“In Normal Life, We Would Have Never Gotten Together”. Narratives of Arranged Marriages of Three Generations in the Unification Church

Beláňová Andrea

Abstract

Arranged marriages, together with mass weddings, are not the
only remarkable practices of the Unification Church. Arranged marriages
can also be viewed as the central point of the Unification Church members’
life histories. These biographies are continuously being created, shared,
and retold within the group. Currently, three main generations meet in the
Unification Church: the first generation, the second generation, and the
neophytes. Members of each generation form their life-stories in a slightly different
way. However, as I argue in this article, all of these biographies follow
a four-stage structure when speaking about the “matching process”, which
leads to the creation of a couple. All three of the generations also incorporate
several “more powerful actors” in their narratives, who assist with accepting
the chosen life partner and help keep the life trajectory going in the expected
and accepted direction. Moreover, humor is always present to relieve any
drama in the story. For the analysis, interviews from the Czech, the Slovak,
and the American communities of the Unification Church were used, together
with the author’s field notes and with Unification Church publications.

Keywords

biographies; arranged marriage; matching story; narrative structure; Unification Church

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Vydání: 18, 2016, 3