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Married Clergy Women: How They Maintain Traditional Marriage Even as They Claim New Authority

Susan Cody-Rydzewski
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 48, No. 3 (Mar., 2007), pp. 273-289
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20447444
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Married Clergy Women: How They Maintain Traditional Marriage Even as They Claim New Authority
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Abstract

The family lives of religious women have attracted considerable attention from social scientists in recent years. Researchers have considered the ways in which religious couples negotiate matters of marital authority. Much of the interest in this area seems to lie in the awareness of contradictions between a society that is increasingly secular and the simultaneous resurgence of interest in religious conservatism and "family values." Wives and husbands struggle to reconcile their religious beliefs with social realities, especially economic factors that require them to share responsibilities for providing. Previous studies have found that religious couples engage in various forms of strategizing to reestablish or reaffirm conventional patterns of patriarchal authority within marriage. However, very little attention has been paid to the ways in which being a clergywoman affects the dynamics of marriage, especially the balance of power. In this study, through in-depth interviews with thirty-three southern clergywomen, I examine clergywomen's perceptions of how being a minister has influenced their marriages; specifically, I consider the negotiation and distribution of marital authority since their ordination.

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