Sociology Index


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 is exchanged in a majority of Indian weddings. The practice dowry became illegal in 1961, but dowry flourishes among all social classes, rich or poor, educated or illiterate. Dowry is negotiated by families of the bride and groom and assets and money are transferred to the groom and his family in exchange for marrying the bride. Dowry is the norm even within the context of an arranged marriage. "Dowry deaths" or the murder of the bride by her husband and his family take place due to dissatisfaction with the amount of dowry.

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). This article conducts a feminist psychological analysis of the dowry phenomenon, its link to domestic violence against women, and the role of the perpetrators. 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.

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).
Based on in-depth fieldwork in Sydney (Australia) and Andhra Pradesh (India) on the migration system of Indian information technology professionals from 2000 to 2001, the article suggests that the gender relations prevalent in Andhra Pradesh, the institution of dowry, have been critical in producing a cheap and flexible labour force. In turn, the emergence of a group of mobile information technology professionals contributes to the increase of dowry, with disturbing consequences for those underprivileged and seemingly unconcerned with the information technology industry.

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

"Dowry Deaths" in Andhra Pradesh, India 
Response of the Criminal Justice System, U. VINDHYA, Andhra University - Violence Against Women, Vol. 6 No. 10.
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 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 two metropolitan cities and three districts that represent the distinct regions of the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Dowry and prestige in north India - Marguerite Roulet - Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 30, No.1, (1996).
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 as the currently most significant means of assessing and representing social status, honour and prestige in the region. As a public measure of social prestige, dowry was an important arena within which people represented their social positions and their relations to others. People's discursive constructions of dowry marriage and the manner in which they used their understanding of dowry to reflect on social relations in their communities.

Dowry in Bangladesh: Compromizing Women’s Rights - Shahnaz Huda, Dhaka University, Bangladesh.
Marriage negotiations for Bangladeshi Muslims involve financial transactions including the religiously sanctioned dower (mahr). The practice of dowry or joutuk, demands made by the husband’s side to the bride’s side have become a widespread practice apparently designed to strengthen traditional patriarchal assumptions. This article discusses the historical assimilation of dowry practices in Bangladesh, debates regarding its social ramifications on women’s rights, linked now to growing evidence of dowry-related violence. The dowry practices, despite legal intervention, continue to compromise women’s rights in Bangladesh.

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, I began to consider the reasons of it. 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. 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.