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Title: The changing expectations and realities of marriage in the English working class, 1920-1960
Author: Higgins, N.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2003
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Social historians, and particularly women's historians, have looked at various aspects of married life. The best-researched areas are probably economic relations of spouses and, more recently, birth control. This thesis, which is based on oral history research, is an attempt to survey all aspects of marriage and married life from courtship to the birth of children. The text is divided into six chapters intended to cover the life cycle of the martial relationship from inception to the end of the first ten years or so. The thesis can be roughly divided into two parts. The first three chapters look at the period before marriage and areas examined include: influence of family background on marriage choices; courtship practices including pre-martial sex; spousal selection; motivation for marriage; weddings. The remaining three chapters look at different aspects of married life including housing; gender roles; marital sex; family planning; parenthood. This work is unusual in that it considers equally men and women and their experiences of marriage. The findings are based on sixty-seven interviews with men and women who were married in either the 1930s or the 1950s and who were born in either Birmingham or Hull. All respondents came from a manual working-class background and none remained in education past the minimum school leaving age. With one exception none of the respondents were married to each other. The material generated by the interviews enables a comparison of expectations and experience of marriage across cohorts, and its analysis reveals some of the changes in the relationships between men and women that occurred during the twentieth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available