Paths of Marriage in Istanbul: Arranging Choices and Choice in Arrangements, Ethnography, Vol. 5, Issue 2, 2004.

This essay focuses on the complex interplay between choice and arrangement in marriage processes that emerges from the life stories of 15 couples from diverse origins living in Istanbul, Turkey, gathered as part of a wider ethnographic study of family life and reproduction conducted in 19956. It questions the dichotomy drawn between arranged, and love or choice marriages, typically associated with different marriage regimes and forms of family life, particularly in accounts of transition to modernity; and, further, the universality of the vision and experience of a particular sense of selfhood that underlies such accounts. Four processes of marriage are delineated, each representing a different employment of the ways in which individual and familial desires and actions are interwoven. The discussion traces through personal accounts, located in specific histories and socio-cultural settings, multiple understandings and assessments of what choice means, how desires and actions of selves, spouses, and families are fitted together, and what, if anything, love has to do with marriage.
Author(s): Belgin Tekce  
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