Singlehood, Waiting, and the Sociology of Time1

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Abstract

This article explores how a temporal analysis of singlehood can contribute both to new conceptualizations of singlehood as well as to the study of social time. Prevalent interpretations of waiting single women offer a useful case study as they highlight the temporal organization of social life. Waiting is examined as an interactive setting representing and producing societal symbols, timetables, and collective schedules. Furthermore, this particular form of waiting is mostly featured as an unexpected delay and, accordingly, strengthens the widespread understanding of singlehood as a temporary and transitory life phase. Based on a content analysis, this article seeks to theorize some of the temporal aspects of singlehood, analyze its discursive implications, and study how it reflects and structures dominant discourses of family and social life.

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