Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Creating meaning in engagement: Gender, heterosexuality, and commitment to marriage
by Hunter, Erica, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2011, 288; 3490813
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines how heterosexual couples use engagement to create meaning in their intimate relationships. In-depth interviews with 44 men and women who identified as engaged to be married uncovered three pathways through which couples construct meanings of commitment to marriage within their partnerships. Neotraditional couples view marriage as a ritual tied to adult life and family planning. Promisemaker couples use engagement as a way of creating commitment to the partnership. Nestbuilder couples enact engagement because they viewed marriage as a natural step for long term commitments. Frameworks of gender, heteronormativity, and the ambiguity of courtship norms in post-dating culture played a major role in how couples enacted and constructed meaning in their marital engagements. Implications from this dissertation include a need to integrate an understanding of heteronormativity into research in relationship processes and the value in using dyadic data to study partnering.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Spitze, Glenna
Commitee: Seidman, Steven, Trent, Katherine
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Individual & family studies
Keywords: Courtship, Heterosexuality, Marital engagment, Marriage, Relationship processes
Publication Number: 3490813
ISBN: 978-1-267-12029-8
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