242998-226931 ‘MARRIAGE’… IT JUST DOESN’T HAVE THE SAME RING TO IT
‘MARRIAGE’… IT JUST DOESN’T HAVE THE SAME RING TO IT
-673102921000An investigation into the influence of the social and cultural environment on the perspectives and importance of marriage through the lens of Symbolic Interactionism.
0An investigation into the influence of the social and cultural environment on the perspectives and importance of marriage through the lens of Symbolic Interactionism.
Table of Contents
TOC o “1-3” h z u INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc519593726 h 3LOG PAGEREF _Toc519593727 h 6CHAPTER 1- WHAT IS LOVE? PAGEREF _Toc519593728 h 8CHAPTER 2- A MATTER OF WIFE OR DEATH PAGEREF _Toc519593729 h 12CHAPTER 3- ARE WE GOING TO THE CHAPEL OR TO THE COURT HOUSE? PAGEREF _Toc519593730 h 16CONCLUSION PAGEREF _Toc519593731 h 19ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY PAGEREF _Toc519593732 h 21
INTRODUCTIONI was born upon the rise of the millennial, as an individual with a 21st century feminist perspective on the world around them. I was also born into a long family history of lasting marriages and strong women who seemed to be equal to their partner but still assuming their ‘place as a wife.’ My great grandmothers and grandmothers both performed all domestic duties in the household, as did my mother. However, when my sister and I were asked if we would do the same, we both refused. This generational conflict of perspectives on the roles, responsibilities and reasoning behind marriage made me question; how would marriage effect my feminism and my millennialism?
Marriage like most other traditions, has been altered to best suit the social and cultural environment of the time. As different generations evolve to suit the given time and context, so too does the concept of marriage. My Personal Interest Project investigates the change in the value of marriage in contemporary Australian society by comparing different generational perspectives and opinions on the tradition. The study will incorporate the theory of Symbolic Interactionism, to assist in further understanding the extent to which the social environment and social interactions can influence the personal and collective values in the micro and meso worlds. The study will also assess the impact gender has on the value of marriage for individuals, as generations and gender form the cross-cultural components of my project. Gender was used due to the ever-evolving gender roles in society, which may lead to women feeling that the tradition of marriage is a symbol of a patriarchal system that does not belong in the modern context of today. Through the analysis of gendered perspectives, the modern patriarchy was used to compare the varied cultural opinions across generations as a foundational aspect of the changing continuance of marriage.
My research was designed to produce both qualitative and quantitative data- focusing on individual and group opinions. Four case studies were conducted with both male and female perspectives with a total of eight participants per generation. The case studies included the Baby Boomer Generation (born from 1946 to 1964), Generation X (born from 1965 to 1976), Generation Y (born from 1977 to 1995) and Generation Z (born from 1995 to 2012.) The study of contrasting micro worlds allowed for the comparison of values, ideologies and the influence of the social environment on the concept of marriage across various generational contexts.
The case studies used the research methods of questionnaire and focus groups to provide a variety of perspectives on various occasions to increase the reliability of my findings. The questionnaire was used to establish the foundation of the topic and to encourage a comfortable environment for the respondents to answer honestly. Demographics were collected to minimise the influence of the micro level factors on the data attained. The questionnaire was useful for establishing the initial clear differences between generations in their idea, definition and values associated with marriage. The questionnaire also highlighted the conflicting gender roles and expectations between the generations which was further explored in the focus groups. Participants actively expressed their ideas and opinions on marriage freely in the focus groups whilst being probed by the researcher and questioned by the other participants.
This study seeks to test my hypothesis that there is a diminishing sense of significance for marriage through generations. This can be explained through the Symbolic Interactionist lens and thus challenges the notions of continuity in this tradition. The research for my PIP was conducted ethically promoting trust, comfort and confidentiality in each research method conducted. All participants granted their consent, and confidentiality was maintained throughout the study. By conversing with representatives from each generation outside of the study, I became aware of my own personal bias which was controlled by remaining cognisant of the influence it could have on the research conducted. Informal discussions with representatives from each generation also assisted in the determination of the types of questions appropriate for the research which did not cause discomfort to varied generations and aimed to attain the most reliable results.
Through the completion of this PIP, a greater understanding of how the relationship between social environment and time ultimately impacts the continuity of traditions was gained. The understanding of conflicting generational beliefs regarding contemporary feminist ideologies and society’s modern values was initially resisted but through research into the influence of the environment and time on the formulation of opinions, I learnt to understand different perspectives without necessarily agreeing and analysed how this consequentially impacts society. I have improved my social and cultural literacy through the inclusion and discussion of diverse beliefs and by assessing past generational values impact on contemporary society whilst analysing how this will impact the future expressions of this tradition.
LOGThe process undertaken while producing the PIP required extensive research and analysis of primary and secondary findings. The writing and editing stage of the PIP was greatly underestimated however, through careful planning and time management the demanding task proved greatly rewarding.
In the initial planning stage of the PIP, I became aware of the recent social change of the inclusion of same-sex marriage in Australia, which was legislatively passed during my brainstorming of potential topics. I knew this would be placed under the microscope for many other PIP’s to explore however, the idea of a change in the tradition intrigued me. I decided after multiple conversations with my family and my teacher to focus on marriage as an institution and not just analyse the social changes already occurring in society. My PIP topic, with much criticism, is simplistic which worried me initially. However, I believed that my personal and original perspective as well as my incorporation of the social theory of Symbolic Interactionalism would make my PIP interesting and unique.
As I began the primary research component of the PIP, the research was used to support or contradict my secondary findings. The first primary research conducted was the questionnaire which was distributed using social media. However, I encountered my first hurdle in the process as the Baby Boomer generation could not complete the online version and required it to be printed. This was easily adapted to best suit the participants. The second method of research was the focus groups. I conducted a pilot study beforehand which helped me further develop my communication skills in order to facilitate open dialogue in the focus groups. This was advantageous as it allowed me to develop my skills as a scientific researcher in communication, documentation and organisation. The pilot was essential in ensuring the validity of my later primary research.
I originally faced difficulty in the respondent attendance and participation. Prior to conducting the research, communication was maintained constantly to secure a date for each focus group. However, not all respondents participated in both research methods with eight out of eight Baby Boomers, six out of eight Gen X’s, six out of eight Gen Y’s and only five out of eight Gen Z’s. This could have led to a potential skewness in the data however, I made sure the data was accurate and reliable through secondary research and cross-referencing.
I was also challenged in the analysis stage of the PIP. My personal bias made it hard for me to comprehend the traditional views of the Baby Boomers when it came to gender roles. However, through the awareness of my own personal bias and the negative impacts this would have in my research, through teacher discussion and review, this was managed.
Through the challenges of the PIP and the rewards of the finished product I learnt the skills of social research and ethical interactions within various cultures. I believe that through my research I strengthen my personal values and gain social and cultural literacy through the acceptance of different perspectives to my own. Although marriage is seen as a tradition in society, a lot of the foundational pillars cannot be retrospectively defined statically as individual’s interpretations vary to accommodate their personal micro and meso world influences. The deconstruction of complex social theories and ideologies throughout the PIP established a connection between public knowledge and my own personal experience, in a sense, assisting me to understand that we are all products of our environment.
Although the research was effective and comprehensive, given the opportunity to conduct it again, I would place emphasis on time management and organisation. I would also use identification in the questionnaire through an assigned alias to each respondent to compare the responses across the entirety of the research.
The PIP was incredibly demanding yet rewarding which helped me develop self-awareness with regards to differences across cultures. This skill has enabled me to strive to achieve change with dignity and inclusion for all.
CHAPTER 1- WHAT IS LOVE?
Marriage is defined legally as the conjugal union under political and legal circumstances. This static definition has withstood generations as a continuity in tradition despite the implications of time. However, through the study of Symbolic Interactionism theory, the definition of marriage as a social construct, is depicted as fluid due to the influence of social and cultural contexts. During times of significant social and cultural changes within a society, the accepted definition of marriage will change as a result of the altering importance. Upon the original legal aspect of marriage, it outlines the importance of the social and legal recognition of a biological mate, to which a union is recognised and formed. Although this forms the foundation for marriage within society, the ‘social’ definition of marriage differs.
As reflected in the Baby Boomer generation, marriage was essential in society, as a means of establishing financial security and the welcoming into societal adulthood. Marriages in this generation were seen as a rite of passage, with benefits that applied to both parties in the social and financial fields. In the questionnaire, respondents within this age category assigned the definition of marriage more frequently to a secure commitment between two people. The use of the word ‘security’ was used by 75% of the Baby Boomer respondents and is justified by the view of sociologist and historian Hugh Mackay. Mackay attributes the blurred line between the need and desire for security during this time as a result of the instability in Australian society. Politically, Australian Baby Boomers suffered with the threat of the Cold War and nuclear warfare however, also revelled in the booming economy and manufacturing of the country. Mackay’s explanation of the unpredicted growth of the population and prosperity of the nation led to the dichotomy of ideals and impatience in their sexual relationships. As children of a generation that instilled religion and social acceptable ways of courting, the Baby Boomers wanted marriage and wanted marriage immediately. The relationship between the Baby Boomers definition of marriage and the context of the time outlines the relevance of Symbolic Interactionism- as the experiences in the past led to the formation of social meaning in the present.
Due to the Baby Boomer generation seeking a marital commitment to secure stability, the importance of the social aspect of marriage would have simultaneously increased. The era of the “I do, I don’t, I do again” as described by researcher Amy Lynch depicts Baby Boomers as ‘seekers’ who aim to find love and commitment by still adhering to tradition and placing a higher value on the union of marriage. This is further supported in the primary research findings as the respondents of this age category placed marriage importance on average at a nine on a scale from one to ten. The value of marriage however is combatted with the increasing divorce rates in this generation- reaching its peak in the 1980s. Although Baby Boomers value marriage due to the security it brings and the importance of the tradition, the rush to get married as described earlier by Mackay perceives marriage to be less permanent and altering in its definition for later generations.
The children of the Baby Boomers (the Generation X’s) would have experienced a marriage unlike the one they grew up with hence having a differing perspective of its fluid definition. During this time, as a result of divorce becoming more widely accepted by society, marriage was no longer about lasting security but prominently a culturally shared desire. This is the generation where the white-picket fence became a reality and not a façade. Amy Lynch showcases this generation as the ‘lovers’ due to the prevalence of loving, long-term commitments as seen through the 70% of lasting marriages. Respondent A defined marriage as “a union that is about loving without condition- a life-time commitment” and upon primary research, the Generation X respondents were the only ones to use the word ‘love’ to describe the tradition, therefore supporting Lynch’s perception of the generation as a transitional stage in the evolution of marriage. Through differing definitions of the tradition across generations, the value is ever-changing and so too is the concept of marriage socially.
Generation Y differing to their parents ‘true love’ marriages, define marriage in terms of legally binding and more open in practice. Through the rise of cohabitation and social movements like gay rights and gender equality- the institution of a ‘traditional’ marriage seems to be rejected by millennials of all genders. This social change in marriage is evident in the changing importance- rating an average of 7 in the questionnaire. Through the changing legal recognition of cohabiting relationships and the limited social pressure to commit- marriages have become more of an ode to the tradition rather than a requirement for security. The change in the social definition of marriage across generations can clearly be attributed to be micro-level interactions within the family unit as well as macro-level institutional and cultural change. This corroborates Symbolic Interactionism as the tradition and its associates meaning transforms over time.
Generation Z follows the legal binding definition of Generation Y. However, it also incorporates long-term commitments evident in Generation X. Although people in this category are unable to legally marry as of present, the definition of this generation can be used to project the tradition into future contexts. Generation Z sees marriage as a tradition, although not necessarily essential in modern society.The tradition of marriage pays homage to the loving relationships experienced in the past and is still relevant however, is not crucial for stability, to be a socially accepted family or seen as the definitive outcome of courting. Through the increase in individualism and autonomy of all genders, the ‘traditional’ marriage has become a notion of the past and further outlines the fluid nature of marriage holistically. The symbol of the familial unit as shaped by time and it’s environment has ultimately redefined marriage, which is further emphasised through this comparison.
Through the implementation of the tradition across time, the legal definition of a conjugal union has become invalid to the sociocultural aspects of marriage and married life. Through Symbolic Interactionalism it becomes evident that the differing definition and practises of marriage is attributed to the changing social and cultural contexts of varied times. The fluid concept of marriage- being relative per person, further emphasises the changing tradition and changing importance. Although marriage is defined in Australia as static, it presents itself variously to suit the culture of the time and people of the society.
CHAPTER 2- A MATTER OF WIFE OR DEATHAs a direct result of the generational differences in the definition of marriage, the presentation of the union will also vary as influenced by the social and cultural context as well as the values of varied generations. Symbolic Interactionism and the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory account for this change through the analysis of the contextual periods effectively influencing individuals roles across generations. As society moves towards globalisation upon the shared macro scale, values like equality, diversity and acceptance for all are emphasised as essential. The roles within marriages reflect said social and cultural changes causing individuals of all genders to gain more autonomy and as a direct extension; freedom. Although movements like gender equality and feminism promote all genders as equal, the symbolism of marriage in the past has effectively caused social conflict within the assumed gender roles in society and in the social institution of marriage- effectively accounting for the change in the presentation of the tradition.
The Baby Boomer generation experienced assumed gender roles within society and marriage because of the prominent hegemonic masculinity- separating gender as binary opposition. Hegemonic masculinity further describes the cultural patriarchy to be cyclical, following gendered socialisation and power inequality leading to the representation of men and women in a society where social norms are dictated by normalised gendered stereotypes. In conjunction with this cultural analysis, Generational Theory depicts the Baby Boomers to be verging on the crisis and rebirth cycle further establishing a link between their resistance to social change and the reliance on the norms of their personal social context.Through primary research it is evident that this generation advocates for assigned gender roles in marriages as customary and an aspect of the tradition, essential in the effectiveness of the union. However, upon analysis of the entirety of the generation they also advocate for social equality and freedom from stereotypical roles, bringing the beginning of the modern day feminist movement. Although the society experienced a social push for general equality, it was also the time for housewives assuming domestic duties and males being the predominant ‘breadwinners.’ These conflicting notions found in secondary and primary findings showcase, through Symbolic Interactionism and Generational theory, that the ‘traditional’ roles assigned to men and women in marital relationships at this time, was indicative of the social tensions between traditionalist culture and nuanced relations. Although 100% of Baby Boomers in the questionnaire identified that gender roles were crucial in a marriage, the presentation of the Boomer’s gender roles acts a symbol of the environment and time, not necessarily a ‘continuation of tradition’ or a representation of the union itself.The gender inequality in regards to Baby Boomer’s assigned gender roles in a household as shared across male and female respondents, depicts the instability and inequality of the time as influencing the demonstration of the tradition itself.
Generation X’s were accustomed to this ‘traditional culture’- to housewives and male asserted dominance between a husband and wife. However, through the further establishment of second wave feminism that focused on empowerment and ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ marriage was presented differently in the creation and compliance with gender roles. Generation X women were seen to be equal contributors in marital relations as dual income houses became more common and the ceiling binding women to domestic roles was cracking. As Gen X women broke the stigma surrounding females in the workforce, marriage as a social institution followed this social movement to offer alternatives from the gendered roles in the previous generation. 75% of male and female participants in the questionnaire disagree with roles and responsibilities of the household being assigned to genders. However, the focus group explained that these responsibilities should be mutually shared and often works out to be gendered unintentionally. Participant C further explained that “the responsibilities of a marriage should be shared- often the female does domestic duties and the male does manual labour around the house however, this shouldn’t be defined by gender roles but, negotiated to best suit individual couples.”Through Symbolic Interactionism, this commonly shared ideal is attributed to this generation being a transitional stage in the evolution of social and cultural values. Although Generation X value equality and equal opportunity they are still bound by the social stigma surrounding binary opposition and general inequality in society- influencing the presentation of marriage in this generation to be a progressive step into the future of this tradition however still paying homage to the marriages of the past.
Generation Y and Z, the millennials, share common ideals in the roles and responsibilities assumed in marriage and hence the presentation of marriage in these generational contexts. The millennials are expected to postpone many of the traditional milestones, including marriage however, the marital dynamics of the union has evolved. Contextually, millennials have experienced slow societal changes in gay rights and women’s rights in addition to a burgeoning internet age that have rapidly begun to change society. The gender roles and assigned responsibilities of the past are no longer valid in a time of such progression where gender is no longer defined statically. Marriage as a continuing social institution experienced changes in its presentation through the embodiment of the modernised world in the inclusion of same sex couples and the empowerment of individuals within the union. Whilst Gen Y and Gen Z do not subscribe to assigned gender roles in relationships or martial relations, they progress the tradition into future contexts to encompass alternatives to the ‘traditional’ marriage. Marriages within this context value the autonomy of individuals and are less about security or convenience and more about commitment and lifelong friendship. The progression of society into one that values equality and promotes individuality has ultimately altered marriage and the continuity of the ideals associated with the ‘traditional’ presentation.
As marriage progresses, the way it is valued and presented in society is reliant upon the social and cultural environment including the value of individuals and the roles and responsibilities assumed in these relations. Symbolic Interactionism depicts aspects of society being influenced by the surrounding social culture, within marriage the obvious change in female equality, the general autonomy of individuals and acceptance of diversity over time has symbolised marriage differently. Although the institution continues across generations, marriage cannot be a continuing tradition due to its various representations. This ultimately has implications on the foundations of society due to the generationally shared marriage ideals of males and females, showcasing the ritual to be valued across society as a foundational pillar over time. Although the evolution of Feminism and equality continues to influence individuals on a macro and meso scale, the changes in marriage begins to present itself in micro-level worlds- contributing to the modernisation of society. Through primary and secondary findings and the analysis of the various waves of feminism, marriage modernises to encompass ideals of the generation- continuing in importance however changing in ideals.
CHAPTER 3- ARE WE GOING TO THE CHAPEL OR TO THE COURT HOUSE?The development of marriage as an ever-changing ritual in society can be projected onto future contexts through the millennial culture and the current social climate. Symbolic Interactionism projects marriage to be influenced by the environment and hence the future of marriage to be a product of the culture and societal values. The increasing values of capitalist ideals and the rise in cohabitating relationships severely influence the projection of marriage in Generations Y and Z by offering alternatives to the ‘traditional’ union and the symbols associated within marriage itself.
The market economy has played a crucial role in the changing importance of human social institutions like marriage overtime. Through the analysis of the right-wing embracement of the dynamism of the free market and its power to expand the range of human freedom, it is obvious that modern-day family lifestyles and marriages will alter as a result of the powers of the market. The change in the fundamental functions of marriage and the family through the degree of separation from market and household production in the Baby Boomer generation and the constitutional democracy within Australia, Gen Y and Gen Z are able to create marriages based off of emotional and psychological compatibility. This is further evident in the Gen Y and Gen Z responses in the questionnaire and focus group, depicting the marriage union to be no longer about convenience or forced on my societal pressures but evidently a choice. Through technological innovation within production and the market-driven economic growth increasing the demand for labour it allows for the growth in the autonomy of individuals and the increased human freedom in society- effectively projecting marriage as an option not a necessity. Through the ideals of capitalism and the dynamism of the modern economy it is evident that the social institution of marriage beneficially changes to accommodate for the change in societal values.
The consumerist and capitalist nature of society has influenced the rise in alternative methods of marital commitment. This is clearly shown in the evolution of the ‘traditional’ wedding from one of religious, humble beginnings to an extravagant celebration. As individuals are getting married later and when the individuals are financially stable, the wedding has changed meaning alongside the marriage it represents to one that encompasses the values of modern society. The prevailing influence of pop-culture on the social culture within Gen Y and Z has effectively influenced the presentation of the wedding as a party and not a ‘traditional’ vow in the presence of God. This is evident in the primary research, focus group response which participant E said “Pop-culture and the rise in influential reality stars explains the decline in traditional marital values and has influenced weddings to be an excuse for a party and not a celebration of permanent love.” Although this response was commonly shared across all generations, participant E was a traditionalist and heavily religious which influenced their personal ideal of marriage and dream wedding to encompass the individual’s personal values. Due to the predominant secularisation in society and the rise in the social media reality star influence on social culture, marriage has become less permanent and the wedding has become less conventional. A total of 27% of Australian marriages in 2016 were of religious background whilst 73% were conducted by a civil celebrant further detailing the evolution of marriage and weddings to be influenced by the modernisation and secularisation of society. This is further impacted by the capitalist nature of the 21st century seen in the average cost of an Australian wedding to be $51245 and on the increase. Although the presentation of weddings and marriages has dramatically changed overtime to incorporate consumerism and secularised culture, it is assumed that this will continue onto future contexts due to the increase in economic stability and the nature of modern society.
Due to weddings and modern marriages being driven by of the consumerist nature and culture of society, it has become less appealing to Gen Y and Gen Z as seen in the 4282 decline in marriages in 2016. As a result of the rise in cohabitation and the legal recognition of cohabiting and de-facto couples to have the same legal rights as marital relationships, the marital ritual has evolved to a less important pillar in society. The increased popularity of marriage alternatives has ultimately influenced marriage as a symbol in society to be one that encompasses new beginnings. This is described by participant G as “A positive step into the future through the incorporation of couples that do not subscribe to the ideals of social institutions.” As society progresses and marriages are no longer ‘cookie cutter’ but proactively encompass alternative methods, marriage in future contexts is expected to further decline. However, through the analysis of patterns and trends of the various generations, ‘love’ is seen as the prevailing and continuing factor despite the changing forms of commitment. Gen Y and Z have the freedom to choose from various options void of judgement and are able to commit for compatibility and not for convenience- projecting marriage to be fluid in the social and culture realms of the future.
Despite marriage being a predominant and traditional factor in society across the medium of time, it is interpreted and altered to best accommodate for the environment. Due to the rise in human freedom as a result of the economic advancements in society and the change in the presentation of weddings, alternative methods of commitment seem to be gaining popularity within the future of this sacred ritual. Cohabitation and de-facto relations are increasing effectively changing the presentation of the tradition to be non-traditional. The society and millennial culture will evidently influence marriage in future contexts to be continually changing as impacted by the implications of the environment and time.
CONCLUSIONAs a consequence of my social investigation, I have learnt that not only is the tradition of marriage seen as divisive across generations but also inclusive of gendered perspectives, which therefore outlines the ritual to be susceptible to the environment and time of context. Although definitions, values and the presentation of marital relationships vary across time, the core values of commitment and love prevail as a continuing factor, allowing for the exploration of the influences of micro, meso and macro level to be explored. In arriving at this realisation, I have discovered that the experiences of generations and the surrounding culture can ultimately play a significant role in the presentation of personal ideologies and values within everyday life.
Whilst my research did not directly prove or disprove my original hypothesis that there is a diminishing sense of significance for marriage through generations, it did go further into the socialisation analysis than expected, outlining individuals to be products of their environment. This was aided by the deconstruction of complex social theories like Symbolic Interactionism, Generational theory and the ideology of Feminism which effectively established a connection between my research and my own micro world personal experiences. In this sense, I was able to further understand their influence in my life and the lives of others around me.
My primary and secondary research proved to be successful and aided in the outcome of my Personal Interest Project as well as the exploration of socialisation agents. The use of case studies composed of questionnaire and focus groups allowed me, as a researcher, to gain a comprehensive understanding of different perspectives of marital relations across generations as well as allowing me to project marriage upon future contexts. Although there was little differentiation between male and female respondents in the primary research the generational differences acted as an effective cross-cultural component and significantly contributed to my understanding of different and conflicting worldviews. Through the research portion of my Personal Interest Project I feel I have developed an understanding of the nature of social and ethical research which further has enhanced my social and culture literacy making me a more open-minded member of society.
The PIP, has allowed me to use my knowledge of micro, meso and macro levels to apply it cohesively as a trickling effect on the culture of society as a whole. This has made me acknowledge that although the continuance regarding the presentation of marriage is not achievable, it is essential that the various generations accept the continually changing ritual as a product of society.
I set out to identity and determine how marriage would affect my millennialism and feminist ideals. I believe that through research, this has strengthened not only my personal values but made me more socially and culturally literate through the acceptance of differing perspectives to my own. Marriage should not be statically defined due to it’s subjective values but embraced across all mediums of society as a continuing factor of love across generations. The conduction of this research has identified that marriage as an institution is changing to accommodate culture and as an implication of this change is fluidly identified by individuals- proving that marriage and marital relations can be adapted for certain values and beliefs and not necessarily conform to the ‘traditional’ origin.
My Personal Interest Project has sparked personal interest in the field of social research and the influence of the environment on the formulation of personal ideologies, which I am to develop and pursue throughout tertiary education to further adapt my social and cultural literacy.
ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHYPrimary Sources:
Focus Group 1 (Baby Boomers)- 22nd of February 2018
There seemed to be negative ideas surrounding the future of marriage and the younger generations through the avid advocacy of past ideals of gender roles and tradition. This focus group correlated with my secondary findings and questionnaire- establishing the baby boomers as a generation for the advocacy of tradition which was most displayed in the questions; 6,7 and 9. The constant referral to time and social contexts when comparing generations saw the respondents mostly agree with each other’s responses. This consensus assisted in the validity of the perceptions of Baby Boomers on modern and traditional marriages. Although the focus group was useful, not all respondents could attend due to personal reasons and the group dynamics were adjusted.
Focus Group 2 (Gen X)- 23rd of February 2018
Generation X’s focus group proved very insightful and established a transitional period across generations to the change in marriage. Due to gen x being the transition generation the results were very mixed to all questions which made it harder for the researcher to control group discussion. The participants directed group discussion towards gender roles in marriages however, agreed upon the future of marriage being ‘purer’ than past generations as it becoming more of a choice. The data is easily comparable to the baby boomer findings and correlates to the questionnaire data. The focus group was conducted ethically by acquiring consent, referring to them as aliases, establishing a protocol to ensure of participants and researcher comfortability. The focus group questions were all checked by multiple peers and teachers in hopes of eliminating personal bias and was cross-referenced with people from each generations outside of the study to be more conscious of cultural and social differences across each generation.
Focus Group 3 (Generation Y)- April 18th 2018
Focus Group 4 (Generation Z)- May 12th 2018
Online Questionnaire- 1st of February 2018
The online questionnaire conducted by all case studies required them to answer a series of questions via a link sent to their email accounts. This method was highly insightful for establishing the foundations for the topic in the participant’s minds and helped form the focus group questions from the data collected. The method showed distinct differences in the importance and ideals of marriage across all generations and focused on ‘setting the scene’ for further research. The establishment of gender roles in question 8 was most insightful in the differences across generations. There was difficulty that was faced in the questionnaire process- having to change the medium to paper in order to receive the responses from baby boomers, but it was quickly altered to best suit the participants needs. Personal bias was avoided through feedback from multiple teachers and was conducted ethically by acquiring participant consent, referring to them by aliases and corresponding with people from the generations- avoided uncomfortable controversy.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2016). 3310.0- Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2016 Canberra.
Australian Institute of Family Studies. (2018). Divorce in Australia. online Available at: https://aifs.gov.au/facts-and-figures/divorce-australia Accessed 15 Mar. 2018
Barich,R. and Bielby D. (1996). Rethinking Marriage. Journal of Family Issues, Vol 17, pp. 139-169
The article ‘Rethinking Marriage’ explicitly outlines the ever-changing concept of marriage across generations which is supported by the incorporation of the cross-cultural analysis of male and female respondents in the study. The authors describe marriage as a common tradition across the generations but varying in importance. The source then follows with a clear explanation of the effects of the rise of feminism and how men and women’s gendered experiences will dictate their positions on marriage. This source is peer reviewed and utilises objective language which increases its credibility however, is an American source. This American source should be used carefully as Australia can be seen as a mirroring society to America but has clear and distinct cultural differences. This source is useful in my PIP as it expands on my findings in my primary research however looks at the concept of marriage more holistically.
Connell, as cited in, Ashe, F. (2007) The New Politics of Masculinity. London: Routledge. P.146
Connell, R. and Messerschmidt, J. (2005). Hegemonic Masculinity. Gender & Society, online 19(6), pp.829-859. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0891243205278639 Accessed 12 Jul.2018.
Erchull, M., Liss, M., Axelson, S., Staebell, S. and Askair, S. (2010). Well…She Wants It More: Perceptions of Social Norms about Desires for Marriage and Children and Anticipated Chore Participation. Psychology of Women Quarterly, pp.253-260
This journal article compares the experiences of men and women and their varied desires for marriage. The case study’s findings discusses conceptual ideas around feminism in modern day relationships- comparing past to present day. The ideas of power, status and differing gendered experiences are described as the driving force for a change in the importance of marriage. This source was able to draw from multiple other secondary sources from the works of Diekman, Sprecher and Novack for validity. This validity does not eliminate the bias connected to the personal tone and language. However, with the authors supporting their personal statements with academic findings the source was used to gain a different perspective to the issue. This article was useful for establishing the foundations to my topic and was used to outline key ideas I wanted to further study in my own primary research.
Geist, C. (2017). Marriage Formation in Context: Four Decades in Comparative Perspective. Social Sciences, 6(1), p.9.
Heywood, L. (2003). Third wave agenda. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, p.36.
Horwitz, S. (2018). Capitalism and the Family online Free.org. Available at: https://fee.org/articles/capitalism-and-the-family/ Accessed 17 Jul.2018
Hugh, M. (1998). Three Generations: The Changing Values and Political Outlook of Australians. Papers on Parliament No. 31.
Ingraham, C. (2008). White Weddings Romancing Heterosexuality in Popular Culture. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, pp.37-54
Johnson, L. (2000). Revolutions are not made by down-trodden housewives’. Feminism and the Housewife. Australian Feminist Studies, 15(32), pp. 237-248
Lynch, A. (2015). Marriage and The Generations: Change is Constant, But So is Love.Blog Generational Edge. Available at: http://www.generationaledge.com/blog/posts/marriage-and-the-generations Accessed 6 May 2018
Manis, J., Meltzer, B. (1978). Symbolic Interaction. 2nd ed. Allyn and Bacon
This source is of academic nature and was used to delineate the symbolic interaction theory in relation to marriage. The source outlined the basics of the theory and was used throughout my entire PIP process to further understand the reasoning’s behind the answers and the overall influence of the environment and surroundings on identity and attitudes of individuals. The source added in the establishment of the fundamental link between generations and acted as the bridging gap between the baby boomers. Generation, generation y and generation z. The source is valid as it is from a sociology textbook and is contemporary. However, its reliability is limited as it is not a research paper or discusses the theories weaknesses. Overall, the source is useful for understanding the topic and the understanding of the findings acquired in my PIP process.
Ortyl, T. (2013). Long-Term Heterosexual Cohabiters and Attitudes Toward Marriage. The Sociological Quarterly, pp.584-609
This academic, peer-reviewed article describes the growth of cohabitation across time and the change in the meaning across generations. The article further compares the rate of occurrence to the change in desires of generations due to the contemporary advocacy of individualism. This article was incredibly useful in the discussion of marriage in the younger generations by comparing each generations social and cultural context. The source also projected the change onto the future and referred to generation Z being a ‘purer relationship’ as it would be more of choice. The source is credible due to it being peer-reviewed and published by a reliable academic journal. The source is useful for my PIP as it supports my findings and looks at marriage across time.
Robnett, R., Wertheimer, M. and Tenenbaum, H. (2017). Does a Woman’s Marital Surname Influence Perceptions of her Husband? An Analysis Focusing on Gender-Typed Traits and Relationship Dynamic. Sex Roles.
This secondary journal article attempts to explain the power dynamics in a modern-day relationship through the concepts of gender. The authors focus on men and women’s stereotypical power roles in marriages and the roles they assume in conjunction to those expectations. This source was not as credible as others due to its inflammatory and biased nature however, was useful in providing further readings and an opposed perspective to my own. It contrasted my feminist perspective with the authors menimist point of view that improved by social and cultural literacy and made me aware of my own bias. This source was useful however, used with caution due to its lack in credibility.
Robinson, M. (2018). The Generations-Which Generation Are You?.online Careerplanner.com. Available at: https://www.careerplanner.com/Career-Articles/Generations.cfm Accessed 18 Apr.2018.
Risman, B.(2017). 2016 Southern Sociological Society Presidential Address: Are Millennials Cracking the Gender Structure?. Social Currents, online 4(3), pp.208-277. Available at; http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2329496517697145 Accessed 13 Jul. 2018.
Slobin, D., Gerhardt J., Kyratzis, A. and Guo J. (2014). Social Interaction, Social Context, and Language. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
Strauss, W. and Howe, N. (1992). Generations. New York: Morrow
Tracy, K. (2016). Discourse, Identity, And Social Change In The Marriage Equality Debates. Oxford.
Wang, W. and Taylor, P. (2011). For Millennials, Parenthood Trumps Marriage, Washington, DC: Pew Research Centre, Social ; Demographic Trends, pp.1-13