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Having to rebuild everything : women, separation and social mobility in New Zealand : a dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Social Anthropology at Massey University
This thesis explores the experience of social mobility after marital separation in New Zealand. It is based on a series of case studies constructed around a set of interviews with a small group of women who have experienced separation in recent years. Class-based experiences both before and after separation are described. The classification techniques used by this group of women to ascribe class positions to themselves and to others in their social world are discussed. The various "markers" of class (material, symbolic and ideational) and the significance placed upon the different types of markers are also explored. The most significant themes to emerge from analysis of the case studies are the participants' search for respect after the breakdown of their marriages, the problems they have encountered in relation to the larger social world in achieving that respect, and the ways in which they have rebuilt their social capital in order to rebuild respect. As well as the analysis based upon the interview material this work includes the life stories of each of the participants. These provide experiential depth as well as contextualising the analytical chapters.