The Tenacity of the Couple-Norm

Intimate citizenship regimes in a changing Europe

Sasha Roseneil, Isabel Crowhurst, Tone Hellesund, Ana Cristina Santos, and Mariya Stoilova

ISBN: 9781787358898

Publication: November 05, 2020

What is this?

The Tenacity of the Couple-Norm explores the ongoing strength and insidious grip of couple-normativity across changing landscapes of law, policy and everyday life in four contrasting national contexts: the UK, Bulgaria, Norway and Portugal.

By investigating how the couple-norm is lived and experienced, how it has changed over time, and how it varies between places and social groups, this book provides a detailed analysis of changing intimate citizenship regimes in Europe, and makes a major intervention in understandings of the contemporary condition of personal life. The authors develop the feminist concept of ‘intimate citizenship’ and propose the new concept of ‘intimate citizenship regime’, offering a study of intimate citizenship regimes as normative systems that have been undergoing profound change in recent decades. Against the backdrop of processes of de-patriarchalization, liberalization, pluralization and homonormalization, the ongoing potency of the couple-norm becomes ever clearer.

The authors provide an analysis of how the couple-form is institutionalized, supported and mandated by legal regulations, social policies and everyday practices, and how this serves to shape the intimate life choices and trajectories of those who seem to be living aslant to the conventional heterosexual cohabiting couple-form. Attending also to practices and moments that challenge couple-normativity, both consciously chosen and explicit, as well as circumstantial, subconscious and implicit, The Tenacity of the Couple-Norm makes an important contribution to literatures on citizenship, intimacy, family life, and social change in sociology, social policy, socio-legal studies, gender/sexuality/queer studies and psychosocial studies.

Sasha Roseneil is Professor of Interdisciplinary Social Science in the Institute of Advanced Studies and Dean of the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences at UCL.

Isabel Crowhurst is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex.

Tone Hellesund is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Ana Cristina Santos is Senior Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Mariya Stoilova holds a postdoctoral research position at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

List of figures
Preface and acknowledgements

Part I: Identifying the couple-norm
1. Introduction
2. Questioning the couple-form
3. Approach and core concepts

Part II: Couple-normativity in European intimate citizenship regimes
4. Overview of couple-normativity in European intimate citizenship regimes
5. The United Kingdom intimate citizenship regime
6. The Bulgarian intimate citizenship regime
7. The Norwegian intimate citizenship regime
8. The Portuguese intimate citizenship regime

Part III: Case studies in living with and against the couple-norm
9. Interviewees and methodology
10. Living with and against the couple-norm in London
11. Living with and against the couple-norm in Sofia
12. Living with and against the couple-norm in Oslo
13. Living with and against the couple-norm in Lisbon

Part IV: The tenacity of the couple-norm
14. Understanding the tenacity of the couple-norm
15. Imagining intimate citizenship beyond the couple-norm

Part V: Methodological appendix


Format: Open Access PDF

B&W illustrations

Copyright: © 2020

ISBN: 9781787358898

Publication: November 05, 2020

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