2
Marriage as a Social Institution

A marriage is much more than the sum of two spouses. It is also a relationship defined by legal, moral, and conventional assumptions. While one can imagine a variety of close personal affiliations uniting two adults, the variety of marriage affiliations is much narrower because marriage is an institution, culturally patterned and integrated into other basic social institutions, such as education, the economy, and politics. Marriage has rules that originate outside any particular union of two spouses and that establish soft boundaries around the relationship that influence the partners in many ways. The boundaries around marriages are the commonly understood allowable limits of behavior that distinguish marriage from all other kinds of relationships. The social norms that define the institution of marriage identify married spouses in ways that distinguish them from others. Married couples have something that other couples lack: they are heirs to a vast system of understood principles that help organize and sustain their lives.

One explanation for how marriage matters to men is that it provides structure to their lives and organizes their ambitions. This is an old argument, first suggested a century ago by Emile Durkheim, who demonstrated the protective role of marriage in preventing suicide. Durkheim observed that since basic human necessities (food, housing, clothing) are more or less available in all advanced societies, desires among modern humans are focused on well-being, comfort, luxury, and prestige. Sooner or later, however, the appetite for such rewards becomes sated. One of the central problems in modern society, therefore, is establishing legitimate boundaries around such desires. This, Durkheim believed, can be accomplished only by social institutions such as marriage ( 1951: 247-49).

Durkheim explained the function of marriage for men by noting how unrestrained longings and desires must be checked. Marriage benefits men, Durkheim believed, because, as an organ of society, it restrains their otherwise uncontrollable impulses. Discussing such desires and impulses, Durkheim observed:

By forcing a man to attach himself forever to the same woman, marriage assigns a strictly definite object to the need for love, and closes the horizon. This deter-

-11-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Marriage in Men's Lives
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - Marriage as a Social Institution 11
  • Conclusion 41
  • 3 - Marriage and Masculinity 43
  • Summary 61
  • 4 - Adult Achievement 63
  • Notes 83
  • 5 - Personal Communities 84
  • Conclusion 107
  • Notes 110
  • 6 - When Men Help Others 112
  • Notes 128
  • 7 - The New Normative Marriage Is It Good for Men? 130
  • Appendix A - Multivariate Results for Chapter 4 Pooled Cross-Section Time-Series with Fixed Effects 143
  • Appendix B - Multivariate Results for Chapter 5 Conditional Change Models 145
  • Appendix C - Multivariate Results for Chapter 6 Conditional Change Models 151
  • References 153
  • Index 161
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 168

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.