Journal article

Marriage: An analysis of discourse

British Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 38 (1999) pp. 1-20

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This study examined the discursive resources and techniques used by participants in research interviews to construct the nature of marriage. Speakers draw on two interpretative repertoires. In the romantic repertoire, successful marriage is treated as a product of a mix of personal happiness and virtuous behaviour, such as the willingness to develop and comply with a `code of good practice'. In the realist repertoire, marriage is treated as freer of moral responsibility and personal happiness is understood as relatively fragile, challenged by factors such as poverty, infidelity and parenthood. The implications of this analysis for previous diagnoses of recent `trends away from' marriage are discussed and new directions for research are suggested.

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  • R Lawes

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