“Laws shouldn’t chain people to one another”: Attitudes toward divorce in Swedish public debate 1964-1972
2011 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
During the 1960s and 1970s in Sweden, both the labor force participation rate of marriedwomen and the divorce rate increased more than during any other period of the twentiethcentury. Higher levels of extramarital fertility, cohabitation among unmarried spouses andincreasing age at first birth accompanied the rise of these two rates. These developmentsexemplify phenomena associated with the second demographic transition, and weremarkedly evident in Sweden during the 1960s and 1970s. Studying the national newspapersfrom 1964 to 1969, this paper traces the impact of these demographic and socioeconomicchanges on the public debate on divorce prior to the implementation of the 1974divorce law.The Swedish divorce law of 1974 was based on unilateral no-fault and thus meant aremoval of more or less all legal constraints against divorce. The aim of this paper is toidentify the normative views of divorce that dominated the public debate during the secondhalf of the 1960s, just prior to the implementation of the new divorce law. In thispaper, the daily press is used to detect the arguments that were publically raised for andagainst an increased access to divorce and how the argumentation changed over time.With regard to gender and socio-economic position, the study further identifies the participantsin the debate and whether they represented any political or other group affiliations.Focusing on this divorce debate, the findings will contribute to the knowledge onhow changes in cultural and normative values in society interact with dramatic demographicdevelopments and institutional changes.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Divorce, Sweden, 1960s, Gender Regime, Second Demographic Transition, Post-materialism, Welfare State, De-familialization
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-60212OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-60212DiVA: diva2:558794
36th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, Boston, Massachusetts, 17-20 November, 2011.