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An Anthropology of Weddings: 5 Places, 50 Objects exhibition at Central Library

School of Social and Political Science researchers are hosting an exhibition exploring weddings in cultures across the world, at Edinburgh's Central Library throughout September.

An Anthropology of Weddings: 5 Places, 50 Objects runs from 3-30 September, and explores:

  • What makes a wedding?
  • Why do weddings matter?
  • How does the stuff of weddings - the gifts, decorations, clothing, and symbols - communicate ideas about marriage in different cultures around the world?  

This exhibition provides a glimpse into how weddings and marriage are celebrated in five countries - and how they are changing - through photographs and objects. 

Anthropology of Weddings

It is part of a collaborative research project - A Global Anthropology of Transforming Marriage (AGATM) in the Social Anthropology department at the University of Edinburgh's School of Social and Political Science. 

A Global Anthropology of Transforming Marriage includes five different projects, which are covered in the exhibition:

  • Marriage in the context of the HIV/Aids epidemic in Botswana
  • Marriage under conditions of economic austerity in Athens, Greece
  • Marriage under contrastive economic and political regimes in Taiwan and China, focusing on the island of Jinmen
  • Political, legal, and religious discussions around marriage in Virginia, USA
  • Changing forms of middle-class marriage in Penang, Malaysia

Each project has involved long-term fieldwork conducted over a year or more. Researchers have lived in the places being studied and engaged with as many aspects of marriage as possible. Weddings are just one theme of the research, which explores how marriage is changing and the wider social implications of these changes. 

Although the places and cultures the team is investigating are very different, some of the themes that have emerged in the work are similar. Weddings can be occasions for elaborate and costly exchanges between a couple and members of their families; the rituals provide opportunities to do things in a way that is similar to how they were done in the past, but also opportunities for innovation; they connect people to new sets of relatives, and to different generations of their families.

For more information, visit the project website.

Anthropology of Weddings

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