In the article “Uncoupling: The Social Construction of Divorce” the author Diane Vaughan discusses the specifics and the social perception of marriage and divorce. When married, the two people form a single identity, while during divorce, the redefinition of this construct occurs. This paper aims to analyze the article “Uncoupling: The Social Construction of Divorce” and summarize the main ideas from it.
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Vaughan begins by referring to the definition of divorce as a process in which two distinct individuals come together. The author argues that from a social perspective, these two people become one, even if they do not realize it. The issue here is self-realization, which is derived from a single source for the two married individuals. Vaughan refers to the definition of marriage as a social validation of the relationship and proof that it is significant for the two people (230). Since marriage is so important for a person’s self-identification, the question of how a divorce affects the individual is important.
Notably, the author uses the term uncoupling instead of divorce, to include not only heterosexual couples into the discussion. To gain insight into this issue, Vaughan conducted several interviews with people either married, who were thinking about separation, or already divorced. As a result, the author suggests that this unified identity is usually not the intention of the two. Moreover, in most cases, only one partner finds stability in such coupled identification.
In general, the author was able to distinguish several stages that couples go through before getting a divorce. They are the initiation accompanying reconstructions, self-validation outside the marriage, and trying (Vaughan 232). During the final stage, both the initiator and their partner understand that some rouble in the relationship exists. Overall, this article outlines the process of uncoupling and the impact that it has on an individual’s identity.
Vaughan, Diane. “Uncoupling: The Social Construction of Divorce.” Readings in Social Psychology: Perspective and Method, edited by Bryan Byers, Allyn and Bacon, 1993, pp. 230-243.