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Taking the strain: second generation British Asian Muslim Males and arranged marriage in London

Aziz, Rashid (2017). Taking the strain: second generation British Asian Muslim Males and arranged marriage in London. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This thesis considers how second generation British Asian Muslim males negotiate arranged marriage, religion and leisure, and how this negotiation is a means to achieve a culturally prescribed goal. The culturally prescribed goal will be demonstrated to be the attainment of wealth and the maintenance of family bonds. An ethnographic study of thirty second generation British Asian Muslim males was conducted in order to understand how decisions regarding marriage and leisure are made. The modes of negotiation of marriage, leisure and religion are analysed using Merton’s (1938, 1957) Anomie and Strain theory as well as Murphy and Robinson’s (2008) concept of the maximiser. Empirical research is used to describe and analyse how the maximiser achieves the culturally prescribed goal mentioned above. It is argued that the maximiser uses both legitimate and illegitimate means in order to achieve a culturally prescribed goal. The legitimate means in this study are having an arranged marriage and abiding by rules of Islam and the family. It will be argued that through a process of intense socialisation, the means to achieve the culturally prescribed goal are learnt from childhood for some British Asian Muslims. It will be argued that culture is misrepresented as religion in order to facilitate this process of intense socialisation in some British Muslim communities which creates a pressure to conform. The modes of adaptation to this pressure including the conformist, the innovator, the Ritualist, the Retreatist and the Rebel are explored. The focus of the study is on the maximiser as it is argued that the maximiser reproduces a system of transnational consanguineous arranged marriages. The methods of negotiation are analysed using symbolic interactionist perspectives, namely Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (Goffman 1959) and Delinquency and Drift (Matza 1964). This process of negotiating marriage particularly when considering transnational consanguineous marriages, is referred to as the lifelong Business of Marriage. The Business of Marriage is defined as: a system in which transnational consanguineous marriages are taking place under the following conditions: (1) There is a process of intense socialisation where respect for parents and cultural practices are internalised (2) where British nationality is given to the incoming spouse (3) where financial and social support is given to the British husband. This thesis will demonstrate that British Asian Muslim males who fall under the category of the Maximiser are willing to forgo the opportunity of choosing their own spouses in order to inherit the family wealth and to keep bonds between families strong. It is also demonstrated that when a transnational marriage fails within the period required in order for the transnational wife to apply for a British visa, the British husband will stay legally married to his spouse in order to ensure the attainment of a permanent British visa. Finally, this research explores the future generations and argues that the Business of Arranged Marriage will end with the fourth generation of British Asian Muslim males. It is argued that this is the case because at this time, the first generation of south Asian Muslim immigrants into this country will not be present and the wealth of the families would have been passed on to the next generation. This thesis concludes by recommending further research into British Asian Muslim males and marriage, specifically around the areas of forced and arranged marriage.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
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