Our project intersects two very much understudied areas: romantic love and social class.
We aim to explain to explain how and why people predominantly form relationships within their own social class (homogamy), and under what circumstances they decide to form a relationship with someone who belongs to different class (heterogamy).
In particular, we will answer the following questions:
- What are social, political, cultural and economic mechanisms that guide these processes?
- What does it tell us about the “nature” of love and social class?
- How social classes are being made?
- What is the relation between social class, caste, gender, ethnicity, race, etc.?
- Finally, how people use love to reproduce, downgrade or upgrade their social status?
We conduct our study with members of middle classes in Delhi and Mumbai, as it is believed that romantic love is gaining significance among them. Delhi and Mumbai are undoubtedly fast – developing metropolises which provide diversified cultural context for the study.
We use participant observation (including informal interviews) and discourse analysis. This approach allows to gather data for analysis of both people’s everyday behavior and their narratives about love. The extended case method and multi-sited ethnography enable the research to be compared and extrapolated to socio-cultural contexts other than Indian, as well as to include analysis of wider social, political and economic forces influencing romantic love and social class.
There is a need to fill the gap in our knowledge on the “nature” of love and social class (with relation to caste, gender, etc.), as well as to explain factors that impact people’s bonding and forming the class alliances. It is equally important to try to explain these processes in India, instead of assuming that they are mere reflection of Western cultural phenomenon.