Singlehood as an unscheduled status passage
in A table for one

The focus of this chapter is a conceptual analysis of ‘becoming single as well as the discursive mechanisms that constitute it as a biographical disruption. One of the main arguments of this chapter is that this process is rarely problematized in relation to singlehood or figured as a default and sequential life trajectory. By pursuing this point further, this discussion examines this path in relational terms, in which the process of becoming single and the transition from normative to late singlehood is produced by socio-temporal truth statements. In this chapter ‘becoming single’ is explored as a subtle non-institutionalized transition process, in which the entry and exit from ‘normative singlehood’ to ‘late singlehood’ occurs without institutionalised rituals or official formalities.

The second part of this chapter offers a temporal analysis of the question “Why is she still single?” as signifying the transition to late singlehood. The intent here is to explain the discursive formations and implications of this ubiquitous question, and shed light on how popular knowledge about single women is produced and circulated. Thus, instead of asking why single women are single, this chapter examines how the question itself is discursively constructed in relation to how singlehood is figured as unscheduled and disruptive trajectory.

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A table for one

A critical reading of singlehood, gender and time

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