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Cultural anthropologist Serena Nanda mines a wide range of ethnographic research to examine the patterns of love, marriage, sexuality, and family unique to eight cultures around the world. After reviewing changing patterns in the United States, readers are taken to China, India, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, Nigeria, the South Pacific, and Nepal to explore traditions and transformations and the intertwining dynamics of kinship, class, politics, religion, and gender roles in love and marriage. An additional chapter traces the diversity of LGBTQ relationships, with contemporary examples drawn from the US, Indonesia, and India. A valuable summary chapter features a brief analysis of similar and different cultural configurations.
Nanda’s ethnographically rich examples and fresh perspective will challenge readers to understand that their own culture is not natural or superior but rather just one of many possibilities adapted to specific environments and subject to changes.