Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



This research applied a two-step triangulation approach to the study of mother-daughter communication in arranged marriages among the religious Sunnis of Beirut, Lebanon. Combining the theory of structuration and relational dialectics in one theoretical framework, the study investigated the role of mother-daughter interactions in the socialization of the daughter into the marital experience. The study investigated the process of marital socialization by first surveying 199 mother-daughter dyads, representing 398 individuals. In the second step, in-depth interviews were conducted with 12 families (three interviews per dyad), randomly selected out of the 199 surveyed pairs. The dyadic data analysis of the surveys assessed mother-daughter generational difference and the interdependence of their views on marriage, taking into consideration the daughter‟s marital status (single, engaged, and married). Findings revealed that mother-daughter interdependence moved in a curvilinear fashion. The mother and her engaged daughter converged in their marital views, then slightly diverged as the daughter‟s relationship with her husband progressed. The analysis of the 36 interviews examined stancemaking in the reported speeches of past mother-daughter conversations, and dialogues that took place during the third mother-daughter interviews. The stance analysis revealed the flow of socialization (one-way for the mother, and conversational for the daughter), and the three main lines of socialization: Structuration rules related to male-female interactions, criteria for selecting the ideal husband, and guidelines on how to become a good wife and mother. The analysis of stance alignments also exposed four mother-daughter relational dialectics happening during the arranged marriage process: Real versus ideal, powerful versus powerless, individual versus collective, and connection versus separation. Those dialectics corresponded to the fundamental tensions and the power resources that influenced both the daughter‟s marital structuration and her relationship with her mother during the marital process. The main findings were discussed at the end in line with mother-daughter connection, and the cultural schema of gender among the religious Sunnis of Beirut, Lebanon. The socialization involved in arranged marriages constitutes a turning-point in mother-daughter relationship, and a potential source of institutionalizing the perception of women as fragile beings in constant need of protection.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Pecchioni, Loretta



Included in

Communication Commons