the study of marriage

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Marriage and Caste

This article on "Marriage and Caste" by Kay S. Hymowitz is a fascinating, well-supported thesis on how the modern concept that marriage is optional for childbearing is negatively and unequally affecting the poor in the United States. To quote from near the end of the article:
When Americans announced that marriage before childbearing was optional, low-income women didn’t merely lose a steadfast partner, a second income, or a trusted babysitter, as the strength-in-numbers theory would have it. They lost a traditional arrangement that reinforced precisely the qualities that they-and their men; let’s not forget the men!—needed for upward mobility, qualities all the more important in a tough new knowledge economy. The timing could hardly have been worse. At a time when education was becoming crucial to middle-class status, the disadvantaged lost a reliable life script, a way of organizing their early lives that would prize education and culminate in childbearing only after job training and marriage. They lost one of their few institutional supports for planning ahead and taking control of their lives.

The article is long but really worth a read.


Post a Comment

<< Home