Exploring Constructions of Commitment for Women in Mid and Later Life Aged 50 to 65

PhD Thesis

Colquhoun, A. (2024). Exploring Constructions of Commitment for Women in Mid and Later Life Aged 50 to 65 . PhD Thesis London South Bank University School of Law and Social Sciences https://doi.org/10.18744/lsbu.97142
AuthorsColquhoun, A.
TypePhD Thesis

This thesis explores the way women in mid and later life understand commitment to men in heterosexual relationships. Commitment in relationships is central to human experience but is greatly under-theorised in sociological literature. This lack of knowledge is even more pronounced in relation to women in mid and later life. To date there is no empirical research which specifically addresses this area of study and generational cohorts. Over the last 40 years the Office for National Statistics has recorded a steady increase in divorce, separation and the numbers of women living alone. This research is made more significant given the size of baby boomer and generation X cohorts.
The overarching aim of this research is to explore how women in mid and later life understand commitment to men. I specifically explore the ways duty, obligation and personal choice impact women’s perceptions of commitment. I also consider the way women’s situatedness in time influences their perceptions of commitment.
Situating myself as a baby boomer feminist I selected snowballing as the method of recruitment. The chosen methodology for the study was a combination of secondary-source research and semi-structured interviews of fourteen women.
I found that commitment for women is undergoing a steady transformation, informed by what I argue is the gendered nature of commitment. Women in the study reached what I have termed ‘a pivotal moment’. This represents a time in the relationship where women participants made the decision that something must change for the relationship to continue. The pivotal moment can be aligned with a form of raised consciousness, where participants were able to recognise inequality and oppression within their relationship. Once reached, the pivotal moment leads onto a new form of commitment which I term ‘curated’, where women are more able to prioritise their own needs.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.18744/lsbu.97142
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Publication dates
Print29 Apr 2024
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Jul 2024
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