Commuter Spouses

In Commuter Spouses: New Families in a Changing World (Cornell University Press, forthcoming 2019) I focus on dual-income couples who live apart in service to their geographically-incompatible professional careers.  Based on 97 in-depth interviews with individuals who lived apart from their spouses due to professional demands, I argue that these couples are uniquely situated at the nexus of broad structural and cultural shifts that have been occurring in the United States since the 1970’s.  These changes include the rising labor market participation of married women, an increasing emphasis on individualism (particularly within marriage), changing job markets, social responses to new technologies, and greater gender parity within heterosexual marriage.

This text, like much of my research, focuses on how individuals who behave non-normatively can illuminate broader social processes.  By observing an extreme result of the historical dynamics noted above, I argue that we can better understand these dynamics.  At the same time that these couples can help us learn about change, they also shed light on the durability of some cultural ideas about gender, marriage, family, and work, even within seemingly non-traditional relationships.

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Here’s what others are saying about Commuter Spouses:

“Lindemann skillfully uses commuter marriages as a lens to examine larger social forces. Her findings highlight the ways that independence and interdependence can coexist and reinforce one another, a salutary lesson for couples everywhere.” – Anne-Marie Slaughter, President & CEO, New America

Commuter Spouses is an engaging read and gives us the comprehensive examination of commuter marriages that has been needed for decades.”  – Laura Stafford, Professor of Communication, Bowling Green University, and author of Maintaining Long-Distance and Cross Residential Relationships

“Danielle Lindemann’s Commuter Spouses flows beautifully. Lindemann skillfully weaves research on commuter marriages into compelling stories and shows how these unique relationships can help us learn about the contours of gender, work, and family life.” – Melissa Milkie, Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto, and coauthor of the award-winning Changing Rhythms of American Family Life


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