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The discursive climate of singleness: the consequences for women's negotiation of a single identity

Reynolds, Jill and Wetherell, Margaret (2003). The discursive climate of singleness: the consequences for women's negotiation of a single identity. Feminism & Psychology, 13(4) pp. 489–510.

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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.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 1461-7161
Keywords: critical discursive psychology; ideological dilemma; interpretative repertoire; single women; social categorization; social constructionism; subject position
Academic Unit/Department: Health and Social Care > Health and Social Care
Social Sciences > Psychology in the Social Sciences
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Item ID: 2784
Depositing User: Jill Reynolds
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2013 20:33
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