Divorce Revisited: Explaining the Change in Family through the Act of Divorce in Turkey

Serap Kavas, University of Michigan
Ayse Gunduz-Hosgor, Middle East Technical University

This study sheds light on how divorce is changing the family structure in Turkey. We interviewed 32 professional women over two-year period using life-story method. Turkish families are undergoing a transition similar to other developing countries. However, this paper suggests that Turkey differs and is worthy of interest, in that the challenges don’t necessarily result in traditional values tobe rejected. Instead strategies and meanings are created to tackle crises. In one example several women interviewed expressed disinterest in traditional views and negative attitudes towards divorced women, but paradoxically altered their behavior in accordance with societies’ expectations like dressing more conservatively or limiting their contact with male colleagues. The study also highlights structural changes through growing number of single-parents and step-families formed in the wake ofdivorce. Through qualitative study of one landmark society, we hope that some new insights willbe unveiled on the current condition of families in similar developing countries.

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Presented in Poster Session 6