Towards a Transformative Paradigm in the UK Response to Forced Marriage

Shariff, F. 2012. Towards a Transformative Paradigm in the UK Response to Forced Marriage. Social & Legal Studies. 21 (4), pp. 549-565. https://doi.org/10.1177/0964663912453848

TitleTowards a Transformative Paradigm in the UK Response to Forced Marriage
TypeJournal article
AuthorsShariff, F.
Abstract

Government plans to criminalise forced marriage have intensified debate over how to address the practice without alienating communities. Feminist and Critical Race literature on forced marriage castigates the government for treating forced marriage as a cultural event fostered by a deviant and alien ‘other’ and for seeking to ‘liberate’ women from their culture, but itself views community with suspicion and denies subject agency. Re-examining policy developments through personal experience – setting up the Forced Marriage Unit – I excavate the now forgotten imperative of community engagement and how government became invested in its exclusion. Given the porosity of the forced–arranged marriage distinction I then examine why engaging community is important. Young British Asians’ experience of the marriage process puts high value on family and community involvement. This power-laden paradigm, where consensus is valued over the Western liberal concept of ‘free consent’, is the context into which government policy must fit.

JournalSocial & Legal Studies
Journal citation21 (4), pp. 549-565
ISSN0964-6639
Year2012
PublisherSage
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/0964663912453848
Publication dates
Published23 Aug 2012

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