From ‘Indissoluble Sacrament’ to ‘Ambiguity’: Marriage, Divorce and Modernization from 1970 to 21st Century Contemporary India
Rising divorce rates in urban India have become central to the emergent discourse on marriage, social change and neo-liberalism. In this seminar, Shalini Grover historically traces and compares Hindu divorce and the character of marital strife from the 1970's to the present century.
In middle-class perception and journalistic accounts, formal divorce is a fast occurring phenomenon. To interrogate these claims, Shalini Grover offers a historical, comparative analysis of Hindu divorce and the character of marital strife from the 1970s to today. A key aim is to critique the ‘modernization’ hypothesis (‘growing individualism’) that is typically invoked in pedestrian and sociological analysis of divorce. Based on this, Grover foregrounds prominent societal changes, such as how marriage is being viewed in an economically secure echelon of urban India, where ‘indissoluble sacrament’ has been the established ideal.
Shalini Grover received her PhD from the Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex and is based at the Institute of Economic Growth, University of Delhi, most recently as Associate Professor.