Project A06

Social Practices and Media Narratives of Matrimonial Decision-Making in India

This project proceeded from the assumption that arranged marriages emerge from social processes of decision-making. By focusing on mediality, cultural narratives of marriage in India – as a situation of decision-making – have been examined both in lived practice as well as in their mass (TV, movies) and digital media representations. The project aimed to provide an ethnological contribution to the pluralization of a historical cultural perspective that does not reduce decision-making to individual intentions but understands it as a social practice.


a) Peer-reviewed articles and books

Helene Basu

  • Narratives of Transcendental Decision-Making – Seeking Health and Healing at Sufi Shrines, in: Knowledge and the Indian Ocean – Intangible Networks of Western India and Beyond, edited by Sara Keller, Gurgaon 2018a, pp. 189-203.
  • Säkulare Konversion zur Psychiatrie? Gesundheitshandeln in Filmen der indischen Mental Health Bewegung, in: Religion und Entscheiden. Historische und kulturwissenschaftliche Perspektiven, edited by Wolfram Drews, Ulrich Pfister and Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf, Würzburg 2018b, pp. 119-137 (in press).
  • Praktiken des Finanzmarkts. Ressourcen des Entscheidens in ethnografischer und populärer Literatur über das Börsenhandeln, in: Kulturen des Entscheidens. Narrative – Praktiken – Ressourcen (Kulturen des Entscheidens, 1), edited by Ulrich Pfister, Göttingen 2019a, pp. 119-141.
  • Decision-Making in Diagnosis: Subjectivity and Mental Health Care in Western India, in: Anthropology & Medicine (2019b) (Special Issue on Diagnosis & Subjectivity; Guest Editors: Sumeet Jain and Serena Bindi) (accepted for publication).
  • Liminalität: Rahmen des Entscheidens im Roman „Wizard of the Crow“ von Ngugi wa Thiong’o, in: Mythen und Narrative des Entscheidens, edited by Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf, Bruno Quast and Helene Basu, Göttingen 2019c (accepted for publication).

Helene Basu / Mrinal Pande

  • Enacting Meanings of Matrimonal Decision-Making in Situations of Talk in India, in: Semantiken und Narrative des Entscheidens, edited by Philip Hoffman-Rehnitz et al., Göttingen 2019 (accepted for publication).

Mrinal Pande

  • (together with Isabel HEINEMANN, Sarah NIENHAUS and Katherin WAGENKNECHT) Heirat, Hausbau, Kinder: Narrationen von Familienentscheidungen, in: Kulturen des Entscheidens. Narrative – Praktiken – Ressourcen (Kulturen des Entscheidens, 1), edited by Ulrich Pfister, Göttingen 2018, pp. 90-115.

b) Other publications

Helene Basu

  • How we Got Here – Decision Matters, SFB 1150, Münster 2018c (Ethnographic Documentary Film).