The analytical themes of this book centre on individuality and marginality. The development of Western citizenship required a concept of the modern, abstract individual (Chapter 2). Such an individual is not neutral in terms of gender, social class or ‘race’. As formal citizenship has extended to women, single women are less likely to evoke conceptions of ‘a third sex’. But have they reached absolute individuality? Are they no longer constructed as the other? Such questions are difficult to explore empirically, but I was nevertheless interested in pursuing the possibilities. This could have been done by exploring how single women are affected by legislation, social policies and so on, but, as I was interested in the experience of singleness in the context of the diversification of family formations, I wanted to conduct my exploration through perceptions and experiences of single women. It is difficult to ask questions about citizenship and individuality, but as I approached the interviews in a way which gave the interviewees an opportunity to reflect on the theoretical and analytical themes of the research directly, I had to consider what level of discussion would enable me to do so.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.