Coercion, consent and the forced marriage debate in the UK

Anitha, Sundari and Gill, Aisha (2009) Coercion, consent and the forced marriage debate in the UK. Feminist Legal Studies, 17 (2). pp. 165-184. ISSN 0966-3622

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Coercion, consent and the forced marriage debate in the UK
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An examination of case law on forced marriage reveals that in addition to physical force, the role of emotional pressure is now taken into consideration. However, in both legal and policy discourse, the difference between arranged and forced marriage continues to be framed in binary terms and hinges on the concept of consent: the context in which consent is constructed largely remains unexplored. By examining the socio-cultural construction of personhood, especially womanhood, and the intersecting structural inequalities that constrain particular groups of South Asian women in the UK, we argue that consent and coercion in relation to marriage can be better understood as two ends of a continuum, between which lie degrees of socio-cultural expectation, control, persuasion, pressure, threat and force. Women who face these constraints exercise their agency in complex and contradictory ways that are not always recognised by the existing exit-centred state initiatives designed to tackle this problem.

Keywords:Agency, Arranged marriage, Coercion, Consent, Forced marriage, South Asian Women
Subjects:L Social studies > L410 UK Social Policy
L Social studies > L321 Women's Studies
L Social studies > L330 Ethnic studies
L Social studies > L400 Social Policy
L Social studies > L320 Gender studies
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
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ID Code:2993
Deposited On:21 Jul 2010 15:08

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