Endogamy?
#13
(16-Jul-2013, 10:32 PM)Sachin1 Wrote: One could argue that the persistence of class divides is due to the rich marrying the rich and the poor marrying the poor. Would not intermarriage mitigate poverty? Personally, I would probably not marry a very poor, uneducated person-- but is this not just as immoral as not marrying someone from another caste?

Here is a quote from this book (http://www.amazon.com/The-Spirit-Level-E...1608193411 ) that makes a similar point. This apparently happens more in an unequal society than in an equal society.

Quote:Surveys have found that when choosing prospective marriage partners, people in more unequal countries put less emphasis on romantic considerations and more on criteria such as financial prospects, status and ambition, than do people in less unequal societies.
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#14
In that case, it seems to me that matrimonial ads which specify income or profession are just as good or just as bad as ads which specify caste or race are.
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#15
(18-Jul-2013, 03:54 AM)Sachin1 Wrote: In that case, it seems to me that matrimonial ads which specify income or profession are just as good or just as bad as ads which specify caste or race are.

It would be wrong to equate the former with latter. The degree of marginalization based on profession is much lesser than that based on caste.
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#16
Sachin1,

Only thing I am convinced of is that marriage by its nature seems to be relationship built for endogamy of some sort. The kind of affect a particular kind (caste, profession, etc.) of endogamy has on society should determine how bad or good it is to that society.

Anyway, going back to the topic of caste endogamy, I believe matrimonial ads seeking bride or groom of the same caste only proves that caste system is still very much alive in India. So whenever some Hindu or Indian apologist claims that caste system does not exist anymore all we have to do is point to the matrimonial ads to disprove his claim. In doing so we are not necessarily taking a stand against endogamy but just pointing out that caste is still in use as some thing to divide people in to hierarchical groups.
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#17
I'm not so sure, Kanad-- the two seem isomorphic to me from an objective standpoint. Profession is used in matrimonials often as an indicator of class. By World Bank numbers, 33% of Indians are below their poverty line. Similarly, 30% of Indians are Dalits. Poverty tends to be "genetic," as caste certainly is, and Indians above the poverty line rarely inter-marry with those below it. Socioeconomic class, in a very vague sense, fits ethnographic definitions of caste very well.

Moreover, the whole reason people marry into wealth seems to be maintain wealth in the future. This is once again isomorphic with caste "status" and inherently leaves some with empty bags.

In think intra-class marriage can stand to have the same criticisms leveled against it as intra-caste marriage.
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#18
Captain Mandrake,

I can agree with that. Endogamy is a property of marriage. It can thus not be criticized a priori but in an ad hoc fashion. Caste endogamy only shows that caste consciousness is well alive and that the caste system thus still exists.
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#19
(18-Jul-2013, 03:54 AM)Sachin1 Wrote: In that case, it seems to me that matrimonial ads which specify income or profession are just as good or just as bad as ads which specify caste or race are.

'Income or profession' differ from 'caste or race' in one fundamental respect that the former are by definition less heritable and more mutable than the latter. Professions maybe freely chosen at least in theory, but race cannot be chosen even in theory. It is only those outcomes for which energy and intent maybe attributed to the individuals, that those individuals may be held accountable for and conferred advantages on the basis of. Race and caste are independent of any energy or intent on part of the individuals concerned. To ignore this crucial difference in terms of human agency between categories like 'income' and 'caste', in the context of whatever social institution, would be a spurious and untenable moral equivalence.

In the context of marriage, one may well ask, even granting that income-based endogamy is not morally equivalent to caste-based endogamy, why marriage must be encouraged on the basis of any privilege-perpetuating category at all. Why it is that the granting of privileges of some kind maybe indispensable to preserving the institution of marriage and the only choice we have is in choosing which privileges are least unethical to grant, maybe understood as follows. Marriage in principle involves a lifetime commitment of resources and submission to monogamy which is a considerable demand to make without some incentive or compensation, especially for members of a species that is not exactly a textbook instance of a pair-bonding species[1]. Provision of such incentives has historically been found expedient and sustainable in most archetypal social contracts, as an acceptable compromise in the interest of maintaining social order. In other words, associating financial security and assured social standing of of offspring with marriage may have been among the incentives and inducements that not only explain the staying power of marriage in what is partly a tournament species[1], but also appear as foremost considerations for marital alliances even today when a greater degree of consent prevails.

The history of marriage as a mechanism for the apportionment and securing of privilege, has meant that radical movements throughout history that have challenged the privileges of the 'ruling class' of their time did so by also challenging prevalent conventions of marriage. Challenging the established order meant challenging the class structure which in turn meant challenging inheritance and endogamy which in practice amounted to challenging 'gamy' itself. Here are two historical cases in point:
(i) The Shramana traditions[2] in India that prescribed different priorities for society than the unsustainable Yajnas around which society was organized, did so by establishing monastic societies outside of the endogamous class system that underlay the Yajna-economy as it were.
(ii) The hippie generation conveyed its rejection of the 'conscription' of free spirits in traditional roles, be they any gender roles in marital assignments or martial assignments, through the slogan and lifestyle of 'Make Love Not War', which voiced a rebellion not only against the military-industrial-complex but also against established community expectations regarding marriage.
Though a lifestyle of monastic celibacy and a campaign of 'pacifism through promiscuity' couldn't seem more different, what the Shramanas and the hippies have in common is resistance to the involuntary domestication of the human body for institutional ends and a rejection of prevalent mechanisms of privilege.

Present-day considerations about the institution of marriage must therefore account for this dual realization: While some forms of privilege are reprehensible and unacceptable in moral society, an eradication of privilege can only be experimental as in the case of the Shramanas or hippies and never sustainable or generalizable. Applying this to a dating-site scenario, both of these realizations can be brought to bear as follows: Make information available about all individual attributes including those that constitute 'axes of privilege'[3] in the interest of facilitating informed consent of partner choices. Simultaneously, undertake educational and advocacy measures (not strictly legislative ones as that would detract from consent) to reduce the influence of the axes of dominance and oppression[3] on marital choices.

References:
[1] Robert Sapolsky on pair-bonding and tournament species (Link)
[2] Megasthenes' accounts of Brachmanes and Sarmanes (Excerpt from Chandragupta Maurya and his Times, Radhakumud Mukherjee pg 184-187 Google Books) (Link)
[3] Intersecting axes of privilege chart (Link)
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#20
There is a remarkably simple resolution to this problem.

Yes. Keeping marriage within a class is just as morally wrong as keeping marriage within a caste. It creates similar effects.

But thankfully, classes are less rigid than castes. Just tax a marriage between two wealthy people. Your problem is solved. smile

You guys aren't radical enough if you think that marriage within castes is okay if two people prefer it. The justification is "culture," but Balmurli Natrajan has torn that to shreds in his dual role as an activist and scholar.

So long as a caste exists-- and it can only exist so long as people from the same caste marry-- certain castes will have access to resources that others don't. They will distribute the resources among themselves in a caste network. This cannot continue.

Of course, if two people from the same caste actually love each other, I wouldn't quarrel with that. You're doing no one a favor if you give up your own future happiness. But hopefully if you do so, you can find another way to "break" caste. Maybe engaging with a relative who has married out of your caste, so as to make the "other" caste truly a part of your family.
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#21
The publisher S. Anand would disagree with me on the "love" part. He wrote somewhere that people still "accidentally fall in love" with people of the same caste.

In a caste society, it's probably inevitable. You likely have more opportunities to see people of the same caste. That's the pool you're looking in.

India needs to have a national discussion on the Annihilation of Caste in the modern age. At no rung on the ladder to castes want to "annihilate." Even the Bahujan Samaj Party, which was once thought to be an Ambedkarite party, now encourages the development of caste identities and caste pride.

Furthermore, caste "alliances" on the lower end are often aimed at displacing high castes, not ending caste completely like Ambedkar wanted. There are, of course, Dalit intellectuals like Anand Teltumbde who criticize such developments.

Caste will only be annihilated when Indians make it an intentional goal. But what Balmurli Natrajan has called the "culturalization of caste" poses a serious problem to this goal.
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#22
(20-Aug-2014, 01:31 PM)ardhakamila Wrote: There is a remarkably simple resolution to this problem.

Just tax a marriage between two wealthy people. Your problem is solved. smile

You guys aren't radical enough if you think that marriage within castes is okay if two people prefer it. The justification is "culture," but Balmurli Natrajan has torn that to shreds in his dual role as an activist and scholar.

The merits of any suggested approach in bringing about social change aren't always reducible to where they lie on an incrementalism-radicalism spectrum. Even if the approach adopted is more consequentialist than categorical, whether it is a gradualist or a radical approach, a realization-focussed comparison or a transcendental insitutionalist approach, that will yield the desired consequences, is to be decided empirically on a case-wise basis since there are no universal rules, unless of course one has bought into the inevitability of a utopia as a law of nature of sorts. A cultural naturalist approach isn't limited to considerations of gradualism versus radicalism but considers multiple routes and degrees of intervention while approaching complex problems. If some participants here, myself included, are charged of being 'not radical enough', then, well, 'Guilty as charged!' is what I would say, though this 'guilt' doesn't weigh too heavily on the conscience of anyone who doesn't treat the absence of radicalism as a character flaw or delinquency. After all, if one were to take radicalism to its logical (or illogical) extreme, one wouldn't be discussing marriage which isn't exactly a radical act.

Coming now to the suggestion to 'Just tax a marriage between two wealthy people', it is not clear whether that was made in jest to caricature and reduce-to-absurdity an exclusively legislative approach to social change, or intended as provocation by someone using a pseudonym as a cover for mischief-making or genuinely meant as a thought-experiment. In order to respect the readers' time, let's treat this as a classroom exercise. Few members would treat 'radical' as a badge of honour, but most participants here would recognize their stance as 'liberal'. Something that anyone sympathetic to the liberal position agrees on, and would have lent their voice to reiterating during recent events like the protests against the reinstatement of IPC Section 377, is that "The State shouldn't be in our bedrooms". It would amount to an accession of personal space to State control, if the requirement for marital partnerships is anything but informed mutual consent, and such partnerships become subject instead to State permits, taxes and fines. In fact, such State intervention can be recognized as being incompatible with Article 12 and Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As mentioned earlier, marital preferences seem historically to be subject to some privilege-perpetuating category or the other. This of course is not to be read as a cop-out on part of liberals from challenging the influence of categories like race or caste that in the current social milieu are 'culturalized' or 'naturalized'. 'Culturalization' of sectarian categories can be combatted culturally by liberals, and there is no compelling reason to assume that it is best done legislatively by a utopian authoritarian State as per a radical prescription. It does not befit liberal sympathizers to support any step away from mutual consent of individuals and towards authoritarianism. In the Indian scenario, it is true that liberal advocacy is aimed at 'clan curbs' against exogamy but it would be self-defeating to instead recommend what amounts to 'State curbs' against endogamy, for both would detract from the liberal commitment to individual rights. Such legislative action would not be affirmative of individual rights in any sense, since it is subtractive of the exercise of rights featuring in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and not just in liberal sensibilities. Of course, radicals of a certain persuasion are free to imagine a scenario where a Utopian authoritarian State plays Cupid and officiates as minister, as Stalin does in the Russian movie The Fall of Berlin , but liberals who aren't similarly persuaded may need to plod on on the path that must wind around individual rights without trampling on them, as mentioned above and quoted below:

Quote:Make information available about all individual attributes including those that constitute 'axes of privilege'[3] in the interest of facilitating informed consent of partner choices. Simultaneously, undertake educational and advocacy measures (not strictly legislative ones as that would detract from consent) to reduce the influence of the axes of dominance and oppression[3] on marital choices.
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