A table for one

A critical reading of singlehood, gender and time

“What are you waiting for?” Stop wasting your time” “You will die alone,” “You will miss the train and stay on your own! “. These are just some of the questions and warnings that single women hear on an everyday basis. In a similar vein, single women are constantly being asked whether they are ‘‘still single,’’ or being bid to get married next or soon. Still, soon, ever-after, waste of time, waiting, how long, when, all these form part of the rich language of time.

Table for one is the first book to consider the profound relationship between singlehood and social time. Drawing on a wide range of cultural resources – including web columns, blogs, advice columns, popular clichés, advertisements and references from television and cinema, Kinneret Lahad challenges the conventional meaning-making processes of singlehood and Time and raises pertinent questions about how people conceptualize their lives alone and with others.

Lahad’s unique approach gives us the opportunity to explore singlehood through temporal concepts such as waiting, wasting time, timeout or age and accelerated aging. Other temporal categories which are examined throughout this book as the life course, linearity and commodification of time enable a new consideration of dominant perceptions about collective clocks, schedules, and the temporal organization of social life in general. By proposing this new analytical direction, this book seeks to rework some of our common conceptions of singlehood, and presents a new theoretical arsenal with which the temporal paradigms which devalue and marginalize single women and women’s subjectivies in general are reassessed and subverted.

 

‘A highly readable and theoretically engaging study of 'long-term' single women.'

‘From the outset, the reader is drawn into a highly readable and theoretically engaging study of 'long-term' single women. Drawing upon a wide range of sources, the author provides a detailed examination of a triple discrimination, in terms of age, gender and single status. Focusing upon but not confined to modern Israel, the study takes us through the numerous sites and temporal contexts where these discriminations occur. However, this is not just a study of a particular gendered status but it is also a major contribution to the understanding of everyday time; waiting time, time passing, commodified time. In her final chapter the author opens up possibilities of alternative definitions and practices of singlehood.'
Professor David Morgan

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