Rational-Emotional ‘Divorce’ In Iran
International Women’s Day is a good time to report the paper my fellow sociologists in Tehran, Iranian academics Meysam Haddadi Barzoki and Mohhamad Tavakoll, and I have just published (March 2014). Meysam and I liaised on this work via the e-ether for quite a while; through our exchanges I learnt about a society very different from mine. (Iranian women’s fathers become only ‘stepfather’ when their daughters marry.) I hope our paper shines light on some important issues for others too. The abstract and full link follow:
This study investigates emotional divorce in marriage in everyday life in Iran from a female perspective. Many studies have been conducted on divorce but there is vacuum in the field of emotional divorce in regard to how it is defined and which research methodologies are most appropriate.
This study aims to understand the participant’s construct of emotional divorce as well as its mechanism and causes, using grounded theory to achieve a deep and holistic understanding of the issues. Analytic induction and theoretical saturation were the criteria for selecting 22 women with severe marital dissatisfaction, as subjects for the research.
One of the core ideas considered is that emotional divorce increases when formal, legal divorce is difficult to obtain. Findings cover four fields including:
(1) social contexts such as patriarchy, the presence of stepfathers, and female passivity;
(2) intensifying factors such as men’s sex vs. women’s love and the presence of a rival wife;
(3) unequal exchange and
(4) the sense of inequality, rational divorce and finally emotional divorce itself.
Our research findings show the occurrence of ‘emotional divorce’ often arises from rational calculation. Unequal exchange results in the sense of inequality as the main cause of emotional divorce.
The full paper, which includes compelling and sometimes heart-wrenching first person accounts, is available here: Rational-Emotional ‘Divorce’ in Iran
Meysam Haddadi Barzoki, Mohhamad Tavakoll, Hilary Burrage
Applied Research in Quality of Life