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Ayurshi Dutt

Postgraduate Research Student

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Postgraduate Research Student in the Department of Sociology  


I am a second year PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Durham University. I joined the department after working in the development sector in New Delhi, India, focused in the field of women’s rights. I have experience in working with Elected Women Representatives and Self-Help Group women in diverse parts of India, such as Rajasthan and Bihar, and Nepal. I have provided my inputs to international projects led by The Asia Foundation and Hanns Seidel Foundation on building women’s resilience during natural disasters and water scarcity. I have also worked with UNICEF India and National Rural Livelihoods Mission (Government of India) on their research project on maternal health and nutrition in tribal regions of Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Odisha. I hold a postgraduate degree in International Development from the University of Edinburgh, and an undergraduate degree in Journalism from Delhi University. 

Follow me on Twitter: .@AyurshiD

Research Area

“Forced Marriage: What’s ‘Honour’ Got to Do with It. Exploring ‘honour’ rationales behind forced marriages within British South Asian communities

Forced marriage (FM) occurs in absence of free, full and/or informed consent, and commonly involves duress in multifaceted forms. Most cases reported to UK’s Forced Marriage Unit are strongly associated with South Asian communities. Within these communities, the socio-cultural notion of family honour can act as a coercive component, unequivocally or implicitly, thus influencing consent. This research aims to explicate the processes of honour, family and community involvement in different types of pressure exerted on victim-survivors (male and female) to gain consent to marry. Secondly, it sets out to identify their degree of individual agency by examining their intent to negotiate, resist or submit to marriage. Lastly, this research seeks to establish the level, nature and quality of support provided by FM service providers. This qualitative research will make an original contribution to the literature on consent and coercion and the dynamics of FM. Primary data collection involves biographical interviews with victim-survivors of FM, and in-depth interviews with women’s rights organizations, voluntary and statutory service providers and practitioners. A thematic analysis will be used to identify patterns of duress, interpretations of consent and honour and its intersections with gender and class, which could be utilised to improve FM service responses. 

Research Groups

Member of:

1.) Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA), Durham University

2.) Communities and Social Justice Research Group, Durham University

3.) Honour Abuse Research Matrix (HARM) Network, University of Central Lancashire

Research Interests

Forced marriages; consent; coercion; honour; shame; honour-based violence; domestic and family violence; intersectionality; BAME women; South Asian women; immigration; policing