love in the age of Valentine and pink underwear. Media and politics of intimacy in South Asia’, in Brosius, C. and Wenzlhuemer, R. (eds), Transcultural Turbulences. Interdisciplinary Explorations of Flows of Images and Media, Springer Verlag, Wien, 2011, pp. 2766.

33 See, for example, Walsh, Domesticity in Colonial India; Dong, M. and Goldstein, J. L. (eds), Everyday Modernity in China, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2006; Sangari, The Politics of the Possible.

34 This is the approach favoured by Jankowiak for example; see W. Jankowiak (ed.), Romantic Passion. A Universal Experience?, Columbia University Press, New York, 1997.

35 See Goode, ‘Theoretical importance of love’.

36 In this new paradigm, emotional communication has become the basis of intimacy, and the couple its exclusive site, see, for example, Giddens, A., Runaway World. How Globalization is Reshaping Our Lives, Profile Books, London, 1999. However, as Jamieson points out, the idea of intimacy and confessional selves is not exclusively focused on the couple, but includes the important redefinition of parent–child relationships and friendships; see Jamieson, Intimacy. Personal Relationships in Modern Societies.

37 For South Asia see, for example, Reddy, G., With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India, Chicago University Press, Chicago, 2005; Shahani, P., Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)longing in Contemporary India, Sage, Delhi, 2005. For China see, for example, Kong, T., Chinese Male Homosexualities: Memba, Tongzhi and Golden Boy, Routledge, London, 2011; Engebretsen, E., Queer Women in Urban China: An Ethnography, Routledge, New York, 2013; and Zheng, T.. Tongzhi Living: Men Attracted to Men in Post-socialist China, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2015. The fact that we could not elicit an article on these issues indicates the extent to which such scholarship has moved from the margins into the mainstream of knowledge production.

38 See, for example, Giddens, The Transformation of Intimacy, pp. 37–48.

39 See Povinelli, The Empire of Love. Along the same lines Weston argued that chosen ‘families’ as found in gay and lesbian networks of support she studied in the United States mark a new stage of emancipatory social life. See Weston, K., Families We Choose. Lesbians, Gays, Kinship, Columbia University Press, New York, 1997.

40 See for instance Carsten, J., After Kinship, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004.

41 See Miller, D., ‘What is a relationship? Is kinship negotiated experience?’, Ethnos, vol. 72, December 2007, pp. 535–54.

42 The notion that emotions form the basis of a civilizing mission in the course of which earlier forms of interaction, affect, mutuality, and recognition are superseded by autonomous choice, increased agency, and transformative internal states is not new. In fact, countering the narrative of ‘universal love’ and the biological basis of ‘desire’ is the work of scholars who unearth the history of emotions. As it turns out, China and India figure prominently in debates about ‘civility’, progress through civilizing the self, based on Western philosophy from early on. See, for example, Pernau, M. et al. Civilizing Emotions. Concepts in Nineteenth Century Asia and Europe, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015.

43 See, for example, Cole, J. and Thomas, L. (eds), Love in Africa, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2009.

44 See J. Cole. ‘Love, money, and economies of intimacy in Tamatave, Madagascar’, in Cole and Thomas, Love in Africa, pp. 109–34.

45 See Simpson, B., Changing Families. An Ethnographic Approach to Divorce and Separation, Bloomsbury, London, 1998.

46 In China, for example, when young people choose not to marry a particular person in order to accommodate the demands of their parents they often describe the decision in terms of a similar binary opposition. As for India, the discursive contrast between ‘love marriages’ and ‘arranged marriages’ demonstrates just how powerful the ideas of romance, self-sacrifice, and devotion, drawing on ideals of pure love, can be.

47 See, for example, the detailed discussion of ideal middle-class lifestyles among software engineers provided in Fuller, C. J. and Narasimhan, H., ‘Companionate marriage in India: The changing marriage system in a middle-class Brahman subcaste’, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 14, December 2008, pp. 736–54.

48 See Yan, Private Life under Socialism; and Davis, D., ‘The privatization of marriage in post-socialist China’, Modern China, vol. 40, November 2014, pp. 551–77.

49 See Parry, ‘Ankalu's errant wife’; and Donner, H., ‘One's own marriage: Love marriages in a Calcutta neighbourhood’, South Asia Research, vol. 22, January 2002, pp. 7994.

50 The term ‘deinstitutionalization’ is especially popular among sociologists working on North American and Western European contexts. See, for example, Cherlin, A., ‘The deinstitutionalization of American marriage’, Journal of Marriage and Family, vol. 66, November 2004, pp. 848–61.

51 See Collier and Ong, ‘Global assemblages, anthropological problems’.

52 Davis, D. and Friedman, S., ‘Deinstitutionalizing marriage and sexuality’, in Davis, D. and Friedman, S. (eds), Wives, Husbands, Lovers. Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Urban China, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2014, p. 3.

53 Davis and Friedman, Wives, Husbands, Lovers, pp. 26–27.

54 See, for example, J. Zhang and P. Sun, ‘“When are you going to get married?” Parental matchmaking and middle-class women in contemporary urban China’, in Davis and Friedman (eds), Wives, Husbands, and Lovers, pp. 118–44.

55 See, for example, Dreze, J. and Sen, A., An Uncertain Glory. India and its Contradictions, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2013.

56 See Plummer, Intimate Citizenship.

57 See for a wider discussion Brown, W. and Haley, J., Left Legalism/Left Critique, Duke University Press, Durham, 2002.

58 See, for example, Yan, Private Life under Socialism; Zhang, In Search of Paradise; Farquhar, J. B., Appetites: Food and Sex in Post-Socialist China, Duke University Press, Durham, 2002; and Rofel, L., Desiring China. Experiments in Neoliberalism, Sexuality, and Public Culture, Duke University Press, Durham, 2007.

59 See, for example, the proliferation of work on gender and law in India, such as Agnes, F., Ghosh, S. V., and Majlis (eds), Legal Domains, Gender Concerns, and Community Constructs, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2012, or the analysis of contemporary representations and ideals associated with social change and consumerism, for example Uberoi, P., Freedom and Destiny. Gender, Family, and Popular Culture in India, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2009; Lukose, R. A., Liberalization's Children. Gender, Youths, and Consumer Citizenship in Globalising India, Duke University Press, Durham, 2009.

60 See, for example, Povinelli, The Empire of Love; and Weston, Families We Choose.

61 Importantly, care seen through idioms of ‘love’ plays a huge role in the way marriage is conceptualized in relation to the family, whether with a view of raising children or looking after ageing parents. In many contexts, love as partner choice and love and emotional attachment to others merge into a politics of affect. As Hochschild remarks wryly with reference to transnational care migrants, ‘if love is a resource, it is a renewable resource; it creates more of itself’, a sentiment which many individuals in present-day China and India would share with regards to marriage and partner choice. See Hochschild, A. R., ‘Love and gold’, in Ehrenreich, B. and Hochschild, A. R. (eds), Global Women: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy, Metropolitan Books, New York, p. 23.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Modern Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 0026-749X
  • EISSN: 1469-8099
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-asian-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 143
Total number of PDF views: 696 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1038 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 16th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.