Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Biosoc Sci. 1999 Oct;31(4):449-61.

Community perceptions of reasons for preference for consanguineous marriages in Pakistan.

Author information

  • 1Department of Public Health & Nutrition, University of Wollongong, Australia.

Abstract

Although the recent Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) show that two-thirds of marriages in Pakistan are consanguineous, the sociocultural determinants of such marriages remain largely unexplored. This paper examines the relative importance of the three commonly perceived reasons for such marriages: religious, economic and cultural. The analysis is based on qualitative data collected in 1995 from multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan. Results show that consanguineous marriages are preferred across all ethnic and religious groups to a varying degree, and that parents continue to be the prime decision-makers for marriages of both sons and daughters. The major reasons for a preference for consanguineous marriages are sociocultural rather than any perceived economic benefits, either in the form of consolidation of family property or smaller and less expensive dowries. Among Muslims, following religious traditions is the least commonly cited reason for such marriages. Despite the reported sociocultural advantages of consanguineous marriages, such unions are perceived to be exploitative as they perpetuate the existing power structures within the family.

PIP:

This study examines the relative importance of religious, economic and cultural reasons for consanguineous marriages in Pakistan. The analysis is based on qualitative data collected through interviews and focus group discussions in 1995 from multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities in Karachi, Pakistan. Results revealed that sociocultural determinants of marriage choice dominate over religion or economic reasons in the preference for consanguineous marriages. All ethnic and religious groups prefer consanguineous marriages in varying degree, and parents continue to be the prime decision-makers for marriages of both sons and daughters. Among Muslims, following religious traditions is the least commonly cited reason for such marriages. Although there are certain sociocultural advantages of consanguineous marriages, such unions are perceived to be exploitative as they perpetuate the existing power structure within the family. Most women in the study felt that consanguineous unions provided the in-laws with more opportunity for manipulation. This study therefore concludes that with the widespread prevalence of consanguineous marriages, there is a need to study not only the health implications of such union, but also to understand the sociological underpinnings of marriage choice.

PMID:
10581876
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk