Anne Lise Ellingsæter: "Resisting or maintaining gender inequality? Wedding traditions among Norwegian millennials"
Despite growing gender equality in society and preferences for egalitarian marriages among young adults, this article by Anne Lise Ellingsæter argues that wedding traditions in the Nordic context perpetuate patriarchal ideas. Published in the latest volume of Acta Sociologica.
Historically, wedding traditions have reflected unequal power dynamics between women and men. Anglo-American studies suggest that despite growing gender equality in society and preferences for egalitarian marriages among young adults, wedding traditions perpetuate patriarchal ideas. This article by Anne Lise Ellingsæter explores this puzzle in the Nordic context.
Semi-structured interviews were carried out with Norwegian millennials, 27 women and men, who were soon to be married or had been recently. How this new generation navigates three wedding traditions rooted in gender inequality — the male marriage proposal, the gendered division of wedding planning and women's change of surname — was investigated by identifying gender dynamics at the institutional, interactional and individual level.
The study makes two main contributions to the literature. First, it brings new insights into whether and how wedding traditions are maintained or resisted in a Nordic context, extending existing Anglo-American research. Second, representing a novel empirical lens to the Nordic context, the study also advances knowledge about the progress in gender equality in a hitherto little studied domain.
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