Thursday, May 12, 2011

Abstract 2011 Fritzi-Marie Titzmann

Fritzi-Marie Titzman, Humboldt-University Berlin


Gender and Mobility: a case study on Gujarati Matrimonial Media

The Indian online matrimonial market is not only an increasingly popular way of matchmaking for Indians as well as Non Resident Indians across the globe but also a highly differentiated phenomenon which mirrors trends of medial and social development in India. Almost paradigmatically, matrimonial media in its diversity exemplifies the Indian media’s current tendency of regional differentiation.

The proposed paper will introduce a case study on the specific dynamics of the Gujarati matrimonial market. There exists a very diverse and specialized Gujarati marriage market, consisting of hundreds of websites and marriage bureaus in Gujarat as well as in many other parts of India and abroad. Though the idea of marrying within one’s own community is by far not unique to the Gujarati community, they seem to be particularly active in the matrimonial media market – probably due to the vast number of community members living abroad. The highly stratified Gujarati matrimonial landscape reflects a very strong regional emphasis while being transnational at the same time. In the case of Gujarat, the diaspora’s social inclusion is further actuated through political campaigns by right-wing Hindu nationalists aiming for a re-orientation of NRI-Gujaratis towards their homeland.

Therefore, Gujarati matrimonial media serves as an interesting example to illustrate processes of regionalization as well as deterritorialization. These dynamics are closely connected to a general increase of social, physical, and medial mobility which reflects in spatial dimensions, new communication patterns, and changing gender roles and subjectivities as well. The case study discovers the multiple ways in which Gujarati women embrace matrimonial media involving social, geographical and medial mobility.

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