This article offers insights into the dynamics underlying an increase in marital instability in British Pakistani families, thus challenging stereotypes of British South Asian populations as representing ‘old-fashioned’ families, with their lower rates of divorce in contrast with the wider British population. In addition to problems of compatibility, domestic violence and infidelity, we explore dynamics that may be more specific to the British Pakistani population, namely the transnational nature of many marriages, attitudes to parental involvement in arranging marriages, and the place of Islam. We suggest that, while arranged marriages were conventionally seen as safer than love marriages, both young people and their parents may now be viewing arranged marriages as riskier. In an arranged marriage that brings family approval but not personal fulfilment, young people are increasingly supported to divorce and remarry, with a greater degree of personal say in spouse selection.
- SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship
- Pakistani Muslims