Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

The Family in India: Critical Essays

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

The Family in India: Critical Essays

Article excerpt

The Family in India: Critical Essays. A. M. Shah. New Delhi: Orient Longman. 1998. 173 pp. ISBN 81-250-1306-7. Rs. 110.00 ($3.00 approximately).

If the reader is interested in a contemporary view of the Indian family, this is not where to find a helpful description. The Family in India primarily discusses the premise that the concept of joint family has been wrongly understood and that Indian families have been mostly elementary or nuclear families. According to A. M. Shah, the world readily bought the concept of the disintegration of the joint family, which never was the prevalent family structure in India.

This book is a compilation of articles written by the author from 1964 to 1996. The book does establish and communicate to the reader the interesting way in which there was a complex and often complicated relationship among family, interhousehold family relations, lineage structure, caste-endogamy, and spouse selection in the 1960s and 1970s. Shah does give a detailed list of basic terms and concepts (in Chapter 2) that the reader will find helpful. The author presents a case study of a village in Gujarat where he did his fieldwork in 1955-1958. …

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