Online Matrimonial Sites and the Transformation of Arranged Marriage in India

Online Matrimonial Sites and the Transformation of Arranged Marriage in India

Nainika Seth (University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch318

Abstract

Online personals have been a remarkably successful in the Western World and have been emulated in other cultural contexts. The introduction of the Internet can have vastly different implications on traditional societies and practices such as arranged marriages in India. This chapter seeks to investigate using an ethnographic approach the role of matrimonial Web sites in the process of arranging marriages in India. It seeks to explore how these Web sites have been appropriated by key stakeholders in arranging marriage and how such appropriation is changing the process and traditions associated with arranged marriage. The key contributions of this study are in that it is an investigation of complex social processes in a societal context different from traditional western research contexts and an exploration of how modern technologies confront societal traditions and long standing ways of doing things. Our investigation suggests that the use of matrimonial Web sites have implications for family disintermediation, cultural convergence, continuous information flows, ease of disengagement, virtual dating and reduced stigma in arranged marriages in India.

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