Consanguineous marriage, defined as marriage between close relatives, is a prevalent practice in many traditional societies. It is commonly perceived to secure property rights, maintain social cohesion, and fortify kinship structures. However, consanguineous marriages are also associated with an increased risk of inbreeding and consequent chromosomal disorders. Pakistan has one of the highest rates of consanguineous marriage worldwide, with an estimated 60% of all marriages occurring between close relatives. This study focuses on the persistence of consanguinity in Kabirwala, Pakistan, a town in the Punjab province. It investigates the trend of consanguinity and relative affinity according to generations in Kabirwala. It also observes the effects of modernization on consanguinity and explores the reasons behind the practice from the respondents' perspectives. The study used a longitudinal qualitative design, conducting in-depth interviews with the same participants (N=24 couples) over 15 years. Findings indicate that consanguinity is still prevalent in Kabirwala, with 77% of marriages between cousins. The study also found that the practice is rooted in traditional knowledge frameworks that link consanguinity to congenital disorders. However, modernization has led to a decline in consanguineous marriage among younger generations.
consanguineous marriages, inbreeding, congenital disorders, Pakistan, longitudinal study
We acknowledge the NRPU 10069 support of the HEC Pakistan
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Recommended APA Citation
Irfan, H., Sharif, A., Sabir, I., Watto, S., & Zaman, M. (2023). Ties That Blind: A Longitudinal Study on Consanguinity and Congenital Disorders in Kabirwala, Pakistan. The Qualitative Report, 28(11), 3169-3184. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2023.6120