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We’re one, but we’re not the same: Individualization and increasing marriage rates unraveled


  • Jacob Strandell

Summary, in English

European marriage rates have been steadily declining since the 1960's, a part of the second demographic transition largely attributed to the individualization of values. In 1998, Swedish marriage rates reversed into an incline, surpassing the European average in 2004. This reverse is particularly interesting as Sweden has been an international forerunner in the second demographic transition since the 1960’s. As Sweden remain highly individualized, a theoretical gap in the relationship between marriage rates and individualization is exposed. This thesis argue that ideational individualization is insufficiently theorized if understood as a set of erosive values, and must instead be considered a mode of discursive organization to account for its complex consequences. To demonstrate this empirically, three focus groups of young Swedish adults were employed to produce normative discourse data. Analysis of this data shows how the contemporary Swedish marriage is discursively organized in such a way that it cannot be understood as endangering individualized values. Due to the individualization of the marriage institution, and social organization in general, it may no longer be a matter of about marrying in spite of individualization but because of individualization.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Social Sciences


  • individualized discourse
  • individualized values
  • Swedish marriage
  • marriage rates
  • focus groups
  • discourse analysis


  • Christofer Edling (Professor)