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The Marriage Squeeze on High-Caste Rajasthani Women

Michael S. Billig
The Journal of Asian Studies
Vol. 50, No. 2 (May, 1991), pp. 341-360
DOI: 10.2307/2057211
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2057211
Page Count: 20
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The Marriage Squeeze on High-Caste Rajasthani Women
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Abstract

In our concluding article, Michael Billig discusses a marriage squeeze in present-day Rajastan that undermines the social power of women. He sees the prevailing status hypergamy there producing a situation in which females are disadvantaged in the marriage market. This occurs despite the fact that women have a modest demographic advantage because there are more men based on age alone. Billig argues that when desired traits in the marriage market are hierarchically distributed, the potential for a marriage squeeze inevitably arises. In this instance, Billig links status hypergamy and the highly stratified character of Rajasthan society to argue that the norms they produced serve to reinforce male power in the society. He concludes that status hypergamy is a part of the anti-female power complex in Rajasthan that includes purdah, female infanticide, and differential care or neglect.

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