Opting Out
240 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
3 b&w images
Release Date:11 Nov 2022

Opting Out

Women Messing with Marriage Around the World

Rutgers University Press
Women around the world are opting out of marriage. Through nuanced ethnographic accounts of the ways that women are moving the needle on marital norms and practices, Opting Out reveals the conditions that make this widespread phenomenon possible in places where marriage has long been obligatory. Each chapter invites readers into the lives of particular women and the changing circumstances in which these lives unfold - sometimes painfully, sometimes humorously, and always unexpectedly. Taken together, the essays in this volume prompt the following questions: Why is marriage so consistently disappointing for women? When the rewards of economic stability and the social status that marriage confers are troubled, does marriage offer women anything compelling at all? Across diverse geographic contexts in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, this book offers sensitive and powerful portrayals of women as they escape or reshape marriage into a more rewarding arrangement.
Grounded in superb ethnographic chapters drawn from all over the world, Opting Out explores the diverse ways in which women exert agency in and against marriage. With fresh insight into practices that occur in every society, this collection delivers a rich and rewarding comparative examination of an astonishingly overlooked aspect of everyday life. Daniel Jordan Smith, author of A Culture of Corruption: Everyday Deception and Popular Discontent in Nigeria
Joanna Davidson is an associate professor of anthropology at Boston University. She is the author of Sacred Rice: An Ethnography of Identity, Environment, and Development in Rural West Africa.

Dinah Hannaford is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Houston. She is the author of Marriage Without Borders: Transnational Spouses in Neoliberal Senegal.

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