Understanding Tradition: Marital Name Change in Britain and Norway

Is the tradition of women’s marital name change just some sort of inertia or drag, which will slowly disappear as modernity progresses, or does this tradition fulfil more contemporary roles? ask Simon Duncan, Anne Lise Ellingsæter and Julia Carter in an article in Sociological Research Online.

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Abstract

Marital surname change is a striking example of the survival of tradition. A practice emerging from patriarchal history has become embedded in an age of detraditionalisation and women’s emancipation. Is the tradition of women’s marital name change just some sort of inertia or drag, which will slowly disappear as modernity progresses, or does this tradition fulfil more contemporary roles? Are women and men just dupes to tradition, or alternatively do they use tradition to further their aims? We examine how different approaches – individualisation theory, new institutionalism, and bricolage – might tackle these questions. This examination is set within a comparative analysis of marital surname change in Britain and Norway, using small qualitative samples. We find that while individualisation and new institutionalism offer partial explanations, bricolage offers a more adaptable viewpoint.

 

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Published Jan. 14, 2020 12:47 PM - Last modified Jan. 14, 2020 12:47 PM