Everyday Politics of (In)Formal Marital Dissolution in Cambodia and Indonesia

Katherine Brickell, Maria Wendy Platt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Placing contemporary marriage and its dissolution at its heart, this paper explores rural women's experiences of customary and legal unions in Cambodia and Indonesia. We contend that women's navigation in-between ‘informal’ ethics and morals versus ‘formal’ state-sponsored legal doctrine constitute a form of ‘everyday politics’ that has been unduly neglected. Critiquing the taken-for-granted nature of marriage in academic scholarship, we show how the axiomatic notion that marriage registration is inherently beneficial to women is complicated by the nonlinear and mobile trajectories of conjugality in our two case study communities. In turn, we call for marriage and its breakdown to receive more sustained and nuanced analysis as the primary unit of Southeast Asian life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-319
Number of pages27
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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