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Marital Separation in Contemporary Ireland

Women’s Experiences

Lucy Hyland

This book is based on detailed interviews with a group of Irish women who have experienced marital separation. It links the women’s accounts with literature on the values and beliefs about marriage, women and family which were prevalent when they were growing up in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s. The book chronicles their young adult years, the early stages of their marriages and the events and processes which led to their separations. It explores the women’s emotional reactions at the time of separating, the types of support which they found beneficial and the personal, social and financial consequences of having separated.
Although the book is written from a sociological perspective, the combination of theory and practical insights make it accessible to a wide variety of readers. It aims to generate discussion and deepen understanding of an area into which there has been minimal research in Ireland and which poses a range of important questions for future researchers, practitioners and policy-makers.
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Chapter 3: Identity Formation in Young Adulthood


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Identity Formation in Young Adulthood

The women in this study reached young adulthood between the mid-1970s and early 1980s. In this chapter it is proposed to look at this stage of their lives, up to the point at which they got married. It is also proposed to continue to explore the first research question and to consider the relative importance into young adulthood of influence from families and communities. The concept of embeddedness is still very relevant. The concept of individualisation also becomes pertinent at this stage. The theory of individualisation will, firstly, be explained. Then data on leaving home and forming intimate relationships will be presented.


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