Through analysis of the narratives of one British South Asian Muslim woman contemplating divorce, this article explores how the termination of marriage is negotiated within families. The article charts the involvement and emotional implication of multiple family members in the decision at multiple levels: the interpersonal, via their involvement as sounding boards, advisers and mediators, and the intersubjective, as people’s sense of their own internal will or resolve to divorce is dialogical and unstably tied to others’ expressed views. The negotiation of divorce is an agentic intervention in the reordering of relationships and sheds light on wider processes linking agency, culture and belief. While these multiple levels of the relational negotiation of divorce may be particularly piqued in South Asian contexts, there are wider implications for sociology as, in contrast with individualisation theory, uncoupling is shown to involve more than the feelings and choices of just the husband and wife.
- British South Asian Muslims
- family mediation