Sociology Index E-Books

DOWRY

Dowry is the wealth or possessions that a bride brings into the marriage. Unlike bride price, dowry is typically a transfer of wealth from the bride's family to the husband. Bride price is a transfer of wealth from the husband's family to the bride.

In India where dowry is a common practice, it has caused great hardship to women and also the family. Dowry amount value is directly proportional to the groom's social status. Where a woman's family is poor and cannot afford to pay dowry, the women, very often a young girl, is literally sold off to a wealthy old man.

Dowry and Its Link to Violence Against Women in India - Feminist Psychological Perspectives - Mudita Rastogi, Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University, Paul Therly, Southdown Institute - Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, Vol. 7, No. 1, 66-77 (2006).

Dowry is exchanged in a majority of Indian weddings. Although its practice became illegal in 1961, dowry flourishes among all social classes. Families of the bride and groom negotiate transfer of assets to the groom and his family in exchange for marrying the bride, often within the context of an arranged marriage.

Dissatisfaction with the amount of dowry may result in abuse of the bride. In extreme cases "dowry deaths" or the murder of the bride by her husband and his family take place. This article conducts a feminist psychological analysis of the dowry phenomenon, its link to domestic violence against women, and the role of the perpetrators. Existing and new explanations of the dowry system and its ramifications are explored. Psychologically based interventions and the implications of dowry related violence in the larger context of Asian Indians living in North America and the United Kingdom are discussed.

The ecology of mating systems in hypergynous dowry societies - Mildred Dickemann 
Social Science Information, Vol. 18, No. 2, 163-195 (1979)
When the famine in Shansi was over, and I began to consider the reasons of it, I felt I must study the causes of human suffering, not only in China but in all the world. In pondering Western civilization I felt that its advantage over Chinese civilization was due to the fact that it sought to discover the workings of God in Nature, and to apply the laws of Nature for the service of mankind. This was in obedience to God's command to Adam to have dominion over all things. In applying the laws of science to the needs of man, Western nations had made marvellous inventions that were little less wonderful than miracles.

Gender, Dowry and the Migration System of Indian Information Technology Professionals 
Xiang Biao, Xiang Biao is at the COMPAS-Centre on Migration, Policy and Society.
Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2-3, 357-380 (2005)
The current literature on gender and migration focuses largely on women's experiences as migrants or, alternatively, on their experiences as those left behind. This article, on the contrary, seeks to demonstrate how gender is central in producing a migration system itself. Based on in-depth fieldwork in Sydney (Australia) and Andhra Pradesh (India) on the migration system of Indian information technology (IT) professionals from 2000 to 2001, the article suggests that the gender relations prevalent in Andhra Pradesh, particularly the institution of dowry, have been critical in producing a specially cheap and flexible labour force, and in supporting it in the volatile global economy. In turn, the emergence of a group of mobile IT professionals contributes to the increase of dowry, with disturbing consequences for those underprivileged and seemingly unconcerned with the IT industry.

The Expanding Dimensions of Dowry 
Indu Agnihotri, Vivekananda College, University of Delhi 
Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2, 307-319 (2003)
Recent years have seen a spread and intensification in the scale of dowry demand and dowry-related violence. Some months ago the AID WA organised a workshop to discuss the issue in view of the women's movements' engagement with it for over two decades. The discussion highlighted the changing form and nature of dowry as well as social practices in different regions, castes and community groups, and the need to understand these in the context of trends emerging in the globalisation era.

"Dowry Deaths" in Andhra Pradesh, India 
Response of the Criminal Justice System, U. VINDHYA, Andhra University 
Violence Against Women, Vol. 6, No. 10, 1085-1108 (2000)
This article is an outcome of a research project that focused on the incidence, pattern, and judicial response of what have been labeled "dowry deaths" in the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India. Cases that had been committed to court and tried during the 5-year period from 1988 to 1992 formed the database for the investigation. There were 498 reported cases of unnatural deaths of married women committed to court during this period in the two metropolitan cities and three districts that represent the distinct regions of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Of them, it was possible to obtain access to and analyze 340 cases.

Dowry and prestige in north India - Marguerite Roulet 
Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 30, No. 1, 89-107 (1996)
This paper explores the current practice and representation of dowry marriage by members of Brahman, Gosain and Chamar families in semi-rural eastern Uttar Pradesh. The paper approaches dowry not primarily as an institution to do with the transfer of property at marriage, but more importantly as the currently most significant means of assessing and representing social status, honour and prestige in the region. As the most comprehensive public measure of social prestige, dowry was an important arena within which people represented their social positions and their relations to others. The paper explores people's discursive constructions of dowry marriage and the manner in which they used their understanding of dowry to reflect upon social relations within. their communities.

Dowry in Bangladesh: Compromizing Women’s Rights 
Shahnaz Huda, Dhaka University, Bangladesh 
South Asia Research, Vol. 26, No. 3, 249-268 (2006)
Marriage negotiations for Bangladeshi Muslims involve various financial transactions including primarily the religiously sanctioned dower (mahr). Added to mahr, the practice of dowry or joutuk, demands made by the husband’s side to the bride’s side, have in the last few decades become a widespread practice supported neither by state law nor personal laws, but apparently designed to strengthen traditional patriarchal assumptions. Based on detailed fieldwork, this article discusses the historical assimilation of dowry practices in Bangladesh, including debates regarding its social ramifications on women’s rights in Bangladesh, linked now to growing evidence of dowry-related violence. The existing dowry practices, despite legal intervention, continue to compromise women’s rights in Bangladesh.