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Love in liminality: the modes and spaces of intimacy in middle-class Pakistan

Maqsood, A; (2021) Love in liminality: the modes and spaces of intimacy in middle-class Pakistan. South Asian History and Culture , 12 (2-3) pp. 261-277. 10.1080/19472498.2021.1878785. Green open access

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Abstract

In recent years, a burgeoning literature has attended to transformations in notions of intimacy, romantic love and conjugality in South Asia, and challenged the depiction of these processes as unilineal shifts from collective (‘traditional’) obligations to individual desire (a symbol of ‘modernity’). Picking up on these themes, this article considers the coexistence of different modes of intimacy in middle-class urban Pakistan. Through a focus on emotive practices of young upwardly mobile women in Lahore and Karachi, it draws out how different ideals of intimacy coexist, the ways in which they are entangled in everyday practices, and the sites, situations and spaces in which they separate. Living largely in joint-family arrangements, young women continuously negotiate between, on the one hand, private desires for nuclear family life and associated forms of consumption and, on the other hand, the economic pressures and emotional obligations that necessitate collective living. A continuous presence of liminality allows for a way in which these conflicting desires are experienced and managed. Liminality, here, allows for experimentation and potentiality, a zone in which new desires and practices are experienced. Yet, simultaneously, it encompasses ‘emotion work’ that bends and brings these new emotional trajectories in line with dominant moral codes. Ultimately it is not the processual transformation from collective to individualized ties, nor a disruption of pre-existing ethical codes but the management of differing demands and desires that is constitutive of ‘feeling’ middle-class.

Type: Article
Title: Love in liminality: the modes and spaces of intimacy in middle-class Pakistan
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/19472498.2021.1878785
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/19472498.2021.1878785
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Romantic love, joint family, intimacy, liminality, consumption, morality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10087980
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