Translocal and local dynamics of a global media phenomenon:
Changing female subjectivity and agency in the Indian online matrimonial market
Indian matrimonial websites as a new and increasingly popular medium of seeking a marriage partner are conquering India’s marriage market since the late 1990s with millions of users. Despite of their traditional outlook in structure and design these online spaces are nevertheless reflecting new dimensions of media usage and partner choice. They show an active intervention from people in their own future planning. Ninety percent of India’s marriages are still termed as “arranged” in opposition to the category of “love marriage”. But newer tendencies show that this dichotomy of terms need an urgent revision. The problem of a simplified polarisation is inherent in the terms’ construction. Thus actual social changes can’t be reflected when these are the only two categorisations.
The research project assumes a basic connection between a growing media acquisition and profound social change within contemporary Indian society. It explores in what way changes in female subjectivity and agency can be shown using the example of the Indian online matrimonial market. This internet phenomenon is also strongly related to transnational dynamics in the context of migration and the Indian diaspora. As a component of the Indian media landscape, matrimonial websites promote transnational integration of the diaspora and thus contribute to the conception of a global “Indianness“. The construction process of new concepts of Indian feminity termed as “The New Indian Woman” is part of the research as well. Last but not least the field provides a lively example of the general increasing media permeation in various arenas of life.