Mathieu, Ferry and Jeanne Subtil. 2023. “Digitized matchmaking : Marriage-making Strategies of the New Middle Class Through Online Matrimonial Advertisements in India”, working paper no 19, CSH-IFP

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Abstract: Contrary to most Asian countries, in India family plays an active role in matchmaking by choosing their child’s partner through an “arranged marriage.” Yet, the rise of modern values endorsed by the “new middle class” tends to promote some degree of individuality in partner selection. We study matrimonial websites, an important tool of the matrimonial market for the new middle class, a social group encompassing the top segment of Indian society. We examine key indicators of the individualization of partner selection: individual agency, social openness, and gender (in)equality in marriage representations. Using an automatic extraction of a matrimonial website, we conduct a comprehensive quantitative analysis of 124,435 online male and female profiles. To our knowledge, this study is the first comprehensive quantitative study of Indian online matrimonial profiles, a material that notably overcomes the limitations of other research methods which may suffer from desirability bias.

Keywords: middle class, status, marriage, matrimonial website, digitalization, social reproduction, individualization, India

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