Between Choice and Force

Deborah J. Smith

in Land of the Unconquerable

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780520261853
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948990 | DOI:
Between Choice and Force

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This chapter addresses the manner in which individuals' opinions and desires frequently run counter to the demands of cultural norms, and also considers the diversity in how marriages in Afghanistan are decided, and the notions of force and choice in relation to marriage decisions. The aspects of marriage practices that can act as precursors to violence in the marriage, and the amount of awareness found across the communities as to the negative consequences of particular marriage practices are explained. It is emphasized that the levels of influence family members have over marriage decisions were found to be determined primarily by household structure and individuals' personal histories and characteristics rather than by gross demographic factors such as education levels; economic position; place of residence, whether urban or rural; and ethnicity. The diversity and complexity found in decision-making processes reveal that cultural norms are not fixed but open to change.

Keywords: marriages; Afghanistan; violence; household structure; ethnicity; residence; education

Chapter.  6051 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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