Marital Quality in Inter-caste and Intra-caste Marriages

By Packiaraj Arumugham.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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This paper examines the relationship between the marital quality of inter-caste marriage (marriage between the members of lower castes and upper castes) and intra-caste marriage (marriage within one’s own caste) participants. The Caste system is peculiar to India. Baldauf (2001) states, “Caste is the ancient Hindu system of social hierarchy that defines a person’s worth and code of conduct based on social status at birth” (p. 2). Members of upper castes are a privileged group, whereas those from lower castes are considered to be the unfortunate lot. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the architect of India’s constitution advocated inter-caste marriage to redress the ills of the caste system. He affirmed the idea that low caste members could only be empowered by marrying members of the upper castes. There is more resistance to inter-caste marriages than to love marriages in India. Among other concerns in opposing inter-caste marriage is the fear of poor marital quality leading to marital breakdown but this concern is not based on empirical evidences. Research on inter-caste marriages is scanty; therefore, this paper seeks to add to the knowledge base in this area. A self-prepared interview schedule and a marital quality scale were used to collect data from one hundred and twenty participants (n=120) each from inter-caste and intra-caste marriage category, totaling two hundred and forty participants (n=240). No significant difference was observed between those in inter-caste and intra-caste marriages.

Keywords: Caste System, Inter-caste Marriages, Intra-caste Marriages, Marital Quality

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 9, pp.17-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 795.794KB).

Dr. Packiaraj Arumugham

Assistant Professor, The School of Social Work, Marywood University, Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA

Graduated from social work, Bishop Heber College, Trichy, India in 1985. Employed as a Project Manager with World Vision-India, a non-profit organization from 1985 to 1989. In 1989, joined the faculty of social work at Bishop Heber College. Awarded Ph.D. in social work in 2002, by Bharathidasan University, India. Moved to the US in 2004 to teach at the BSW Program of Dordt College, Iowa. From 2006, employed as an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the graduate program, Marywood University, USA. Research interests are Marriage and Family and Social Work with Communities. Published three book chapters. Presented at the International and National Conferences.

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