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Marrying for a Future

Transnational Sri Lankan Tamil Marriages in the Shadow of War

The civil war between the Sri Lankan state and Tamil militants, which ended in 2009, lasted more than three decades and led to mass migration, mainly to India, Canada, England, and continental Europe. In Marrying for a Future, Sidharthan Maunaguru argues that the social institution of marriage has emerged as a critical means of building alliances between dispersed segments of Tamil communities, allowing scattered groups to reunite across national borders. Maunaguru explores how these fragmented communities were rekindled by connections fostered by key participants in and elements of the marriage process, such as wedding photographers, marriage brokers, legal documents, and transit places.

Marrying for a Future contributes to transnational and diaspora marriage studies by looking at the temporary spaces through which migrants and refugees travel in addition to their home and host countries. It provides a new conceptual framework for studies on kinship and marriage and addresses a community that has been separated across borders as a result of war.

About the Authors

Sidharthan Maunaguru is assistant professor in the South Asian Studies Programme and the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore.

Reviews

"Brilliant . . . The book is a clear, fresh portrait of the Tamil community as phoenix; [Maunaguru's] fieldwork is a carefully observed aggregation of community tendernesses in the face of the often-cold bureaucracies around migration and marriage."—V.V. Ganeshananthan, Himal Southasian magazine

Endorsements

"Addresses a most important topic not only in Tamil migration, but in migration situations in general and in prolonged processes of forced displacement in particular."—Oivind Fuglerud, author of Life on the Outside: The Tamil Diaspora and Long-Distance Nationalism

"This innovative and provocative book reflects a renewed anthropological interest in migration and transnationalism. Maunaguru reveals a whole new dimension of transnational marriage by documenting the role of marriage brokers and 'marriage packagers' and the tragic dilemmas that sometimes arise from marriages in which one spouse is an immigrant."—Isabelle Clark-Deces, author of The Right Spouse: Preferential Marriages in Tamil Nadu

"Marrying for a Future is a work of stunning complexity in which the experience of the long civil war in Sri Lanka is rendered through stories of unmaking and remaking of life. As families navigate the uncertainties of transnational migration we see how new forms of life emerge over the ruins of lives destroyed by war and chronic violence. A work of love and unmistakable courage."—Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University

9780295745411 : marrying-for-a-future-maunaguru-sivaramakrishnan-yang
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202 Pages
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