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Accepted Paper:

Rules transgression and sexual violence: exploring (un)careful pathways into and out of an arranged marriage in Tajikistan  
Swetlana Torno (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity)

Paper short abstract:

This paper traces how disregard of conventional engagement rules drives a young woman into an undesired marriage and entails the acceptance of physical abuse as an exit strategy. It provides insights on the entanglements of care, dependency, and violence while (un)doing kinship relations.

Paper long abstract:

Intergenerational relations are often characterized by specific rules of conduct and care obligations. In Tajikistan, one of the five post-soviet Central Asian republics, parents are expected to emotionally and physically provide for their children, enable a good education, and assist in founding an own family, which includes partner choice and coverage of wedding expenses. Children on their part should respect their parents, obey their wishes, and care for them in old age. While the actual marriage practices often work around the normative rules so as to accommodate children’s opinions into matrimonial decisions, disregard of their wishes occurs and can prompt bodily harm of the bride or groom. Focusing on an undesired marriage of a young woman, this paper traces how the negligence of conventional engagement rules, the need to protect a family’s reputation, and the importance of kinship ties as a source of care motivates the bride to initially submit to local customs and induce a divorce later in time by refusing matrimonial intercourse and accepting physical abuse. The case study offers insights on the entanglements of care, dependency, and sexual violence while (un)doing kinship relations and discusses how the transgression of rules can be an act of self-care as well as generate uncanny forms of care. The paper is based on eleven months of stationary fieldwork in a provincial town in Tajikistan on women’s life courses and the re-organization or public and private care arrangements.

Panel Heal01a
Care as act of transgression I
  Session 1