The Marriage-Go-Round

The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today
Andrew J. Cherlin

Using historical analysis and data from international survey results, sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin tries in this book to answer the question why in the United States “people partner, unpartner, and repartner faster than do people in any other Western nation.” Central to his study is the contradiction between the values of the traditional family unit, with its emphasis on fixed social roles and the raising of children, and the importance individualism places on personal growth and fulfillment in marriage. Expressive individualism and personal choice are today firmly in the ascendant, with women in particular riding a wave propelled by social change (more education and better jobs making them more independent) and technology (the pill for birth control). And so while marriage remains as important as ever, its meaning has changed. We’re never going back to the 1950s again. And that’s a good thing.

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