Our research programme comprises of five different projects, each conducted by a different researcher: 

Each project has involved long-term ethnographic fieldwork conducted over a year or more, during which we have lived in these different places and engaged with as many facets of marriage as possible. We have focussed on how marriage is changing in our research sites, and the wider social implications of these changes. Although the sites and cultures we are investigating are very different, some of the themes that have emerged in our work are similar. These have included the political contexts of our research sites – including backgrounds of civil war, colonisation, and anti-colonial struggle; how weddings are celebrated; marriage and material consumption; intergenerational transmission in marriage; affective and emotional aspects of marriage; self-fashioning through marriage.

Penang, Malaysia

A busy port of the Indian Ocean, with a long history of trade and migration, Penang is an exceptionally interesting place to study marriage because of the diversity of its population and cultures.

Athens, Greece

In Greece, against a turbulent political and social backdrop, marriage has maintained a central position in organizing people’s lives.

Virginia, USA

When looked at from a historical perspective, marriage in the US shows changing ideas about what, and who, the US is.

Jinmen, Taiwan

Most of the research for this project has been carried out in Jinmen, a group of several islands lying just a few miles from the coast of Southeast China.


For over a generation, marriage has been hard to achieve in Botswana. Recent years have seen a sudden spate of weddings, but many Batswana remain skeptical about what these modern marriages might mean.