A System in Transition
Psychology Press – 1992 – 216 pages
Dual-career marriage, in which wife and husband each pursue a professional career, offers a window into the changing landscape of gender roles and relations. In the span of a single generation, the family in which both parents work outside the home has gone from being the exception to being the rule. This book examines the multi-layered implications this impressive, rapid change holds for the fabric of family and marital life and for the course of men's and women's work lives.
Intensive interviews with dual-career wives and husbands provide rich information about four major issues:
* In what ways and for whom do dual-career marriages replicate the traditional gender arrangements of one-career marriages, and in what ways do dual-career marriages represent a revolution in gender roles?
* How do the two careers of spouses develop side by side, and in what ways do dual-career spouses help or hinder each other's careers?
* How do work and family combine in dual-career marriages?
* How are relationships between spouses and between parents and children affected by dual careers?
This book presents a subtle, textured portrait of contemporary dual-career marriage -- examining the complicated interplay of expectations, behaviors, and emotions within and between dual-career spouses. The author observes that the centrality of family or work to each spouse's sense of self powerfully affects how the couple negotiates the challenges posed by dual-career marriage, including feelings of competition between spouses, questions of geographic moves, and division of domestic tasks. The study illuminates many issues of clinical relevance, such as the common hazard of dual-career spouses having little time for marital intimacy once the rigorous demands of careers and children are met, and the complicated intrapersonal as well as interpersonal tensions generated by gender roles in transition.
"…makes for interesting reading and provides additional descriptive information on this still emerging family form. The author's approach is even-handed, insightful, and positive."
"…one of Silberstein's achievements is surely the skill with which she lets the women and men in dual-career couples speak directly to us….The strength of Silberstein's book is its lucid illustrations of the resiliency of traditional roles in professional couples."
—Psychology of Women Quarterly
"Written with rare grace and wit, Dual Career Marriage tells the story of gender relations in one sector of contemporary American society. Anyone with an interest in work and family will benefit from reading what Lisa Silberstein has to say on the subject."
—Faye J. Crosby
Author of Juggling: The Unexpected Advantage of Balancing Career and Home for
"A rich and engaging account of the way dual-career families manage their lives in the boardroom, in the playroom, and in the bedroom. Vivid detail accompanies an understanding analysis."
—Cynthia Fuchs Epstein
Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, CUNY, Author of Deceptive Distincti
"This book addresses a subject that is of intense interest to researchers and the general public alike. It is theoretically sophisticated and yet is written in a style that is virtually without jargon. Silberstein's in-depth treatment of dual-career marriage is thoughtful, judicious, and eye opening."
Professor of Psychology and Director of Women's Studies, University of Michigan
Contents: Dual-Career Marriage and the Worlds of Work and Family. Gender, Work, And Family: Continuity and Change. Two Careers in Development. The Work and Family System. Dual Careers and the Heart of Family Life. A System in Transition. Appendices: Research Method. Schedule for Interviews.