Why marry? The role of tradition in women’s marital aspirations

Journal article


Carter, J. 2017. Why marry? The role of tradition in women’s marital aspirations. Sociological Research Online. 22 (1). https://doi.org/10.5153/sro.4125
AuthorsCarter, J.
Abstract

While the individualisation trend has given way to a relational, reflexive turn in the sociology of relationships in Britain, there continues to be a writing out of convention and tradition in understanding relationship processes (excepting Gilding 2010). This paper aims to write tradition back into discussions around relationships by drawing on the accounts of young women and the central role that tradition plays in their relationship narratives. The analysis focuses on: participants’ accounts of marital security reflecting the desire for permanence in an impermanent world; accounts of romance and fairy tales in contrast to pragmatic concerns; and participants’ use of bricolage in combining the desire for ‘invented’ traditions with an emphasis on personal choice and agency. This paper highlights the ambivalent nature of the young women’s discourse around relationships, agency and tradition: ultimately, themes of individualisation are revealed in their restatement of tradition. This emerges in three distinct ways: the emphasis on marital security appears as a response to ‘risky’ relationships; participants aspire to the ‘traditional family’ in response to growing fluidity in family relationships; and romance is appealed to in order to counteract their often very pragmatic approach to the life course. Thus, while there are changes in the ways couples can and do live in their relationships, there remains continuity in the ways that tradition is used by participants to articulate relationship aspirations. Tradition becomes reaffirmed in a context of individualism and de-traditionalisation which reflects a pragmatic response to changing social norms and values.

Year2017
JournalSociological Research Online
Journal citation22 (1)
PublisherUniversity of Surrey
ISSN1360-7804
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.5153/sro.4125
Publication dates
Print28 Feb 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Nov 2016
Accepted21 Nov 2016
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Permalink -

https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/87z1v/why-marry-the-role-of-tradition-in-women-s-marital-aspirations

Download files

  • 9
    total views
  • 5
    total downloads
  • 0
    views this month
  • 3
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Researching race in a white space: negotiating interviews at white-wedding shows in England
Carter, J. and Chatterjee, A. 2018. Researching race in a white space: negotiating interviews at white-wedding shows in England. SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781526434067
Review of Srećko Horvat, the radicality of love
Carter, J. 2017. Review of Srećko Horvat, the radicality of love. Theory, Culture & Society.
Reinventing couples: tradition, agency and bricolage
Carter, J. and Duncan, S. 2017. Reinventing couples: tradition, agency and bricolage. Palgrave Macmillan.
Something old, something new: Bricolage and wedding traditions
Carter, J. 2016. Something old, something new: Bricolage and wedding traditions.
Troubling relationships: towards a new language of personal life
Carter, J. 2016. Troubling relationships: towards a new language of personal life. Third ISA Forum of Sociology: The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World. Vienna, Austria 10 - 14 Jul 2016
The wedding: constructing family meaning through ritual
Carter, J. 2016. The wedding: constructing family meaning through ritual.
Constructions, reconstructions and deconstructions of ‘family’ amongst people who live apart together (LATs)
Stoilova, M., Roseneil, S., Carter, J., Duncan, S. and Phillips, M. 2016. Constructions, reconstructions and deconstructions of ‘family’ amongst people who live apart together (LATs). The British Journal Of Sociology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12220
"Age-dissimilar couples and romantic relationships: ageless love?", by Lara McKenzie
Carter, J. 2016. "Age-dissimilar couples and romantic relationships: ageless love?", by Lara McKenzie. Anthropological Forum. 26 (2), pp. 199-201. https://doi.org/10.1080/00664677.2016.1148563
Wedding paradoxes: individualized conformity and the ‘perfect day’
Carter, J. and Duncan, S. 2016. Wedding paradoxes: individualized conformity and the ‘perfect day’. The Sociological Review. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12366
Troubling relationships: towards a new language of personal life
Carter, J. 2016. Troubling relationships: towards a new language of personal life.
The sociology of love
Carter, J. 2015. The sociology of love. The Sociological Review Blog.
The wedding paradox: a pilot study
Carter, J., Duncan, S. and Garbutt, E. 2014. The wedding paradox: a pilot study.
The curious absence of love
Carter, J. 2013. The curious absence of love.
Couples living apart together - how committed?
Carter, J. 2013. Couples living apart together - how committed?
The wedding paradox: individualised conformity
Carter, J. 2015. The wedding paradox: individualised conformity.
Living apart together: towards a multi-dimensional understanding
Carter, J. 2012. Living apart together: towards a multi-dimensional understanding.
Legal rights for people who live apart together
Carter, J. 2013. Legal rights for people who live apart together.
The curious absence of love
Carter, J. 2010. The curious absence of love.
Sex, love and security: accounts of distance and commitment in LAT relationships
Carter, J., Duncan, S., Stoilova, M. and Phillips, M. 2015. Sex, love and security: accounts of distance and commitment in LAT relationships. Sociology. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038515573689
Practices and perceptions of living apart together
Duncan, S., Phillips, M., Carter, J., Roseneil, S. and Stoilova, M. 2014. Practices and perceptions of living apart together. Family Science. 5 (1), pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1080/19424620.2014.927382
Why do people live apart together?
Duncan, S., Carter, J., Phillips, M., Roseneil, S. and Stoilova, M. 2013. Why do people live apart together? Families, Relationships and Societies. 2 (3), pp. 323-338. https://doi.org/10.1332/204674313X673419
Living Apart Together sourcebook: national survey of people who Live Apart Together (LAT), Britain 2011
Phillips, M., Duncan, S., Roseneil, S., Carter, J. and Stoilova, M. 2013. Living Apart Together sourcebook: national survey of people who Live Apart Together (LAT), Britain 2011.
Living Apart Together: uncoupling intimacy and co-residency
Duncan, S., Phillips, M., Roseneil, S., Carter, J. and Stoilova, M. 2013. Living Apart Together: uncoupling intimacy and co-residency. Birkbeck, University of London.
The curious absence of love stories in women's talk
Carter, J. 2013. The curious absence of love stories in women's talk. The Sociological Review. 61 (4), pp. 728-744. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-954X.12082
Legal rights for people who 'live apart together'?
Duncan, S., Carter, J., Phillips, M., Roseneil, S. and Stoilova, M. 2012. Legal rights for people who 'live apart together'? Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law. 34 (4), pp. 443-458. https://doi.org/10.1080/09649069.2012.753731
What is commitment? Women's accounts of intimate attachment
Carter, J. 2012. What is commitment? Women's accounts of intimate attachment. Families, Relationships and Societies. 1 (2), pp. 137-153. https://doi.org/10.1332/204674312X645484
The sexual double standard: languages of inequality
Carter, J. 2012. The sexual double standard: languages of inequality. Bradford University of Bradford Centre for Applied Social Research.