Love and Marriage: Cultural Diversity in a Changing World by Serena  Nanda
142 pages, $22.95 list
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Love and Marriage
Cultural Diversity in a Changing World
Cultural anthropologist Serena Nanda mines a wide range of ethnographic research to examine the patterns of love, marriage, sexuality, and family unique to eight cultures around the world. After reviewing changing patterns in the United States, readers are taken to China, India, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, Nigeria, the South Pacific, and Nepal to explore traditions and transformations and the intertwining dynamics of kinship, class, politics, religion, and gender roles in love and marriage. An additional chapter traces the diversity of LGBTQ relationships, with contemporary examples drawn from the US, Indonesia, and India. A valuable summary chapter features a brief analysis of similar and different cultural configurations.

Nanda's ethnographically rich examples and fresh perspective will challenge readers to understand that their own culture is not natural or superior but rather just one of many possibilities adapted to specific environments and subject to changes.
“Nanda, in this well-written, cogent volume, delves deeply into the nature of love and marriage. Same-sex relationships and romantic love are brilliantly decoded. This is a fascinating read; ideal for undergraduate students.” — Douglas Feldman, SUNY Brockport

“Nanda provides accessible yet rich descriptions of how marriage and families vary around the world. Most importantly, it offers an account of how the choice of a partner, or family structure, are evolving and how the idea and practice of romantic love is advancing as individualism and economic constraints rise.” — Maria Aysa Lastra, Winthrop University

"The book is really fascinating. Nanda covers global diversity and does as much as anyone could in a small paperback to decenter normativity. The book will help me discuss transnational religious customs in a religious studies course." — Michelle Mueller, Santa Clara University

"This is an engaging introductory text that supplements the sociological literature we typically assign in a Family course. There is too little on international/global diversity in our discipline so the Nanda book has been the perfect text to expose my students to other ways of life and other family and marriage practices. They love learning about different cultures and I think Nanda gives them that without essentializing the differences." — Roslyn Schoen, Texas A&M University

"Terrific and timely survey of the diversity of forms of love and marriage. Engagingly written." — Kathleen M. Adams, Loyola University Chicago

"Holistic, engaging, it presents fundamental concepts in a unique format. Dr. Nanda is a master storyteller whose passion for perspective is evident in all her work." — Kimberly Nguyen, Buffalo State College

"Serena Nanda, a pioneer in the anthropology of gender, has written a fascinating survey of the often-fraught relationship among love, marriage, romance, and sexuality around the world. Attentive to the effects of social change, globalization, and political contexts on the everyday lives of people in diverse societies, this work engages with complexities while remaining highly readable." — Niko Besnier, University of Amsterdam
Table of Contents
1. Cultural Diversity in a Changing World
Is Marriage Universal? The Na of China / Cultural Diversity and Change / Understanding Culture / The Functions of Marriage and Family / Marriage and Kinship / Companionate Marriage / Gender Roles / Family Structures / Book Outline

2. Contradictions, Conflicts, and Change: The United States
Sexuality / Love and Marriage / The Changing Family

3. From Past to Present: Love and Marriage in China
Marriage in Imperial China / Cultural Change under Communism / Political Commitment and Diversity / The Contemporary Era / More Changes / The Increasing Value of Love

4. Marriage and Love: Variations on a Theme in Modern Indian
Love Marriage and Arranged Marriage / The Urban Upper-Middle Class of Mumbai: Arranged Marriage / Love and Love Marriage / Sites of Change: International Call Centers / Sites of Change: Indian Garment Factories / The Effects of Poverty on Arranged Marriage

5. Sexuality, Love, and Marriage: The Brazilian Favela
Portuguese Colonization / Honor, Shame, and the Patriarchal Bargain / Economics and the Patriarchal Bargain / Love Desired, Love Abandoned / Obstacles to Change / Race, Class, and Sexuality

6. Diversity in Islam: Exploring the Islamic Republic of Iran
Women's Modesty / Marriage and Love / Changing Ideology and Practices in Iran

7. Matriarchy and Matriliny: The Minangkabau of Indonesia
Marriage / The Big House / Gender Roles / Conflicts in Marriage / Islam, the Indonesian State, and Cultural Change / Traditional Matriarchy: Will It Continue?

8. Courtship, Marriage, and Fidelity: The Igbo of Nigeria
Courtship and Marriage / Enabling Male Infidelity / Infidelity and Gender Roles / The Risks of HIV

9. Fact and Fantasy: Sexuality in Polynesia
Hierarchy and Kinship / Sexuality and Virginity / Adolescent Culture / What about Love? Marriage and Children / Cultural Change / The Influence of Margaret Mead

10. Brothers Share a Wife: Fraternal Polyandry in the Himalayas
Fraternal Polyandry in Practice / Sexual Access / Sex, Love, and Marriage / Paternity / The Breakup of Families / Explaining Polyandry

11. Same-Sex Relationships: Variations in Sexuality, Love, and Marriage
Ancient Greece and Rome / Modern Times / Gay Marriage / Lesbian Relationships in Indonesia / Sex, Love, and Marriage among Indian Hijras / A Note on Terminology

12. Romantic Love and Marriage: Similarities and Differences in a Changing World
Number of Spouses / Romantic Love and Marital Stability / Choosing a Mate / Kinship and Gender Roles / The Role of Economics, Politics, and Religion