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2015 Abstracts

Attitudes Towards Cross-caste Marriage in Visakhapatnam, India

Ashley Smith, Brigham Young University


The author argues that attitudes towards cross-caste marriage in Visakhapatnam, India are changing due to women who have attained a degree in higher education. Attitudes towards cross-caste marriage in India have always brought about turmoil for families whose children decided to marry someone outside of their caste. While cross-caste marriages are now legally allowed in India, it is still so socially taboo that even those that do participate in cross-caste marriage do not like to tell others that they are part of a cross- caste marriage. But times are continuing to change. The author’s research in Visakhapatnam, India concerning cross-caste marriages, and marriages in general, have brought to light data that may show that attitudes towards cross-caste marriage are changing in the light of higher education. Those interviewed by the author who were willing to talk about their own cross-caste marriage, or their son’s or daughter’s cross-caste marriage, have stated that or made mention to the fact that those who were well-educated were more willing to participate in cross-caste marriage as well as speak of being in a cross-caste marriage. It’s how people speak of it though that makes the author’s research interesting. They speak of their cross- caste marriage through education. It was either their mothers or themselves that mentioned that they have had higher education, usually at a university that the attitudes they grew up with about cross-caste marriage are softened.