Marriage Acts: Stages in the Transformation of Modern Nuptial Culture

O'Connell, Lisa Marie (1999) Marriage Acts: Stages in the Transformation of Modern Nuptial Culture. Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 11 1: 68-111.

Author O'Connell, Lisa Marie
Title Marriage Acts: Stages in the Transformation of Modern Nuptial Culture
Journal name Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1040-7391
Publication date 1999
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 11
Issue 1
Start page 68
End page 111
Total pages 34
Place of publication Bloomington, Ind., U.S.A.
Publisher Duke University Press
Language eng
Subject 200503 British and Irish Literature
200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality
Abstract Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753 established the English civil matrimonial code. It decreed that the only valid marriage was one "performed by an ordained priest according to the Anglican Liturgy in a parish church or public chapel of the Established Church after thrice called banns or the purchase of a license from the bishop." This imposition of a national protocol for weddings belonged to a broader Whig program of social reform aimed at expanding the reach of the nation-state.1 More specifically, the Marriage Act was designed "for the better preventing of clandestine marriages," that is, for closing down on an older code in which marriages could be performed in a wide variety of sites, in many different styles and tones, and to a variety of ends. Before the Marriage Act, marriage was, in essence, a consensual speech act connected to an array of other everyday practices. The Act served to harden the boundaries between legitimate and illegitimate marriages, and, therefore, between marriage and other social states and linguistic performances. Its broader effect, I argue, was to reduce and rigidify matrimony's social meanings. Whereas it had once been possible to get
Keyword Culture -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Queensland.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Created: Mon, 26 Jul 2010, 12:23:55 EST by Ms May Balasaize on behalf of Faculty of Arts