Holding Tight: understanding the psychosocial grip of the couple-norm
Recent decades have seen enormous change within the intimate citizenship regimes of European societies, as processes of individualization, de-familialization, gender equalization and hetero-normalization have transformed the legal and policy frameworks governing intimate life. However, against this backdrop, the tenacity and ubiquity of the couple-norm have become increasingly apparent. Drawing on a cross-national study of intimate citizenship in four European countries, this talk offers an anatomy of the couple-norm, opening it up for scrutiny and offering a theorization of its psychosocial workings, in order to advance an understanding of the power of the grip it continues to exert on our lives.
The lecture is followed by a commentary by Collegium Researcher at TIAS Tuula Juvonen
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, UK.
In my research I am interested in how gender, sexuality, subjectivity and intimate life are changing, and in the role that social movements and collective action play in bringing about social, cultural and political change. I am also concerned with the question of how and why gender, sexuality, subjectivity and intimate life don’t change – with individual and collective resistance to change, and how we so often unconsciously resist change and sabotage what might be good and fruitful in our lives.
In recent years I have undertaken a number of projects that have explored the politics and practices of intimacy and personal life in the UK and across Europe (Bulgaria, Norway, Portugal). I have paid particular attention to the experiences of those living outside conventional couples and families – single people, people in living-apart-together relationships, lesbians and gay men, and those living in shared housing – and I have been interested in the role of friendship and lateral networks of care and support in their lives. Running through this research has also been a concern with the experiences of members of marginalized and racialized groups, first and second generation migrants and diasporic communities. Engaging with sociological theories of individualisation, with feminism, queer theory and psychoanalysis, I have been developing a psychosocioanalytic approach to the complex relational dynamics and psychic and intersubjective experience of contemporary intimate life. I am particularly interested in the role that law, policy and culture play in the normative construction of personal life, in producing intimate citizenship, and in the challenges that social movements and everyday practices of living, loving and desire pose to normative forms of intimacy and sexuality.
I was the first Chair of the Association for Psychosocial Studies from its formation until 2016. I was one of the founding editors of the journal Feminist Theory, and I am on the editorial boards of Social Movement Studies, NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Women’s Studies International Forum, and Amity: The Journal of Friendship Studies.
Roseneil will visit Tampere University as part of the international workshop Affective Intimacies to be held at Tampere University, November 18-19, 2019.
Welcome! The lecture is free and open to the public.