search by author or title

The Divorce Culture

How Divorce Became an Entitlement and How It Is Blighting the Lives of Our Children


Barbara Dafoe Whitehead (View Bio)
Hardcover: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997; Paperback: Vintage , 1998.

The Divorce Culture

"It may do for maintaining imperfect unions what THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE did for dissolving them." — New York Magazine

"An intelligent analysis...worth reading and debating." — Chicago Tribune

"An eloquent diatribe against divorce as an entitlement in which the interests of other 'stakeholders,' particularly children, are subordinated to the enhancement of self. Social historian Whitehead (who first advanced her argument in an award-winning 1993 Atlantic Monthly piece) contends that under the prevailing ethic of 'expressive individualism,' divorce has become the psychologically approved response to marital dissatisfaction and, as such, morally neutralized ('no right or wrong reasons ...only reasons') and socially sanctioned. It is, she contends, even applauded, by the likes of liberals, feminists, and psychotherapists, whose agendas conveniently blind them to consequences that have surfaced on reappraisal. If, as Whitehead maintains, the early supporters believed that 'adults were emotionally fragile and need divorce, while children were emotionally resilient and could handle it,' later studies bear out her own conclusion, felicitously articulated, that married parents have greater capacity to invest in their children both affectively and instrumentally and also 'to recruit other sources of social and emotional capital.' ...Her confrontation with that tough reality merits attention and support." — Kirkus Reviews

Up Back to Top