Constituting the marital world : a study of marriage and remarriage in Aberdeen
In-depth interviews were conducted by the author with a group of fity couples marrying in Aberdeen in 1981. Half of the couples were marrying for the first time, and the remainder consisted of marriages where one or other spouse was marrying for a second or subsequent time. Following an initial recruitment visit, the couples were interviewed in months one and six of the marriage. Transcriptions were made of the interviews and these were subjected to qualitative analysis. The thesis begins with a discussion of the utility of the public-private distinction within sociological studies of marriage, before proceeding to a section on methodological problems in qualitative studies of marriage and domestic life. A number of such studies are then reviewed, focussing on a range of themes which are identified in the main empirical chapters. There follows an account of the methodology of the research. Chapter Four describes the process of meeting a partner, the development of the relationship, and the decision to live together and/or marry; there is an account of the meaning of engagement and a description of the ritual processes associated with marriage. Chapter Five looks at the notion of 'turbulence' in early marriage, focussing on worries, conflicts, and stress. Chapter Six examines spouses' relationships with parents as well as their experiences of and plans for parenthood. Chapter Seven shows how the world of paid employment can impinge upon the marriage relationship, and examines couples' accounts of the importance of material factors, leisure and lifestyle. The thesis concludes with a descriptive typology in which each couple is assigned to one of four categories: 'Drifting', 'Surfacing', 'Establishing', 'Struggling'.