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Title: A Ceremony for Divorce?
Subtitle: Emerging Practices for a New Rite of Passage
Author(s): AROSIO, Laura
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 17    Issue: 1   Date: 2011   
Pages: 14-24
DOI: 10.2143/INT.17.1.2126628

Abstract :
In this article the author deals with the meaning of certain events, practices and initiatives that are relatively new to contemporary Western societies and that are beginning to spread in conjunction with the rise in marital instability through legal separation and divorce. In particular she refers to the organization of events such as divorce parties, trade fairs for the separated and divorced, as well as the emergence of new professionals such as the divorce consultant and the divorce planner. It is suggested that many phenomena that seem independent from, and unconnected to, one another are strongly interlinked, as they are fragments of a single reality. The article discusses firstly the reasons that have long supported the idea that in contemporary Western societies, marital break-up is not an event of transition in the life course of individuals (and is not to be ritualized). Subsequently, it is argued that, today, these reasons appear to be vanquished. If divorce can be considered as a rite of passage, then it requires a ritual ceremony. The author maintains that the phenomena that are emerging in conjunction with the increase in legal separations and divorces (from the divorce planner to service agencies for the newly separated) can be interpreted as parts of a ritual ceremony for marital breakup (i.e. a rite of divorce). In the last section of the article, the author uses the well-known threefold scheme, as applied to the other rites of passage, as a starting point to study the structure of the emerging divorce rite.

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