Reynolds, Jill and Wetherell, Margaret
The discursive climate of singleness: the consequences for women's negotiation of a single identity.
Feminism and Psychology, 13(4),
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The privileging of marriage and long-term partnerships contributes to the marginalization of single women. This article explores the ways in which women defined as single work with the typical constructions of their identity available in the public arena. We view 'singleness' as a discursively constructed social category. Using data from interviews with 30 women, we examine the identity that women construct for themselves through their talk. We present the four main interpretative repertoires that women draw on, and look at two patterns of identity work commonly used to deal with the highly polarized repertoires. Singleness is a troubled category, and yet the positive and idealized repertoires available seem to make other aspects of women’s lives and expectations pathological. We argue for a feminist psychology of singleness based on critical discursive psychology: the focus needs to be on the patterning of ideology rather than the supposed dysfunction of single women.
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