Getting married at the time of COVID-19
Structure, agency, and individual decision making
Keywords:changing patterns of getting married, COVID-19, micro-weddings, social and legal structures and rules, agency, individual decision-making
Based on my digital anthropological research (nethnography, online surveys, and in-depth interviews) this paper will examine the individual decision-making processes and choices related to getting married during times of COVID-19 in Hungary. The paper raises questions about the extent to which these choices and decisions were individual and reflexive, and how they were influenced or restricted by legal structures and contexts. Using classical and contemporary social theories about decision-making (structuralist and reflexive approaches), on the one hand I aim to explore the structural and contextual circumstances of making decisions about whether to go ahead with, hold-off, modify, postpone, or cancel wedding plans. On the other hand, I study the individual ‘decision horizons’ as well. Through examining discourses surrounding weddings as well as through case studies, I look at how social actors identify and perceive their options and how they perceive and interpret the related structural constraints, contexts, and rules. The results emphasize that despite – or rather in the face of – changing circumstances, many couples sought new opportunities and new means of adapting, but in the meantime they recognized and interpreted the structural constraints that could potentially influence their weddings, maneuvered between them, or just overcame or circumvented them, and at other times sought to create new structures through their individual and community practices.
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