1st Edition

Singular Selves An Introduction to Singles Studies

Edited By Ketaki Chowkhani, Craig Wynne Copyright 2024
    196 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    196 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    196 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This book examines, for perhaps the first time, singlehood at the intersections of race, media, language, culture, literature, space, health, and life satisfaction. It adopts an interdisciplinary approach, borrowing from sociology, literary studies, medical humanities, race studies, linguistics, demographic studies, and critical geography to understand singlehood in the world today.

    This collection of essays aims to establish the discipline of Singles Studies, finding new ways of examining it from various disciplinary and cultural perspectives. It begins with laying the field and then moves on to critically look at how race has shaped the way we understand singlehood in the West and how class, age, gender, privilege, and the media play a role in shaping singlehood. It argues for a need for increased interdisciplinarity within the field, for example, analyzing singlehood from the perspective of medical humanities. The volume also explores the role workplace, living arrangements, financial status, and gender play in single people’s life satisfaction. With an interdisciplinary and transnational approach, this interdisciplinary volume seeks to establish Singles Studies as a truly global discipline.

    This pathbreaking volume would be of interest to students and researchers of sociology, literature, linguistics, media studies, and psychology.

    List of Figures ix

    List of Tables x

    List of Contributors xi

    Acknowledgments xv

    Introduction 1

    Ketaki Chowkhani and Craig Wynne

    PART I

    Laying the Field 9

    1 Changing Thinking, Changing Language, Changing Lives: The Power and Promise of Singles Studies 11

    Bella DePaulo

    2 What We Talk about When We (Don’t) Talk about Singlehood 21

    Adriana Savu

    3 Single (Never Married), Black, and Middle Class by the Numbers 40

    Kris Marsh and Olivia James


    Singlehood, Media, and Literature 57

    4 Singlehood and Valentine’s Day: A Study of Discursive Representations and Emotions in the Media 59

    Saumya Sharma

    5 “New Uncertainties and Fresh Concessions”: Edith Wharton’s Ambivalent Single Fictions of Middle Age 77

    Katherine A. Fama

    6 Unwitting W;t: A Case Study in the Relationship between Literary Stereotypes and Real-Life Discrimination 92

    Joan DelFattore

    7 The Single Woman’s Thousand Shapes of Love in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse 104

    Elizabeth Foulke


    Singlehood, Space, and Well-Being 117

    8 Japanese Singles and Solo-Life 119

    Laura Dales and Nora Kottmann

    9 Singles in the Workplace: Benefits and Challenges 138

    Elyakim Kislev

    10 Exploring Satisfaction with Singlehood among Diverse

    Groups of Singles 151

    Dominika Ochnik

    Afterword 169

    Sarah Lamb

    Index 175


    Ketaki Chowkhani is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Manipal Centre for Humanities, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India, where she teaches India’s first-ever course on Singles Studies. Her writing on gender, sexuality, and singlehood has appeared in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, Journal of Porn Studies, The New York Times, Square Peg, The Hindu, as well as in edited volumes published by Routledge and Cambridge University Press. Chowkhani has a PhD in Women’s Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, where she researched sexuality education and adolescent masculinities in urban India.

    Craig Wynne is Associate Professor of English in the Division of Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the District of Columbia, USA. His research interests include composition pedagogy, writing and psychology, Singles Studies, critical discourse analysis, and rhetoric and popular culture. He has presented at a variety of conferences on these subject areas, and his work has been published in Teaching English in the Two-Year College, Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, Journal of American Culture, Spark: A 4C4 Equality Journal, Revista Feminismos, Psychology Today, and Writer’s Digest. He has recently published a book, How to Be a Happy Bachelor (Kendall-Hunt, 2020), which was inspired by his themed Composition courses on Singlehood and Marriage.

    Singular Selves, crucially underscoring that singleness is a viable way of being which deserves further scholarly attention, is a timely, vibrant, and politically engaged collection that promises to make a vital contribution to the growing interdisciplinary field of Singles Studies.”

    Anthea Taylor, Associate Professor, Gender and Cultural Studies, The University of Sydney, Australia

    “I am very excited to see this volume come to life documenting such an important conference and representing so many different perspectives on singlehood. My hope is this book will stimulate the increasing research interest that the study of singlehood deserves.”

    Geoff Macdonald, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, Canada

    “In this ground-breaking collection of essays, Ketaki Chowkhani and Craig Wynne provide a foundation for Singles Studies and a roadmap for future analysis. With the increasing number of single people around the world, this book offers a fascinating, timely, and interdisciplinary look at how singlehood is viewed in a variety of contexts. Singular Selves is a major contribution to the study of singlehood and promises to become a classic work in this developing field of research and practice.”

    Prof Naomi Cahn, Research Professor in Democracy and Equity, University of Virginia School of Law, USA