Where to find people in arranged marriages or dating their relatives?
June 29, 2015 11:18 AM   Subscribe

A strange and very specific question here: I've been tasked with finding and interviewing young people (ages 16-26) who are either in arranged marriages or who are dating their own cousins/aunts/uncles. I don't even know where to begin. Any suggestions? Thank you so much in advance...
posted by Lillitatiana to Human Relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does it matter where they live? Like, do these need to be Americans, or could they be from anywhere in the world?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:25 AM on June 29, 2015

You may be able to use Amazon Mechanical Turk to find people to participate, though of course with something online it is always going to be harder to verify people's info.
posted by capricorn at 11:27 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do you know anyone who knows anyone who could vouch for you / introduce you to people in the cultural or religious communities of interest (if there is one or some in particular; if not, perhaps some research could help identify possible communities)? You could start with one person, get to know people, ask around - but how much time do you have?
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:31 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sorry, I should have mentioned, they can only be in the U.S. I have about two weeks.
posted by Lillitatiana at 11:35 AM on June 29, 2015

Look for cultures/ethnicities where this is common and reach out to them. I'm not sure what your criteria are for "arranged marriage" - there are people who meet once (or never) before the wedding and there are people who are fixed up with people and then go on some dates. Some Orthodox Jews meet the latter criteria. Those that meet the former would likely be reluctant to be interviewed.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:35 AM on June 29, 2015

I know several Indians studying in the US whose families arranged their marriages. Are you at a university?
posted by Knowyournuts at 11:40 AM on June 29, 2015

Best answer: Contact genetic counselors and ask them to offer your information to applicable patients. When relatives consider reproducing they sometimes seek out pre-conception screenings.

You could also post strictly platonic ads on craigslist seeking out these people in various large cities.
posted by txtwinkletoes at 11:40 AM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do you know any Indian or Middle Eastern people whom might know somebody that fit those category?
posted by Neekee at 11:41 AM on June 29, 2015

Response by poster: I'm not at a university, I don't know any Indian or Middle Eastern people who are actually engaged or know anyone, but these are all very good suggestions so far, thank you...
posted by Lillitatiana at 11:46 AM on June 29, 2015

Assuming that these interviews will be respectful, you could try stopping by some community centers for Middle Eastern or South Asian groups and asking around.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:54 AM on June 29, 2015

Best answer: One good strategy would be to go to a place which has lots of Indians. If you are in/near NYC, Jackson Heights or Newport/jersey City would work.

Go to an Indian grocery store during evenings/weekend. You would see lots of couples coming in for shopping. A good percentage of these couples would have an arranged marriage.

if you can do the interview online, there are various community focused groups/meetups/facebook groups which you can search through and message people.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 11:56 AM on June 29, 2015

I dunno, I think it might be a good idea to see if you can contact a researcher (maybe in anthropology, [qualitative] sociology, gender or cultural studies) at your local uni for hands-on advice on approaching this. A because exposing themselves might involve some risk to the people you hope to talk to (some of whom are very young, so especially vulnerable) and offer unclear benefits (if any); B because as others have mentioned, they may be reluctant to participate for any number of reasons; and C because you'd get solid tactical advice. Maybe check out lists of faculty members (and their research) and see if any might be willing to help?
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:13 PM on June 29, 2015 [7 favorites]

Yeah, this sounds pretty dodgy to me, especially if you are not affiliated with a university. This kind of research needs to happen under IRB oversight, particularly for people who belong to such sensitive groups and especially especially if you are interviewing minors. Please contact a specialist in these kinds of interviews before moving forward.

The deadline you have of two weeks to get these interviews seems especially absurd, especially given that people in arranged marriages are likely used to getting a lot of judgement about it and people who are dating close relatives (particularly people dating aunts/uncles/nephews/nieces rather than cousins, wtf) are likely to be even more defensive. Especially those in the US, dealing with American cultural norms about dating. What is this for? Whoever is tasking you with this assignment seems to be playing pretty fast and loose with basic interview procedures here, especially if there's no IRB involved, and I'm a bit concerned about what this data is meant to be used for.
posted by sciatrix at 12:20 PM on June 29, 2015 [19 favorites]

Gypsies. Roma, or Irish. They're also called Travellers.
posted by Melismata at 12:25 PM on June 29, 2015

Best answer: This kind of research needs to happen under IRB oversight

That's kind of not a thing in journalism. I mean, there's all kinds of ethical considerations, but you do not need to get newspaper article interview subjects approved by an IRB. And two weeks is an eternity in news.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:25 PM on June 29, 2015 [13 favorites]

This site has a message board.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 2:03 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you have a Hindu temple nearby, their community outreach people may be able to put you in touch with people who are willing to talk to you. In my experience, many Hindu temples have a very active community outreach/PR organization, aimed at demystifying the religion for locals who have no prior contact with the religion and only know about it from Indiana Jones. They participate in a lot of community food festivals, parades, etc., and they typically have available people who are willing to give interviews on common questions like "what's up with all the Gods?" and "do you all do yoga?" and "so are marriages always arranged?"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:39 PM on June 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Depending on how close you want the relatives to be, you could check out forums for genetic sexual attraction. It's a phenomenon where relatives separated at birth (child and parent, brother and sister, etc) end up being extremely sexually attracted to each other upon reuniting.
posted by Anonymous at 3:29 PM on June 29, 2015

Is this journalism? HARO can be a good platform for reaching offbeat sources.
posted by Scram at 6:45 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is pretty common in S. Indian culture, commonly called Dravidian kinship. It was explained that cousin or uncle marriage is only ok if it's a certain uncle/cousin. I'm not Indian so I don't really understand it well but I know someone whose husband's parents are uncle/niece. The only thing I think you'd have a problem with is younger than, say 25, is sort of young to have an arranged marriage here in the States.

my source: Tamil coworker
posted by fiercekitten at 7:54 PM on June 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Perhaps www.reddit.com/r/exmuslim or similar subreddits? There have been questions there before on arranged marriage.
posted by quercus23 at 1:33 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

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