Pursuing self-fulfilment in a divorce biography



Publication Details

Quah, S. Ee Ling. (2013). Pursuing self-fulfilment in a divorce biography. In N. Osbaldiston, C. Strong & H. Forbes-Mewett (Eds.), The Australian Sociological Association 2013 Conference Proceedings: Reflections, Intersections and Aspirations (pp. 1-16). Melbourne, Australia: The Australian Sociological Association.

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The Australian Sociological Association


This paper aims to build on existing knowledge of divorce experiences and further develop theoretical understandings of those experiences. With a dominant discourse of divorce in the existing family literature emphasising the negative consequences of divorce for the individuals involved and for wider society, this research sets out to understand the relatively overlooked constructive aspects of this social phenomenon. From deciding to dissolve their marriage to accounting for their decision to seeking recognition from significant others to rebuilding their post-divorce lives, my research explores how divorced individuals might pursue a sense of achievement and fulfillment. Certainly, it is not all straightforward. Extending theorisations on individualisation to better understand the subjective experience of divorce within the framework of what I call, a divorce biography, my study shows that divorce can be enabling despite the challenging outcomes the life-changing event brings. By making use of empirical data collected through interviews with 20 Singaporean divorcees, I explore how divorced respondents construct their personal narratives around the themes of authenticity, affirmation and self-fulfilment within the social context they are located.

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