Thursday, May 07, 2009

Marriage-Go-Round 1

I am reading Andrew Cherlin's The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today. Cherlin is a big name in family sociology, and this is the book he says he has been thinking of writing for a long time. His main concern is why and how American family patterns are different from European patterns.

Cherlin's opening claim is interesting: we are strongly committed to marriage, like the southern Europeans, and we are strongly committed to individualism, like the northern Europeans.

Hence, the marriage-go-round. We keep marrying and remarrying for the family, but also breaking up for ourselves.


Rob said...

I wonder, also, what role the distance between immediate families and extended families has on the differences between American and European Families. Most European families seem to live within a reasonable distance from extended family, whereas a family living in California has a hard time keeping up with extended family in New Jersey.

Anonymous said...

I'm really interested to hear what the author has to say about this question. It's one I copied from Wilson and posted to my blog recently, to little avail, so I'm interested to see what the book says and also to be able to link my blog readers.

Gruntled said...

Wilson does talk about mobility as as major factor in promoting divorce. He has nifty county maps overlapping divorce, mobility, and suicide.