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Title: Unshackling the Dowry Debate : Re-assessing Marital breakdown and conjugal violence.
Author: Gloster Wyatt, Robin James
ISNI:       0000 0001 3501 0282
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2008
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This interdisciplinary study re-examines contemporary understandings of the role p.layed by dowry in situations of marital breakdown and conjugal violence in India. It challenges the assumption that dowry lies at the centre of alleged cases of cruelty and unnatural deaths of married women. In addition to the rich and insightful data gleaned from extensive in-depth interviews of both complainants and - unlike' in previous studies defendants in 'dowry-related' cruelty and death cases in Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi, a large number of experts were consulted from a diversity of disciplines. It is shown that today's metropolitan city marriages are multidimensional relationships that must be negotiated by both spouses and their kin. Issues such as values, expectations, roles, power, loyalty and financial arrangements all have to be worked out within the contexts of a contested sphere where many actors can have inputs and influence. Where this complicated path is navigated unsuccessfully and breakdown results, sometimes manifesting itself in violent and even deadly ways, the dispute too often enters the public realm as a 'dowry problem'. This seems to be in part due to the fact that in today's cultural climate, this is considered less humiliating than disclosing what may actually be more about emotional or even sexual problems; and partly because Indian law has been framed in such a way as to suggest that only the pro-women anti-dowry laws can lead to some kind of remedy. In sum, the thesis suggests that lawmakers' imprisonment by positivistic assumplions, leading to an approach that has focussed too much on regulating culture, has demonstrated their failure to understand how to use law in dayto- day life. It ends by attempting to address this failure,. considering means to reform the statute law but also, more importantly, suggesting workable remedies beyond the law.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available