Muslim Marriage and Non-Marriage
Where Religion and Politics Meet Intimate Life
Edited by Julie McBrien and Annelies Moors
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Perspectives and practices of couples in unconventional Muslim marriages.
Unconventional Muslim marriages have been topics of heated public debate. Around the globe, religious scholars, policy makers, political actors, media personalities, and women’s activists discuss, promote, or reject unregistered, transnational, interreligious and other boundary-crossing marriages. Couples entering into such marriages, however, often have different concerns from those publicly discussed. Based on ethnographic research in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, the chapters of this volume examine couples’ motivations for, aspirations about, and abilities to enter into these marriages. The contributions show the diverse ways in which such marriages are concluded, and inquire into how they are performed, authorized or contested as Muslim marriages. These marriages may challenge existing ties of belonging and transform boundaries between religious and other communities, but they may also, and sometimes simultaneously, reproduce and solidify them.
Building on insights from different disciplines, both from the social sciences (anthropology, political science, gender and sexuality studies) and from the humanities (history, Islamic legal studies, religious studies), the authors address a wide range of controversial Muslim marriages (unregistered, interreligious, transnational, etc.), and include the views of religious scholars, state authorities, and political actors and activists, as well as the couples themselves, their families, and their wider social circle.
Contributors: Joud Alkorani (Radboud University), Rahma Bavelaar (University of Applied Sciences Leiden), Loubna Elmorabet (University of Amsterdam), Shifra Kisch (University College Utrecht), Iris Kolman (University of Amsterdam), Martijn de Koning (Radboud University), Eva F. Nisa (Australian National University), Ibtisam Sadegh (University of Malta), Samah Saleh (An-Najah National University), Vanessa Vroon-Najem (Amsterdam Museum), Dina Zbeidy (University of Applied Sciences Leiden).
Ebook available in Open Access.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).
Format: Edited volume - paperback
Size: 234 × 156 mm
Publication: October 16, 2023
Series: Islam, Culture and Society
Julie McBrien is associate professor at the University of Amsterdam, where she held the Chair for the Social-scientific study of Muslim Societies at the Department of Anthropology
Muslim marriage practices have evolved and changed across the Global North and South, with problematising discourses dominating the treatment of ‘boundary-crossing’ unregistered marriages. In this volume, leading researchers in the field draw on long-term empirical projects evidencing such practices in multiple state settings from both the North and South, providing a unique insight into evolving norms and practices and state engagement. The insights of the multiple authors, and Moors and McBrien, offer a significant contribution to our understanding of the problematising discourse and the experiences of those engaging in such marriages.
Rajnaara Akhtar, University of Warwick
A unique book that combines lucid theoretical perspectives on a variety of current "controversies" about Muslim marriages with a rich set of fine-grained ethnographic explorations of the life stories of those involved in these kinds of marriages. The intimate stories expose the very politics of "problematizing" certain marriages and marriage practices while the careful analyses unpack the stakes of those generating the controversies, whether states, political parties, religious authorities, or families. The personal experiences reveal the complex conditions of these actual marriages and let us see how individual women's personal and social circumstances, considerations, desires and even affects shape their marriage choices. Beautifully researched and sharply conceptualized, this book is sure to change the conversation. Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University
Moors and McBrien’s collection dynamically displays the global diversity of Muslim marriages. They capture what makes marriages “Muslim,” while documenting the vast array of experience, expediency, and agency of Muslim women and men, in the face of the state, religious institutions, and on the ground socio-political-cultural conditions. An ethnographically rich curation of lived realities.
Suad Joseph, University of California, Davis
The focus on the agency of women and men alike resets the discussion of
these marriages, much of which had positioned women as victims. The
transregional theme allows the editors to make novel observations about the
malleability of Muslim marriage in different cultural and social
settings. The variety of cases present a wide array of voices from
different genders, classes, religious groups, and geographical settings and
give the reader a good sense of how this variety of voices and settings lends
complexity to the discussion of Muslim marriage.
Judith E. Tucker, Georgetown University