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 Modernity and the Matrix of Family Ideologies, PhD

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د. فرغلى هارون
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ذكر عدد الرسائل : 3278
تاريخ التسجيل : 07/05/2008

مُساهمةموضوع: Modernity and the Matrix of Family Ideologies, PhD   12/11/2010, 2:48 pm




Modernity and the Matrix of Family Ideologies
How Women Compose a Coherent Narrative of Multiple Identities Over the Life Course
By Mika, Marie
Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, Sociology, 2009.
1.52 MB PDF file


Abstract:
The rise of individualism, historians and social commentators have argued, has been one of the master trends in the development of western society over the past few centuries. In the past several decades, gender roles and norms have arguably undergone more transformation than in several preceding centuries. This seismic gender upheaval, coupled with the increasing pervasiveness of individualism in the familial realm, has set the context for a fragmentation of family forms and meanings.


This dynamic has several repercussions, such as the blurring of once clearly demarcated and linear stages in the life course, the need to exercise agency in realms that were until recently firm cultural mandates, and the profusion of familial ideologies which are no longer necessarily complimentary, and may even be contradictory. Thus, the modern experience of marriage and family has become an exercise in selecting among an array of family ideologies with the ultimate purpose of crafting a coherent personal narrative and sense of self. Drawing on the symbolic-interactionist perspective, and analyzing qualitative data from a diverse population of divorced mothers, I explore how women make sense over the life course of the multiple identities of mother, wife, worker and “ideal self,” and investigate whether and how the divorce transition engenders a reordering of the prominence hierarchy of identities.

I find that most mothers find the identity of mother far more salient than that of wife, due primarily to a sense of both greater control and permanence. Participants stated that they were reluctant to embrace the identity of wife and unwilling to compromise in this role; yet, for them, “mother” was gladly all-consuming and the work involved a “labor of love.” The resolution to this dissonance, for the vast majority of mothers, was divorce. Divorce, however, calls into question one’s “good mother” credibility. Resolution is achieved in framing the divorce as entirely compatible with the intensive mothering ideology, with most respondents stating that their divorce either made them a better mother, or best served their children’s needs.

Ultimately I find that though the maternal identity is more salient and takes a higher rank in the identity prominence hierarchy than marriage, the primary identity is the “real self,” to which the maternal identity is subservient. In fact, as individualism is a master trend in society, so it is the master trend, or underlying theme, of all the contested, interrelated familial ideologies: marriage and divorce, marriage and individualism, individualized marriage and intensive mothering. It would seem that Americans choose from their cultural tool kit those cultural models that best facilitate a coherent, “good” sense of self above other identities.

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Modernity and the Matrix of Family Ideologies, PhD
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