In Kinship, Islam, and the Politics of Marriage in Jordan, Geoffrey Hughes sets out to trace the "marriage crisis" in Jordan and the Middle East. Rapid institutional, technological, and intellectual shifts in Jordan have challenged the traditional notions of marriage and the role of powerful patrilineal kin groups in society by promoting an alternative ideal of romantic love between husband and wife.
Drawing on many years of fieldwork in ruralJordan, Kinship, Islam, and the Politics of Marriagein Jordan provides a firsthand look at how expectations around marriage are changing for young people in the Middle East even as they are still expected to raise money for housing, bridewealth, and a wedding. Kinship, Islam, and the Politics of Marriage in Jordan offers an intriguing look at the contrasts between the traditional values and social practices of rural Jordanians around marriage and the challenges and expectations of young people as their families negotiate the concept of kinship as part of the future of politics, family dynamics, and religious devotion
Note on Transliteration
Introduction: A Crisis of Marriage, A Crisis of Legitimacy? Part I: The House: Changing Conceptions of Property and Domestic Space 1. The House
2. The Housing Market Part II: The Proposal: Making Persons and Other Moral Agents 3. The Delegation
4. The Courthouse Part III: The Wedding: Privatizing Joys? 5. The Feast
6. The Chastity Society
Conclusion: Affection and Mercy
Geoffrey F. Hughes is Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Exeter.
"Hughes has written a one-of-a-kind study of the politics and textures of Muslim marriage in contemporary Jordan. The beautifully-written book explores marriage on multiple scales, from the necessary house to the housing market, the wedding feast to the courthouse, the home wedding to the mass wedding. Engaging multiple theoretical approaches and scholarly traditions, and using rich ethnographic research in Jordan, Hughes shows the importance of the Islamic Movement, the Jordanian government, and major banks to understanding the shape and workings of "affection and mercy" in the country."—Frances S. Hasso, Duke University
"Hughes is a versatile ethnographer. His accounts of Jordanian weddings, the inner workings of the sharia courts, where marriages are certified, the gender counseling and sex education offered to engaged couples by Islamist NGOs, the building and buying of homes for newlyweds — all are captivating and complexly rendered. The centrality of marriage to Jordanian political economy emerges vividly on these pages, as do the joys and frustrations of married life. It is a remarkable study, from start to finish."—Andrew Shryock, University of Michigan
"In this compelling and illuminating account, Geoffrey Hughes vividly demonstrates the productivity of marriage as a lens through which to understand society. Engagingly written, nuanced and ethnographically rich, his rendition of houses, proposals and weddings in Jordan enlarges our comprehension of marriage's enduring significance-a tour de force."—Janet Carsten, University of Edinburgh