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Year: 2014 Type: Book Chapter Language: English

Penny Johnson makes connections between the narratives of two generations of unmarried women and matters of embodiment, sexuality and (dis)empowerment. Marriage is a key institution through which heterosexuality as well as gender may be understood as being constituted and potentially reconstituted.

Johnson’s essay shows that what it means for women to be unmarried has to be understood in a contextualised manner, one in which heterosexuality is interwoven with different dimensions of the social. At the same time, however, these meanings may be contested in different ways, whether through the experiences of older women in lives of service, the focus of young women on education or on rethinking the ideal age of marriage. 

Resource is unavailable online, but can be viewed at the British Library of Development Studies in Brighton,