Mellom tradisjoner og modernitet - En kvalitativ studie av unge, gifte menns ekteskapsforståelser
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This thesis explores how young, married men understand marriage. After the Second World War, marriage has gradually lost its meaning as an economic and strategic factor from generation to generation, especially in Western countries. Because of the increase in cohabitations, marriage has lost its unique position as a framework around family life and parenthood. Despite this, people continue to marry. Using in depth interviews with 9 young, married men, I take a closer look at understandings of marriage from a male perspective. The analyzes of the late modernity done by modernity theorists such as Anthony Giddens, Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim, show that society has changed after the 1970s. Unlike traditional societies, contemporary societies are more liquid than solid. Traditions have been replaced by reflexive choices, and this affects our intimate relationships and leads to an understanding of couple relations as non-committal. Following this, several interesting questions pop up. Why do men marry today? What does marriage mean to them? The key findings include that men understand marriage as a tradition, a part of the cultural society they live in. They emphasize safety and stability, and these values are found in marriage. An important reason for getting married, is love. They experience that love becomes more “serious” by marrying. Further, their understandings of marriage are characterized by a differentiation between traditionalism and modernity. Some understandings are traditional, others are more modernistic. Maybe there is tension between free, individual choices and traditional structures? Although the men consider themselves as free individuals with opportunities to make their own choices, they often end up supporting traditions and what “everyone else” does. Because research on marriage tends to focus on women, more studies are needed on men and their understandings of marriage. This thesis is a sociological contribution to a research field, in which men’s voices currently are silent.