|Title||Towards a Transformative Paradigm in the UK Response to Forced Marriage|
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.
|Journal||Social & Legal Studies|
|Journal citation||21 (4), pp. 549-565|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1177/0964663912453848|
|Published||23 Aug 2012|