What Role do Soviet Nationalities Play in Regulatingthe Marital Behavior in Dagestan?
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Varshaver, E., Ivanova, N., Gupalova, J., Kuznetsova, S. (2024). What Role do Soviet Nationalities Play in Regulatingthe Marital Behavior in Dagestan? Journal of Frontier Studies, (2), 98–133. [in Russian]


The article presents the findings of a study dedicated to the norms of matrimony in contemporary Dagestan and the role of ethnic classification by Soviet nationalities within it. Through the research, 133 in-depth interviews were conducted across different regions of the republic, focusing on marital norms and actual behaviors. It was demonstrated that matrimonial norms are changing, with a predominant shift from the notion that one should marry within her/his village — to various types of universalism, which allow for the possibility of creating a family with a Muslim individual or anyone regardless of categorical membership. Soviet nationalities are relatively rarely mentioned as a factor in choosing a marital partner. When they are, the necessity of marrying within the same nationality is justified with the same arguments used to explain the logic of prioritizing marriages within one’s village. This suggests that nationalities act as a modern form of particularism, which, however, is not (and possibly never fully was) a significant regulator of marital relations. These conclusions are discussed in the context of the hypothesis regarding the irrelevance of nationalities in Dagestan as a classificatory framework and are analyzed through the prism of literature dedicated to marital universalization in a global context.